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Betty Clarke looking forward to leading Lewisporte Town Council

Betty Clarke has been voted back into the mayor’s chair for Lewisporte Town Council.
Betty Clarke has been voted back into the mayor’s chair for Lewisporte Town Council.

LEWISPORTE, NL — It’s been 20 years since Betty Clarke was at the helm of Lewisporte Town Council.

Clarke’s return to council after being voted in as mayor by residents of Lewisporte Sept. 26 is a chance for her to continue to move forward with the best interests of the community at heart.

She first served as a councillor in 1989. In 1990, she became deputy mayor and from 1991-97 was mayor of Lewisporte.

Municipal politics has never been far from her mind over the years, and Clarke said the timing was right to add her name to the list of candidates for the position of mayor.

Clarke feels she can dedicate the time necessary to commit to being mayor.

“I did miss it,” she said of her time on council. “I loved what I was doing when I was here. I loved every minute of it.

“Over the course of eight years I attended everything. I know what I’m getting into by coming back and I’m looking forward to it.”

Clarke said leading up to the election, a number of people encouraged her to offer her name on the ballot for mayor. With their encouragement, and the ongoing support of her husband Ross, she made the commitment to run in the election.

Clarke said while campaigning, residents spoke of the need for more openness and transparency on their municipal council, something she wants to further develop. The Mayor encourages people to interact with council by bringing their concerns forward and attending public council meetings.

Looking back

Clarke was part of the municipal council that made a new town hall and library possible, even though it wasn’t a popular decision with everyone at the time.

The marina development was also in its infancy stages. Council was part of the initiative that resulted in $600,000 in federal and provincial funding allotted to put in the first breakwater. The town and yacht club of the day contributed another combined $300,000.

Then the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency came along with another $2.2 million in funding. The rest is history, as the Lewisporte Marina has grown to become a model development for other marinas in the province, and Notre Dame Bay was dubbed the “Caribbean of the North.”

Clarke is pleased with what has been accomplished with the marina development, making it an asset for the community.

When Clarke left office in 1997 the population of Lewisporte was 4,600 people. That number has declined to where it stands today at around 3,460 residents. She notes there may be more houses in Lewisporte than there were 20 years ago, but there aren’t as many people living in them due to a growing senior population and families that are smaller in numbers.

She knows there’s work to be done in Lewisporte, but still believes in the potential for growth.

Looking forward, she identifies there are infrastructure needs, especially when it comes to roads.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” she said.

Clarke plans to look into land development and how the Town can work to have more land made available for residential needs.

Recreation is also an area the new mayor would like to discuss.
Those discussions will include six counterparts, five of whom are all new to council chambers.

“We have an excellent council,” she said. “It’s great to have people with a new vision and interests in a variety of areas. Everyone brings something different to the table.”

Clarke looks forward to working with the new council and Town staff.

The Mayor extends her appreciation to voters for their confidence in her to lead Lewisporte Town Council for the next four years.

kwells@pilotnl.ca

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