By Cecilia Nasmith
Newly inaugurated Cramahe Township Mayor Mandy Martin has given a lot of thought to how best to shape the new beginnings for her community as she replaces long-serving mayor Marc Coombs.
In an interview on the day after the ceremony, the first word she mentioned was inclusivity.
“And I personally didn't say this last night, but I have said it before – I am committed to open communications and much more communication with the public, with each other and departmental communcation – open the channels up,” Martin continued.
The 2018-2022 council was sworn in Monday and had its first meeting Tuesday, with Martin leading a body that consists of re-elected Deputy Mayor Sandra Arthur, re-elected councillors Ed Van Egmond and Donald Clark, as well as Councillor Timothy Gilligan.
The new mayor also committed to fostering a greater awareness that the township the taxpayers call home is not the only factor in their lives – she hopes they will learn how much they are affected by county council.
“Your tax dollars are divvied up, and a big chunk goes to the county and their programs. People need to be aware of what's going on,” Martin said.
“We are very interdependent.”
Roads and waste management spring to mind when one considers what services Northumberland County provides, but Martin mentioned the planning-approval process and the downloading of mapping from the province, a very detailed process that will involve close examination of individual properties and what the owners will be allowed to do with them.
“The county is huge for us in terms of potential development, industrial or residential,” she stated.
For now, she is also tackling the more immediate challenges of assuming her new position, and she wants to take the team approach.
“I need every one of these people on council and their expertise. I need them to bring it, and they all have strong, strong assets in different areas. Collectively, I think we are much stronger – it won't be me dictating.
“I feel that way about county council too. I want more co-operation intermunicipally to work things out. Planning, roads, services – are there better ways of doing things?”
County council consists of the mayor of each of Northumberland County's seven municipalities. The four who are newly elected – Martin, Bill Cane of Hamilton Township, John Henderson of the Town of Cobourg and Brian Ostrander of the Municipality of Brighton – have already met at the county for a briefing and an introduction to staff.
“I must say, county administration is very helpful and open and encouraging,” she stated.
Dec. 12 is the date of her first county-council meeting, and it will be another fresh beginning in more ways than one. Of the three mayors who have previously served on council, Alnwick-Haldimand Township's John Logel and the Municipality of Port Hope's Bob Sanderson are only in their second terms. The third, Bob Crate of the Municipality of Trent Hills, has only been mayor little more than a year, having succeeded the late Hector Macmillan.
As well, Martin added, one important order of business will be the election of warden – and no one on county council has been warden before.