New Clinton mayor Susan Swan says that, six weeks in to her first term as mayor, things are going well. “I’m enjoying getting to know the new council, and getting them up to speed on what we’ve been working on.”
Swan, who served as a Clinton councillor for seven years, won a tight race for mayor after incumbent Jim Rivett decided not to run in the 2018 municipal election. Only one other member of the previous council, David Park, ran for re-election, and he is joined on council by three political newcomers.
“They’ve settled in well,” says Swan of the new councillors. “We’re looking for David to orientate them in their new roles, and they have no hesitation in coming to me or to staff with questions.”
Of the transition from councillor to mayor, Swan says it’s what she thought it would be. “It’s more time-consuming than being a councillor, but I knew that going in, and I’m up to the challenge.”
She says that the previous council worked hard to get high-speed Internet to the community, which paid off with the recent announcement that the provincial government will spend more than $300,000 to connect every home and business in Clinton with a fibre-optic network. She adds that they have not yet been given a timeline as to when the work will be done.
With that resolved, Swan says that the Village will continue to work on a parks plan. “We’ve never had a full plan covering our various parks, and we want to do a plan regarding the care and maintenance of them.
“And the trails plan tags onto that. We’ve developed one trail so far, and will continue with them around town. We’d like a level trail from Reg Conn Park behind the properties on Soues Street to McDonald Avenue, which will be flat, and suitable for people who can’t do hills.”
She says that the new council will be looking at some things that have started but are not complete, to see if council wants to carry on with them. “We’ll continue to support the community regarding seniors’ housing, and work towards the construction of a new public works building. Plans have been drawn up, and now we’re looking for grants to support the funding of it.
“The current space [adjacent to the Clinton Memorial Hall] is old and needs replacing, because public works has outgrown it. A new site has been chosen on Village-owned property, and that would provide more parking for the Hall.”
The development of a housing strategy is another priority for Clinton, and one that was identified by every candidate. “Once the seniors’ facility is in place, that could potentially free up some housing.
“But the big thing is the lack of rental housing. Some businesses couldn’t get staff for the summer of 2018, because there was nowhere for them to live. We need to identify properties that are vacant or have old buildings, get in touch with the owners, and work with them to see what we can encourage them to do, see if the properties may be available for development. But we can’t make them do anything.”
Swan wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year, and encourages people to watch for things to happen in Clinton.
“We have a very eager council. Look for us to be doing things.”