Sworn in for her fourth consecutive term as County Warden, Liz Danielsen said continuity is key as the public continues to navigate a global pandemic and weighty issues such as the shoreline preservation bylaw and service delivery review.
In a Dec. 9 interview prior to a virtual ceremony Dec. 14, Danielsen said she was proud to be the first warden to serve an entire municipal term.
In the past, County council rotated the warden’s position among lower-tier municipalities, changing the head of council every year.
Danielsen said she wasn’t the only warden who felt, “one year doesn’t cut it, you’re just getting your feet wet, you’re finding out what the process is and getting comfy with it, a little more continuity is important.”
She noted the warden also becomes part of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, which deals with “really weighty issues so much broader than the County. A longer term is appropriate.”
She said another reason for continuity is a byproduct of COVID-19.
“We have gone through a really tough time, learned to do things differently, the population is generally unhappy, tired of this pandemic. More issues are being raised than we might ordinarily see. We’re all very busy, very distracted … for everybody’s general benefit continuity is the word of the day.”
Danielsen said she is proud of the work done during her tenure, such as the service delivery review and shoreline preservation bylaw.
“That’s been a really important project,” she said of the SDR. “There were expectations of amalgamation by some people who may not truly understand the full ramifications of that. We couldn’t even go down that road without really looking very carefully at the services we’re delivering. Is there a better way? I don’t know if it will be more expensive, but a more efficient way of delivering services, more consistent across the County, opportunities to examine the willingness of the four municipalities and the County to work together.”
As for the shoreline preservation bylaw, she said it’s unfortunate it’s become as contentious and divisive as it has, but she’s proud County council is “trying our very hardest to look at what needs to be done to protect our environment here and that can only be a good thing.”
She said that in many ways, the County and its four lower tier townships have learned to work, and communicate, better.
“I’m really happy to be able to continue to do the work. I like it.”