Introduced to municipal politics through Woolwich’s most charged issue of late – gravel pits – Lynne Hare can see herself in an expanded role. The West Montrose resident is running as a candidate in Ward 3.
She joins two other first-time hopefuls, Lisa MacDonald and Larry Shantz, in a bid for the pair of seats up for grabs in the October 27 municipal election.
“I’ve been involved for the last five years on the other side, looking at the issues,” Hare said of the numerous meetings about gravel pits she attended, adding the experience provided plenty of insights. An outspoken critic, she addressed council on a number of occasions.
“If you’re going to complain and criticize … you should do something.”
In her case, the “something” is running for council in order to take part from the other side of the table while still putting residents’ interests first.
Well-versed in the gravel pit debate – most of the contentious applications have been resolved, so it won’t be the issue it was in the 2010 election – she said some of the lessons learned from that experience apply to governance in the township.
“There could be more transparency and communication to the public from council,” she said, noting residents can feel left out of the loop.
Take, for example, Woolwich’s budget. While the public is invited to give input, the format and the documents don’t make it easy to get a handle on the figures. The process could be clearer and more open, Hare suggested.
“It’s not easy for people to understand where their money is going.”
Once elected, even councillors have a hard time wrapping their heads around the documents. Ideally, she said, councillors have to ask more questions, be willing to say “I don’t understand this” and work through the budget rather than accepting quick answers.
Then, said Hare, council could provide accountability to residents.
“Council has to … try to figure out what the true bottom line is,” she said. “There needs to be some restraint – we have to be fiscally responsible.”
Also high on her agenda for council is protecting the rural character of the township and its environment.
“I’ve always believed our wonderful prime agricultural land should be left for farming,” said Hare of an issue that was front and center in the gravel pit debates.
A retired nurse who spent 25 years in an emergency room and then with her husband’s dental practice, Hare is now a real estate agent. She’s lived in West Montrose since 2008, when she and her husband Ron moved from Waterloo.