Monday, November 2, 2015 6:30 am ·  0 Comments
By Pam Damoff
As I prepare to be sworn in as the first Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, I wanted to say a fond farewell to each of of you.
My journey on Oakville Town Council began in 2010, when I was first elected to represent Ward 2. I stood with my dad to receive the results and I was so honoured to be chosen to represent the residents of Ward 2 at Council. In 2014, I was re-elected with over 80% of the vote celebrating with friends and family. Over the last five years, I have worked with many community members.
We worked together on charitable initiatives like Emma and Julia Mogus’ Books with No Bounds; community improvements like the tree planting at Hopedale Park and Town concerns like planning applications, traffic issues, drainage and so much more.
I learned what a swale was (a ditch) and discovered redside dace (a small fish that lives in the 14 Mile Creek and is protected as an endangered species). I have been blessed to work with someone who not only has been my Ward 2 colleague but also a good friend, Cathy Duddeck. We worked hand in hand to ensure the historic Oakville Arena will be preserved and rehabilitated for future generations. Together we led the development of a new cell tower protocol at the Town, a model that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has suggested for other municipalities. We met with residents and staff to resolve their issues, attended events together and organized an annual Family Skate in February and Movies Under the Stars in the summer. I could not have asked for a better partner in Ward Two.
I am proud to have worked with the late Max Khan to bring in free transit for seniors on Mondays. Ralph Robinson and I spear-headed making Oakville the first municipality to restrict tanning bed use by youth (an initiative since adopted by the Province).
Earlier this year, I brought forward a motion to name the Civic Holiday Monday “Emancipation Day” in honour of Oakville’s ties to the Underground Railroad. I also led the initiative to create the first Terry Fox Day in Oakville, which the Province has also since adopted. I was pleased to support Allan Elgar’s efforts to preserve the Merton lands. I have enjoyed working with the Mayor and other members of Council in our efforts to make Oakville “the most livable Town in Canada”.
It is humbling to have been part of a Council that contributed to the new Oakville Hospital, a legacy for our community for generations. Serving on the Oakville Public Library Board, Visit Oakville and the Kerr Village BIA have been highlights of being on Council.
I was able to raise the profile of cycling in Oakville, and still recall the Oakville Beaver headline “Cycling Conversation Started in Oakville” following the launch of Cycle Oakville. I am extremely proud of the exposure that cycling has generated with a number of new initiatives to raise awareness and encourage cycling, including the advent of bike parking at Oakville events. While we still have a long way to go, I hope that Oakville residents will continue to push for improved cycling infrastructure.
Oakville Council has recognized the importance of active transportation (cycling and walking) to our community, and it is my hope that my colleagues on Council will truly champion this issue.
Getting our community moving, whether walking, cycling or taking public transit, is something that continues to be important to me. The Town of Oakville has exceptional staff, and I enjoyed immensely working with them to help residents and move our community forward. We are fortunate to havesuch talented and committed individuals ensuring our Town operates smoothly and efficiently.
With regards to my Ward 2 seat, Council will need to follow procedure, declare my seat vacant and the Mayor has indicated that a by-election will be called to fill the vacancy. The timing of that by-election will be determined by Council.
Finally, to those who elected me to Council, I can tell you that I have loved every second of being your Ward 2 Councillor. Cathy Duddeck and I call Ward 2 the heart of Oakville, and I am leaving a piece of my heart in Ward 2 as I move on to federal politics.
To each of you, thank you for an amazing five years on Oakville Town Council. I look forward to seeing you in the community and working with you to make Oakville the best it can be.
Allan Elgar, Books with No Bounds, Cathy Duddeck, Cell Tower Protocol, Cycle Oakville, Emancipation Day, Family Skate Day, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Hopedale Park, Kerr Village BIA, Max Khan, Merton Lands, New Oakville Hospital, Oakville Arena, Oakville Public Library Board, Pam Damoff, Ralph Robinson, Terry Fox Day, Town Council, Visit Oakville, Ward 2