Bonnie Clark acclaimed new county warden

Bonnie Clark, deputy mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, will be acclaimed as Peterborough County’s new warden on Dec. 1. Clark was the only Peterborough County council member to put forward a nomination for the position of warden ahead of the deadline on Monday, Peterborough County chief administrative officer Sheridan Graham said in an email.

Clark, who is entering into her second term as deputy mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, will replace outgoing Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones. Jones, who served five terms as warden, did not seek re-election as the mayor of Douro-Dummer Township ahead of the Oct. 24 Municipal Election.

If more than one person is nominated for warden, protocol calls for a confidential vote. Wardens serve two-year terms.

“I’m just really looking forward to it. Half our council is new. Half our council I sat with during the last term. I think it’s really exciting going forward so I’m just thrilled to be able to sit in that chair and follow J. Murray Jones, who leaves quite a legacy,” Clark told The Examiner Monday.

Following the municipal election, half of the new Peterborough County council will be new members. Eight new faces will join the 16-member council: Trent Lakes Mayor Terry Lambshead, Trent Lakes Deputy Mayor Carol Armstrong, Asphodel-Norwood Township Mayor Patrick Wilford, Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Township Deputy Mayor Hart Webb, Selwyn Township Deputy Mayor Ron Black, Douro-Dummer Township Mayor Heather Watson, Douro-Dummer Deputy Mayor Harold Nelson and Cavan Monaghan Township Deputy Mayor Ryan Huntley.

Peterborough County’s population is about 56,000, spread among the eight townships that surround the city.

As head of county council, wardens hold a number of responsibilities under the Municipal Act, including chairing county council meetings, sitting on various county committees, acting as a public spokesperson for county council and working alongside other wardens through the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus.

Clark will become the third woman to ever serve as Peterborough County warden. Doris Brick was the first woman to lead county council, followed by Elizabeth Tanner who served from 1999 to 2000, when terms were one year.

“I’m looking forward to having a great working relationship with the City of Peterborough. We have a lot of things in common there and that would be our paramedic service, our landfill and now our organic site as well. We also have the homelessness situation; I mean that is foremost on everyone’s agenda as well. We have a lot of hot-button items and I think we’re in an excellent position to be able to move forward on those,” Clark said.

Clark has sat on Otonabee-South Monaghan Township council, and previously on Otonabee Township council preamalgamation for nearly two decades. After some time off, she was elected councillor at large in 2014 before going on to claim the seat of deputy mayor.

Clark said she plans to be an active listener and encourage collaboration.

“I will be listening to everyone sitting around that table. Everyone there is there for good reasons and wanting to make Peterborough County just the best we possibly can. We'll listen to what everybody wants to put forward and then weigh whether we can get it done and how we can do it.

“I just want to help move our community forward,” said Clark.

Clark will appoint a deputy warden on Dec. 2.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner