Niagara-on-the-Lake town councillor Betty Disero will be running for Lord Mayor in the 2018 municipal election.
Disero officially filed her nomination papers at 10 a.m. Friday morning and announced her candidacy in a media release shortly after.
In a phone interview Thursday evening, Disero said she has “unfinished business” and that's what prompted her to run.
“The town has a lot to do in terms of getting the official plan done, putting in zoning bylaws that match the official plan,” she said.
“There’s just so much to do,” and many residents feel council is not listening to them.
Disero, who served as a Toronto city councillor for 18 years, is wrapping up her first term on NOTL town council.
She said she’s spent the past four years listening to residents and sees the importance of bringing people together to make decisions — something she said council is not currently doing.
“I listen, I understand and I now feel I’m ready to lead,” she said.
When asked what she would do differently from current Lord Mayor Pat Darte, she spoke about providing staff with adequate resources to implement new services people are demanding.
For example, she suggested bringing on another town bylaw officer, although she said it would take “some creative thinking” to make sure additional resources like this don’t severely impact taxes.
On top of her four years of experience as a councillor in NOTL, Disero has chaired, co-chaired and been a member of multiple committees, as well as volunteering at many community events.
She said her campaign will run on a platform of serving, conserving and sustaining.
She aspires to preserve and promote the town’s heritage while “expanding what we’re good at.”
Among her goals for the future of NOTL, she said she would focus on:
encouraging future development in Niagara-on-the-Green because of its vicinity to the QEW and public transportation;
potential infrastructure upgrades in Virgil and finding alternative routes to prevent traffic congestion on Highway 55;
making the hospital, Upper Canada Lodge and Parliament Oak sites useful for Old Town;
and working with the agricultural community to complete irrigation and mapping.
She said she would consider what each community needs to grow its economy “without destroying our lifestyle.”
“It’s all about compatibility,” she said.
“You wouldn’t want office towers in Old Town.”
NOTL residents Debi Pratt and Jim Armstrong vouched for Disero in a media release.
“Betty’s enthusiasm, extensive experience and skills along with her hard work and dedication motivates me to support her in her bid to lead our town as Lord Mayor,” said Pratt.
“Over the past several years, I have had many occasions to observe Betty’s dedication and hard work on behalf of the NOTL community and to see her deliver significant results in short order. If I were to pick a campaign slogan for Betty it would be, Betty gets it done,” said Armstrong.
NOTL residents head to the polls on Monday, Oct. 22.
Interested candidates have until July 27 to complete the nomination process.
For more information on the upcoming municipal election, go to notl.org.