Accompanied by Phyllis McNeal, her late mother’s long-time campaign manager, Petrina Arnason signed her nomination papers on Friday, to become a candidate for Township councillor.
The event took place at the Civic Facility, chosen as both a personal and historical link to Arnason’s mother, former councillor Muriel Arnason, who stepped down in 2005.
McNeal’s presence elicited a quick walk down memory lane to the time when Muriel Arnason first decided to run in the Township as an alderman. At that time the elder Arnason declared that council was unabashedly an “old boy’s club,” and very few expected her to win.
However, she was successful in her first bid and remained undefeated for 26 years. Muriel Arnason died in 2007 at the age of 81. She was the first woman elected to Township council.
Petrina Arnason said that her mother’s pioneering presence on council opened the door to many other women gaining municipal office, and is she now seeking the electorate’s support in order to build upon her mother’s legacy in the Township.
Many things have changed since that earlier era, but not the values that support the decision to go into public service, she said.
“In deciding to run for a seat on council, I have thought long and hard about how I could personally make a difference,” she said.
“I believe that to dedicate oneself to local government office and to advocate for citizens within the community is the highest calling one could achieve.”
If elected, she vows to work on a full-time basis towards the resolution of the complex issues facing the Township.
“I believe that the challenges of escalating taxes, rapid urbanization, zoning changes and densification, water and infrastructure issues as well as service delivery merit full-time focus,” she said.
“I also feel that it is important to have a relevant and specialized knowledge base in order to fulfill citizen’s trust in the decision-making of their elected officials,” she said.
Arnason’s vision for the Township future and her political platform has been shaped by many discussions over the years with residents about a number of issues. These include the siting and design of the new Mufford overpass, water depletion and contamination in the Hopington aquifer, spot zoning in the ALR, rezoning Willoughby neighbourhoods for higher density, the loss of farmland, as well as tax increases that have created an unsustainable tax burden especially for the elderly, single parents and low-income earners.
Arnason said she is interested in hearing from anyone who would like to talk about issues important to them or their community in the coming days, in order to create a more public dialogue about the future of the Township during the election.
Residents can visit her website at www.votearnason2011.com, contact her at 778 245-1816 or e-mail at email@example.com.