By Beth Audet
Barriere’s mayor Virginia Smith is not seeking re-election.
She has been involved in council for 11 years, since the day Barriere incorporated in 2007. Now, she says it’s time to step aside and take some time for herself.
“It’s been really very rewarding,” she said, when speaking about her time as mayor.
“I really want to thank (the people of Barriere) for the support that I’ve had since 2007, not just as mayor … it’s been a real honour and a privilege to serve the community.”
She described her term as “very interesting,” with incredible accomplishments as well as some frustrations.
One of her biggest frustrations, she said, has been “how slow the wheels of government go.”
“Everything seems to take so long.”
Smith said she would have liked to see grants come in for the water line down Barriere Town Road and the revitalization of the downtown core.
She’s been waiting for five years to see that blue and white sign from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure pointing traffic to Barriere’s downtown. “That’s ridiculous,” she said.
“I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve met that didn’t realize that there’s a downtown Barriere. They thought what was on the highway was it.”
She said there’s still a sign, within the boundaries of Barriere, saying Louis Creek Unincorporated.
“It’s just stuff like that I find very, very frustrating.”
On a positive note, she said there have been accomplishments for which she feels immensely proud.
Most notably are the solar aquatics sewer system and the splash pad.
She said the new sewer system may have had problems, but it’s green and it’s innovative and “it’s a really amazing accomplishment for our community.”
The splash pad, she said, was completed mostly through fundraising.
The community forest donated $150,000, former MLA Terry Lake managed to drum up $40,000, “and the rest of it came from apple pie sales and bake sales and that kind of thing and I’m very proud of that.”
Going forward, Smith said she’d love to see the new council continue the work she started, looking for grants so they can move forward with economic development and improve the aging infrastructure.
As for what how she’ll be spending her time, she said she plans to volunteer within the community and will be resuming her passion for the fibre arts: weaving and knitting.
When asked whether she would stay in Barriere, she immediately replied, “Oh yeah. This is my home.”