© Ty Dunham
New mayor Karen Oldford is sworn in by town clerk Diane Gear.
Labrador City’s deputy mayor was sworn in as mayor during a town council meeting Thursday.
Karen Oldford accepted the position two weeks after former mayor Janice Barnes announced her resignation.
Ms. Oldford said she expects her role as mayor to be similar to her time as a nurse practitioner.
“With primary health care being my focus, it was all about what’s required in keeping a community health.”
Ensuring the community has a good education system, good health care, and good sanitation was tied into the role, she said.
“And that’s a lot of what our council does; all those determinates of health that keep individuals and families healthy. So it was a natural fit for me to go on into this role.”
Since moving to Labrador West in 1986, Ms. Barnes has been involved in a number of community roles and actively promotes volunteerism.
“I’ve always felt that if you see something that you could help with, you come forth and get involved.”
Ms. Oldford said the area’s strong growth requires the most attention.
“We don’t have good data on what our growth is anticipated to be, what our current stock on housing is, who’s occupying what, what price points are needed. All of those things are important as we go forward.”
It also means managing impact on the quality of life residents here have grown to love, she said.
Becoming mayor will be a learning curve, she said, but her role as deputy mayor prepared her for the responsibility.
“There are a lot of things behind the scenes the mayor does before it ever gets brought to this table. A lot of meetings, strategy sessions and information sharing that happens before it comes to the council table. I’m now seeing more of that.”
Ms. Oldford will hold her seat until the next election, which will run in the fall of 2013. She doesn’t know yet if she will run for mayor after that.
“I haven’t had a chance to think about it. When I accepted the role as deputy mayor I understood I would be required to step in for the mayor from time to time. But I never anticipated having to step in full time at this point in the process.”
The time will provide her a chance to see if it’s a good fit, she said.
“It give me an opportunity to try it on and if it fits for my family and I, and also if the community feels I make a good leader for them. So I have some time to work with the community in this capacity and see how it works.”
Councilor Peter Reccord was also sworn in, and will be taking the role of deputy mayor.
Ms. Barnes said he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.
“He has wisdom from the past to draw upon from previous councils to let us know where some of the decisions came from.”
The resulting empty councilor seat means a by-election must be held within three months.
Nominations are June 5, advanced polls for the by-election on June 15, and voting on June 27.