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Gallery: New town council sworn in at John Elliott Theatre

The night of pomp and circumstance was also an evening for Mayor Ann Lawlor to lay out her vision for Halton Hills

The new Halton Hills Council can officially drop the “elect” in their titles and start being the voice of the people.

Hundreds packed the John Elliott Theatre in Georgetown Monday night to watch their elected representatives swear an oath that formally installed them in their offices. 

In her inaugural address, Mayor Ann Lawlor laid out her vision for how she will fill the considerable shoes of the outgoing head of council, Rick Bonnette.

“I know that every single individual on this stage who ran an election campaign talked about maintaining the special community character that is Halton Hills,” she said to her new colleagues.

“So how have we structured this community?” she asked rhetorically.

She answered this by quoting the Imagine Halton Hills Sustainability Strategy’s four pillars: cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity, environmental health and social well-being. 

Though Lawlor called herself an optimist, she warned of some challenges ahead, but said she's “confident that our council will address them with wisdom and sensitivity.”

“One challenge is financial pressures on our budget due to inflation and non-discretionary cost increases,” she said. “We will need to stay the course and ensure our house and finances continue to be in order.”

She pointed at the Province’s Bill 23 as another hurdle, saying that it will add “financial stress,” among other things. This proposed legislation, Lawlor said, will “threaten citizen participation, years of planning processes, natural heritage protection, climate action and heritage preservation.”

Managing growth, while a challenge, was presented with a degree more optimism. Walkability and livability were her watchwords.

“I will work hard to ensure those new neighbourhoods that we would create reinforce our character - that we avoid sprawl and the geography of nowhere.”

She thanked Bonnette for the path he forged and the one she “will now take a turn to lead.”