Please see the article below published by the Glanbrook Gazette today.
News Editor Tamara Botting
Come the fall, Glanbrook will have a new councillor at city hall as Brenda Johnson has announced that she won’t be running in the upcoming municipal election.
“I think it’s time for fresh eyes. I think it’s time for a change,” said Glanbrook’s councillor.
While Hamilton council has been facing public backlash in recent years for its handling of situations such as the sewage spill into Chedoke Creek, or the Red Hill Valley Parkway asphalt study that suggested the surface of the road was more slippery than it should be, Johnson said that’s not what motivated her retirement.
“I’m walking out of this office with my head held high. I believe that all the decisions I made were the right ones,” she said, adding that in her opinion, “The criticism for a lot of it was not founded.”
As an example, Johnson said council has been accused of keeping the results of the Red Hill Valley Parkway asphalt report under wraps.
Johnson said council found out about the report around 10 p.m. during an in camera session, and didn’t leave until it had a news release ready to issue to the public, around 1:30 a.m.
“The public found out three hours after council.”
Along with the challenges, there have been a lot of victories for Johnson since she was first elected to office in 2010 as Ward 11’s councillor, and won two successive elections.
“I came into this office with a list of things I wanted to do, and I got a big chunk of that list complete,” she said.
She noted that during her time in office, there has been over $240 million in infrastructure development in the area. This includes the new Binbrook library, upgrades to the Binbrook Memorial Hall and Mount Hope Community Hall, and an elevator being installed at the Glanbrook Arena.
“I’m feeling really good about that,” Johnson said.
There is one item that will still be on her list at the end of her term: getting a recreation centre built in Glanbrook.
“It’s been approved; the needs studies have been done, the money is already budgeted for it, but COVID has slowed the process,” Johnson said.
The centre can’t be built until Binbrook’s development reaches Fletcher Road, so the water and sewer lines can be pulled over to the sports park, where the rec centre is planned to be built as part of the existing arena and soccer complex.
“I’m committed to that project; I will work on this until my very last day in the office,” Johnson said.
While plenty of publicity comes with things like libraries and community halls, Johnson said she counts her greatest achievements as when she has been “just helping people one-on-one … (with) the small things that are a big deal to someone else.”
Johnson said she’s making the announcement about her retirement now, “because I really wanted to allow good candidates an opportunity to review and find whether or not they would like to run. I don’t want people scrambling in August.”
So, what does she plan to do after her last day in office, which will be Nov. 30?
“Have a long nap,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I think beyond that, I might look forward to volunteering, to give back to the community.
“For me, it’s never been a job — it’s always been a passion.”