By David Judd
Trish Matthews brings a fresh outlook to the race for Port Dover’s seat on county council.
She says Port Dover should focus more on the needs and expectations of newcomers to town, especially seniors.
Newcomers far outnumber longtime residents, Mrs. Matthews says.
She points to the number of voters. In 1999, Port Dover had 2,500 voters. Today it has 7,300.
Where are these new people?
They’re in the new subdivisions in the east, north and west parts of town.
And many newcomers are retired folks, who have come from Hamilton, Burlington and Toronto.
People like Mrs. Matthews, an energetic 63-year-old.
Her hometown is Thunder Bay. For three decades she worked in telecommunications, living mostly in Toronto and London, Ont., travelling Canada for Bell, Northern Telecom and other companies.
At one time she was in on the ground floor of reselling long distance telephone minutes.
And for a while, she was a partner in an early Internet dating service.
After her husband passed away, Mrs. Matthews became a dating service customer.
That’s how in 1999 she met Gordon King, a worker at Ontario Power Generation at Nanticoke and train enthusiast.
Mrs. Matthews moved to Port Dover. The couple married in 2003.
At first, they lived on historic Prospect Street.
Eight years ago, about the time Mr. King retired, they moved to a new house at 51 Newport Lane in Port Dover’s upscale east end.
Mrs. Matthews has volunteered at Lighthouse Festival Theatre and tended bar for Friday the 13th.
She has been active in the horticultural society and she is a past president of the Newcomers and Friends club.
Now she’s running to represent Port Dover on county council.
She wants to encourage change to better serve newcomers like the people she meets in her neighbourhood as she walks Gina, her soft-eyed Golden Retriever.
That means a new medical centre and a county satellite office in town.
And retired folks need a seniors drop-in centre to serve as a social hub with dancing, euchre and crafts.
“A lot of people came here because they want yesteryear with modern technology and conveniences,” she said in an interview.
“People want what they had in Burlington and Hamilton.”
Ride Norfolk’s limited bus service doesn’t cut it for these people.
Far better, Mrs. Matthews said, to subsidize taxi rides that seniors can use anytime.
She wants Misner Dam repaired and Silver Lake restored as a scenic calling card for Port Dover.
Mrs. Matthews is a keen gardener as well as a talented watercolourist of birds and animals.
She looks at Stratford and Bracebridge with their beautiful flowers in public places and asks why Port Dover can’t look like that.
She wonders if the town receives a fair share of the taxes that it pays to Norfolk County.
As for the time it takes for the county to get things done, she looks at the storm water pond behind her home.
She notes that she and her neighbours waited years for the county to start cleaning up the silt-choked pond.
Her campaign for the Oct. 27 election will be low key, Mrs. Matthews said.
Port Dover has a lot of history — history that happened before most of its residents came to town, she said.
Her philosophy: It’s time to maintain and enhance that history with a new perspective.
By David Judd
Posted: February 12, 2014