Deputy-Mayor Sheila Christie has tendered her resignation from the Amherst town council.
Christie, who has served six years on the council, five as deputy-mayor, informed her peers of her decision late last week. The resignation goes into effect on Oct. 31, 2022.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on town council and am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together,” the deputy-mayor said. “However, I have made the hard decision to step back from politics at this time.”
“Deputy-Mayor Christie is a strong supporter of the Town of Amherst,” Mayor David Kogon said. “She has contributed greatly to community, both as a member of council and as a volunteer. We accept her resignation with regret and wish her the best of luck in the future.”
Amherst CAO Jason MacDonald said Christie’s “experience and leadership will be missed in the council chambers, but I understand this is the right decision for her. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours.”
Christie was first elected to council in October 2016. During her first term, her peers elected her four consecutive years to the position of deputy-mayor. She was re-elected to council in 2020, the only incumbent councillor to be re-elected, and was again elected by her fellow council members to the deputy-mayor’s position in October 2021.
While on council, she was very involved in strengthening communication between the Municipality of Cumberland and the town. As deputy-mayor, she helped promote the concept of holding joint council meetings and was asked to participate on the first joint committees, which dealt with enhancing the border entrance to Nova Scotia and establishing a regional tourism strategy.
While on council, she served on the audit committee, the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners, the intermunicipal tourism committee, the planning advisory committee, as well as the towns representative for the YMCA.
She was instrumental in the creation of the town’s first poverty reduction committee, which she chaired for four years. It worked to bring about policy changes, education and funding for poverty reduction. That committee has evolved into an intermunicipal poverty reduction committee that now includes Amherst, Oxford and the Municipality of Cumberland.
Christie was also the driving force behind the creation of the “A” Fresh Start Community Initiative, which provides funding for organizations who bring creative, new events or initiatives to the community or enhance current programs.
The deputy-mayor also played leadership roles in recruiting and retaining doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, both as a town representative and as a private citizen. She was also involved in talks with the federal government about the future of the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury, helped to develop possible regional solutions for the area’s forestry industry and chaired the volunteer committee for the Fred Page Cup.
A lifelong resident of Amherst and area, Christie is an active volunteer. Over the years, she has been involved – as a volunteer, board member or chairperson – with many community organizations, such as the Relay for Life, The Amherst Ramblers, Amherst Curling Club, Showcase Productions Society, Bright Beginnings Daycare, Engage Nova Scotia, Amherst and Area Trails Society and Empowering Beyond Barriers.
Christie did all this while working as a financial controller at Taylor Ford Amherst, a position she has held for more than 33 years.
A date for a byelection to fill Christie’s vacant council seat will be set in the near future.