Bonnie Bailey has seen many changes over the years as Burpee-Mills clerk

Burpee-Mills Township Reeve Ken Noland presents a gift to Bonnie Bailey, clerk of the township, at a retirement dinner held in her honour.

EVANSVILLE—Bonnie Bailey has seen a whole host of changes over her years as clerk first of Burpee township and the amalgamated Burpee-Mills Township, and was recognized for a job done very well by the local council and community at a retirement dinner held last week.

“Bonnie has been clerk of the township for over 20 years and has seen a lot of changes over this time,” stated Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee-Mills after the special retirement dinner for Ms. Bailey was held at the 1890 Restaurant in Gore Bay on December 11. “I started about the same time as Bonnie and have certainly enjoyed working with her over the years.”

Ms. Bailey told the Recorder she started as clerk with Burpee Township on January 1, 1997. “At that time we were supported to receive a minister’s order to approve the amalgamation of Burpee with Mills, and this was to be effective January 1, 1998. And the council wouldn’t be in place until the amalgamation was approved. The election included residents from Mills as well as Burpee and the new council officially started as of January 1998.”

Reeve Noland said, “Bonnie had started in January (1997), and at this point the amalgamation meetings started as well. At the time, I was representing Mills, as I had been appointed to represent Mills in the amalgamation process. So, I started working with Bonnie right from the start of the amalgamation talks.”

“Yes, it was a busy time,” said Ms. Bailey who explained, “we applied for and received funding from the province to use as part of the amalgamation. And with these funds we were able to purchase a new snowplow, fire truck, radios and also had a lot of road work carried out in Mills.”

“And right after that the new complex was constructed, the transfer station was opened and (provincial) funds flowed through the township for the Misery Bay interpretive centre project,” continued Ms. Bailey. She pointed out the new township municipal complex opened in 2000.

“Yes, it was quite a way to start, there was lots to do and there have been lots of changes over the years; and provincial downloads that have affected our budget.”

Ms. Bailey said when the amalgamation took place Burpee-Mills had a part-time roads superintendent, which is now a full-time position. “We do a lot of work ourselves now, instead of contracting things out. This has worked well.”

At the retirement dinner Reeve Noland presented a gift on behalf of the council and municipality to Ms. Bailey. “With Bonnie’s gift I made up a story that I told, that council is always telling Bonnie what to do, and even in retirement we would be doing that one more time. We presented Bonnie with two nights’ accommodation at Niagara-on-the-Lake in May and a wine tasting tour.”

“I’ve certainly enjoyed working with and seeing community members when they came into the office, and all the council and reeves over the years,” Ms. Bailey said. “They have all been very supportive and good to work with.”

When Ms. Bailey started with the township she was by herself in the township office, and once amalgamation took place, two women from the Mills roads board, Elsie Veldhuyzen and Cheryl McCulligh were hired to work with her. “Then Mary Alice Lewis worked with us, and when we moved into the (new township office) we hired Delena Deeg and Leanne Wiseman, and most recently Patsy Gilchrist.”

Ms. Bailey had taken over the position of Burpee Township clerk after Jean Clark had retired.

Her official retirement date is set for December 31, 2019, and Ms. Bailey said in retirement, “I would just like to relax for awhile. I have a few things I’m thinking about, and we’ll see how things go. I’m going to miss it, and I really enjoyed dealing with members of the public, and the involvement in the community, and the councils I’ve worked with.”

Mr. Noland pointed out Burpee-Mills assistant clerk Patsy Gilchrist will be stepping in for Ms. Bailey as of the new year, and the township is in the process of finding an assistant clerk.