I had a chance to sit down with yet another Councillor, to become acquainted with them and see what drives them to serve our community. This will have been my third interview, and my plan is to meet with all five.
Doreen O’Sullivan is an interesting person. It seemed to me that she appeared out of the blue six years ago when she ran for a seat on Council, and this was mainly because she had moved here in 2011 and was still working full time as a registered nurse in Ottawa.
She and her husband Anthony chose North Grenville because Doreen was familiar with the area; as she told me:
“My parents owned a general store in Metcalfe. My grandparents lived in Kemptville in the 1950’s and my parents retired here in the 1970’s. My daughter and her family moved here in 2009 and so we decided to move here in 2011 as our place to eventually retire”.
Doreen still worked full time as a Registered Nurse in Ottawa until 2016 after which she retired and worked part time in Kemptville. She then went back to The Ottawa Hospital part time in Primary Care in 2018. And during COVID, she worked at vaccination clinics locally.
She fully believes that where a person lives determines whether or not one has a healthy lifestyle. And this is her motivation. How many of us have benefitted from the walking trails? Well, Doreen has also been part of that initiative in the community.
“Prior to running for election, I was part of the Trails Committee (now known as the Active Transportation Advisory Committee) and was the driving force in getting the Municipality to acquire the lands from CP Rail that has now been developed into the Rail Trail from Bedell Road to CR 19.”
If you have never walked or biked down them, I urge to do so today. They are lovely and scenic walks, parts sheltered overhead by the many trees along the way, and the scenery changing often.
“This is my community where my daughter and grandchildren also live, attend school and play sports. I want it to continue to be the best place to live.”
Doreen began attending Council meetings when issues arose in her neighbourhood off Wellington Road. Among many of her activities before running for election to Council was lobbying to have walking trails put in, and also having the stop sign put up at Ryan’s Well Drive, going into the Colonnade Mall.
It was not easy to achieve these goals when facing the council of the day and not happy with the response she was getting from the previous council, Doreen was encouraged to run for Council herself. After attending these meetings she felt that, surely, she could do as well as the incumbents, and felt she wanted to make some changes. After being encouraged by a Councillor, the late Jim Bertram, she made the plunge and has had no regrets since. On the whole, she feels that the community is going in the right direction; according to the experts, our community is one of the leading municipalities in Ontario. Doreen is a very physically active person. She bikes everywhere whenever she can or walks. She has traveled the world, and even worked while traveling. While in New Zealand, she obtained her New Zealand Nursing License and worked at New Zealand Blood Services part- time for 10 months and became known as “the nurse with the accent!”
It is clear that she is high energy.
After suffering a heart attack during the last election campaign, she refused to give up and kept in the race. “After my heart attack, I knew that I had to balance things a little more and decided to retire from my nursing job after 50 years!” She has recovered fully since then and keeps herself fit, having joined up with a personal fitness trainer. Now in her seventies, she is probably more active and vocal than many of the rest of us. She has a passion for this community she calls home and is committed to making it a better place. She ran for a second term because she feels she has more to accomplish, and has more energy than ever before to get the job done. Her priorities include acquiring a Primary Care Multidisciplinary Health Unit in Kemptville with Nurse Practitioners and RNs, seeing the AM Barr Arena and stables be developed into a centre for Eastern Ontario Western Equine Training and Events, and having the unused rail line to Prescott developed to connect North Grenville to the Waterfront Trail along the St Lawrence River. Imagine if we had a river to river connection for cycling!
I admire her passion for what she does and her open honesty and willingness to discuss topics.
Doreen is bubbly, full of life and passion. I admire her for leading such an active life and for taking on the responsibility of a Councillor. It is not always an easy life but, on the whole, she says that most people are great to deal with, with very few negative people. There are always solutions to everything, if one just sits down and has open and honest discussion.