Community girl at heart - Farewell from Dr Felicity-ann Lewis
Marion's longest serving mayor Dr Felicity-ann Lewis shares her memories of her time on council.
This article appears in City Limits magazine - Issue 47 - December 2014.
Marion’s longest serving mayor of more than 14 years, Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, chose not to stand for council again in the November elections.
Here, Dr Lewis shares her memories of her time as mayor, provides an insight into what it means to be a community leader and describes her plans for the future.
“I’m a community girl at heart.
People invariably list infrastructure projects as key achievements from my time in office… Oaklands wetland, the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre, and Cove Civic Centre which will open next year… but for me it’s all been about the community.
Seeing people getting involved in developing Rajah Street Reserve and Marion Historic Village and becoming empowered with community capacity building projects at Park Holme are things I will look back on fondly. I’m passionate about health and wellbeing, so seeing kids having fun using sports facilities, reserves and open space for play is important.
It’s a huge commitment being a councillor because in addition to weekly meetings there are hours spent reading reports, attending functions and sitting on committees. That’s all part of the job, but mostly I enjoyed dealing directly with people and making myself available to the community.
The responsibilities of local government have grown from when I started as a councillor, which was more than 17 years ago, and this has been a real challenge for allocating resources.
Looking back, winning the 2014 Australian of the Year of South Australia was a very proud moment and I have to pinch myself sometimes that I received recognition for doing something I love – making a difference to people’s lives.
I decided not to stand again for mayor as I’m a firm believer in keeping moving and nobody wants to hear the question ‘Why did you stay that extra term?’
I will return to my substantive position at Flinders University in the School of Education four days a week and take on some new challenges, including serving on the board of Nature Play SA, which aims to encourage families to be active outdoors. And I’ve been appointed to the National Press Council to help adjudicate on issues where people have a grievance.
An oral history of my life is also being produced for the State and National Library Archive.
I want to give back to local government and the community and am happy to share what I have learnt, which is one reason I’m mentoring a mayor in the Northern Territory.
I do believe it’s time for reform in local government and am keen to participate in that discussion and use experience I gained at the national level as president of the Australian Local Government Association.
I look forward to seeing the culmination of a number of exciting projects that started many years ago and hope to see many of you as we continue our lives in the fabulous Marion community – this is not the end.”
City Limits Magazine
The City Limits Magazine is a community publication that keeps Marion residents in touch with what is happening in their community. It includes information about major projects, council initiatives and events, as well as profiles of community members.
It is published three times a year and distributed to 40,000 residents and businesses in the Marion Council area.