After a short spell away from the Nicola Valley, two-time city councillor Nadia Clarke is moving back to Merritt and aiming to earn the vacant council seat in the Sept. 15 byelection.

Clarke, who served two consecutive three-year terms as a City of Merritt councillor from 2005 to 2011, moved to Cawston, B.C. – an unincorporated community in the Similkameen Valley – last year with her husband for work. However, he has secured a three-year contract in Merritt and they are in the process of moving back.

“It became apparent that with the amount of time I spent driving back and forth to see my children and grandchildren, half my life was there and half my life was here,” she said. “I love it here (in Cawston) but I feel there is something missing, and what is missing is my feeling of connection that I have in Merritt.”

Clarke was born and raised in the Nicola Valley, where her parents, her grandparents and her great great grandparents lived before her.

“You could say I have an interest in where Merritt goes and how we proceed,” she said.

Clarke said she has kept up to date on Merritt’s news and now that she’s returning, she’d like to actively work on behalf of Merrittonians again.

“I never wanted to be an armchair councillor,” she said. “You can read something and have your opinions, but it’s different when you have to vote.”

Clarke says she is not a one-issue candidate – instead, she says she’ll be looking at the big picture to make decisions that are best for Merritt.

“I believe in thoughtful considerate development to have a sustainable community.”

Among other things, Clarke would like to address environmental issues, re-address local hospital concerns to make sure residents have access to all essential services, and address social concerns such as hidden homelessness.

As the lowest spender on council in 2011, Clarke feels strongly about making wise financial decisions.

“I feel the taxes – I’m literally cringing every time anyone does any extra spending,” she said. “My remuneration is quite generous and I would rather pay for things myself than expect Merritt to pay for every little item.”

General voting is on Sept. 15 at City Hall.