07/7/13

Racism and the US Civil Rights movement retold


Civil Rights marchersAs I read through Rick Perlstein’s book, Nixonland, about American politics and life in the 1950s and 60s, the Civil Rights movement and the reaction to it by white Americans, the narrative astounds me. Such anger, such violence. Such sadness. It seems like such an alien place, dystopian, almost fictional, like an Orwellian novel.

I was, it seems from my reading, not really aware, not fully cognizant of just how bad it was. But then, it looks eerily familiar – some of the photos look just like those taken during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Am I merely juxtaposing my own feelings on it, conflating the two? After all, I was there. Wasn’t I?

Growing up in Canada, I never experienced the clashes that rocked America, especially in the Fifties and Sixties.* I saw the marches, the riots on the TV news, but never really felt their impact at home. Nor understood what they meant. Racism was such a bizarre, foreign concept that it didn’t make any sense.

I watched with youthful fascination at the stark black and white images of the protesters being set upon by police dogs, beaten by police batons, hosed with water cannon as they marched – mostly peacefully – for the right to sit in the front of a bus, use a washroom, to vote or have their children attend a school. Black and white, white vs black.

It simply didn’t make sense. Were people being beaten, even killed by those appointed or elected to protect them? People had to fight, often against violent reaction for the simple right to vote in a democracy? Why were others using brutality, violence and fear to prevent them? There was no logic, no sanity to any of it.

Not simply because I was young, but also because, as far as I was aware then, racism didn’t exist in our WASP neighbourhood, so there was nothing to compare it with. It certainly wasn’t in our household, in the little bungalow built in one of Toronto’s earliest east-end, post-war suburbs. Race – as a topic of animosity – didn’t exist: not because there were no people of colour, different ethnicities, religions or backgrounds, but rather because those differences simply didn’t matter.

To kids, anyway.** Continue reading

07/3/13

The Decline in Media Credibility and Profitability


Pew Study image 1Last August the Pew research Center released the results of its latest study on how much the American public trusts the media. This has been part of an ongoing study since at least 2002, and ever since the first report, the amount of trust in media has fallen. This has been a hot topic of discussion online ever since, and the source of much hand-wringing at each new release.

Perhaps the mounting number of scandals in journalism has soured an audience accustomed to believing the media is honorable, trustworthy and upright. Perhaps it’s the growing politicization of (some) media that polarizes rather than informs public opinion. I don’t know.

Admittedly the study is based on American media, and the scandals have been mostly American made. I have not found a comparable study on Canadian media, but there are clues one can follow, and similar polls that tell us much.

Media typesThe Pew study asked respondents to rate various types of media for credibility. Local TV news rated highest, but other types of local media don’t seem to have been rated.

Not surprisingly, the uber-right-wing Fox News continues to lose trust among the American public. And I would suspect that similarly the uber-right Sun/QMI networks in Canada would fare the same. But if that’s so, then media that depend heavily on, say, QMI, as a source of material, the decline of trust in QMI must surely reflect on the subscribing media as well.

Why are these American media losing credibility faster than other sources? Probably because they are so blatantly, overtly ideological and people tire of the relentless mudslinging, attacks, innuendo and lies. These media cry wolf far too often.

Continue reading

06/1/13

But is it news?


Rob FordToronto Mayor Rob Ford seems to get more than his fair share of headlines these days, most of them negative. The stories that follow are full of allegation, innuendo and “unnamed sources.” Gripping tabloid stuff. Real time soap opera. But is it news?

Most of these stories seem based on a simplistic media prejudgment of the man. Ford: bad. Stories that belittle, humiliate, denigrate and ultimately crucify Ford: good.

And in this heated, increasingly toxic environment, allegations, gossip and rumour get given the same status as fact and build on themselves. Everything is sensationalized to such an extreme that it becomes impossible for the audience to pry even shreds of truth from the media frenzy. It’s like trying to apple bob in a piranha pool.

This, of course, one expects of Fox News, QMI and Sun News. The latter two Canadian media groups waffle between defending Ford (usually for no other reason than he is a Conservative) and wallowing in the mud with the likes of The Star, Globe and the NatPost. After all, tabloid-style headlines sell papers, and they don’t want to miss out on the public appetite for scandal, real or imagined. Dollars are at stake.

And, of course, some of these media outlets have political agendas and allegiances with other political parties. Reporters may also have personal or social allegiances they try to shove below the radar while they write their latest exposé, based on anonymous sources.

Even the once-credible CBC has gotten into the act, barely able to contain its delight while it roasts Ford over yet another allegation, all the while justifying its lack of actual fact by uttering stock phrases about not having seen the video, or the allegations being unproven. As if that makes a difference to the listener. It’s just the old nudge-nudge-wink-wink and no one is fooled.

Continue reading

03/21/13

Clawing our way back up the ladder?


In 2006, Moneysense listed Collingwood as the 11th best place to live in Canada. The other ten above us on that list were all major cities. We were the number one town. Mayor Geddes beamed.

Today we’re a lot further down the list. Numero 54 to be exact, out of 200.

I wrote about that list back in 2011. We plummeted from the giddy heights of 11th place to 61st by 2008. The fall didn’t stop until we hit 94th place in 2012, in the bottom half of the 180 places listed.

Now we’re back at 54th place. I suppose that’s come consolation – a rise of 40 places up the ladder, and in the top half.

You have to take the recently released 2013 list with a rather large grain of salt. Click on the town’s name in the overall ranking list and see what comes up.

NOT CollingwoodThat’s right: the photo is NOT Collingwood. It’s Blue Mountain Village. Now read the amounts for average house price and average household income. Wow. We’re rich!

Or maybe not – StatsCan reported the average family income here is roughly $60,000 (or $67,000 as shown here). Our treasurer reports the average family home is about $250,000 (it’s calculated as $274,000 here).

Moneysense shows our average income as $81,499 and average house price as $331,594. Way above the figures usually accepted for this town.

You think maybe Moneysense got it – and maybe the rest of their data for Collingwood – wrong? You think maybe they’re ranking the Village under Collingwood’s name?

I look at some of those stats and wonder. rain days: 110 – almost one out of three days per year? A 7% increase in population since 2011? Where did they get those figures? Maybe they can’t tell us apart from the Village.

I think we should ask for a recount. And maybe supply some correct data and a proper photo to the magazine.

(PS. We can always take heart we’re not among the ten worst places to live – seven of which are in Quebec).

 

 

03/21/13

Understanding the Municipal Act


Among the many pieces of legislation, bylaws and policies that guide and inform municipal councils in Ontario, the Municipal Act is the most important.* This 238-page, 140,000-word, 474-section document covers most of the things that govern municipal councils:

  • powers,
  • duties,
  • highways,
  • public utilities,
  • waste management,
  • fences and signs,
  • animals,
  • economic development,
  • environment, licensing,
  • municipal reorganization,
  • municipal service boards,
  • BIAs,
  • boards and committees,
  • integrity commissioners,
  • transparency,
  • open and in-camera meetings,
  • financial administration,
  • taxation,
  • fees,
  • bylaw enforcement,
  • bonusing.

…and many other topics. Clearly a document of this size and scope requires more than one reading to grasp. Some areas do not arise often during a term or may not be relevant to the particular municipality. However, every municipality needs a legal adviser and a clerk familiar with the Act.

Some sections refer to other Acts rather than providing direct guidance – conflict of interest, highways and libraries, for example.

It’s a pretty dry document, and dense enough that it’s good to have a guide to condense it, as well as a book or two or three to explain some of the more obscure or subtle points.

Before anyone serves on council, or comments on issues of municipal governance, he or she really needs to understand the Act, how it currently defines and establishes governance, as well as how it relates to other legislation. Disliking or disagreeing with a decision does not mean the process has done improperly or incorrectly.

For example, here are the roles of council as the Act stipulates:

Role of council
224. It is the role of council,
(a) to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality;
(b) to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;
(c) to determine which services the municipality provides;
(d) to ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council;
(d.1) to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;
(e) to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality; and
(f) to carry out the duties of council under this or any other Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 224; 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 99.

The head of council, or mayor, has two sections that define his or her responsibilities:

Role of head of council
225. It is the role of the head of council,
(a) to act as chief executive officer of the municipality;
(b) to preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
(c) to provide leadership to the council;
(c.1) without limiting clause (c), to provide information and recommendations to the council with respect to the role of council described in clauses 224 (d) and (d.1);
(d) to represent the municipality at official functions; and
(e) to carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 225; 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 100.

and this:

226.1 As chief executive officer of a municipality, the head of council shall,
(a) uphold and promote the purposes of the municipality;
(b) promote public involvement in the municipality’s activities;
(c) act as the representative of the municipality both within and outside the municipality, and promote the municipality locally, nationally and internationally; and
(d) participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality and its residents. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 101.

Subject to some limits on individual confidentiality, council records are available to the public:

Inspection of records
253. (1) Subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, any person may, at all reasonable times, inspect any of the records under the control of the clerk, including,
(a) by-laws and resolutions of the municipality and of its local boards;
(b) minutes and proceedings of regular, special or committee meetings of the council or local board, whether the minutes and proceedings have been adopted or not;
(c) records considered at a meeting, except those records considered during that part of a meeting that was closed to the public;
(d) the records of the council;
(e) statements of remuneration and expenses prepared under section 284. 2001, c. 25, s. 253 (1).

A recent decision in the case of a Freedom of Information Act request files in Toronto may throw into question whether emails between councillors are open to an FOI request, but this is a topic for another post.

Municipalities can create a code of conduct for councillors and members of municipal boards:

Code of conduct
223.2 (1) Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, those sections authorize the municipality to establish codes of conduct for members of the council of the municipality and of local boards of the municipality. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

However, the MA states clearly in the next paragraph that violation of that code is not an offence:

No offence
(2) A by-law cannot provide that a member who contravenes a code of conduct is guilty of an offence. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

An integrity commissioner, if appointed, may recommend the municipality apply a civil penalty if someone proves guilty of a violation:

Inquiry by Commissioner
223.4 (1) This section applies if the Commissioner conducts an inquiry under this Part,
(a) in respect of a request made by council, a member of council or a member of the public about whether a member of council or of a local board has contravened the code of conduct applicable to the member; or
(b) in respect of a request made by a local board or a member of a local board about whether a member of the local board has contravened the code of conduct applicable to the member. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
<snip>
Penalties
(5) The municipality may impose either of the following penalties on a member of council or of a local board if the Commissioner reports to the municipality that, in his or her opinion, the member has contravened the code of conduct:
1. A reprimand.
2. Suspension of the remuneration paid to the member in respect of his or her services as a member of council or of the local board, as the case may be, for a period of up to 90 days. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

Similarly, a board may impose those penalties on a violator if the municipality chooses not to do so, and the commissioner has found fault:

Same
(6) The local board may impose either of the penalties described in subsection (5) on its member if the Commissioner reports to the board that, in his or her opinion, the member has contravened the code of conduct, and if the municipality has not imposed a penalty on the member under subsection (5) in respect of the same contravention. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

A municipality can also appoint an ombudsman:

Ombudsman
223.13 (1) Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, those sections authorize the municipality to appoint an Ombudsman who reports to council and whose function is to investigate in an independent manner any decision or recommendation made or act done or omitted in the course of the administration of the municipality, its local boards and such municipally-controlled corporations as the municipality may specify and affecting any person or body of persons in his, her or its personal capacity. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

However, these appointments come with a cost to the taxpayers (and there is a provincial ombudsman the public can call). Whether such appointments are effective for small municipalities is open to debate. However, regional appointments may be better and less expensive.

As raised at council, Monday, any member of council may ask for a recorded vote on any issue:

Recorded vote
246. (1) If a member present at a meeting at the time of a vote requests immediately before or after the taking of the vote that the vote be recorded, each member present, except a member who is disqualified from voting by any Act, shall announce his or her vote openly and the clerk shall record each vote. 2001, c. 25, s. 246 (1).

I believe it is the responsibility of an elected member of council to request a recorded vote when he or she believes it is important, and that responsibility should not be put on the shoulders of staff. Also, because we vote many times every meeting – often over minor procedural matters – it diminishes the importance of a recorded vote if every vote, no mater how inconsequential, is recorded.

No one at the table can abstain from voting, and to do so is counted as a negative vote. this means the mayor must vote as any member of council, or her/his vote is treated as a negative vote:

Failure to vote
(2) A failure to vote under subsection (1) by a member who is present at the meeting at the time of the vote and who is qualified to vote shall be deemed to be a negative vote. 2001, c. 25, s. 246 (2).

This applies to local boards and committees, as well: their chairs must vote when a vote is called or it is considered a negative vote.

Closed meetings are permitted under the following circumstances:

239. (1) Except as provided in this section, all meetings shall be open to the public. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (1).

Exceptions
(2) A meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is,
(a) the security of the property of the municipality or local board;
(b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees;
(c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board;
(d) labour relations or employee negotiations;
(e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board;
(f) advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;
(g) a matter in respect of which a council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (2).

These reasons are commonly seen on council agendas, but the Act also allows other reasons for a closed door meeting:

Other criteria
(3) A meeting shall be closed to the public if the subject matter relates to the consideration of a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act if the council, board, commission or other body is the head of an institution for the purposes of that Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (3).
Educational or training sessions
(3.1) A meeting of a council or local board or of a committee of either of them may be closed to the public if the following conditions are both satisfied:
1. The meeting is held for the purpose of educating or training the members.
2. At the meeting, no member discusses or otherwise deals with any matter in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of the council, local board or committee. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 103 (1).

In general, votes cannot be made in a closed meeting unless they are specifically to give direction to staff or on a procedural matter:

Open meeting
(5) Subject to subsection (6), a meeting shall not be closed to the public during the taking of a vote. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (5).
Exception
(6) Despite section 244, a meeting may be closed to the public during a vote if,
(a) subsection (2) or (3) permits or requires the meeting to be closed to the public; and
(b) the vote is for a procedural matter or for giving directions or instructions to officers, employees or agents of the municipality, local board or committee of either of them or persons retained by or under a contract with the municipality or local board. 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (6).

Monday, the deputy-mayor requested a staff report to explain Section 270 of the Act. This section says:

Adoption of policies
270. (1) A municipality shall adopt and maintain policies with respect to the following matters:
1. Its sale and other disposition of land.
2. Its hiring of employees.
3. Its procurement of goods and services.
4. The circumstances in which the municipality shall provide notice to the public and, if notice is to be provided, the form, manner and times notice shall be given.
5. The manner in which the municipality will try to ensure that it is accountable to the public for its actions, and the manner in which the municipality will try to ensure that its actions are transparent to the public.
6. The delegation of its powers and duties. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 113.
Policies of local boards
(2) A local board shall adopt and maintain policies with respect to the following matters:
1. Its sale and other disposition of land.
2. Its hiring of employees.
3. Its procurement of goods and services. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 113.

The Act says council MUST have a clerk, but having a CAO is entirely optional:

Clerk
228. (1) A municipality shall appoint a clerk whose duty it is,
(a) to record, without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the council;
(b) if required by any member present at a vote, to record the name and vote of every member voting on any matter or question;
(c) to keep the originals or copies of all by-laws and of all minutes of the proceedings of the council;
(d) to perform the other duties required under this Act or under any other Act; and
(e) to perform such other duties as are assigned by the municipality. 2001, c. 25, s. 228 (1).

Chief administrative officer
229. A municipality may appoint a chief administrative officer who shall be responsible for,
(a) exercising general control and management of the affairs of the municipality for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the municipality; and
(b) performing such other duties as are assigned by the municipality. 2001, c. 25, s. 229.

Similarly, a treasurer is a requirement:

Treasurer

286. (1) A municipality shall appoint a treasurer who is responsible for handling all of the financial affairs of the municipality on behalf of and in the manner directed by the council of the municipality, including,
(a) collecting money payable to the municipality and issuing receipts for those payments;
(b) depositing all money received on behalf of the municipality in a financial institution designated by the municipality;
(c) paying all debts of the municipality and other expenditures authorized by the municipality;
(d) maintaining accurate records and accounts of the financial affairs of the municipality;
(e) providing the council with such information with respect to the financial affairs of the municipality as it requires or requests;
(f) ensuring investments of the municipality are made in compliance with the regulations made under section 418. 2001, c. 25, s. 286 (1).

Other municipal employees are hired at the discretion of the council.

The Act says “shall” 903 times, and “may” 1,036. “Shall not” appears 119 times in the Act. “Must” appears 97 times, “must not” only twice. “Shall” includes this:

Consultation
3. (1) The Province of Ontario endorses the principle of ongoing consultation between the Province and municipalities in relation to matters of mutual interest and, consistent with this principle, the Province shall consult with municipalities in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into between the Province and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. 2005, c. 8, s. 1.

Sometimes both shall and may appear in the same section:

Tree by-laws
135. (1) Subject to subsection (4) and without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, a local municipality may prohibit or regulate the destruction or injuring of trees. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 71 (1).
Woodlands
(2) Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, an upper-tier municipality may prohibit or regulate the destruction or injuring of trees in woodlands designated in the by-law. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 71 (1).

Factor to be considered
(5) In passing a by-law regulating or prohibiting the injuring or destruction of trees in woodlands, a municipality shall have regard to good forestry practices as defined in the Forestry Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 135 (5); 2002, c. 17, Sched. A, s. 27 (1).

So it’s important to read the Act carefully to determine whether a section presents an obligation or an option.

As for bonusing, the Act clearly states a municipality cannot do it:

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
Assistance prohibited
106. (1) Despite any Act, a municipality shall not assist directly or indirectly any manufacturing business or other industrial or commercial enterprise through the granting of bonuses for that purpose. 2001, c. 25, s. 106 (1).
Same
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the municipality shall not grant assistance by,
(a) giving or lending any property of the municipality, including money;
(b) guaranteeing borrowing;
(c) leasing or selling any property of the municipality at below fair market value; or
(d) giving a total or partial exemption from any levy, charge or fee. 2001, c. 25, s. 106 (2).
Exception
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a council exercising its authority under subsection 28 (6), (7) or (7.2) of the Planning Act or under section 365.1 of this Act. 2001, c. 25, s. 106 (3); 2002, c. 17, Sched. A, s. 23; 2006, c. 23, s. 34.

On the other hand, sections 107 and 108 describe powers the municipality has to create small business initiatives, and, in some cases, provide loans. Section 110 discusses the limited conditions under which tax exemptions can be provided.

These are just some of the items in the Municipal Act that councils and administrators have to consider in its activities, its meetings and its planning. It’s far too large to provide more than just this brief sample here. Anyone who wants to be fully informed about the nature of municipal governance should also read the Act and the the other laws and policies that guide and direct us.

~~~~~

* Others includes the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the Public Libraries Act, the Planning Act, the Public Inquiries Act, the Highway Traffic Act,the municipal procedural bylaw, code of conduct and more. I will deal with some of these in subsequent posts.

 

02/6/13

Half Time News


Half Time News coverThis month, Collingwood residents got a newsletter in their Collus- PowerStream utility bill: The Half Time News. Recognizing this is the season of the Super Bowl, our  brochure provides residents a fun yet non-political update on the events and activities around council’s first two years in office: at the end of 2012 we are at the half-way point in our term. And what a term it’s been so far!

While media attention is often focused on a handful of issues, council has been involved in numerous initiatives and activities since we took office in December, 2010. These are all important to the community. Because we always get asked by residents about what is happening at council or in Town Hall, this flyer was produced.

This is the second in our new initiative to communicate better with our residents and keep people more fully informed about what their municipal government is doing for them.

Here’s the list of accomplishments from our first half, as listed in the flyer:

First Year Highlights:

Patios: Resolved the downtown patio issue satisfactorily;
Railroad: Closed the railroad, saving taxpayers $400,000 a year in operating costs. Started negotiations with the County of Simcoe and Metrolinx for future railroad development;
Taxes: Kept property taxes and user fees low. Kept water and sewer rates low;
Debt: Lowered the town’s outstanding debt from $41 million. Topped up our financial reserves;
Development: Gave the Admiral Collingwood development the green light to go ahead and build. Started the reconstruction of Raglan Street;
Costs: Reduced municipal spending. Significantly reduced legal costs;
Safety: Approved a new fire station;
Finances: Sold unneeded municipal properties;
Services: Improved local roads and servicing;
Transit: Implemented a new bus transit link with Wasaga Beach;
Recreation: Improved signage on local trails. Created a steering committee to research new rec facility options;
Growth: Approved new developments including Creekside, and Mountaincroft. Welcomed new businesses into town including the Hyundai dealership. Encouraged new growth and business at the Collingwood Airport;
Planning: Initiated a natural heritage study;
Community: Approved a community garden project. Improved relations between council, staff and the community;
Downtown: Implemented free downtown parking on evenings and weekends. Implemented a courtesy/warning ticket system for downtown parking during paid times.

Second Year Highlights:

Growth: Welcomed a proposal to build new Sidelaunch brewery in town. Approved new developments including Balmoral Village. Created a new partnership between Collus and PowerStream for future energy growth and efficiencies;
Taxes: Kept taxes and user fees low again;
Debt: Lowered the debt to $37 million by year-end. Topped up reserves;
Municipal: Purchased new Works and Parks & Recreation Dept. property and building at much less than the appraised value;
Recreation: Purchased Fisher Field to improve soccer and other recreational activities. Resurfaced and upgraded our public tennis courts. Developed a tax-neutral solution to build much-needed, new recreational facilities through use of Sprung technologies;
Services: Extended water services to Long Point Road residents. Approved new traffic lights at Mountain Road & Tenth Line;
Development: Reconstructed Hurontario Street at Cameron to improve traffic flow. Purchased and demolished the former Mountain View hotel to finish the First Street widening project;
Management: Completed council’s strategic planning and priority-setting exercise. Implemented a team-based executive management model for municipal services. Initiated a comprehensive operational review of municipal services and functions;
Planning: Initiated an active transportation plan planning process;
Transit: Purchased two new buses to improve our transit system;
Downtown: Developed a new, energetic partnership with our BIA board and Downtown Revitalization committee;
Tourism: Developed a new partnership with the Georgian Triangle Tourism Association;
Safety: Started construction on the new fire station.

And here’s some of what we plan for the remainder of the term:

Second Half Game Plan:

Half Time News coverEconomy: Engage a director of marketing. Focus on employment and economic growth;
Taxes: Continue to keep taxes and municipal costs low;
Debt: Reduce the outstanding debt even more;
Operational Review: Implement identified efficiencies and communications within town hall;
Harbour and waterfront: Develop a new strategic plan with input from all stakeholders;
Recreation: Complete and open the new rec facilities;
Hume Street Corridor: Complete plans for the redevelopment;
Hurontario-First Street intersection: Complete the planned design upgrades;
Communications: Engage a communications co-ordinator to improve social media engagement;
OPP: Renovate and upgrade the current police building for improved service and efficiency;
Admiral Collingwood & The Shipyards: Encourage the developers to finish the projects this term.
And more!

We have some exciting, progressive ideas  about growth, communications, economic development and transportation that we’re working on and hope to be able to present to the public soon. Keeping taxes low is another goal that we are always working towards. The past two years we have managed a 0% increase in property taxes. It’s unlikely we can continue that low, but we are trying our best to minimize increases and reduce the impact on residents while still maintaining service levels and our wonderful quality of life.

Reducing our debt by almost 10% in two years without raising taxes has been a challenge, but we have done it.

Contact information for all members of council is included on the back. This is a non-partisan production, and all members of council can take pride in what we have accomplished in the first half of our term. If you didn’t get a copy, or would like another, please contact town hall or drop in at 97 Hurontario Street. You can download a PDF version here.