All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Big council, small council, what’s the diff?

In an extremely rare moment of weakness, I need to compliment our current council on their behaviour so far.
Sure, they are effectively neutered on the wind turbine issue, but aren’t we all? Maybe our new Magic MPP Todd Smith will do what the rest of us can’t do, and bring some reason to the situation.
So far, both sides are right. This makes it a tough row to hoe. I personally believe there are great places for industrial wind turbines in the County and, if you remove the South Shore, including Ostrander Point, from the equation, we will find that the two worlds are not that far apart.
As real estate people say: “Location, location, location.” A good idea in the wrong location is just simply a bad idea.
Thanks to the South Shore Conservancy group, the provincial government is now aware that it has violated its own Ministry of Environment’s rules on preserving endangered species and natural habitat, and may need to hang their heads in court and explain why they agreed to place such a project in a nationally-recognized protected area.
I have to say: Why destroy wildlife and habitat in an effort to reduce the nasty pollution which destroys wildlife and habitat? Slow death, quick death … in the end? Dead.
Sorry, can’t help but continue to mull this over.
So now, on to the good stuff, which councillors are dying to read, since they take nothing but criticism from everybody.
First: Good call on the revisit to the noise bylaw, based largely on a neighbour dispute. I know all the people involved, and they’re good people.
Someone in council (sorry, I should have kept the clipping) said: “Hey! The bylaw is just brand new, let’s give it a chance before we start amending it.”
This is a very wise decision. It also allows some ‘cooling down’ time on the issue.
As I’ve pointed out to several councillors: Be very cautious when you’re drawing up a bylaw to suit a particular situation, because the ‘ripple effect’ will come back and bite you.
Pretty soon, empowered by the bylaws, people will find lots more things to complain about all over the County. Dogs barking, annual family gatherings, glider plane noise, music fests … pretty much everything that generates sound.
This is what we used to call a ‘fence dispute’ in the County. It didn’t need to be about fence location along property lines. It was just neighbour against neighbour, for some reason nobody can remember, and nobody can remember who started it.
The proper route? Stay calm. Give it some time. And this is the route council chose.
Second: Agreeing to open the dumps on Saturdays during the winter.
This is painful to me, because I had a whole column written which brought down the fury of hellfire on Council for closing all but two of the County dumpsites for the winter.
It was one of my finest columns, drawing on the works of Machiavelli, and I think I even had some Biblical quotes in there, but it will never be read.
Because, I think, Council realized that all of the tremendous amount of garbage generated could not be effectively handled by two dumps.
I go to Hallowell dump on a regular basis, and it’s like the Old Days, when everyone would gather around the woodstove and tell stories. The Dump Traffic is non-stop, along with the Recycling boxes that everyone forgot to put out the night before. Everybody I know is at the dump, and it’s actually fun to stand around and talk to people.
Closing the dumps is like closing the post office, or the banks, or any other place where County people can get good news and gossip. It just ain’t right.
Sure, I understand this Council came in with a mandate to reduce costs. But saving money on the low-paid manpower running the dumps is not the solution.
Saving dimes is not the way to go.
Third: Okay this is kind of a mixed feeling. I feel that the County does a really good job fixing our roads.
Word on the Street is mixed. One person said: “Check out Wilson Road … they filled the potholes, but they missed every other one! I mean they’re right there with the truck and the asphalt, but they only filled some of them!”
I drove the road, and found this to be true. I can only assume there is a template for ‘holes that need to be filled’ and the unfilled holes didn’t make the grade.
Another said: “Why are they fixing roads like Hwy. 62 and County Rd. 1 that don’t need fixing, and other roads that are crap are left behind?”
The answer is: “I don’t know.”
Rednersville Road got a revamp because a councillor said that someone could have been killed by an unexpected washout of pavement. Council added Consecon to the list, borrowing from another budget because, well, they’re Consecon. And you don’t want to mess with them.
Union Road at Mountain View – my pick for worst road in Canada – may be closed. Probably because, if you start up a paving machine at the top of the hill, you will have a brand new road running right through houses and the cemetery, until the thing hits a swamp and sinks.
So that’s kind of a mixed reception on Council’s road budget.
Since the Wind Turbine issue is on hold – waiting to see if Magic Todd and his party can make Premier McGuinty reconsider his ‘give-away’ of County land to corporations – the issue of Council size is now back on the newspaper Letters page.
I’ll check in on this early, but may change my mind later.
Reducing Council size, like reducing dump employees, is not an enormous cost saving in my mind. Even though I rag them mercilessly on occasion, I still believe that the more minds you can bring to the table, the better the result.
Setting up a new system, just for voting purposes, while still maintaining the township system, is just a ball of confusion. Notice how well the Ward system worked out, brought about by Amalgamation. Do you know your Ward Number? I don’t.
In a time in which Our Representation has been virtually eliminated federally and provincially, I see no need to reduce our representation on a municipal level.
Unless we can pick who gets removed from Council. That could swing me around to your way of thinking.

Filed Under: Steve Campbell

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  1. Ernest Horvath says:

    Well if you have a transparent , accountable council that is willing to listen and act in regards to people concerns that elected them , embrace them and consider yourself very fortunate.
    They are getting harder and harder to find.

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