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Deadline extended for public opinion on council size

UPDATE Sept. 8 – The survey deadline has been extended until Oct. 5, to provide participants at public meetings held later in the month adequate time to review proposed options prior to completing and submitting the survey.

first-council-size-meeting

SEPT 1 – The first of several sessions seeking County residents’ opinions on the size of council issue was held Tuesday night at the Bloomfield Town Hall.

Ron Broadbridge welcomed about 40 people to the hall – including the mayor and almost all the councillors – and summarized the four options being considered.

A half dozen citizens shared their preferences, and concerns, with the options.

Larry Spencer, of Bloomfield, said he would like to see an urban/rural distribution, or a ‘none of the above’ option on the survey.

John Inrig, of Wellington, said he favoured the two-ward system as it achieved the targets set by the citizens assembly meetings held in 2013.

“Who cares how many (councillors) we have?” asked Don Williams, whose family has been in Bloomfield for the past 200 years. “We won’t save a cent. Amalgamation was going to save us money but it didn’t… Also, no matter what you decide, boundaries are important. There is a real deep pride among families here and boundaries mean things. They are very deep in our blood and need to be respected. We have to live and work together in our incredible county and it’s important our councillors are able to do the same.”

Williams also noted downsizing would limit the number of young people who would have time to take on a position of councillor as it would become a full-time work load.

Lynn Leavitt, an Athol farmer, echoed Williams and noted participants in the survey should remember not to lose sight of the rural way of life.

“Farmers have unique needs. Picton needs the food I produce. So many people whose roots are so far away from the farm now, have no idea what we do. Everybody has their opinion. I know my councillor. When I want to speak to him, I wave at him when I see him drive by.”

Council is bringing forward the following options for public consultation:

– 2 electoral wards – 10 councillors and mayor – 3 electoral wards – 12 councillors and mayor – 9 electoral wards – 13 councillors and mayor – 10 electoral wards (Status Quo) -15 councillors and mayor

“We know that the public wants us to address the size of council and electoral ward
boundaries, and the consultation process will help us to further understand how to best do that,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “This has been an ongoing issue for a number of years, and resolving it once and for all is a priority for Council in 2015. Public consultation will help us achieve this important goal.”

TWO ELECTORAL WARDS:

Two-Electoral-Wards-Map

2-Wards-RobertQuaiffProsandCons_000

 

THREE ELECTORAL WARDS:

Three-Electoral-Ward-Map

Three-Wards-GaryMooneyProsandCons_000

NINE ELECTORAL WARDS:

Nine-Electoral-Ward-Map

Nine-Ward-JohnThompsonProsandCons_000

STATUS QUO:

Status Quo Ten-Ward-Map

StatusQuoProsandCons_000

The municipality is continuing to collect feedback on council size and boundaries throughout the month of September.

Public sessions are set for 7-9pm at:
Wellington Town Hall – Thursday, Sept. 3
Athol Town Hall – Wednesday, Sept. 9
Kente Public School, Ameliasburgh – Thursday, Sep. 10
Wellington Community Centre – Tuesday, Sept. 15
Sophiasburgh Town Hall – Monday, Sept. 21
North Marysburgh Town Hall – Wednesday, Sept. 23
Picton Community Centre – Thursday, Sept. 24
South Marysburgh Town Hall – Wednesday, Sept. 30

Background information and a public survey is available online at www.thecounty.ca/sizeofcouncil, or by hard copy – available at all public consultation sessions listed, all County libraries, Shire Hall (332 Picton Main St) and the Edward Building (280 Picton Main St).

Clerk Kim White noted the tabulations are being computed on a ranked ballot system and the online survey, using the Survey Monkey program, will require participants to rank their choices from one to four. Those who use physical hard copy surveys are also asked to rank the options in order of preference. Any surveys on paper that are not ranked will be incorporated into the results.

As asked by a resident of South Marysburgh, she noted she would also point out to council that the Sept. 30 deadline for surveys is the same date as the final meeting, in South Marysburgh. She noted all surveys collected that evening would be included.

Survey feedback is to go before council at a special committee of the whole meeting set for Oct. 29.

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  1. Emily says:

    Ameliasburgh will vote 3 in block for status Quo. They realize their voters have an advantage under the present antiquaited system.

  2. Gary says:

    So will it be a 9-7 vote for change or an 8-8 saw off leaving us after years with status Quo. Let’s get at it Council. Those of us wanting our votes to carry equal weight are waiting.

  3. Susan Rose says:

    I believe most of the same presenters were at all the mtgs! North was quiet, strange

  4. Chuck says:

    Not in North Marysburgh! Lol

  5. Susan Rose says:

    Well I listened tonight to the speakers and only one made sense to me..slamming councillors, what sense did that make? Certainly took away from presentations for sure! Hmmm

  6. Gary says:

    I wonder after years of dithering by Council after the voters gave a clear direction, what will be the reaction if we have an 8-8 tie vote and are stuck once again with status Quo? I think there is a strong possibility of that result.

  7. Susan says:

    It would be over if it had been put to the constituents where it belongs.Asking Councilors to decide their own fate is what is ridiculous!

  8. Marnie says:

    It borders on the ridiculous that an option has not been chosen by now. Do they all hope to die of old age before any change is effected?

  9. Gary says:

    Don’t hold your breath Marnie. If there is not reasonable change I very much expect this will result in an OMB hearing.

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