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Mayor Quaiff new chair of Eastern Wardens’ Caucus

PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff

PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff has been elected as the new chairman of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.

At its inaugural meeting in Kingston, Thursday and Friday, the caucus elected Quaiff as its new chairman and Lanark County Warden Bill Dobson, also Reeve of the Township of Montague, was elected by the membership as the vice-chairman.

The positions are elected on an annual basis, and are designed to provide the main point of focus and contact for the caucus and ensure that the established key priorities move forward.

“Like my colleagues and the many wardens before me, I am honoured to chair the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus in 2017 and to advocate for this year’s priorities in support of the 750,000 property taxpayers across rural Eastern Ontario,” said Quaiff.

“The EOWC remains concerned about the increasing costs of certain services in the region, particularly when we think about our residents and businesses and their ability to pay. This includes everything from infrastructure to hydroelectricity and cellular network improvements to natural gas expansion, and the EOWC will continue to work with its partners at the provincial and federal government levels for regulatory changes and cost relief across all sectors, as it has done successfully in the past,” he said.

Three key priorities were established for the caucus in the coming year.

The first priority is to improve infrastructure and connectivity. The EOWC will continue to work with the Eastern Ontario Regional Network on the improvement of cellular networks in order to ensure mobile broadband services and increased public safety across rural Eastern Ontario’s communities, and work with the province to advocate for the $3.7 billion in new provincial investments for municipal infrastructure.

Second is to grow the regional economy by continuing to push for the expansion of natural gas to rural businesses, farms and communities as per its partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA); additional distribution capacity for hydroelectricity and a solution to increasing hydro costs; the continued implementation of the region’s economic development strategy, through the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council; and key projects such as the Picton Terminals expansion and the Marmora Pumped Storage project.

The third key priority is to reduce operational costs by continuing to advocate for a solution to policing costs and a modernization of the current policing system, as well as provincial solutions to the legislative issues of joint and several liability and the interest arbitration system.

“As a previous member of the EOWC, I am confident that this group will continue to extensively research the issues that affect rural Eastern Ontario. It will then be our objective to use those facts to lobby our partners for positive changes and new ideas that will ultimately improve service delivery as well as bring growth and new economic development opportunities in our municipalities,” said Dobson.

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