All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Sunday, June 16th, 2024

No important issues in the south half of the County

Maybe you’ve seen the map, the one that puts Athol, North Marysburgh and South Marysburgh together as one municipal electoral Ward. “W4”- really an original name that’s bound to inspire pride of place and get folks out to the polls. We will have two (2) Councillors instead of three (3). That‘s what a slim majority of this Council have agreed to because we don’t deserve the representation anymore that was determined at the time of amalgamation in 1997.  That agreement acknowledged the history and geography of the County as an important element of our collective citizenship and governance. Now it’s all about representation by population because that’s a pillar of how Canadian democracy works. Sure, that’s why Prince Edward Island has four MPs with a population equivalent to what Daryl Kramp, our MP serves.

But now we have to be like all other municipalities according to these Councillors. PEC is the smallest single tier government in the Province. We are an anomaly on many fronts. These anomalies have been made into assets – our water, our sand, our soils, our aged population, our in-migration, our broad definition of culture, etc. Our current governance structure is also an asset in my opinion.

Stirling-Rawdon Municipality, north of Belleville, has a population of 4500, a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor and 3 Councillors. They’re part of a two tier structure where that council only do part of the governance work, with the rest managed and delivered through Hastings County. Yet 16 for 25,000 here isn’t the “right” number. Ten (10) is the “right“ number according to Council.  Those 50 plus people on the 10 Councils at the time of amalgamation just didn’t know. What’s a few hundred years of knowledge and experience, plus a year and a half of public consultative deliberation, up against hired research consultants with a pad of sticky notes to replace voting and a bias to deliver based on getting future jobs and national newspaper coverage using their Citizen Assembly model.

One of the consultant’s comparator municipalities was the city of Stratford  because “they too have culture.” They neglected to mention the multi million dollar annual government grants that area receives to support the Festival Theatre. Toss some of that money our way. They’re 25 square km in size. We’re 1000 square km – and this new electoral ward of W4 is half of that total with a 95% water boundary – a very desirable water boundary. But heck, just roll us all together. History has proven that we have absolutely no issues down here that need municipal attention. And QHC will love to stop hearing about this place called Long Point in South Marysburgh and Prinyer’s Cove in North Marysburgh. Yes, QHC, the County does end at Picton.  The Ostrander Point area was known as P1 in the Ministry of Natural Resources up until fairly recently. How do we get ourselves identified as a rare and threatened species?

Mayor Mertens, in his quoted comments, has said that “we have consulted widely” regarding the size of Council. Interesting. While the ballot question in the last election specifically addressed having a public consultation process to review the size of Council, the Citizen Assembly process, involving 23 citizens, and the subsequent Committee of the Whole meeting on September 19 to discuss it, have been the only County-wide public forums to precede his comments. Fortunately, a large number of Councillors have taken up the torch at their own expense and have been holding Town Hall meetings since that date. Then, maybe, they will have consulted widely.

I think this re-organization is going to be confusing and costly and for sure going to make Council a battleground. Mayor Mertens notes that he is” the only elected representative of all residents of Prince Edward County” in his published comments. No, Mr. Mayor, you are not. Every Councillor who is elected is a representative of ALL residents of the County. They’re organized to come from the different parts to ensure no voice is left out. Under this new model, the County Choir will be missing some harmony.

Monica Alyea
South Marysburgh

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Brian says:

    No where does it say that THIS thread has to be anything in particular and if you don’t like it then I would suggest you ignore it…. Everyone has the opportunity to write what they wish and this is exactly what we do, end of story. Were we really better off? No, there has been more unethical things being done then ever in this town and services that have been cut down to the bare bone not to mention the overspending of this CAO for his OWN needs. ie: office re-due 3x, piano plus repairs to it, not to mention a wet bar in his office I mean really.. So is it better????

  2. Mark says:

    This thread is supposed to be about council size and electoral boundaries and has turned into a roast of the CAO. Was it better prior to him coming in? No. How soon some forget.

  3. Doris Lane says:

    I agree with you county rd 8 is a mess Went through Keller crossroad yesterday for fun but in a terrible mess . in the old days when Reg Powers was in charge of the roads he put a grater through some of these back roads once in awhile. I will agree with \steve the 2 tier government was the best
    For sure we do not need that CAO. He and the friends he hires are a disgrace tp the county.
    Drove around the Napanee area the other day–a large industrialcentre and their back roads are well kept up
    Lennox and Addington sure outshines PEC
    The main street of Napanee is better than Picton too.
    Cone on County people wake up and don’t let an oitsider ruin this whole place

  4. Brian says:

    How true, however, the Mayor/Council have been getting these cost saving ideas from the CAO. He was hired to cut to the bare bones in order to help save the County or so they say? However if you were to really sit down with a pencil and paper there has been ZERO savings in most areas but he is claiming otherwise. Many of these cost saving ideas have ended up costing us a lot more and many jobs that needed to be done is being overlooked. When council/mayor chooses to give one person all the power this is what happens. He has no ties here what so ever and he doesn’t have to answer to NO one and that’s the way council/mayor likes it because they feel that their hands won’t get dirty in this whole process, WRONG! They ALL agreed to this decision and this is where the problem first came from. Had they of done their OWN job we might not be where we are today. All you have to do apparently is go to the CAO’s circle of love meetings that he has with staff. This has been told by MANY employees, that everyone is to get their chairs and sit in a circle and the CAO stands in the middle to do his speech. However if anyone has ever gone to an “authentic” team building meeting one would know that the speaker NEVER is to put himself in the middle but rather they are to sit amongst the group in the circle. This should tell us something about a persons personality and the need for attention and power….

  5. So far this nonsense has cast $125,000 for an OMB hearing, $25,000 for a study and if council passes it if will cost another $125,000 for another OMB hearing because there is no consensus on the issue – and no doubt more consultants will be hired to implement the changes, and more employees hired to oversee them. And in the meantime County Road 8 is falling apart – I agree with Susan, bring a cushion if you’re driving this way. Under the old township government it would never have been allowed to deteriorate this far. Every time one of these consolidations takes place, the smaller partners lose – just look at what has happened with the hospital and the schools and the roads.

  6. Susan in North says:

    come on out for a drive on County Road 8,,make sure you bring along a pillow as she is a bumpy ride..can’t even get a road out here..what else do you want to take from us?

  7. Susan in North says:

    Doris those school closure were NOT by choice..we love bussing our children all over the county!! Now we lost our school, our local councils..not much left out here..our small churches trying to survive!! Now they want to take our one voice and have them speak for three townships, as I refuse to be a number!!..not moving forward for me..sorry!!

  8. SAB says:

    I finally agree with you Doris

  9. Doris Lane says:

    The call for change was called for by the people who voted in the last election–where do youget the special interest groups??????
    SOuth Marysburgh, North Marysburgh and Athol already have amalgamated their schhols into Athol!!!!
    Why not do that with the council too???

  10. Jim says:

    I think the point is…. no “fix” is needed. Council will function just as well as is with no loss of representative democracy.

    The call for change is driven by special interest groups who are unhappy their agendas aren’t moving forward.

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    John, I have put forward a plan, called the N.E.W. Plan for 3 Electoral Wards that would overlay the 10 Historic Wards, with each Historic Ward being allocated in whole to one of the Electoral Wards. No need to argue over Historic Ward boundaries.

    The 3 Electoral Wards — North, East and West, would have 3 or 4 Councillors each, for a total of 9 or 12. This provides a perfect fix to the rep. by pop. problem.

    It also defines three geographic areas for urban development, centred on Picton (East Electoral Ward), Wellington (West) and Rossmore (North).

    You can read a description of the plan at .

  12. Doris Lane says:

    Just elect 19 councillors or whatever from the county,
    everyone in the county votes for all ten–no big deal
    stop all the fussing
    All the councillors now make decisions about the whole county so what is the difference????

  13. SAB says:

    @John……..Again alot of money and time spent and nothing achieved……I can’t believe the council did not know this John, but still feel a solution could (and maybe has been) found

    @Mark……..I agree with you totally….As responsible citizens I feel we should be able to choose whomever is running as long as he/she is from the county. It is up to the voter to decide (as we do with the Mayor) who will be doing what is best for the county as a whole. I is up to each voter to study and investigate what each candidate’s agenda is.

  14. John Thompson says:

    Council has now reviewed the size on Council as was asked for by the losing side of the ballot question. Any reduction would require new electoral boundaries and no acceptable solution for that has been brought forward. End of story I hope.

  15. Jim says:

    It must also be said that a “Citizen’s Assembly” of self selected participants is hardly representative of the population at large. There’s no doubt those wishing to change council’s size are over represented.

  16. Jim says:

    You’re right on this one Monica.

    I can’t see how reducing the number of councillors does anything positive. It will just reduce democracy at the grass roots level.

  17. Mark says:

    I beleieve the Mayor’s statement was very clear and easy to understand. He is the only representative that is elected by the county as a whole. That’s true. If every Councillor that is elected is a representative of all residents of the County then that is all the more reason for every voter to have the right to cast a vote for the entire Council slate. That would be truly democratic and eliminate the present situation of a persons vote in a one councillor ward being less important and powerful as the voter in a 3 councillor ward. Let me provide a present example. If I am in a one councillor ward and I oppose wind turbines, I get to cast one vote for a candidate that opposes wind turbines. The person in a 3 councillor ward gets to vote for 3 candidates that support wind turbines. These voters are not equal and one voter has much more influence on Council makeup than the other.

  18. Susan Rose says:

    my post below..sorry forgot to sign..not like me at all!!

  19. Lovin' the County says:

    great article Monica!! when do they listen? always moving ahead good or bad! We in the south end need a voice, and we have NEVER been quiet about issues!! What has happened out here?

  20. Well said Monica. I agree completely.

  21. Brian says:

    Exactly Monica…

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