A new Council was sworn in December 3, 2018, complete with four new Councillors and a new Mayor, all eager for change. Mayor Nancy Peckford, Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman and Councillors John Barclay, Doreen O’Sullivan and Kristin Strackerjan were asked to reflect back on their accomplishments, challenges and issues they are most interested in addressing. Here’s the second part of what they said.
Early in 2019, Council committed to taking on a new approach to fiscal management that included developing an asset management process and moving towards a multi-year budget for 2020-2024. Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman spoke of how this approach will enable staff and Council to budget in a more consistent and long term manner that is less reactive, and more strategic when it comes to operational and capital investments.
Mayor Peckford cited the accomplishment of reducing the scheduled 2 percent Property Tax to 1.5 percent as being an early and key priority of Council given the reality that the rising value of properties in North Grenville is already putting significant pressure on tax-payers.
Councillor John Barclay reflected on the creation of a capital reserve fund for the Ferguson Forestry Centre (from their lease payments) in Budget 2019, lights for the 43 bridge over the South Branch and a trailer to allow for sidewalk plowing in Burritt’s Rapids.
Council has also recently sought to leverage the recent provincial/federal recreation funding through an application from the Municipality for long overdue improvements at Riverside Park. They also authorized funds for the development of a Parks, Recreation and Culture Masterplan for the next ten years, which is inclusive of rural and urban North Grenville.
Mayor Nancy Peckford reflected on her role in support for the expansion of County Road 43. “In my capacity as Mayor, I was pleased to secure a full commitment from the United Counties Council for the complete execution of the proposed County Road 43 improvements and expansion, as well as working very closely with the United Counties to ensure that the application for shared Infrastructure funding from the province/federal government was nominated by the province of Ontario for federal funding approval.”
The expansion of CR43, now dubbed “North Grenville’s Boulevard” will include opportunities for active transportation including multi-use pathways, safe pedestrian crossings and roundabouts to facilitate smooth vehicular travel. The launch of North Grenville’s Expand 43 Campaign and lobbying the newly named federal Minister of Infrastructure is the next step in this process.
Pursuing Smart and Sustainable Growth
Mayor Peckford’s early efforts to strike and enable a group of talented and dedicated North Grenville residents to contribute to the Task Force on Affordable Housing has resulted in the creation of a coherent set of recommendations, some of which have already been implemented to expand affordable housing in North Grenville in a responsible and sustainable way.
Council implemented a Development Charge By-law that was well considered and researched, that was adjusted to respond to some historical concerns, and incrementally applies the new fees. Further to this, Council has re-assumed authority for subdivisions approvals, including site plans for re-zoned properties so that Council can be held to account. Part of this includes confronting the realities that the current waste water treatment facility will require expansion, a potential $30 million investment.
Council also got to work early on a framework to create safer road ways throughout the Municipality, and has begun a review of North Grenville’s Traffic Calming and Speed Reduction Policy.
As Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan pointed out, “I campaigned to promote a safe and healthy community, and I believe we have made progress towards this, from building more sidewalks including the multi-use pathway on Hurd St., to new crosswalks and the implementation of the Gateway Speed Project.”
We would like to extend our appreciation to the residents of North Grenville and thank them for their engagement over the past year. It has been an honour to serve you, and we look forward to working together over the coming years.