Asking questions – seeking answers

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by Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan

It’s often said that “once a nurse, always a nurse’. I’d like to clarify that I am not a former nurse, I am a Registered Nurse. In order to maintain my certification with the College of Nurses, I stay current with experience and knowledge. I work casual/part-time, both at the Kemptville Medical Centre and at The Ottawa Hospital.

As your councillor, I will ask questions, and sometimes tough questions. I’ll want to know why, or why not, some decisions are made. Are the answers based on best practice and current evidence? Over my nursing career I’ve seen huge changes in technology and the way service is delivered. This applies to every sector in society.

I have experience in quality, safety, risk management, and patient satisfaction in the healthcare field. Those skills are transferable and will apply in many situations, regardless of what board or portfolio I’m serving on. I will ask; Is the service appropriate? Is it delivered by the appropriate person? Is it efficient? Is it effective? I think sometimes you can bring fresh ideas and think outside the box if you’ve never played in that box.

For example, the hole in the wall at the Municipal Centre, which was caused by an accident in October. At our first Committee of the Whole meeting on December 10, we learned that the Municipality was about to absorb $16,000 in damages. I have asked: Why are the taxpayers held responsible for those damages? Why has it not been repaired yet? Apparently, the contractor had a lot of work to do connected with the tornado which happened around the same time.

I wonder if local businesses were invited to tender for the repair work? We talk about shopping locally, so I want to know why the contractor is not from the municipality. I think we need to walk that talk right at the municipal level: that we need to shop and use local services. It’s $16,000 worth of taxpayers’ money possibly going to a contractor from outside our community. We need to be good stewards of municipal assets. Treat people the way we would want to be treated, and treat municipal assets likewise.

As an update to this, the municipality is now following up on an insurance claim for these damages and I’ve been advised that there is no local contractor to do the repair.

Another thing I’m concerned about is the lack of gymnasium space. There’s a group of pickle ball players who need a space to play, but there’s no space available at the high schools. The gym at the W.B. George Centre on the Campus is empty at night. But the cost of renting it is four times what it is to rent the space in the high schools. The rates are to be set by the Board of the Campus, and the current direction is that no taxpayer money goes into it. I’ve been told that the rate charged is the actual hourly cost of the space in order to break even. How can we make this asset available to be fully utilized by the residents of North Grenville?

We can’t change what has happened in the past, but, going forward, I’m going to keep asking questions. I don’t feel that taxpayers should be on the hook for damages like the Curry Park dock and Municipal Centre.

As a Council, we bring individual backgrounds, attitudes and skills, experience and education. We need to foster core values of working together and respect for what each one brings to the table. That, along with engagement from the community, is vital to the success of Council going forward. I want to be available to people and I’m more than happy to schedule a meeting at an office in the Municipal Centre, or in a coffee shop. E-mail me at [email protected], or call/text me at 613-875-3978.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Doreen for pushing to find a place to play pickleball, as you know it is a great community activity and there is a lot of interest. Good to know somebody on council is doing so. There is a lack of fitness facilities available in Kemptville other than the private/expensive places. Making the Gym available at the GB Centre for other fitness activity open to the community would be a great thing for Kemptville.

  2. We have a huge taxpayer subsidy for the rinks, theatre and rentable space for parties, meetings etc. I’m speaking of subsidy in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I don’t know what pickle ball is but I know I don’t want my mounting property taxes subsidizing anything else. Enough!

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