The North Grenville Times hosted the first all-candidates meeting at the Municipal Centre last Thursday evening. All nine candidates for the position of Councillor on the Municipal Council for the next four years took part in the event, which was attended by a large audience of residents. The meeting was also live streamed through the Times’ Facebook page by Live Stream Junkies, and is available for viewing both on Facebook and through a link on our website, www.ngtimes.ca.
The meeting began with a moment’s silence in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, who died earlier that day.
Following opening remarks by each candidate, the meeting was thrown open to questions from the audience, and, given the large number of candidates, it was a delicate operation to give each one an equivalent amount of time and opportunity to respond to the questions posed.
As expected, the issue of the proposed prison/correctional facility was raised, but did not provoke the kind of argument that might have been expected. Much of the discussion turned on how decisions are made at the municipal level, and on when and how Council was informed of the decision to locate the facility in North Grenville. Overall, the discussion was informative and respectful, and both audience and candidates showed a willingness to deal with the topic in a good atmosphere.
Other topics raised during the meeting included quite a lengthy discussion on the housing problem in North Grenville, particularly in the area of affordable housing and what can be done at a municipal level to deal with what is becoming, if not already, a housing crisis.
One of the most encouraging facts to come out of the meeting was realising how many of the candidates are already deeply involved in this community, with many of them having served on the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Taskforce or other community committees. It is clear that this is a very strong group of candidates, and a very positive impression was left with those in attendance, as well as those watching the live stream on Facebook.
There was some dissatisfaction expressed afterwards by some audience members that not all questions were put to the candidates, owing to the lack of time. Unfortunately, this is something that has been experienced at every similar all candidates meeting over the years, as there is always more to cover than time to deal with. As it was, two hours went by very quickly, and already people were beginning to leave as we passed the 9pm deadline. But it was an important part of the democratic process, and was one of a number of other such all-candidates meetings which are planned around the Municipality between now and the election on October 24.
A Mayoral Candidates meeting will take place at the Municipal Centre on October 6, again hosted by the North Grenville Times. Both candidates, Nancy Peckford and Colleen Lynas, have confirmed their participation. Thursday, October 6, doors open at 6.30, with the meeting starting at 7:00 pm. Once again, the event will be live streamed by Live Stream Junkies, on the Times Facebook and website.