County delegation meets provincial counterparts at 2020 ROMA

AT THE TABLE- (From Left) Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, County CAO Marica Wallace, Mayor Steve Ferguson and councillor Mike Harper meet with (Left, seated with back turned) Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark at the 2020 ROMA Conference Sunday. (Todd Smith Twitter photo)

DESIRÉE DECOSTE

STAFF WRITER

Mayor Steve Ferguson, councillors, and municipal staff are being joined by more than 1,000 participants from across the province at the 2020 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference in Toronto this week

A municipal delegation led by Mayor Ferguson is meeting with several provincial ministers during the conference to discuss specific ideas that will benefit the residents and businesses of The County.

We look forward to discussing with provincial ministers some specific ideas on how we can work together to advance priorities that will benefit our residents and businesses,” Mayor Ferguson said prior to arriving in Toronto.

The County delegation was scheduled to have audiences with Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Some issues on the agenda included:

  • Acquiring the former Queen Elizabeth School property in Picton

  • Roads needs including improving the Picton town hill and Highway 62/County Road 1 intersections

  • Transferring ownership of the Wellington Rotary Beach to the municipality

  • Modifying disaster recovery assistance program eligibility so small business owners can build back better and prepare their operations to prevent damage during future flood events.

  • Enhancing support for residents impacted by flooding.

With ROMA coming mid-way through the provincial government’s current mandate, the conference focuses on the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities facing rural communities in Ontario.

Scheduled to speak are Premier Ford and leaders of the NDP, Liberal and Green Party.

ROMA session topics include affordable housing, rural health care, including public health and paramedics, and broadband expansion. Sessions related to planning and economic development will also be there.

As said on the ROMA website, this association is the rural arm and an integral part of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). A number of its Executive Members serve on the AMO Board of Directors with policy, research and advocacy activities being undertaken by ROMA through AMO.

Matters which affect rural communities are brought to the attention of the provincial and federal governments and include:

Rural and Northern plan that deals with actions that can strengthen these communities and their place in Ontario’s economy, infrastructure investment, affordable rural drinking water systems, nutrient management regulations affecting both the farm community and municipal environmental planning minimum distance separation and biosolids, and support for federal fairness to Ontario for some examples.

Roma is the most represented and effective voice for Ontario’s rural municipal governments. About 270 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character.

Conference news releases and presentations from a number of key speakers will be posted here, www.roma.on.ca ROMA’s website throughout the duration of the conference.

Follow the conference on Twitter at twitter.com/ROMA_Ont