We’re now less than one year away from the municipal election on Oct. 22, 2018, with the official campaign to start with the opening of nominations on May 1.
It’s not too early to start thinking about the performance of the current council and the issues that will be important for the next council.
In my view, this council is better than the previous one, which was better than the one before. But there is lots of room for improvement. For instance, council still pays too much attention to small items and not enough attention to big items.
Issues? Here are my top five:
1. Infrastructure. The County has a huge infrastructure problem, especially relating to roads, which this Council has not addressed. Also, there has been no attention to the requirement to replace the H.J. McFarland Memorial Home by 2024.
2. Population. We continue to experience inadequate population growth, the result of insufficient subdivision development in Picton and Wellington.
Contrast this with major subdivisions being built in Brighton and Quinte West, just west and north of the county.
3. Demographics. Some progress is making the county more appealing to younger people — careers in winemaking, craft breweries, outdoor recreation, high tech. But there needs to be much more effort in this regard.
4. Affordable housing. This is an issue in every election campaign, but there is never any progress during the following council term. With the recent increase in property values, this problem has become more urgent.
5. Mayoral leadership. Although council will be reduced to 14, it will still be pretty unwieldy. We need a mayor who is a strong leader and who will set the council agenda, ensuring that the County’s major issues and needs are properly addressed.
Those are my issues; what are yours?