In response to Gary Mooney’s list of issues, I could not agree more, especially in terms of infrastructure, which is definitely one of our largest issues. But I would like to add the following:
1.The need to look after the natural beauty of where we live. This is our most precious asset and our greatest attraction. We need to do everything we can to stop anything that might harm our environment. Industrial windmills do not belong here. The reasons are personal.
They will harm our friends and neighbours in South Marysburgh. They will destroy the habitats of the endangered species. Picton Bay needs to be protected, and not just from irresponsible corporate citizens, but also from all other sources of pollution, some of these a result of bad planning decisions going back decades. Before allowing anyone to build or develop, we need to examine all of the possible effects, on the environment and the neighbourhood.
2. Better health care. The demographic we have is not young. An aging population uses more health care time. Fifteen new beds for all of Quinte are not enough. We need more elder care right now. A new hospital in Picton would be wonderful, but the more immediate need is for more emergency room staff. We need hospitalists, rather than general practitioners, in the Picton emergency room. Our GPs already have enough on their plate. We need a better emergency response mechanism. We rely too much on a core of hard working volunteers.
3. Promoting agri-tourism. This is our growth industry. Forty-three wineries, three cider companies, eight breweries and more to come. This is where the jobs are. And yes, they are seasonal, as were the agricultural jobs of the county’s past. But the season is getting longer, and no one ever hired a limo to go and visit a corn field. I watched Niagara’s wine industry develop from the early 1990s, into the mega-industry that it is now. We are already on our way there. It is part of our brand, and we need to promote it and protect it.
4. Enforcing existing bylaws. This sounds obvious, but we seem to have trouble doing it. Deseronto figured it out. They hired someone to do it for them. Council recently spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with the Beach Bum sign, based on a poorly written bylaw. Our bylaws need to be examined and amended where necessary, but they need to be enforced, and they need to be our bylaws .