Canada’s Oldest Community Newspaper will eschew political endorsements ahead of Monday’s municipal election for a visioning excercise and a reminder when it comes to selecting your candidate.
In terms of where we need to be in four years time, there are a few key issues facing County residents that need to be resolved-or at least on the way to a positive and permanent outcome.
First and foremost, the entire housing complement in Prince Edward County needs to be on upswing by the middle the upcoming term.
Affordable and attainable housing projects at the old Dukedome, Disreali St. and other places already in the hopper prior to election day will help. So will the ditching of the planning shackles that until recently denied the advent of tiny homes. The ability to build on-site staff accommodations by employers in certain areas will be another much needed drop in the housing bucket. Despite the advances, there are going to be some significant and localized challenges. The potential gentrification of Macaulay Village might set up a net loss of all those aforementioned affordable living spaces. The solution to this top-of-mind issue is not an easy one nor does it have a single direction. Nor is that housing answer entirely within the grasp of a single tier municipality stuck out in Lake Ontario. But whatever council can do to help fix this problem in the next 24 months should be examined thoroughly.
The next issue is the dear cost of water and wastewater facing those utilizing the services in Prince Edward County. More users by way of more hookups will start to stabilize prices and a waterworks commission with a compliment of system users, councillors and county staff may not cut monthly bills in half but it would at least allow some with skin in the game to have some say.
More users, relief by way of binding arbitration between the municipality and the City of Belleville and the highway robbery rates our neighbours to the north have been charging us for decades and perhaps crafting a creative solution to the province’s most expensive water plant at Peat’s Point will offer relief.
Given the average age of this municipality compared to the rest of the province and the fact those in the senior set generally require more human health care resources on average, inattention to the physician shortage in Prince Edward County could be akin to a death sentence for some. Simply refilling an expired prescription has become an incredibly arduous task for some of us. A lack of family doctors is not just a local matter- more and more medical students studying in universities across Canada are going into the lucrative world of specialized medicine, leaving family practice by the wayside and creating a void. Higher incentives? Supplied housing? There’s a solution to the municipal portion of the question and it’s on the upcoming council to figure it out.
Finally, when it comes to determining candidates of choice, let us be blunt. Those who have been blessed to call Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital the site of their entrance onto this mortal coil and can trace their great-great grandparents to the piece of shoreline where United Empire Loyalist ancestors first laid foot on sod do not have a monopoly on the wisdom required to provide the rate payers of today good governance.
This very myopic view percolating amongst some in the community that a councillor/mayor needs a few generations in the graveyard to really know what Prince Edward County needs and to have a say in the deliberations around Shire Hall should go the way of the dinosaur and rapidly.
Jim Taylor was born in Timmins. Leo Finnegan came into this world in Montreal some 88 years ago. Each served this community at the head of the horseshoe with distinction for multiple terms and their examples of leadership should be more than enough evidence to toss this tired trope of “Well, where were you born if not Picton?” into the dust bin where it belongs.
Selecting a candidate based on where their familial lineage originates is about as wise as picking them on the basis of what hockey team they root for or what kind of automobile they drive.
It’s a reason, but not at all a good one when considering the stakes and importance of the upcoming term.
PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY