RON DUPUIS

Ward 3
Councillor

WEEKLY COLUMN

January 31, 2006

  
As I am writing this, we are in the middle of a terrible snowstorm. Last evening I was out and about, checking the streets and the many challenges facing our public works crews. The snow is not letting up and the plows have been going steadily trying to make our streets passable. There are a few things we as residents can do to assist the operators. Cars should not be parked on the streets during a storm, people should not be pushing snow across roadways, as this could be very dangerous. Some streets weren't done until early Monday morning, this was the case throughout the city. We must revisit our snowplowing policy and make the necessary changes that will improve the way we deliver this service.

Last week at council there was a lengthy discussion on water and waste/water. Since the Walkerton tragedy, we have spent 24.2 million dollars on water and waste/water treatment. The bulk of this is a direct result of regulations imposed on us by the province. We have no choice but to implement the changes mandated to us and of course they come at a great cost to us the taxpayers. At council I introduced a motion calling on the province that if they impose anymore regulations on us then they should pay, because municipalities just simply cannot afford them any longer. This motion has received unanimous support from Northern Ontario municipalities and we are hoping that the rest of the province will also follow suit.

Another matter discussed at council, was whether to have a referendum on the ballot at this year's municipal election, regarding deamalgamation. This was defeated by a 9-2 vote. I spoke against this motion for the following reasons.
 
bulletThe province has indicated to us that they are not interested at
looking at any deamalgamations, and they would have the final say.
bulletThe current system is not perfect, but for those who recall the
Regional System was not perfect also. I would prefer that we focus on
making things better and use our energy on something we can control
versus  an exercise in futility.
bulletThe cost of amalgamation was 33 million dollars, the cost to
deamalgamate would be 4 or 5 times that. Some examples of the costs
would be : every municipality would want their reserves back with
interest we would need 7 mayors and one Regional Chair, as well as 8 CAOs, 8 Clerks, 8 Treasurers we would have to purchase new town halls as we have sold a number of these buildings we would have to give back the money for buildings and land that were sold in each of the municipalities we would have to divide the new
equipment that was purchased in the last five years i.e. fire trucks, snowplows etc... who would get what employees. I could continue but I'm sure you get my point. This would create so much turmoil and it would take us years to sort everything out.      

Have a very pleasant week!
  
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