The videos of the three candidates’ meetings that were posted have been taken down by the uploader. My sincerest thank you to the sponsors and volunteer organizers for the meetings and the posting.
I prepared a document that lists how the current council voted on a number of issues over the past term.
On some matters, the votes teetered back and forth, although the same group seemed to vote as a block on certain things.
Significant flips include:
Council at first were all leaning to remove the 7B Bridge as recommended by staff, but then ultimately voted to save it and widen it to 7 metres, after hearing from farmers. Only Councillor McCubbin held out against it.
Councillor Torrance consistently voted against the sale of Don Maynard Park in Mississippi Mills, but changed her mind and voted to dispose of it at County.
Councillor Lowry voted for questionable Almonte ATV by-passes for the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail, but voted against the final one through the intersection of Martin and Ottawa Streets that was suggested in June 2018.
Browse through the list here: Council Voting
There have been a number of very serious issues raised over the term of this Council.
1. DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
The last session of Council was marked by inappropriate secrecy, as disclosed by the investigation into illegal closed meetings, the appointment rather than the election of a Councillor, a new Procedural by-law affecting the rights of citizens and media, abuse of our courts with a publicly-funded but personal strategic lawsuit against public participation and attacks on residents, critics, media and the democratic process itself.
We deserve better.
2. MUNICIPAL TAXES AND FEES and FINANCIAL REPORTING
Our spending and debt concern people. Financial reporting to the public needs to be clearer and regular. I have reviewed the practices of other, similarly-sized municipalities and many do monthly detailed statements that are easily accessed by the public. The public would appreciate quarterly reports and updated budget forecasts.
3. COMMUNITY OFFICIAL PLAN REVIEW
The intrusive revised plan, costing more than $50,000 in consultants in 2018 alone (in process since at least 2015), would have been quietly passed had residents not noticed, taken action, and voiced objections. Council made only superficial changes and the plan needs revision. Our Planner tells us we need to look at the settlement boundaries within the next two years.
4. OTTAWA VALLEY RECREATIONAL TRAIL
Almonte could be a jewel in the OVRT Crown, instead of a tool that was used to divide residents.
5. PARK SALES
Selling building lots off Don Maynard Park was vigorously opposed by the community and rammed through anyway, with no credible logic. The decision is being appealed to the Municipal Board. The incumbents on this Council have repeatedly failed to listen to residents.
6. ROADS AND PUBLIC WORKS
Good roads, sidewalks, sewer, water and other shared services are the basics of why we have government to begin with. Let’s get these back in shape. It is not the staff letting things go – it has been driven by decisions of your Council who neglect basics for their pet wish-lists. Spray-paint for gaping sidewalk cracks is penny-wise and pound foolish.
7. UTILITIES and DEVELOPMENT SHARING
The revenue generated from Almonte’s power, water and development charges are shared with the rest of the Municipality and some of the costs are as well. Other communities in Mississippi Mills are frustrated and unable to develop, while this Council promotes inner-city type infill in Almonte. We need to talk.
If your water, sewer, sidewalk, streets and parks are neglected, even the most exotic, elaborately-staged and expensive tourist event will not help the people who pay the majority of the freight in this town: you. These are the basic “hygienes” of everyday life, without which the “nice-to-haves” don’t matter.