Sparse crowd but vigorous debate in Mountain Grove

Written by  Wednesday, 19 September 2018 09:55
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Olden candidates (from left) Dan Cunningham, Victor Heese (incumbent), Bill Everett and Elwin Burke. Photo/Craig Bakay Olden candidates (from left) Dan Cunningham, Victor Heese (incumbent), Bill Everett and Elwin Burke. Photo/Craig Bakay

It’s not unusual for candidates debate crowds to be small when the Mayor’s position is already filled by acclamation. When you take out the number of sitting Central Frontenac Council members and candidates from other districts in attendance, it was a rather intimate gathering indeed.

However, it did make for some rousing ‘discussion,’ especially when moderator Jeff Green allowed the audience more leeway that is usual for such things.

And mixed in there, the four candidates for the two seats in District 2 (Olden), managed to get their points across.

Dan Cunningham wanted to see project management applied to every issue, not surprising given his background as a project manager for Stanley Tools.

He said the septic reinspection program is a good example of something not being planned out.

“We can save a lot of money,” he said. “One way is to stop the reinspection program.

“It will cost money that would be better spent on our landfills.

“And we need more work on roads.”

Victor Heese said he thought stable leadership at the top has gone a long way in the Township.

“We’ve gone through several CAOs and Cathy MacMunn being there has allowed us to focus on other things than hiring a CAO,” he said. “I know that hiring a full-time fire chief was controversial but we do now have better equipment for our firefighters, better halls and less liability.”

Heese said he wanted to focus on better internet services to attract home-based businesses.

Bill Everett said more people likely know his truck (B Sanitation) than himself but promised to “do my best to see improvements in Olden and Central Frontenac in general.

“I’m not going to criticize anyone’s ideas — that’s for debate in Council.”

Elwin Burke, who was Reeve of the old Olden Township for six years (three as councilor before that) said he’d like to see meetings moved from the 4 p.m. timeslot to the evening so more people could attend. (Mayor Frances Smith pointed out from the crowd that one of the the reasons they were changed to 4 p.m. was to cut down on overtime costs).

Burke said he’d also like to see more recorded votes and gravel on the roads.

Environmental issues took up much of the evening with a re-use centre at landfills being generally agreed to be something worth pursuing. However, septic reinspection didn’t sit well with three of the four candidates.

“I have no issue with septic inspection but I have a big issue with more Big Brother,” said Everett. “Why are we inspecting? Do we have significant numbers of systems that are exploding?”

“Around the lakes it can be very important but up here in the hills, where you can be miles from your nearest neighbour, I don’t see it as a problem,” said Burke.

“It hasn’t been costed out and it doesn’t even meet the standards for being a project,” said Cunningham. “And, it’s separating people.”

On the potential issue of there being a marijuana dispensary in Central Frontenac once it’s legalized Oct. 17, the candidates views were mixed, other than agreeing it shouldn’t be located near a school.

“I’m not sure how much Council will have a say in it,” said Heese.

“I would go with the provincial legislation,” said Cunningham.

“I would have to vote yes,” said Everett. “A lot of people use it for medicinal reasons.”

“I’m not a big fan of marijuana so if I lost an election because of it, I wouldn’t care,” said Burke.

The purchase of two closed schools also drew a lot of attention.

“Selling them off is part of my platform,” said Cunningham.

“If I were to buy two schools, I’d want to have a plan of what to do with them, I haven’t seen a plan,” said Burke.

“The plan for the Sharbot Lake school is some sort of seniors residences, but the current building will have to be demolished,” said Heese. “The Parham school could be some sort of recreation and community centre.

“If we’d waited, they would have been much more expensive.”

“I don’t know,” said Everett. “I think I would have been against it but we’re stuck now so we’ll have to make the best of it.”

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