Posted by & filed under News.

Today we say hello to 2019. I know there will be many challenges and opportunities for our community ahead this year. In our first month of the new council we have already seen a taste of this.

The first quarter of 2019 will continue on this path as we start the budget process, continue on-boarding for new councillors such as myself and ward mate Steve Howes, vote on whether we should opt-in or out of allowing for eventual cannabis retail for the County, plan our first Paris (Wards 2 &3) town hall, and hold another Public Information Centre for the ongoing Environmental Assessment for the Paris Links Rd area and many other activities. Dates and locations will be shared as they become available.

Just an update on the last 2 months as well:

Attended:

  • Paris Painted Rocks
  • Jingle Bell Night
  • Christmas in Paris
  • Paris Santa Claus Parade
  • Paris-Brant Kiwanis Christmas Breakfast
  • Interview for Rogers TV on County Municipal Issues
  • Labour Cares Food For Those In Need Event
  • County Remembrance Day Ceremony
  • Paris Cenotaph Re-dedication
  • Tour of Crossing All Bridges Learning Centre
  • Two of a Kind Market for MS
  • Brant Economic Development Working Group
  • Various Municipal Training Sessions
  • 2 Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremonies
  • Tour of Emblem Cannabis manufacturing facility
  • James Trivia Night
  • Meeting with Cobblestone Church Leadership
  • Salvation Army Red Kettle
  • National Housing Day Conference
  • Meeting with Rosewood House Leadership on transition to emergency shelter
  • Meeting with Mississauga of the New Credit and City of Brantford Councillors
  • Pre-Hearing for upcoming LPAT related issue
  • Inauguration of council and committee appointees
  • Teleconference call with Green Leader and MPP Mike Schreiner on Paris Galt Moraine Protection Bill
  • Tour of Shady Acres Community
  • Brant District Labour Centre Christmas Open House
  • Walnut St. Slope Stabilization Community Meeting
  • Chamber of Commerce Information Night

This is in addition to regular council meetings and special meetings around the appointment of citizens and councillors to various committees and community boards. As well as being your Ward 2 Council representative I will be serving as a representative on the following committees for at least the next year:

  • Corporate Development
  • Planning Advisory
  • Community Services
  • Brant/Brantford Social Services Committee
  • Brant/Brantford Local Housing Authority
  • Downtown Paris Business Improvement Area (BIA)
  • Municipal Election Review Committee
  • Paramedic Services Committee
  • Brant Community Healthcare System Community Engagement Committee
  • Brant Food System Coalition

I am very excited to start to contribute to these groups in 2019. I have personal and professional passion and insights for many of these committee areas and am very keen on learning more about the work-to-date and sharing more information with members of the public that are also interested in these issues.

During the past month or so I have also been dealing with a sciatic nerve issue and the loss of my voice for a period of time. Both these issues are doing much better now and I still returned constituency callswhen my voice allowed. Please call (226.934.7379) or email (marc.laferriere@brant.ca) anytime and leave a message with coordinates to return your message.

During the election I heard time and again folks discuss difficulties they had in contacting their council members and getting calls returned. I have since learned that council members do not have council phones or voice mails. I asked for a vote to improve that aspect of communication but lost the vote. I have since asked staff about at least giving council members the option for county voice mail and am waiting on a reply. Personal phones can have full message boxes, drops in service or in my case my kids may be playing with my personal phone when someone calls. I am hoping to find other ways to professionalize communication options for residents and will update folks as I sort this out.

So far feedback from community members regarding communication from new Ward 2 council members has been positive but we will continue to find ways to improve upon this – both getting the message out to folks but also hearing from people about their ideas and concerns.

Look for me to set up “office hours” in the first quarter of 2019 as well as it was a campaign promise to increase accessibility for residents and the creation of a print newsletter with ward mate Steve Howes we are hoping to launch soon as well.

Budget time will decide the fate of a public transit system that will allow inexpensive transit access within the county, allow for folks to connect to Brantford and GO Transit options as well. It would be a $30,000 increase in our transit budget but would allow so many more options for local students, workers, adults and persons living with mobility issues. I plan on fighting for it as hard as I can during the upcoming budget.

I also want to end this update with the final statistics from the election in Ward 2.  These numbers were not made available in full until more recently due to Ward 2 and 1 sharing a polling station and those numbers needing to be separated out.

There was 1772 individuals who cast their votes in Ward 2 which means turnout in the Ward was up from last election and ended up at 39% for 2018.  I am blown away, humbled and grateful to be the top vote-getter of all councillor candidates in the county for this election at 1378 votes and that 78% of those who chose to cast a ballot in Ward 2 trusted me with one of their votes.

It is a strong mandate for the platform my volunteers and I presented to you at your doors and a strong mandate to change local politics for the better in 2019 and beyond.

Happy New Year and all my very best to you and yours in 2019,