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Hello Ward 2,

I am hoping to focus on a few larger happenings from this month that have a larger effect on the County of Brant as a whole and are quite complex.  I’ll just be touching on these issues and if you ever want to have a conversation about them please feel free to call me on my personal phone at 226.934.7379 or by email at marc.laferriere@brant.ca.

Before getting into those issues here are a few updates:

  • Very honoured to have been nominated for the position of Chair by Mayor Bailey for the Brant-Brantford Joint Paramedic Services Committee with Brantford Councillor and first responder Greg Martin as Vice Chair.  Happy to serve in this capacity with a great committee. We will be working to support this vital service and the excellent paramedics, staff and management that fill its ranks.
  • Recently through my social media page a local resident asked if we could light the falls at the Paris Dam purple in order to mark International Epilepsy Awareness Day.  Staff were able to fulfill this request and the response has been wonderful including over 25,000 social media impressions of the falls bathed in purple light with information about Epilepsy attached on the post.  Since then we have had numerous other requests and I will be discussing with staff and other members of council what the protocol moving forward will be for these requests. Feel free to email me if you have questions or requests for this with specifics around dates, colour and theme/commemoration.

Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt

During the election I made a formal pledge to use whatever powers I could to support the Greenbelt after there was some discussion during the provincial election about opening up the Greenbelt to developers.  Since becoming elected I have joined a provincial group called Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt.

On March 22nd I attended a session I was invited to for this group in Oakville.  Great to meet and chat with other municipal leaders who support the Greenbelt like the Mayor of Oakville Rob Burton, former Progressive Conservative Cabinet Member and Mayor of Toronto David Crombie, friend and colleague from Guelph’s Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon and many others.

It was a positive experience to share tables with others who believe in sustainability, Agri-business, natural heritage, environmentalism and natural tourism. We brainstormed ideas to mitigate climate change, help farmers and help the environment and jobs in the region.

Very engaging and heartening and left me hopeful for politics at the municipal level.

The Greenbelt helps protect prime agricultural land (farms located on the Greenbelt are 39% smaller than other farms in Ontario but produce on average 68% more revenue per acre), provides over half a million acres or lakes, wetlands, river valleys and forests which help our environment while also contributing more than $9.1 billion to the Ontario economy and 161,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

It was great to be in a room with likeminded municipal leaders all looking at ways to mitigate climate change issues in the region, support agri-business, protect and enhance natural heritage and natural assets, and manage aging infrastructure and storm water costs through environmental design.

The notes from that meeting can be viewed here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/greenbeltleaders/pages/67/attachments/original/1553804736/MLGB_March_22_2019_shareable_%281%29.pdf?1553804736

Notes from David Crombie’s presentation are not included in the package as he spoke without notes but one thing I want to stress from his presentation in particular is the need for all of us to continually monitor and advocate around issues we see with provincial and federal policies regarding the environment and climate change coming down the pike no matter who the government of the day is.  It is important to move quickly with pressure when they are making poor choices and to cheer them on when they make good choices.

Rejection of Joint Services Committee Request

This month County of Brant councillors voted unanimously not to re-establish a joint shared-services committee with the City of Brantford.  We received a letter from the City of Brantford showing an interest in re-establishing a committee.

While we have rejected this structure nothing is preventing us from working together on projects. The county also borders 6 municipalities including Brantford, Waterloo Region, Oxford, Hamilton, Norfolk, Haldimand as well as the Six Nations of the Grand River Indigenous Reserve.

My sense in the room is that we are hoping for a larger group of municipalities – including Brantford – to look at ways we can all work together with any of them individually or in larger partnerships.  Negotiating some services with only one municipal partner may exclude us from other partnerships that make sense currently.

Also we have no interest in merging police, fire or library for a number of good reasons. Though we do have all of those systems work together and have been asking for reciprocal borrowing for decades with Brantford to no avail. Other things like transit and green bin potentials are open and the committee isn’t required for this.

Currently, we work well together on many committees including paramedic services, social services and public housing and on other important initiative. Brant directly surrounds Brantford on almost all sides. Brant neighbours many municipalities and has different sharing agreements and potentials with each we have to explore.

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 13:  Brant County’s Largest Line Dance Challenge and Record Attempt.

Info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/437629790108832/

April 17: Our Future Brant – Open House and Public Information Centre.

Info here: https://www.brant.ca/en/county-government/our-future-brant.aspx

A highlight of some of the activities I’ve attended this month beyond regular council meetings:

  • Presented Scroll at Masquerade Social held at Syl Apps Community Centre
  • Attended Laurier Brantford Social Work Week/International Women’s Day Event with Waterloo Councillor Jen Vasic.
  • Attended Unity event held by the Muslim Student Association at Laurier Brantford in response to the tragedy in Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Participated in the Newterra Modular Wastewater Facilities Tour in St. Thomas exploring options for how our County can treat water in innovative and environmental ways.
  • Attended the annual community breakfast at the Onondaga Community Hall with numerous council members.
  • Participated in the Recreation Advisory Committee Consultation Workshop with staff, some members of council and volunteers who sit on our Parks and Rec Committees across the County.
  • Took part in Community Economic Development Training held by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Meeting with Pinevest Homes at their request.
  • Meeting with Valery Homes at their request.
  • Groundbreaking Ceremony on the site of the new Ontario Provincial Police Detachment that will open to serve the County of Brant next year.
  • Attended portions of the New Diversity Summit: Inclusive Leadership Tips and Tools for the 21st Century Workshop
  • Green Belt Meeting and Workshop in Oakville as one of 154 designated “Green Belt Champion” councillors in Ontario.