Home Council Public meeting draws large crowd, many comments heard

Public meeting draws large crowd, many comments heard


WHITEWATER REGION (Cobden) — A public meeting was held last night at the meeting of the Council of the Township of Whitewater Region and many people attended to have their say. The General Government Committee public meeting was held to discuss the 2020/2030 Strategic Plan. 

In December 2018, Council began the process of updating its strategic plan by confirming their mission, vision, competencies, and values. Township states respect, integrity and commitment are the corporate values which guide their behaviour. The core competencies stated they achieve results using accuracy and thoroughness, client service, problem solving, teamwork and professionalism. They also undertook a SWOT analysis on the Township’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and

threats. Council also identified the priorities for each strategic area of focus. 

A next steps report was presented in July, to allow for final adoption in December. Groups of council and staff members worked over the summer and fall months on four strategic areas of focus, infrastructure, recreation, economic development and environment.

Each strategic area of focus has different items being worked on. Infrastructure will focus on maintenance, capital and asset planning, while recreation will focus on partnerships, facilities and programs. Corporate Performance will focus on financial sustainability, municipal services and continuous improvement. Economic Development will focus on area growth, businesses and tourism. Environmentally, the focus will be on water quality, sustainability and solid waste. 

Public consultation occurred with a general survey, whose closing extended to November 3. The survey was advertised in the block ad placed weekly in local newspapers and on Facebook. In addition, stakeholder interviews were previously conducted for the economic development and environment pillars. Preliminary findings of the survey were reported on October 30 by Chief Administrative Officer, Robert Tremblay.

“Based on feedback received, there is general support for the strategies proposed in the draft plan,” said Mr. Tremblay. He stated over 300 responses were received from the survey and written comments were received on the issue of access to the whitewater portion of the Ottawa River. 

The survey consisted of 20 questions, with question 19 asking people to share any specific action items or priorities  they believe the Township should be addressing now and in the future. In documentation made available by the Township on their website, 207 survey takers responded while 126 skipped the question. The last question asked people to note which services or actions the Township should consider doing to support the quality of life. The document lists 141 answers and details 192 people skipped the question. 

Mr. Tremblay went over multiple action items before the floor was opened to the public for comments. There were 13 people who spoke before Council last night, including Bob Grylls, Phil Cottrell, Sierra Stinson, Louise Ball, Rae Boratto and Jenny Young. River access was a large topic of discussion, as many of the people who chose to speak and attend the public meeting are paddlers or river activity enthusiasts. 

Regarding financial implications, action items identified in the plan identify required resources and the Strategic Plan process is being undertaken by staff at no additional costs. The motion was carried unanimously for a final report to be presented on November 20, with the formal adoption scheduled for December 4. Councillor Charlene Jackson was not in attendance.