Picton – The future of Queen Elizabeth School, the shortage of health-care professionals, and the rehabilitation of County Road 49 were among the issues raised by the County of Prince Edward delegation that attended the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) annual general meeting and conference this week in Ottawa.
“During these meetings we took the opportunity to share information and ideas for addressing issues of local concern,” Mayor Steve Ferguson says. “I was encouraged by the conversations and am optimistic progress will be made on several fronts in the near future as a result of this dialogue.”
Mayor Ferguson, accompanied by councillors Janice Maynard and Bill Roberts as well as CAO Marcia Wallace, met with Matthew Rae, Parliamentary Assistant for the Minister of Education. In that meeting, the County reinforced the importance of having the former Queen Elizabeth School used to support affordable housing development in the community. The Parliamentary Assistant indicated that he and the Minister of Education are very interested in finding a solution that works for the municipality, the Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, and the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board.
In a meeting with Health Minister Sylvia Jones, Mayor Ferguson took the opportunity to invite her to the Hastings / Prince Edward region in the early Fall for an in-depth meeting with the regional partners working together to address the shortage of medical professionals in the local area. Minister Jones expressed her appreciation for local efforts to find solutions together, rather than competing for scarce resources. She also emphasized the importance of working with hospitals as well as with her colleague, Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra, to address labour shortage issues. A formal invitation from the Mayor will follow.
The County delegation advocated for funding to rehabilitate County Road 49 in a meeting with Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma. Mayor Ferguson said after the meeting that he was encouraged that funding will be coming to deal with the rehabilitation. Municipal officials also met with Stephen Crawford, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance, to request flexibility in the tax classification to recognize the commercial nature of residential properties where short-term accommodations operate.
Mayor Ferguson also joined with other mayors and wardens from across Eastern Ontario for meetings with several Ontario government ministers. The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) met with Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to discuss the housing challenges across Eastern Ontario. Over the next few months the EOWC will be working with provincial staff to further develop a solution to the growing waitlist issues that people are experiencing across the region. EOWC will provide an update to Minister Clark at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in January 2023.
During the conference, the municipality received the Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award for its efforts to support new housing development in the municipality. Click here to learn more.
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.
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