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Friday, April 12, 2024

Douro-Dummer strategic plan has support of council

BY TERRY MCQUITTY

The Township of Douro-Dummer took another look at the municipalities strategic plan at a Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 9. Council heard a presentation by Lynn van der Linde of Quarry Consulting at the March 19 council meeting with the hope the plan would be passed with few or no changes.

The strategic plan was not passed at that meeting as there were a number of people who registered to speak against the proposed plan.

Six people in all had questions regarding the plan which ranged from withdrawing from green initiatives following United Nations mandates to health risks posed by implementing a 5G broadband network.

There were concerns by people in the gallery that ratepayers did not get a proper opportunity to comment on the strategic plan and pushed for more town hall meetings where people can discuss pertinent issues.

Councillor Ray Johnston moved that they defer endorsing the plan so council could work through what he called lots of good information.

CAO at the time, Elana Arthurs suggested the that the municipality reopen the survey and move the discussion to the Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting to take place on April 9.

Council agreed and the survey was reopened and the topic was discussed at the COW on April 9.

Acting CAO Martina Chait-Hartwig presented a comprehensive report outlining the path the township has taken to date with the strategic plan.

One of the sections raised by councillor Ray Johnston was the addition of the Land Acknowledgement proposed in the plan.

Correspondence was received by Brent Whetung suggesting that the  Land Acknowledgement be specifically geared to the Township of Douro-Dummer. He said the proposed Land Acknowledgement looked like Google searched pasted together.

Johnston suggested consultation take place before the proposed version is approved. Johnston also questioned where the Land Acknowledgement  originated that council presently uses at meetings, noting that it was different than the one on the proposed plan.

Chait-Hartwig told council that the present acknowledgement was created in 2018 at which time they sought input from Curve Lake and the Aboriginal Studies department at Trent University. Chait-Hartwig said that many other municipalities have used Douro-Dummers land Acknowledgement as a template.

Deputy mayor Harold Nelson stated that the Strategic Plan is a high level document, however the plan does not keep council tied to anything.

Nelson moved that council accept the plan as put forth.

Johnston said that they brought the plan to the COW meeting due to comments at the council meeting and they should find a way to work some of those point in to the plan.

Mayor Watson rebutted that she had the opportunity to go through the plan multiple times and said she was generally comfortable with the strategic targets. Watson said she listened to the many concerns of the speakers, but she stands by the pillars in the plan.

Watson said that after reviewing the comments on the surveys after the time period was extended she believes she is representing the constituents as the majority of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the plan.

Watson also supports the strategic plan, but asked Nelson if he would change the motion to include an updated Land Acknowledgement to which he agreed.

The motion passed and the plan will be brought back to council on May 7 with a revised version of the Land Acknowledgement.