Task force suggestions left for incoming Council
Splitting up Chatham into three Wards, implementing community focus groups, and investigating a possible name change for Chatham-Kent – were all recommendations by the Chatham-Kent Community Governance Task Force.
However, C-K Council decided to leave it to the new, incoming Council to decide if the recommendations should be implemented.
Chatham Counc. Don Clarke entered a successful motion at Monday nights’s (June 28) Council meeting to have all recommendations made by the Task Force, 16 in total, referred to the next term.
“I’m not in favour of all these recommendations,” he said. “I’m not comfortable with moving them along… it should be the next Council.”
The Task Force was comprised of six volunteer individuals, one from each Ward, including:
- Robert Adamson – Wheatley – Ward 1
- Daryl Dawson – Blenheim – Ward 2
- Jacqueline Van Eerd Beatty – Bothwell – Ward 3
- Paul J. Haslip – Pain Court – Ward 4
- Donald ‘Chip” Gordon – Wallaceburg – Ward 5
- Marie Cadotte – Chatham – Ward 6
The group was facilitated by David Weldon, of CivicSolutions Inc.
Each member of the Task Force took turns reading off the recommendations, providing some additional insight into each recommendation during the presentation of their final report.
For a look at all the suggestions by the group, check out this CKDP story: Chatham-Kent Governance Task Force providing recommendations to Council
Several members of Council has varying opinions on the recommendations, with suggestions of dividing up the city of Chatham, possibly looking into a name change for Chatham-Kent, and possibly including all the groups recommendations on the 2014 election card as a referendum, being the most highly debated items.
South Kent Counc. Frank Vercouteren said he was in favour of letting the public decide on the recommendations.
“There are a lot of good points in there,” he said. “12 years ago (amalgamation) was rammed down our throat… I think this should be a public vote on the next election.”
Vercouteren failed to get a seconder, when he moved to include the recommendations as a public vote for the 2014 election.
Regarding the name change of Chatham-Kent, East Kent Counc. Steve Pinsonneault said he would want the public to have its say.
“That should be out to the residents,” he said.
South Kent Counc. Art Stirling said he hasn’t quite wrapped his head around a possible name change.
“Sometime the ship has just left the port,” he said. “It’s just time to move on.”
North Kent Counc. Bill Weaver said if a name change is considered, a plan to engage the community effectively must be put in place. Weaver also had moved the recommendations by the group, before Clarke’s successful motion.
“A good section of the community are not offended” by the name, Weaver said.
North Kent Counc. Joe Faas said he had concerns over a possible name change as well.
“Finding a name to suit everyone is going to be hard pressed,” Faas said.
Wallaceburg Counc. Sheldon Parsons said despite being named Chatham-Kent, individual communities don’t lose their identity.
“I think we need to get over it,” he said.
West Kent Counc. Bryon Fluker echoed similar comments.
“How did we get into a name change debate anyway?” he said.
Regarding the the proposed division of the city of Chatham, Counc. Doug Sulman said he would want administration to report back to Council with their thoughts.
“Making a decision to implement something when you don’t even know what you’re implementing would be foolish,” he said. “You’re about the break up a former city… we need a report back.
Chatham Counc. Anne Gilbert said dividing up Chatham is not a good option.
“Chatham is Chatham,” she said. “Not North Chatham, or South Chatham or West Chatham… no, Chatham is Chatham. Let the next Council decide on that.”
Clarke’s motion to refer the recommendations to the next Council was carried by a vote of 11-6.
Councillors Brown, Clarke, Crew, Herman, King, Pinsonneault, Robbins, Stirling, Sulman, Vercouteren and Mayor Hope voted in favour of the motion, while councillors Faas, Fluker, Gilbert, McGregor, Parsons and Weaver were opposed. Counc. Steve Pickard was absent.