As Mayor Andy Letham finishes up his second and final term as mayor, it’s time to take stock of his years in the top municipal chair.
There were many decisions made during Letham’s two terms in office for which a legacy can be determined. High on our list were the downtown revitalizations that happened in Lindsay, Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon. These important facelifts and hidden infrastructure replacements were much needed.
Would we have preferred to see something bolder, especially in the largest centre, Lindsay? Absolutely. There was a missed opportunity to do something more pedestrian and patio friendly, to create a more walkable downtown. Instead, the mayor and council chose to go by the limited feedback received at public sessions. We believe sometimes leadership means just deciding on a vision for the good of the community, not relying exclusively on limited public engagement.
All that being said, the downtowns look attractive, and the Bobcaygeon beach project will be an amazing addition to that village.
One of Letham’s most important legacies will be the fact that when he took office the city had no long-term financial plan. Councils just moved from one budget to the next, buffeted by whatever economic winds were then blowing. Letham and council are to be congratulated on establishing a fiscal anchor.
Another key decision made in his first term was reducing the size of council from 17 to 9. There were salary savings but we’re not sure if expecting councillors to represent ever more constituents is the right move for democracy. Perhaps the jury is still out on this one.
Letham was a friend of the arts community and was responsible for shepherding the cultural master plan forward, a sector growing in importance.
As well, the mayor has been a stable presence, staying calm in divisive debates but standing firm when needed. In short, his steadfast, practical dedication to the city has been a beacon at times when the waters grew turbulent.
We wish Mayor Letham well in his next endeavours.