Mayor wants to convene community council advisory group

By Roderick Benns

Mayor Andy Letham: “Never be afraid to stand and up and say ‘I have an idea.’”

In his inaugural remarks at the City of Kawartha Lakes’ first council meeting, Mayor Andy Letham said he will convene a “community council advisory group” to get more public input.

It is imperative we do this, says the mayor, to uncover “vital local knowledge” that many people hold and which can be shared for the betterment of the community.

The mayor also envisions a committee of the whole meeting about once a month, done in a more informal way so as to be inclusive of community members who want to participate. He sees these meetings moving around Kawartha Lakes’ communities to avoid being so Lindsay-centric.

Channeling his inner Spider-Man, the mayor also said that with great support comes great expectations. Letham says this council will not push problems down the road, but will “deal with the issues in front of us.”

The re-elected mayor says there is a need to empower staff further “to solve problems for residents,” and he encouraged his staff to “never be afraid to stand and up and say ‘I have an idea.’”

“I can’t do it alone,” says Letham. “Let’s be agents of change and let’s make great things happen.”

Before the mayor’s inaugural address, veteran Councillor Doug Elmslie was elected as deputy mayor through secret ballot, voted on by Letham and all councillors. He beat out Councillor Pat Dunn, another veteran councillor, who had been nominated by Councillor Ron Ashmore.

This should be a challenging four years for all municipalities, with Premier Doug Ford looking to find “efficiencies” and no municipality quite knowing what that means, or how it will affect them.

As Doug Saunders in the Globe and Mail noted earlier in the year, the most significant government challenges – “from immigration to drug policy to transportation and poverty…are all matters of national or provincial policy, but…play out overwhelmingly on the municipal level, despite a complete lack of municipal political authority over many of these areas.”

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