New council sworn in
With much pomp and circumstance the 2022-2026 Kawartha Lakes city council was sworn in to begin serious council budget deliberations later this month.
Mayor and council were introduced by the town crier, piped in by a trumpeter and serenaded not once but twice by a full community choir.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Drew Gunsolus did the honours, swearing in the new council, all dressed in their Sunday best, beginning with Mayor Doug Elmslie, Ward One councillor Emmett Yeo, Ward Two councillor Pat Warren, Ward Three councillor Mike Perry, Ward Four councillor Dan Joyce, Ward Five councillor Eric Smeaton, Ward Six councillor Ron Ashmore, Ward Seven councillor Charlie McDonald and Ward Eight councillor Tracy Richardson.
CAO Ron Taylor brought greetings to council from various dignitaries including member of parliament Jamie Schmale, Premier Doug Ford, member of the provincial parliament Laurie Scott and Curve Lake Chief Keith Knott.
Schmale delivered his greetings via video saying that he “looks forward to working with the new council for the betterment of the city.”
Premier Ford welcomed the new council “to Team Ontario.”
Scott’s written comments hoped that she would be able to “continue the work that has already been started” and reminded the council “what an honour and privilege it is to represent the people of Kawartha Lakes.”
Chief Knott said that he hopes the Curve Lakes First Nation and the city can continue to strive “to strengthen their relationship” in areas of mutual interest.
Taylor also shared on behalf of the senior administrative team and the city’s 1,200 employees a desire to work closely with council “to achieve council priorities” in the years ahead.
Elmslie then took a few minutes to deliver his inaugural address as mayor, speaking directly to council and the voters of Kawartha Lakes.
“Everyone on council is a passionate champion for the City of Kawartha Lakes,” Elmslie said. “We have many challenges that lie ahead. I look forward to the fresh insights the new councillors bring and we as a council should embrace and strive for continual improvement.”
“We want to make a difference,” Elmslie continued, “We want to be open and transparent. We will treat each other with respect and build on the projects begun by previous councils. We will begin work on the budget for 2023 that we hope to have passed by the end of March with roads and infrastructure renewal to be a priority. We will be working hard on the infrastructure deficit, and in four years voters will see a substantial change.”
On the issue of affordable housing Elmslie recommitted the city to the building of new housing, but warned “that without the support of the other levels of government and the private sector” making a dent in the need for affordable accommodations will be difficult.
Elmslie indicated that city positions currently unfilled will be a priority for this council “as staff needs our support.”
The new mayor touched on landfills that are almost at capacity, the need for supporting and monetarizing culture and heritage and the desperate need for additional doctors right across the city.
“Staff and council will be asked, if they can, to wear masks in city hall from this point forward based on the new guidelines suggested by public health today,” Elmslie added.
“I want to run an efficient government focused on service delivery,” Elmslie said. “At the same time, we must never forget those that need our help. There is no shortage of things for this council to do. We have a wealth of lived experiences and we need to make the best decisions we can.”