At the March 19 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, Council heard from Dianne Lister and Susan Taylor, representatives from the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council (KLAC) and the Cultural Centre Committee, who recommended that Council strike a working group to examine the possibility of a cultural centre for the municipality.
Kawartha Lakes Council is introducing a new way of engaging with the community. Starting late summer and continuing into September, the public will be invited to participate in community roundtables in each of the eight wards. A community roundtable is an opportunity for Kawartha Lakes residents to engage with their elected officials, municipal staff and each other about current topics of general interest.
It’s fair to say that City Hall affects us more directly than Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill. The water we drink, our roads and sidewalks, our parks and arenas, the bylaws that regulate our relations with neighbours, delivery of social services — all municipal matters. Altogether, according to City CAO Ron Taylor, there are over 200 municipal programs and services, delivered by over a 1,000 municipal employees.
Our elected mayor and eight councillors represent our interests. Their mission, Taylor reminded them at a February 13 meeting, is to provide “responsible, efficient and effective services.” But their powers go beyond that: Council policy and budget decisions set priorities and shape our future.
A week after being sworn-in, City of Kawartha Lakes Council assembled around its custom-designed triangular conference table in the heart of the refurbished chambers. They gathered to hear a presentation on retail cannabis sales and to approve appointments to boards, committees and CHEST Fund disbursements.
Cannabis Retail Storefronts
By the Jan. 22 deadline set by the Province, council must make a decision on whether to opt-in or opt-out of having private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in Kawartha Lakes.
CAO Ron Taylor and Senior Licensing Officer Alix Scarr, provided a presentation that served as an overview of federal, provincial, and municipal responsibilities and powers with respect to cannabis and outlined the financial implications for the decision council will be making.
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.
The inaugural meeting of City of Kawartha Lakes Council happened yesterday, with Councillor Doug Elmslie elected as deputy mayor through secret ballot, voted on by Mayor Andy Letham and all councillors.
He beat Councillor Pat Dunn who had been nominated by Councillor Ron Ashmore.
The Ontario basic income pilot is a critical, “watershed event” for Lindsay, says City of Kawartha Lakes Councillor Doug Elmslie.
Elmslie, who is well-known on council for his support of various anti-poverty initiatives, says he sees an opportunity with this new initiative to really make substantive changes in how we tackle poverty.