Chapman: County ‘doesn’t give a damn’ about Erin

Some Erin councillors feel the town is not getting a fair shake at Wellington Coun­ty council.

“The county does not give a damn about Erin, in my opinion,” Erin councillor Ken Chapman said at last week’s  council meeting.

He was responding to an inquiry by fellow councillor Josie Wintersinger, who wondered why five motions by Erin county councillor Lou Maieron were ignored at a Jan. 8 county planning and land division meeting.

“Something’s not right there,” Wintersinger said, add­ing she feels bad for Maieron. “What’s going on?”

Chapman replied Maieron’s demeanor is likely partly to blame, although he stressed Erin’s representatives on county council – Maieron and Erin Mayor Rod Finnie – are not respected.

But that’s nothing new, Chapman said, specifically mentioning the county’s hand­ling of the solid waste services portfolio over the last few years. “Why would you expect them to respect us now?” he asked.

Finnie replied, “I wouldn’t say we’re getting ignored.”

He noted there are “issues on both sides,” and he started to make other comments, but stopped mid-sentence.

“I’d rather not have this discussion in public,” Finnie said. He explained any discussions about “identifiable individuals” should take place in a closed session.

Wintersinger told council she thinks all Maieron’s mo­tions should go back to the committee for reconsideration.

“I’m really disturbed when I read that,” she said of Maieron not receiving any support.

Councillor Barb Tocher said some of the things Maie­ron was asking for, in­cluding cost of the county’s Green Legacy program, are readily available in county documents, such as the budget.

Maieron’s failed motions included:

– recommending an aggregate resources study to identify and quantify aggregate areas in the county;

– forwarding the expected 2008 surplus for the committee to its 2009 budget to help offset increasing costs this year;

–  asking for a breakdown of Green Legacy costs;

– re-instating a county septage study; and

– sharing costs with Pus­linch council and residents at the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the proposed Aikens­ville gravel pit.

Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj said in an interview prior to the Jan. 29 county council meeting that Maieron simply did not follow standard rules in pre­senting his five motions to the planning committee.

She noted he had the option of asking for those motions to be included on the agenda, but he did not do that. Instead, he opted to bring them to the com­mittee’s deliberations with no information available.

“So, we went no further,” said Ross-Zuj. “We need staff to prepare information.”

At the council meeting later that day, Maieron again at­temp­ted to move a motion and Ross-Zuj told him the same thing.

Maieron asked that a re­com­mendation made by plan­ning department head Gary Cousins be endorsed.

Planning committee chairman Walter Trachsel said Cousins made no recom­mendation, but just pro­vided information.

Ross-Zuj told Maieron his issue could be placed on the next planning committee agenda, and then it could be discussed.