Councillors reflected on 2007 committees

Centre Well­ington councillors sit on sev­eral committees apiece, and some of those do not receive much attention during the year, even if they do needed work.
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj gave her councillors an oppor­tunity at the final meeting of 2007 to provide highlights from their committees for the past year.
Councillor Walt Visser said the new environmental com­mit­tee has accomplished little because the new structure has members “on a learning curve.”
But, he said, its members are considering sewer and water education for consumers, and they are also “looking into a cosmetic pesticides bylaw.”
The Greenlands committee of which Visser is a member distributed 5,000 trees in Cen­tre Wellington last year, and will do that again this year. It will also work to distribute trees from the county and its Green Legacy program.
Councillor Bob Foster said he is impressed with the mem­bers of his recreation and cul­ture committee. He said a high­light is the violence free policy it helped develop for users of municipal facilities. He called it “a policy of respect, fair play, and Sportsmanship.”
Foster noted the committee has also kept up to date on the alcohol policy and rule chan­ges, and ensures the correct num­ber of security personnel are present for events on town­ship property.
He added that the launch of the In Motion program was a highlight of 2007, an attempt to help get all residents “in motion” and healthy.
He noted the launch is Oc­tober “was a super event” that involved over 5,000 residents from the township.
Councillor Shawn Watters said that the planning com­mittee has some veterans and some new people, including a new chairman in Vinnie Green.
But, Watters noted, its big focus is the township bylaws and he said the task is “daunt­ing” because all the detail can become “tedious” while remain­ing very important.
“We’re getting into the nuts and bolts,” he said.
Councillor Ron Hallman sits on the Hydro Commission and said 2007 was a busy year.
He said the hydro is moving to “smart meters” and added, “We are organized and ready to go.”
Hallman said the hope is users, homeowners and indus­try, will be able to get “cheaper electricity.”
Hallman said he knows when something is working so well that he simply leaves it alone. He sits on the Victoria Park seniors’ centre committee.
“They do so well I don’t in­terfere much. They do a great job,” he said.
He added that the Farm Safety Association also does a good job in promoting safety in the farming community through­out the township, and the county
Councillor Fred Morris said the budget committee used new methods last year, and senior staff “was amazingly patient.”
But, he added, the first budget saw a reduction of township debt by “almost $1-million.”
And, he added, the tax in­crease from last year was the lowest since Centre Wellington was formed in 1999. On the median assessment of $215,000, the tax increase was $25 in 2007.
Morris noted, too, that the township, like elsewhere, con­tinues to face challenges in re­pairing and replacing infra­structure.
Morris said Heritage Centre Wellington had ten new desig­nations in 2007, and is hoping for ten more this year.
He noted that the developer involved in the restoration of the James McQueen house has been nominated for a heritage award and will place a plaque on the site. He said that shows Centre Wellington can work with developers.
Morris said the Fergus BIA held several successful events, including a gift to the local women’s shelter, the food bank, and attracted people with a number of events, including a downtown car show. The com­mittee was also involved with the Dec. 31 launch of the Fer­gus 175th anniversary celebra­tions.
Councillor Kirk McElwain said the Elora BIA has seen re­sults, with new signs in the downtown, as well as on the highway. He noted that group has purchased more garbage cans and benches, placed flow­ers on the bride, and set up a plaza on Mill Street at the old bridge.
McElwain said Monster Month in October continues to be a big attraction to Elora, and that at the annual general meet­ing this year, the Elora BIA had its first budget increase in 15 years.
He added it is also con­sid­ering expanding its coverage area to include the entire business district, and it is also doing a member survey.
As for the economic devel­op­ment committee, McElwain said it has set up three sub­committees for such things as growth, marketing and a down­town management plan.
”We’re learning where we can find funds,” he said, adding that the committee will be working closely with the plan­ning department for downtown revitalization and brownfield considerations.
McElwain said a green business park plan is “in its infancy” but will include such things as broadband availabi­l­ity, with the intent to attract business that is non-polluting and not necessarily needing or heavily using infrastructure such as roads.
He said that the local com­mittee will be working with the county on some of those issues. “We got a good buy-in from the county.”
Ross-Zuj thanked her councillors and their committee members.
“You can see they’ve been busy,” she said.