Farmers’ concerns taken seriously

Mayor Mike Broomhead said Welling­ton North councillors are taking seriously the concerns of its agricultural community.

A recent delegation raised considerable concern over the impact development charges will have on farm operations in the township. The issue came up again on Monday night, when councillor John Matusi­nec referred to the delegation the week before. He asked if council is moving on the issue.

Mayor Mike Broomhead said there are a few things the municipality is getting consultant CN Watson to look into in regard to the questions that were asked about the impact of development charges on non-residential farm properties.

In particular, Broomhead said there are certain items for which grants could be that should not have development charges applied – such as nutrient management. “We wanted to verify the information.”

He added that council may end up having CN Watson representative Gary Scanlon speak to council directly. There are just too many questions, be­cause when you answer one thing, other questions crop up, he said.

He said it is especially im­portant in the area of nutrient management and if changes would affect the grants.

Broomhead said that Scan­lon would first need to be given a heads-up on the type of questions council would be asking.

“We need to get him here to explain it to us.”

He said the reason is if a public meeting is needed, council will need to have the proper answers.

Matusinec said he hopes the answers might slow down the number of calls he has been getting at home.

Broomhead said he has re­ceived quite a few phone calls himself.

“What I say to people on the phone is that we are paying attention to what we were told that night. We’re doing our homework. We don’t want to give a spot answer. We want to give proper answers to the questions that were asked.”

He said, “If they are still upset after council members have answered the questions, that’s a different thing. But give us an opportunity to answer your questions properly.”

He said if council is going to respond,  it needs to be able to provide the whole story. “I think that’s the best way to do it.”

He believes council needed to view the issue as a whole, rather than focus on specific individual concerns.

“If people still think we should have a public meeting, we should do that too.”