Opinion – by Fred Groves

Filed under: Opinion |

In the past couple of months, I have been quite critical of Essex Town Council and there is a reason for it.

This is my hometown and I am proud of it, darn proud of it. My parents moved here in 1957, and while I have left to pound the keyboard in other towns, I always consider Essex as my home.

When I was growing up on Victoria Avenue, I lived in the Town of Essex. Those who resided in Harrow, Colchester, and McGregor were our neighbours.

Since the 1999 amalgamation, Essex has grown to include our neighbours and the only comment I have about that move is that in hindsight, it would have been better to rename our new municipality in order to cut through a lot of confusion that now exists with branding.

Essex, and that includes McGregor, Harrow, and Colchester, are smack in the midst of once again changing the political climate of our municipality.

There are three huge issues voters need to pay very close attention to, and I hope everyone realizes what these issues are.

First, and not in any specific order of importance here, in another couple of months, Colchester residents will go to the polls and elect a new Councillor to replace Bill Caxiero, who, to this date, has not given the reason why he resigned.

Second is one that I applaud the local Council for implementing, especially Harrow Councillor Sherry Bondy, and that’s electing the Deputy Mayor at large. This is a great move by our local Council and something that should have been done years ago.

Finally, and as part of the decision on the Deputy Mayor, is boundary changes. This is a biggie and I wish a few more people would have come out and heard how this is going to unfold. Kudos to Council for doing their due diligence on this process as they hired a consultant, held open houses, asked the general public to fill in questionnaires, and will next decide on what to do.

I suspect that we will see a shift from a four-ward system to five wards, but how this is split will be the tough decision to make.

In closing this time around, I want to say a big thanks to Sherry Bondy, Richard Meloche, and Randy Voakes for sending in their Letters to the Editor. They were well thought-out. And although I might not agree with them, and I know the feeling is probably mutual on some aspects, I respect their comments.

It’s nice to see that Mayor Ron McDermott and Councillor Voakes seem to, at least for now anyway, put aside their bickering and concentrating more on the business of the day to run our municipality.

Essex, McGregor, Colchester, Harrow, we are in this together and the next few months, and the fact that we are headed to a municipal election next year, should be taken very, very seriously.

One final note, the mayor’s idea to ban all electronic devices at meetings, I agree on that, however, Council members should be able to use them in case of emergencies to contact whomever they need to get a hold of.