Shocking, ridiculous, an embarrassment those were the words used by County residents and even the mayor following a special meeting on council size Thursday where a tie vote resulted in keeping the status quo.
The County just completed months of public consultation aimed at getting feedback and after 649 people filled out surveys with the majority in favour of downsizing to 10 councillors, a mayor and two wards – the committee of the whole voted it down along with a second place 12 councillor three ward option.
Then the committee proceeded to hold four separate votes weighing each of the original plans against one another until it came down to 12 councillors and three wards or status quo which was split 8-8.
(Councillors in favour of three wards: Treat Hull, Jim Dunlop, Barry Turpin, Kevin Gale, Lenny Epstein, Bill Roberts, Brad Nieman and Robert Quaiff. Councillors in favour of status quo: Roy Pennell, Steven Graham, Gordon Fox, Jamie Forrester, Dianne O’Brien, Janice Maynard, Steven Ferguson and David Harrison)
Unless council changes its direction at its next regular meeting on November 10, the County will keep its 15 councillors plus a mayor and 10 wards intact.
In an interview following the meeting which a handful of resident walked out of voicing negative remarks, Mayor Robert Quaiff thanked staff for their countless hours hosting nine public meetings aimed at informing the public of four plans and getting feedback.
Quaiff who ran his campaign on downsizing and submitted the 10 councillor two ward plan said it is unfortunate that it has come back to status quo.
“We didn’t make any head room and quite frankly the process the way that we handled things is embarrassing,” he said. “It is totally embarrassing. All it would have taken is direction on voting on one (plan) at a time. I’m positive that this council would have gotten back down to status quo and that vote would have prevailed which it did and in my opinion it has.”