All talk and no action appears to be what led to a meeting between municipal leaders and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday.
Members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus sat down with Premier Wynne in Kingston to discuss a number of issues affecting rural residents including soaring hydro rates, access to natural gas and the need for infrastructure investments.
Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff told the committee of the whole Thursday that members of EWOC felt like they were suffering from ‘issue fatigue’ and only getting ‘lip service’ from past municipal conferences so they cancelled an upcoming breakfast with the Premier to ‘refocus’ their energy. The mayor said he thinks that’s what persuaded Wynne to call the Wednesday meeting.
He added the Premier was very attentive to the severity of the situation. He suspected that’s because there are 120 municipalities within EWOC representing 1.4 million residents.
Hastings County CAO Jim Pine was also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting with the Premier. He agreed with Quaiff that the meeting went well. He told the committee of the whole that it’s important for the province to consider investing $1.5 billion over 20 years to expand natural gas to residents and farmers in eastern and south western Ontario. He explained it’s a big economic tool.
Other topics of interest included requesting support for the Marmora Pump storage project, Picton Terminals expansion and increasing mobile broadband services.
The next wardens’ caucus is in Peterborough on October 21.