Council candidate wants prosperity for Grey Highlands

Grey Highlands council candidate Emmett Ferguson wants to see prosperity in the municipality.

Ferguson is a partner in Eko Nomos Inc., a consultancy he shares with his mother, Mary Ferguson. The business is based in Kimberley where he grew up. They work with many clients in the public and non-profit sectors as researchers, writers and editors, evaluators and facilitators. Ferguson holds a BAHon and an MA from the University of Toronto and serves as a volunteer director of the South Grey Museum Board and the Heritage Advisory Committee.

Ferguson’s interests and hobbies include: being a habitual afternoon walker along Sideroad 7A and Shilvock Sideroad. He is also an amateur cook, miniature painter and games master.

He is running for council because he feels he has something to offer and wants to see Grey Highlands succeed.

“Grey Highlands is my home, I want us to be prosperous, and I think I have some good skills to share in service of the public good. I was raised in Grey Highlands, and it’s clear to me that the coming years will bring lots of changes for everyone here: changes in our villages, in our farms, in population, in the climate and our whole ecosystem,” he said. “On balance I am hopeful, but in practice I can see that many people haven’t felt properly heard in some important decisions and changes made by council these last few years. In my experience, we must be creative to find good solutions to tough problems and my concern to date is that our council’s definitions of success have been too narrow.”

In his campaign, Ferguson is focusing on a number of issues including:

“Sometimes we can only anticipate change, and sometimes we can create it. Sometimes we just have to hope and trust, but I know most often you have to reach out, reach in, and work hard to get to the future you want. My hope is that the next council will work together as a team with us, with you to make sure that whatever the change, Grey Highlands is prepared,” he said.

Ferguson said he is interested in exploring ways to bring local communities back into the decision-making process.

“Currently the municipality's governance by committees is divided strongly along 'sector' lines, and much as it happens in higher levels of governance, this can place communities in seeming competition for resources. From a financial reporting perspective then, I would hope to see more in terms of accounting to show that we are clearly providing equal levels of service across and between our villages and townships and rural routes,” he said. “Of course, nothing is ever 'precisely equal', so moreover my hope would be to strongly incorporate village-level committees so that more legitimate decisions be made and discussions had in the public interest, based on the different priorities our communities will always express.”

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca