Peabody pleased with discussion at all-candidates meeting

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said that overall, he’s pleased with the Sept. 28 all-candidates meeting at Victoria Jubilee Hall, conducted by the Rotary Club of Walkerton.

“I’m pleased with the level of the questions,” he said. “There was good discussion, a good debate.”

However, there are changes he said he’d like to see at future meetings. One is having the meeting for municipal candidates separate from school trustees. It’s done in other communities, he said, adding that he’d like to end the present practice of meetings for both sets of candidates in Walkerton.

Peabody noted that discussion “on whether to fly the PRIDE flag at Sacred Heart High School” took up 45 minutes of debate time, that he would have liked to see devoted to such key municipal issues as getting more support for, and better attendance at Victoria Jubilee Hall.

Full agenda at county council

Peabody’s other focus is on the Oct. 6 meeting of Bruce County Council. For the first time in quite a while, there’s a full agenda with a number of important items.

Claire Dodds, the new director of planning and development, has prepared an eight-page report on growth management, in reference to the county’s new Official Plan.

Peabody said that report discusses constraints in the Provincial Policy Statement of 2020 that limit what the county can do. As stated in the report, “The PPS requires that land budgeting be done through a process called a ‘comprehensive review’ that is undertaken at the scale of a ‘Regional Marketing Area.’”

Peabody said the report addresses many of the issues he’s raised at the county level on behalf of Brockton. “Brockton’s front and centre in the report,” he said. “They’re (the county) trying to address it … it makes no sense at all to have Walkerton sacrifice growth to other Bruce County municipalities.”

The report states, “Walkerton is approaching the limits of its urban boundary. So while the scale countywide land budget shows a surplus to 2046, Walkerton, a fully-serviced urban community, commercial centre and service centre with a hospital, paramedic base, police detachment and schools, is approaching land supply constraints that, unaddressed, could see potential growth directed elsewhere. Brockton has sought to address short to medium-term supply concerns through a Minister’s Zoning Order.”

It’s not the only item of immediate interest on the county agenda.

Peabody, who chairs the long-term care homes committee of management, noted the long-term care report for August and September contains information on an inspection that occurred in July at Brucelea Haven, regarding critical incidents and complaints. The report stated an action plan has been developed to address the situation.

As stated in the Ministry of Long-Term Care inspection report that’s linked to the county agenda item, the complaint involved allegations of abuse of residents by staff. The inspection determined an agency support worker (PSW) was found to be working in the home without having received training on the home’s policy to promote zero tolerance of abuse and neglect.

Peabody said he found the incident “disturbing,” particularly since it involved an agency person, not a regular staff member.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times