Kincardine councillors meet with education, infrastructure ministers at ROMA



By Barb McKay


Municipality of Kincardine Mayor Anne Eadie had only positive things to say about last week’s Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference.


The annual conference, which this year was held in Toronto from Jan. 27-29, allows municipal officials to network, hear presentations on important rural issues and take part in workshops on matters relevant to rural municipalities. The conference also allows municipal council representatives to meet with provincial government ministers to discuss issues pertaining to their municipality. Eadie said she found this year’s conference to be especially beneficial.


The variety of workshops and trade show booths gave those attending lots of choice to find topics relevant to your municipality – from natural gas to cannabis to autonomous vehicles,” she said. “I would rate this conference as one of the better ones.”


Eadie has attended many ROMA conferences in the past and has found them worthwhile, and was pleased that new Kincardine council members were able to attend for the first time.


“One of the highlights for me was watching the enthusiasm of our new council members as they met with ministers, talked about presentations and learned about different aspects of municipal government,” she told the Independent via email on Friday.


Eadie said Kincardine’s delegation with Huron-Bruce MPP and Education Minister Lisa Thompson and her staff was a good two-way exchange regarding the educational needs of this community.


“Most of the discussion centered on our current need for a new high school with broader programming in the tech and trades to support our local economic development,” she said.


“We also met with senior staff in the ministry of infrastructure to discuss our need to finance more water, sewer and road projects for the growth we are experiencing while still maintaining our existing infrastructure. We learned there is the possibility of another phase of federal – provincial grants in 2019 that could apply to some of our infrastructure projects.”


Eadie said during the conference’s Ministers’ Forum, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clarkprovided a summary of the provincial government’s overall plans for this term.


“One (plan) relevant to most of Ontario is how to address the need for ‘affordable housing’,” she said. “He also pointed out the need to find strategies to make housing for the average income earner more attainable.


Eadie said a highlight of the conference for her was a presentation on Jan. 27 by keynote speaker Dr. Lance Secretan.


“His excellent presentation centered on the ways a leader can inspire others, resulting in a more productive organization where people are enthusiastic about their work,” she said.