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  • Writer's pictureRobin Plumb

Leverage Our Expertise, Experience, and Resources to Build a Better Carling and West Parry Sound

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Almost 30% of all our tax dollars go to fund facilities and services in Parry Sound and elsewhere. That proportion is about to increase to almost 40% next year and beyond because of major commitments to fund new recreational facilities and a new pool in Parry Sound.

Because of its financial support, Carling appoints council members and staff representatives to sit on most of the management boards of these organizations and therefore has the ability to influence how those services are delivered and facilities are managed. With the right people elected to Council, we could bring valuable experience and expertise to those organizations and help them to be more effective and efficient--and perhaps even lessen the tax burden on the area's ratepayers.

In a similar vein, a Council with members experienced in executive level relationship management could also be highly effective in managing Carling's interactions with the Province, the Federal government, and our various regional partners.

Our council members should be in frequent and regular contact at the senior political and bureaucratic levels of key ministries to ensure that Council is aware of legislative and administrative initiatives that could impact us and to advocate for financial support (grants) and other priorities. For example, the delay to the long-overdue reconstruction of Highway 559 seemed to come as a surprise to Council (the work being done now is a temporary fix and likely means an even longer delay to the proper repairs). We should have appointed, years ago, one experienced councillor (or the mayor) to meet or confer at least monthly with the senior bureaucrat in charge of the highways program, once a month with the MPP, twice a year with the Deputy Minister, and once a year with the Minister of Transportation (via the MPP). On important matters, it pays to be relentless.

I believe the greatest potential long-term benefit from strong relationship management is in regards to the various provincial and federal agencies in charge of major funding and development programs. There are quite a number of such programs for rural areas with hundreds of millions of dollars to spread around. We should have a dedicated committee headed by an experienced councillor that seeks out and reviews all such programs and funding opportunities and presents them for Council to assess and set priorities for pursuing those important sources of funding. This could be hugely beneficial to us.

Experienced professionals know how to build relationships and work with others to get things done. We have an opportunity in this election to seat three highly capable and experienced people, including myself. Please look closely at the candidates and vote only for those three if you like what they have to offer. (And note that you are not required to vote for each of the four councillor positions and in fact should not. A vote for anyone other than those you really want to see elected works against them.)

Review Performance and Take the Initiative

Council should review the performance of each recipient of taxpayer subsidies, like the Parry Sound Library and our own Community Centre, and challenge those recipients to do better and get directly involved in driving changes and improvements.

Leverage the Resources of the Whole Community

Carling has a wealth of resources and expertise upon which it can draw for guidance, advice, and assistance. Our community includes many people with experience in health care, public policy, finance, accounting, marketing, architecture, heavy construction, technology, engineering, social work, residential development, taxes, law, and just about every other discipline. I'm sure that many of those people would be willing to donate their time and expertise for the right project and the right Council.

Our Council should consider the creation of ad hoc advisory groups (formal or informal) and draw upon them as appropriate on any significant issues, initiatives, or projects. Not only would this help Carling to make the right decisions and get things done the right way but it would also help to broaden the sense of community.

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