New council: ‘working together to move Brockton forward’

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody opened the inaugural meeting of the 2022-26 term of council by thanking the citizens of Brockton for another four years.

The meeting took place in the county council chamber on Nov. 15, for the first time since the pandemic.

He commented that 75 per cent of the previous term was during the COVID pandemic, and all that it entailed for the municipality.

As is customary at the beginning of a new term of council, Peabody announced a list of priorities for the new council, beginning with “working collaboratively.” He explained that differing opinions are a given, but the focus must be on moving forward.

One area where moving forward is happening is the East Ridge area, not just the business park, but the entire hill – homes, recreation facilities, the hospice, and retirement home.

The focus in Brockton will continue to be on the viability of the hospital, physician recruitment and keeping the emergency department open. He commended the members of the new council who served on the previous council and “took on the challenge of keeping it (the ER) open.”

Peabody also spoke of the Epcor natural gas project in rural parts of the municipality, and Brockton’s efforts to partner with a non-profit for construction of affordable housing on a piece of municipal property. He made note of the ongoing opioid crisis, and how it’s affecting the municipality.

The mayor thanked staff, in particular, the senior management team, and the CAO “for her leadership” in the enormous amount of work that’s been done, and remains to be done, and spoke of “working together to move Brockton forward.”

Next to speak was Deputy Mayor James Lang.

“It’s humbling to sit at this table,” he said, adding that he appreciates “being here for another four years.”

Coun. Carl Kuhnke thanked all the residents of Brockton, and promised to serve the community well.

Coun. Greg McLean said it was “truly an honour” to be elected to council, and thanked all those who put their trust in him.

“This is an exciting place to be,” he said.

Coun. Tim Elphick congratulated his fellow councillors and said, “It’s an honour to be here.” He urged his fellow councillors to “keep an open mind and be persistent.” There’ll be difficult decisions to be made, and he wished everyone a successful term of council.

Coun. Mitch Clark thanked Brockton for electing him to council, and said all members of council will serve the community well. He thanked staff for their “exceptional work.”

Coun. Kym Hutcheon, who, like Peabody, Lang and Elphick, also served on the former council, thanked the residents of Brockton for electing her to another term.

There were a number of reports presented during the meeting. CAO Sonya Watson commented on “the amazing amount” of work that the municipality has going on.

Among the items listed under “correspondence” was the upcoming ROMA (Rural Ontario Municipal Association) conference. Peabody will be attending as part of Bruce County. There will be four delegations, one dealing with courthouse costs and the OPP contract, another with the associate minister of mental health and addictions, a third on brownfields, and the fourth on keeping hospital emergency departments open.

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