HURON-KINLOSS – Council expressed concerns over county matters that will impact municipalities, beginning with county development charges and the Good Growth discussion paper.
The former looked to Coun. Jim Hanna like “another form of taxation.” He went on to say, “Why not just raise taxes? Why attack development?”
Other members of council shared the opinion. Deputy Mayor Don Murray, who chaired the Oct. 18 meeting, suggested putting that in comments sent back to the county.
“Some of this is about transparency. When we collect development charges, the money is spent close to home … it’s not clear where the county money is going,” said Coun. Ed McGugan.
And he agreed it looks like a tax.
As for the Good Growth discussion paper, council disagreed with the assessment that Huron-Kinloss’s existing urban areas will not be fully developed before the year 2046, the span of the paper that will form part of the new county Official Plan. The general opinion of council is this is inaccurate and will constrain growth within the township.
Huron-Kinloss council also commented on the county’s Master Transportation Plan, supporting county-wide accessible transportation and encouraging conversations between the county and SMART (Saugeen Mobility and Regional Transit).
At present, the county has no public transit, apart from a number of independent providers including SMART that provide service for those who have physical or mental challenges that preclude travel by conventional transit or taxi.
McGugan spoke eloquently on behalf of SMART, stating the fleet has “significantly improved” due to Investing in Canada Infrastructure funding. There are now fewer vehicles, but they are of much better quality and more versatile.
He noted Huron-Kinloss has been a “pretty stalwart supporter of SMART for many years,” and said the success of the program is a “credit to the people who support it.” McGugan added that he’d like to see it supported on a “larger basis…. It’s a good operating system that can be built on.”
The Master Transportation Plan MTP forms the basis to guide future transportation decisions for the development of county roads and trails, cycling facilities, and the county’s role in public transit services, according to a report by clerk Emily Dance.
The MTP is available for a 30-day review period ending on Oct. 29.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times