Joe Faas on 2020-2021

·2 min read

“Difficult” is how North Kent councillor Joe Faas describes 2020.

“This year has been really challenging with COVID-19,” the Ward 4 representative says.

“It’s been a trying year.”

Not only did the pandemic bring physical distancing and mask wearing to all, it also forced council to operate virtually.

“When meeting in person there’s a before and after opportunity to bounce things off of other councillors.’

Opportunities are lost, says Faas, when people can’t meet face to face.

But aside from COVID-19, the veteran councillor says council faced another huge issue with flooding along the Lake Erie shore.

“That’s a really devastating issue,” Faas explains, adding the future is uncertain when it comes to the erosion issue.

The changes the province has made with regard to operation of local conservation authorities is another concerning issue, Faas says, as he Chatham-Kent’s representative on the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority.

“No one is sure how this is going to play out,” he adds.

As far as accomplishing personal goals on council in 2020, Faas says he doesn’t think of his work for the municipality in that way.

“It’s hard to pinpoint goals as we work as a team,” he says.

Gains by council this year include the strides made towards combatting homelessness.

Council recently approved funding to hire an Indwell housing project coordinator to help improve access to housing.

Indwell is a Christian charity that specializes in providing supportive housing to low-income residents who may face other challenges.

“There’s a real shortage of housing and this needs to be addressed,” Faas says.

There’s also a need to assist first-time homebuyers and lower income people to get into the housing market, he says.

Stimulating the economy, particularly when the pandemic ends, is something else he says Chatham-Kent needs to do.

“It’s a variable,” Faas. “Once we get past covid, nobody really knows.

“It will be a new normal and it will be more cautious.”

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald