Peabody concerned about impact of impending education strike on municipal daycare centre

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody commented that a lot of parents have expressed concern over what happens at the Brockton Daycare Centre if education workers go on strike.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen Friday,” he said.

Some boards have said they’ll keep schools open in the event of a strike. The Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board could also decide to close St. Teresa of Calcutta School, where the daycare centre is located.

“We’re not sure what their course of action will be,” the mayor said, noting the municipality, parents and employees are “caught in the middle” of the dispute between union and province.

“There’s a lot of concern.”

Although not a formal item on the agenda of the Brockton council meeting Tuesday evening, the situation will be closely watched by both council and staff.

As the current term of council draws to a close and the newly-elected council prepares to take office, three members of the current Brockton council were honoured at the Nov. 1 meeting for their service to the community.

Presented with council recognition certificates were Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak, Coun. Steve Adams and Coun. Dean Leifso.

“There’s a lot of years of service there,” said Peabody.

This week there’s also a meeting of Bruce County council. As of press time, the agenda appeared fairly light.

“With four new mayors (of eight in Bruce County), the focus is on the transition,” said Peabody.

He has previously stated he plans to run for Bruce County Warden when the new council takes office.

Peabody said the results of the recent municipal election may warrant a look at the decision to go with internet voting. While it was done in an effort to increase voter turnout, it hasn’t had the results that were hoped for. Voter turnout in municipal election 2022 was only 33 per cent, according to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario website.

“Not having a voting day takes the focus off the election,” he said, noting “there’s something very special” about the traditional symbols of voting – casting one’s ballot at a polling station as part of a community.

“Internet voting doesn’t feel special,” he said. “It feels like paying a bill on the internet.”

Peabody described one municipality’s efforts to increase voter turnout. In Grey Highlands, a special group formed to try to get more people to cast their ballots. Even with four candidates’ meetings and other efforts, they were only successful in increasing turnout by two per cent, he said.

After four elections using internet voting, going back to paper ballots and polling stations probably wouldn’t work, he said. However, a hybrid system that combines internet voting with two or three locations where people can cast their ballots in the tradition manner, might.

“Hybrid (voting) did have good results,” the mayor said.

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