Peabody: Municipal elections shaping up to be contentious in some municipalities

·2 min read

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody, one of three mayors in Bruce County who have been acclaimed in the 2022 municipal election, has his eye on other local races, some of which promise to be quite contentious.

With both mayor and deputy mayor acclaimed, and six people running for five council positions, Brockton is pretty much the exception to the local trend where some long-time mayors are fighting for political survival and several new candidates are vying with incumbents for council positions.

“There’ll be a lot of interesting races,” he said.

However, as Peabody explained, Brockton has had its share of “tumultuous” election campaigns in the past, for example, following the water tragedy.

“It goes in cycles,” he said.

Peabody also spoke about another item in the news locally, expressing his disappointment in what’s happening with Saugeen Hospice Inc.

“I’m disappointed it’s not going quicker,” he said, adding that while it’s gratifying to hear that funds being held in trust for the “south build” have been released to Saugeen Hospice Inc., it’s a major disappointment that the application process for the six beds will have to be repeated.

“Despite five years of work, the clock is being set back to zero,” said the mayor. “I know they’ll stay motivated … but unfortunately they’re not being given credit by the Ministry of Health for the work they’ve already done … it’s not fair.”

He noted that Ontario’s health minister, Sylvia Jones, had stated the ministry will “have to do its due diligence with the Saugeen Hospice group.”

The delay is “bad news” for a community that has strived to ensure the local area has residential hospice care close to home.

While Peabody is disappointed, he also expressed optimism about Saugeen Hospice’s “ability to get the job done.”

Peabody continues to look at the role agency nurses are playing in the local hospital and long-term care crisis. He stated he wants to make the numbers available to the public on the amount of money that’s going to the agencies themselves.

“I want the breakdown public,” he said.

He noted that while the amount the county has paid agency nurses at Brucelea Haven and Gateway Haven has been offset in part by the amount not paid in wages and benefits, there’s still over $340,000.

“It’s pushed the county into a deficit position,” he said.

Another possible expense the county faces stems from the ongoing court case involving the Krug Estate and the museum’s purchase of the historic manse building in Southampton. A hearing was held at the end of August in which both the county and heritage group made proposals on what comes next. The judge will announce the decision at the end of September. The county was found in breach of trust for use of funds from the estate to purchase the property.

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