Peabody sets priorities for new Brockton council term

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said prior to Tuesday night’s inaugural council meeting that he’s looking forward to laying out priorities and setting the tone for the coming term.

Topping his list of priorities is establishing a good working relationship with all members of council. They have to feel free to express their opinions, but after the vote, they need to accept the decision and get on with business. Peabody also said council’s working relationship with the various boards and committees can’t be ignored, particularly with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority and Saugeen Municipal Airport.

Development of East Ridge Business Park is a close second on the mayor’s priority list. “I want to see the whole hill developed,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to seeing the townhomes built on Old Durham Road, and the apartment building going up on top of the east ridge.

Peabody noted there’s a gas station going in, and contractors are building at the back of the business park. There’s talk of someone wanting to build a training centre, which the mayor described as “exciting,” and of course the retirement home.

“There are more than a dozen projects,” he said. Working collaboratively with staff and developers will be especially important, now that the Minister’s Zoning Order has given the green light to development.

The mayor’s list of development priorities go beyond the business park. Peabody said he’s eager to get natural gas into the rural areas. “I want to ensure that gets completed,” he said.

Housing continues to be high on the mayor’s priority list. Brockton is looking for a partner in the non-profit sector to build affordable housing on a piece of municipal land.

While getting housing for those who are living on the streets is not in the municipal sphere, this, too, is on Peabody’s priority list, along with dealing with the accompanying issues of addiction and mental health. The mayor has requested a meeting with Ontario’s associate minister of mental health and addictions, Michael Tibollo, at the upcoming ROMA conference.

Local health care remains an ongoing concern. Peabody wants to ensure the community has “a fully functioning hospital,” with an emergency department that’s open and adequately staffed.

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