North Dundas voters need to elect a ‘hands-on’ management team

Construction on Queen St. West, on the even of the Chesterville Fair. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

The Editor:

It’s my true hope the citizens of North Dundas will treat the Oct. 17-22 municipal election as a chance to elect a management team that will run the township, not a mere rubber stamp approving the whims and desires of an unelected bureaucracy that otherwise calls the shots.

Please, let’s not make this the usual popularity contest. There is too much at stake for voters, including our tax dollars. It’s time to take back control. Our elected representatives have too eagerly handed off authority to officials and other bodies — and washed their hands of inconvenient responsibility. You know it’s become ridiculous when a North Dundas farmer has to call the Ottawa fire service for permission to burn a brush pile. And don’t get me started on the Municipal Property Assessment corporation; MPAC technically works on behalf of the township, yet our politicians throw up their hands when you ask them about it. It’s not their problem, and they like it that way. We need politicians willing to roll up their sleeves and demand better service from an agency like MPAC that is supposed to be serving North Dundas residents.

A hands-on, management-focused council would never have erected those rinky-dink, upright speed signs in the middle of the road in an agricultural community travelled by large tractors. When our politicians decide they can start experimenting with our tax dollars on city-style vanity items, it points to a much larger problem.

A hands-on, management-focused council would take a skeptical view of the fee increases senior staff have been selling them over the years. Someone needs to tell them ‘no’ for once — for the good of the township economy. It’s gotten so bad now, a builder must pay tens of thousands of dollars to North Dundas before driving a single nail on a new building. We’re told such fees are competitive with Ottawa. Only a lemming — not a leader — would accept this line of thinking as reasonable in North Dundas.

A hands-on, management-focused council would never have allowed Queen Street to be a torn up mess during the Chesterville Fair. The politicians can all too easily and conveniently blame someone else — the United Counties roads department, etc. But they should have cracked the whip to ensure the North Dundas roads superintendent made it his life’s calling — starting in February or March — to ensure his counterpart at SD&G got that job done in time for the Fair. The usual hands-off, deferential approach gave us the opposite result.

A hands-on, management-focused council would stop allowing officials to have roads rebuilt with sky-high, flat tops — e.g. Boyne Rd. and Kittle Rd. — rather than the standard gentle slope from centre to encourage better drainage. The taxpayer ends up paying for many more potholes in the end.

A hands-on, management-focused council would do a better job of fairly distributing tax dollars on projects throughout the municipality. They would also take care to ensure employees are hired from North Dundas and contracts are awarded to companies in the township as well.

I encourage the candidates in North Dundas to think long and hard about such things before making decisions at the council table, if elected. And to the ratepayers and voters, I urge you to listen very closely to the promises made at the all-candidate meetings.

Jack Durant

North Dundas

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