Saturday, March 2, 2024

Advisory Committees a Great Way to Participate in the Municipal Governance Process

When we think of municipal governance, we most often think of elected members of council and municipal staff, but there is another crucial component to effective governance, and that is via advisory committees to council.

Any municipal council can benefit from advice provided by residents. Our community has a wealth of residents with a wide range of experience and expertise that can be put to good use on a council advisory committee.

Some folks don’t want jump into the political ring, seeking election to council. They don’t have the time for the enormous workload, or they don’t want the many frustrations that come along with the job, but they want to contribute to their community in meaningful way. Serving on an advisory committee could be the opportunity for engagement in the municipal governance process that they have been looking for.

Meaford’s council is currently seeking volunteers to sit on seven newly created council advisory committees. The seven committees will be formally established next month, and will operate for the remainder of this term of council, which ends in 2026. The terms of reference for each committee will be provided to council for consideration at their February 12 meeting, and then all that will be needed will be a roster of volunteers willing to offer their time and expertise in order to advise council on a range of issues.

Six of the seven advisory committees (Accessibility, Heritage, Ensuring Sustainability, Growing our Economy, Strengthening our Community, and Investing in Infrastructure) will meet every other month on Wednesdays at 2 p.m., while the Pumped Storage Advisory Committee will meet monthly on Thursdays at 5 p.m.

As you can see from the list of seven advisory committees, council is seeking volunteers from a range of backgrounds, with a range of interests. If you have ever considered getting involved in municipal governance, these seven advisory committees offer an opportunity to do just that.

When I watch advisory committee meetings (streamed live and archived on the Municipality of Meaford’s Youtube channel), I am always impressed with the wealth of knowledge and experience that volunteer committee members bring to the table. These committee members can help to broaden the vision of council as a whole by exposing members of council to opinions and ideas that they might not have otherwise entertained. In short, volunteer advisory committees can help to shape the future of this community by providing sound advice to council prior to council making their own, binding, decisions.

Whether you have a passion for heritage preservation, or if you are a financial guru with ideas to share, or if you want to help advise council regarding the proposed pumped storage facility, now is your opportunity to get involved, and to share your knowledge and experience by serving on a council advisory committee.

Below is the list of the seven advisory committees along with a brief description of the focus of each committee. If one of those committees is of interest to you, an application must be submitted to the municipal office by Friday, March 1 (details below).

I would encourage anyone who has some time to spare and some knowledge or experience to share to consider applying for an appointment to the advisory committee that best suits your personal set of skills and experience. Though it can be a rewarding experience for those who serve on advisory committees, and it can be a benefit to members of council who are tasked with making important decisions that impact us all, the community at large benefits the most, because such committees ensure that our council isn’t operating within a vacuum, but instead are receiving thoughtful, well-meaning advice from the everyday residents who take the time to serve on these committees.

So consider getting involved, consider stepping into the world of municipal governance, and consider helping to shape the future of this municipality by offering your service to one of the following advisory committees:

Accessibility Advisory Committee

This committee is responsible for fulfilling the duties outlined under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by providing advice to Council and staff on the removal of barriers associated with municipal programs, services, and policies.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Heritage Advisory Committee

This committee is to advise and assist Council on Ontario Heritage Act matters, including major heritage permits in the Downtown Meaford Heritage Conservation District.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Ensuring Sustainability Advisory Committee

This committee will provide advice to Council on policy matters related to sustainability in the Municipality, including climate change, waste, and environmental issues.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Growing our Economy Advisory Committee

This committee will provide advice to Council about all elements of economic development, including business development, tourism, and urban design.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Strengthening our Community Advisory Committee

This committee will focus on community support, including community safety and well-being, and parks, recreation, and culture.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Investing in Infrastructure Advisory Committee

This committee will provide advice to Council on asset management and long-term infrastructure planning, including roads, water and wastewater and facilities.

Meetings: Every other month, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Pumped Storage Advisory Committee

This committee will support Council by providing advice and community input to the Pumped Storage project and the associated environmental assessment and community benefit processes.

Meetings: Every month, Thursday at 5 p.m.

Applications are available online at or can be picked up at the Municipal office at 21 Trowbridge Street West. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions about how to obtain an application, contact Alex Croce at 519-538-1060 ext. 1110, or

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