Sunday, January 24, 2021

Residents Helped to Get Council to Pause on ITFD Plans

Editor,

In the December 9 Meaford Independent’s article covering the Municipality of Meaford’s deferral of the sale of their 25% equity interest in the Inter-township Fire Department, no reference was made to the primary reason why six Council members voted in favour of taking more time to ensure that the interests of those most impacted were being considered.

Two concerned taxpayers presented a deputation to Council on Monday which included a petition supported by 449 residents of the former Sydenham Township (who originally owned the equity prior to amalgamation). All the names were gathered in less than ten days and during pandemic challenges!

The petition was created after a very brief page of information was mailed to 1,700 Sydenham-area households in the first week of November. It announced a public open house to be held two weeks later, with Council approving two weeks from then and the decision to take effect January 1, 2021! Citizens were not supporting nor opposing the proposal; they simply asked for more time to fully understand the long-term implications and alternatives. The petition was clear in asking Council to defer their decision on the sale of its equity in ITFD to at least April 30th of 2021 or a later date of Council’s choosing. It was suggested that in the interim, a small working group could be formed, comprised of Council members, staff, knowledgeable firefighting and concerned taxpayers to examine the facts, share a summary to the community, and then let the community decide about the sale.

Donna Mitchell, Annan

Editor’s Note: A fine effort by Sydenham residents to engage in the process, and an oversight on my part for not noting the petition in the article.

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