Check out Wendy’s introductory speech to the business visits and lead programs recently announced by Jasmin Ralph, Economic Development Co-ordinator for the Town of Carleton Place. Search under Media, Speeches.
A few weeks ago, a group of students from Arklan Community Public School visited the Town Hall along with teacher, Heather Strachan, as part of their Social Studies program. Both Town Clerk, Duncan Rogers, and I were impressed by their knowledge of local government and the depth of their questions.
One particular question stood out for me, and I’ve thought about it – and my answer – numerous times since. Ten-year old James Horne asked, ‘What is the hardest part of your job?’ Now, it didn’t take me long to answer, ‘Making sure you make the right decisions and doing what’s best for the Town’. That truly is, of course, why we were elected, and the residents of the Town should expect nothing less.
Quite frankly, some decisions that we make are relatively straightforward, and do not require a great deal of research and study either by Council or Staff. However, many issues are exceptionally complex and have long-term implications for the future well-being of the community. Last year, for example, we dealt with the decision to extend McNeely Avenue linking Highways 7 and 15. What propelled us into making that decision was the fact that increased traffic was putting pressure on the 7 and 15 intersection. Further development along McNeely Avenue may have been limited until the town developed a solution satisfactory to the Ministry of Transport. A myriad of studies were conducted through the environmental assessment process before the extension of McNeely Avenue was given the green light. It then became imperative that the cost-sharing for the extension was worked out fairly among all the players – land owners, developers, various levels of government, and the Town. At the County level, following a presentation by our CAO to County Council members and staff, we successfully lobbied for the County to agree to take over the extension as a County road (the existing McNeely Avenue is already a county road) and to pay for additional lanes when growth requires. In conjunction with all the other issues, Staff worked to acquire an additional 35 acres of Employment Land west of Highway 15; this area will open for development when traffic lights are installed at the new intersection. I have really only skimmed the surface of the scope of this project, but it is an example of the complexities of the decisions that are made by your Council, be it planning for current and future sewer and water needs, lobbying for a new hospital, or scrutinizing the annual budget .
Complex issues require complex solutions. They also require an in-depth understanding of complex consequences that result from decisions. This is where a dedicated staff and council working together for the betterment of the community, make fiscally, socially, and environmentally responsible decisions to ensure that the town’s present and future is strong, secure, and sustainable.
Thanks, James, for your question. Sometimes, I wish we had a simple answer!
Click on Where’s Wendy to check out the list of events she will be participating in during February.
To read Wendy’s speech to members of the BIA at their Annual General Meeting on January 24, 2013, please click on Media, then Speeches. Of particular note in this speech are the issue of development on Employment Lands on Hooper Street, and the announcement about a partnership with Valley Heartland to support female entrepreneurs.
View Wendy’s Annual Review of 2012, delivered to Council on January 15, 2013, by clicking on Quarterly Reports.
About this time last year, a mother wrote telling me that there was nothing for her child to do in Carleton Place. Within 20 minutes, I had come up with a list of over 30, mostly free, activities that are readily available to our community’s young people. Sadly, when I sent off the email reply, it bounced back and she never received it, but I posted the list on my website ( www.wendyleblanc.ca) and hope that she did see it there.
Just this past October, we held a Seniors’ Forum in the new Carambeck Community Centre. Before the event, we had heard rumblings that some folks were dissatisfied with what the community had to offer to Seniors. So, we were very pleased that at the forum, attended by just under 100 people, the consensus was that Carleton Place is a great community for Seniors and that there are plenty of opportunities to participate in a wide variety of events.
The one thing common to both instances is that communication is key to letting our residents know what is available for all ages and stages of life. One of the major goals of this Council was – and still is – to communicate with our citizens. To that end, we have weekly slide shows at five public locations, set up FaceBook and Twitter accounts along with the Town website, advertised on the digital sign at Market Square, communicated through the Municipal Matters weekly column in the EMC as well as this monthly column, and published the annual Carleton Place Recreation and Culture Guide, listing all clubs and activities in town. The BIA also issues a newsletter and posts a website with town-wide events advertised. Both our Promotions Co-ordinator and our Community Programmer work hard to make sure the message is sent out in a variety of ways to ensure everyone has the opportunity to find out what’s on in Carleton Place. Yet, it seems that we still miss people!
I would be pleased to hear if you have any suggestions for improving our communications. And certainly, if you have any ideas about possible changes to, or additional programs or events you would like to see in Carleton Place, please let me know or contact Jessica Smith, our Community Programmer, at 613-257-1704.
One of the participants in the Seniors Forum stated, ’Carleton Place is a great town and I am thrilled we chose to live here.’ What can we do to make it even better?
Check out Wendy’s list of events for January 2013 by clicking on the Where’s Wendy tab.
Check out Wendy’s latest interview on Lake88 at http://lake88.ca/2012/12/11/in-focus-tuesday-december-11-2012/.
Click on the Issues tab to read the response Wendy made to a parent who was concerned that her child had nothing to do.
Click on Quarterly Report tab for the final 2012 Quarterly Report.