Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Transition Toward a New Council

I thought you might be wondering about what’s happening during this transition period between the old and new Town Council?

As a result of the municipal election on October 25, our new Council includes three new members – Gary Accursi, Larry Clark, and Catherine King – and three returning Councillors – John Durley, Peter Papp, and Debbie Urbanowicz – and myself.

Shortly after the election I met personally with each Councillor-Elect. We spoke about the transition period, ideas for the new term, and the opportunities Councillors have to serve on various Town committees or Boards – like the Active Transportation Committee or Pelham Public Library Board.

Over the next couple of weeks, Council will get together socially. Staff will host a coffee break to meet the new Council next week. Then, as is a tradition in Pelham, Council will meet socially with Department Heads prior to Christmas as well as participate in the Staff Christmas Party. Council itself will also meet socially over the coming weeks so we can get to know each other as a group.

But, the transition will include much work, too. Prior to the new term, Councillors-Elect will participate in an Orientation Session to learn about all facets of the Town’s services – from Planning to Bylaws, from Fire to Libraries, and from Roads to Parks. We will review the “Conflict of Interest” rules, the procedures used during Council meetings, and the recently approved Councillor’s “Code of Conduct.”

Your new Council will officially make our “Declaration of Office” at our Inaugural Meeting on Wednesday, December 1 from 7:00 PM at the Royal Canadian Legion, Fonthill. This Special Meeting will officially begin the public service of your Council. All are welcome; please join us!

On Monday, December 6 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers, your new Council wants to hear from you with ideas and suggestions about what we should include in the 2011 Town Budget. All are welcome to this Public Meeting.

We will hold our first official Council & General Committee meeting on Monday, December 13 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers. Then, Council & General Committee meetings will continue on the first and third Mondays of each month beginning on January 17, 2011.

Finally, in late-January or early-February, we will meet to develop our Strategic Plan – a plan that will guide Council and the Town for the next four years and beyond.

This is an exciting time! I look forward to working with our new Council to continue to improve our Town.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Serene Remembrance

The weather on Sunday morning was glorious. The leaves on the ground and a few in the tree reminded us that Fall was upon us. The sun shone beautifully through the trees and the air was clear and sweet.

It felt like an idyllic Fall morning. It felt so peaceful and so serene. It felt like the perfect example of freedom, of promise, and of individual choice.

The weather made it feel so far from the ravages of war. It felt so far from oppression and from tyranny. The twin-prop airplane we heard overhead was for recreation, not a vehicle of war or destruction.

And yet, Pelham residents took time to gather with members of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary, the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and others at the Cenotaphs at Centennial Park, Old Town Hall, and Peace Park to commemorate and remember the sacrifices of Pelham’s Veterans.

Each Remembrance Day it is right to remember those brave men and women who have served, and who continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace.

We honour them for their courage, their commitment, and their devotion to Canada.

They served our country and gave their lives so that future generations might have democracy; so that we might enjoy safety and security; so that our society is one of justice and the rule of law; so that we might enjoy mornings like last Sunday.

The freedoms that so many of us might take for granted – to express ourselves, to participate in cultural, religious, and political activities, to come and go as we please, to pursue a safe and happy life – are all due to the sacrifices of Veterans and those who today follow in their footsteps.

They sacrificed their futures so that our future might be one of peace.

The men and women of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan are fighting still, for these same principles. Indeed, it is right to remember their sacrifice and determination on Remembrance Day too.

On these cenotaphs throughout our Town and at Veteran’s Park, the names of some of those from Pelham that were killed in service and in battle are engraved. May they also be engraved in our minds and on our hearts.

And so, on this Remembrance Day 2010, let us be thankful. Let us rededicate ourselves to peace. And let us never forget.