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OPINION: New Year's Resolutions for the City of Cornwall

By Nick Seebruch

Published on January 4, 2019

You’ve probably seen posts around this time of year, especially on social media of people declaring “New Year, New Me”. Maybe I’m just being a skeptic, but these types of messages make me roll my eyes so hard they almost fall out of my head, and this goes for New Year’s Resolutions as a whole.

My attitude is that if you want to change something about yourself, why wait for some arbitrary date to do it, do it now! In fact, the only type of New Year’s Resolution that makes sense to make at New Year’s is to start going to the gym more often. At least if you start going to the gym in January, your body should be beach ready by June.

I just feel that overall, waiting to make resolutions until the New Year is putting off self improvement efforts that could be made now. Kicking the can down the road just costs time and potentially money. This is especially true when it comes to politics.

With that in mind, here is a short list of decisions, or resolutions, that local politicians should make in the New Year.

The Cornwall Budget

When it comes to kicking things down the road, in recent years the City of Cornwall have been the champs when it comes to the municipal budget.

For the past two years, the City’s annual budget has taken six months to get through Council. By comparison, in a large city like Ottawa, it can take roughly two weeks to pass the budget. Newly minted Mayor Bernadette Clement has said that she has been working closely with councillors and hopes to get the budget passed quickly this year, and with the budget top of mind come January, we will see if she is successful.

Infrastructure

Speaking of the municipal budget, expect infrastructure spending to be top of mind when it comes to budget discussions this year.

For the past couple of years, the focus of the budget has largely been around services. What with expired employee contracts and a strike hanging over their heads, it is no wonder that last council had services and salaries on the brain, but now with new working contracts signed with the employees and the 2018 strike a memory, I think focus will shift to infrastructure.

Cornwall saw an above average year for watermain breaks, and when they passed the Water and Waste Water budget, Council took small steps to address this problem, but now in 2019, they will have to consider things like buildings, roads and bike paths. That last item especially, bike paths, should not be ignored. 

Cornwall celebrates its bike paths and uses them to market local tourism, so imagine how bad it looks when just one kilometer of bike path needs a reported $1 million in repairs according to City administration, and this is all down to a lack of maintenance, and because the retaining wall supporting the bike path was not properly treated to withstand salt. Another example of kicking the can down the road and it costing the municipality in the long run.

Marijuana

Yes, I know I talked about this last week, but it still remains true that one of the first decisions Cornwall City Council will have to make is whether or not to opt-in or out of having private marijuana vendors in their jurisdiction. 

They will have to make this decision by Jan. 22 and despite the province changing the rules around vendors, seemingly on a whim, I think that Cornwall should still opt-in. This is going to be big business, and Cornwall shouldn’t risk being the only municipality left without the possibility for profit from this industry.

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions that you plan on making? Any decisions you’d like to see council make now? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc