Few differences surface at Mono candidates meeting

October 1, 2014   ·   0 Comments

The town has about 8,000 residents but the meeting hall was barely half-full last Wednesday evening for Mono’s first meeting of candidates for the October 27 municipal election.

And by the end of the session it appeared that one reason for the low turnout at the Monora Pavilion was that everyone – candidates and audience alike – seemed reasonably satisfied with the work the town council has been doing.

Unlike other parts of Dufferin, Mono has never become littered with election signs, and the only one in evidence at the Pavilion was one of 10 Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee had purchased for use in case his challenger, Councillor Elaine Capes, opts to depart from the tradition. Ms. Capes is challenging Mr. McGhee for the office he has held since December 2009, following the resignation of David Baldwin.

Although he had then served nine years as a councillor at the time of his appointment, Mr. McGhee was returned by acclamation in 2010, so this is the first time he has been challenged for the position, which includes membership on Dufferin County Council.

Mono Mayor Laura Ryan having been returned by acclamation, voters will elect the deputy mayor and three councillors from among seven candidates.

Fred Nix is the only incumbent among the seven.

The others are Richard Clarke, Ralph Manktelow, Sharon Martin, Bob McCrea, Corinne Pollard and Karen Rosenbrock.

Under the format adopted for all eight candidates’ sessions, all questions the contestants faced had to be submitted in writing before the meeting go under way, and initially all were directed at the candidates for council, Ms. Capes and Mr. McGhee then fielding some directed mainly at the Council Council role.

Not surprisingly, most of the questions concerned aggregates, farmland and water, and the candidates’ responses showed far more consensus than disagreement, with general agreement that Mono should oppose expansion or deepening of the Craig Pit next door to the Orangeville Fairgrounds and an expected bid for a new pit south of Violet Hill.

Another area in which there was general agreement was the need for ultra-high-speed (UHS) Internet service employing fibre optic cable throughout the town as a vital part of 21st-Century infrastructure.

However, there was also near-unanimous agreement that the most Mono Council can do is campaign for action by senior levels of government, and particularly by Ottawa, with its regulatory power over communications generally and Internet servers like Rogers and Bell in particular.

The meeting heard that as matters stand, Mono residents with home businesses that rely heavily on the Internet have been advised it would cost them $15,000 to $20,000 to have fibre optic cable laid to their residences.

Deputy Mayor McGhee summed up the consensus among the other candidates when he observed that without action by the federal government, Mono residents would face a “multi-tiered” future with UHS available only to the town’s wealthiest.

Earlier, all candidates appeared to agree that Mono itself ought not try to finance the huge costs involved in blanket provision of MHS by imposing higher property taxes.

Yet another area of consensus was on the question of whether Mono should have more paved local roads.

Not one candidate favoured departing from the town’s current policy of not paving any roads until traffic volumes  made maintenance costs prohibitive.

Several candidates suggested the only problem with the town’s gravel roads tends to be dust, while they tend to keep traffic speeds lower and encourage horse-riding.

Among the candidates’ two-minute closing statements was Mr. McCrea’s observation that in a community where nearly half the residents live in urban areas he is the only candidate who resides in a subdivision and thus, if elected, would be the only non-rural member of council.

As the meeting wound up, one thing became clear: no matter who wins the election, Mono Council will stay on its present course.

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