OSCouncil Inaugural 21Nov22 mainKukreja

- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

One by one each member of our new Owen Sound council swore to “truly, faithfully and impartially” fulfill the duties of their office, “to the best of my knowledge and abilities”.

What else could we ask?

OSCouncil Inaugural 21Nov22 OvidJacksonIn the audience at Monday's Declaration of Office and Inaugural Meeting was Ovid Jackson, elected Mayor of Owen Sound in 1982 after serving as Councillor since 1974. He served until he was elected to Parliament in 1993 where he served as our MP for the next ten years and eight months.

His wife Verona said after the ceremony – “This”, pointing to the Council, “was the hardest. These are your neighbours that you see every day.”

After the oath of office was complete, each member of council was asked to say a few words. Gratitude was the common theme. Every one of the council members thanked the community, their supporters, and most particularly their families. Those who have served the longest were the most emotional about the support that has sustained them from those with whom they share a home.

Collaboration was in the air. Councillors, both experienced and new, spoke of their eagerness to work with each other and City staff on the challenges ahead.

Mayor Ian Boddy acknowledged Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Chief Veronica Smith, Mayor Sue Carleton and Deputy Mayor Grant Pringle of Georgian Bluffs, and Grey County CAO Kim Wingrove in the audience. We noticed them nodding when Councillor Travis Dodd talked about working collaboratively with regional partners and Boddy spoke of imagining new ways of doing things and inviting the neighbours to share best ideas.

Councillor Jon Farmer, who made public engagement a cornerstone of his campaign, spoke of the crucial importance of relationships to achieving the greatest quality of life for the greatest number of people “now, and in the wisdom of our neighbours, for seven generations to come”.

Deputy Mayor Scott Greig went right to specific goals – doctor recruitment, a transit sub-committee, sustainable development – and thinking ahead to the next election – the return of paper ballots.

Councillor Brock Hamley was clear about his focus. He said that unlike our neighbours to the west, east and south, Owen Sound's economy has been stuck in second gear, with no unifying principle. He intends to help identify our value proposition, saying “if we get this right, this community will be a much, much better place to live.”

All of council is committed and ready to work, with every awareness that expectations are high and the challenges unprecedented.


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