Inaugural Address

DECEMBER 3, 2018

A better future for all

Thank you to everyone joining us this morning as we begin our next Council term.  

Thank you to Bill Cooper, our piper, and Michael Duben, our officiant, as well Jessica Gunby, Laurie Kennard and Jennifer Schnier and staff for handling all the arrangements.

 I am sure I am speaking for all Council members when I thank our supporters, all those who took an interest in the election, those who voted, and the staff who worked very hard to make the election happen.  Democracy means elections, and elections are hard work. The support of everyone is greatly appreciated.

I would also like to thank those who ran against us for their dedication to our Township. Thank you to the prior Council, and the Councils before them, from whom we are receiving the torch of responsibility for the governance of our Township of Georgian Bay.  Their service is well appreciated.  The standard has been set high for all of us.

Our Council represents, and works on behalf of, all residents of the Township of Georgian Bay.  That includes not only those who voted for us, but all members of the many communities that make up our Township.  

We must consider those who live here, those who work here, and those who wish they could spend more time here.  Our goal should be to find solutions that work well for everyone in our Township.

I would like to add that we should also govern on behalf of future generations. We should consider the long-term consequences of the decisions that we will be making, and the direction we will be setting. Our outlook should be muchlonger than just the next four years.  

We have an opportunity to create a positive and inclusive Council. We bring a broad range of knowledge, experience, and values in service to our communities. By carefully considering each other’s perspective, becoming well-informed, being far-sighted and fair, and acting with respect and integrity, I am confident we can provide the leadership our residents seek, and deserve.  

Our region has a long and rich history.  These lands and waters are the traditional homeland of the Ojibway and Huron / Wendat Nations, and now include communities from the Mohawk, Pottawatomi and Metis Nations. We acknowledge their stewardship throughout the ages, and their continued presence amongst us.

We have been served by canoe routes and forest trails, lake steamers and railways, and now highways and roads.  More importantly, we have been, and are, served by all those who work, and the many who volunteer, in our Township.  Some of our families go back many many generations in this area, while some are relative newcomers. 

What we all have in common is our love and appreciation of the lands and waters, the rock, the trees and plants, the sky, and the wildlife all around us. Our environment has provided for us, in so many ways, for centuries.  The natural world surrounding us is vitally important to everyone. What is best for the environment is what is best for all of us.

We all have a responsibility - Council, staff, residents, and visitors - to look out for both our human and non-human neighbours. We should strive to make sure that any application put forward, any report considered, any delegation received, any policy contemplated, and ultimately any decision made, will prioritize what is best for the whole Township, environment and residents alike, balancing immediate needs with long-term sustainability. 

I am confident your Council will work very hard, as a team, with respect and integrity, with care and perspective, listening to all voices, to be the best Council we can possibly be. 

Thank you to everyone for allowing us, for encouraging us, to serve you, to help you move our Township forward together.