BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Durham MP Erin O’Toole paid a visit to Scugog Township’s new councillors on Monday, Feb. 9 - offering an update on Scugog’s relationship with Ottawa, and a look ahead for future grants.
During the regularly scheduled evening council meeting, MP O’Toole made his first delegation to Mayor Tom Rowett and councillors since their swearing-in earlier this year.
Topics included the future of preservation projects on Lake Scugog, the Connecting Canadians grant which Mayor Rowett hopes will bring Scugog up-to-speed, and a new bill affecting the Greenbank Airways site.
“When I was elected, I decided to perform regular updates to my municipal partners. I look at myself as the Federal partner for Scugog, and I want to ensure that our municipalities can thrive and grow,” said MP O’Toole.
The delegate continued to suggest that Mayor Rowett consider setting the sights of the soon-to-be-formed Grants and Funds Committee on a Recreation and Fisheries Grant - for the improvement of fishing and local ecology in Lake Scugog.
“With Scugog working closely beside the Scugog Lake Stewards, it should be a goal to start a project which benefits from Lake Scugog,” said MP O’Toole.
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew notified MP O’Toole that the Township is currently exploring the option of dredging sections of Lake Scugog, to increase depth, promote healthy vegetation growth, and allow for more usage in the future.
She also lauded the efforts of the Lake Stewards for their on-going weevil introduction campaign, which aims to remove the weeds flourishing in the lake.
“The Recreation and Fisheries grant is available for one more year, and will open up this spring,” responded MP O’Toole. “I feel that the Township should look to support a local conservation team, like the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority or the Lake Stewards, on a project which will benefit the health, tourism, and fishing of Lake Scugog.”
He added that some of the projects, such as the weevil campaign, may not link directly to the fishing portion of the grant, but that he would help Scugog Township to investigate the matter further.
Moving on to the Connecting Canadians grant, MP O’Toole expressed joy in seeing the submission of Scugog Township’s application, stating, “This program was exactly targeted at under serviced rural communities like Scugog, and hopes to help these communities work with local and innovative Internet Service Providers. The grant was received, and is being watched closely by my office - you’ll hear from us as soon as we get word.”
Finally, Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville breached the topic of the Greenbank Airways project, and asked MP O’Toole to explain a new bill which passed through the house - relating to aeronautics in Canada.
“The Greenbank Airways issue was already alive and moving ahead when I came into power – I promised to look into the uncertainty around who has power over what,” said MP O’Toole.
Next, it was explained that Ottawa only holds sway over the actual air traffic, and not matters such as the placement of runways.
“We have now passed Bill C-43, and any future changes or amendments to the site can be applicable to a federal approval process - if there is a public out cry,” said MP O’Toole. “We can’t go back in time, but we can try to promote certainty. In the future, other municipalities shouldn’t have to use their own resources to go to court over these sorts of issues.”
With this new motion, any brand new or significant changes to the original designs could be taken under the jurisdiction of Ottawa, and up for review.
A round table discussion with MP O’Toole and representatives from Transport Canada will be held on March 19 at the Greenbank Lions Club Hall - further details will be published when they become available.
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