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Tuesday, 18 October 2016 18:30

Eastern Ont. leaders hammer hydro costs with Wynne

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            The high cost of residential electricity was top of mind when members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus (EOMC) met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in Kingston recently.

            Peter Emon, Chair of the EOWC and Warden of the County of Renfrew, described the meeting, requested by Premier Wynne, as “an open and frank discussion . . . about the need for further, real relief to the high

costs of electricity,” particularly for people with low or limited incomes.

            “These residents simply can’t manage the financial burden caused by these soaring rates,” he said.

            Emon added that “investments in road systems and energy infrastructure are just as important to smaller communities across eastern Ontario, as funding for public transit is to the major urban centres.”

            Specifically, the mayors and wardens asked Wynne to:

• Invest $1.5 billion over the next 20 years to expand natural gas in rural communities and farmers across eastern and southwestern Ontario.

• Improve cellular networks and create a public safety broadband network to support the expansion of mobile broadband and emergency first-responder services in eastern Ontario.

• Invest significant additional funding in critical municipal infrastructure like roads, bridges, and water and wastewater facilities.

• Help control municipal operating costs by fixing the interest arbitration system and the heavy financial burden created by the joint and several liability approach currently being taken by the courts.

            Emon said the caucuses—which together represent more than a million people across the region and include both the City of Kawartha Lakes and the Municipality of Trent Lakes—“appreciated the premier’s invitation to talk to her about some of our key issues and projects.”

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