Mayor Clarkson Looks Ahead
By Kirk Winter
Mayor Janet Clarkson is looking forward to a year of progress in Trent Lakes in 2019.
When asked why she thinks she won a hotly contested fall election, Clarkson credited hard work on her campaign team’s part. She said they went out knocking on doors and they had the opportunity to meet many other voters while they were dropping off their garbage at the waste transfer stations. Clarkson said her long history in Trent Lake politics also gave her name recognition on the ballot and on voting day that may have been beneficial.
When asked about Trent Lakes priorities for 2019, Clarkson had an extensive list clustered around four main issues.
The first priority she addressed was the “clear” opposition expressed by voters to the centralization of the public road depots. With that in mind, Clarkson says that Council needs to look at the three existing depots and make decisions regarding repairs and refitting. The Galway depot is particularly in need of some improvements, and Clarkson says this will be a priority moving forward in 2019.
Clarkson said that the garbage issue needs to be addressed sooner than later. She stated that Trent Lakes needs to avoid restrictive user regulations that hurt summer residents. Clarkson wants to see a system in place that allows all residents, summer and full-time, able to dump their 52 bags of garbage.
Clarkson said that Council needs to address the issue of short-term rentals in Trent Lakes. She's hoping to work with two adjacent townships to come up with a plan that will allow all three townships to share the costs of the enforcement official(s) who will need to be hired to deal with the plethora of complaints the Township and OPP are currently dealing with regarding these properties. Clarkson resents that these properties that have no licenses, face no inspections, and pay no business taxes, are hurting the legitimate bed-and-breakfast establishments that currently service Trent Lakes. Clarkson has met with some lakefront property owners who are threatening to sell their properties in Trent Lakes if action is not taken this spring. Clarkson made it clear that the Council will differentiate between those who rent occasionally to make ends meet versus those who rent as a business. The latter will face Township scrutiny once a structure is put in place.
Clarkson also wants to form a Citizens’ Advisory Committee made up of a broad cross-section of Trent Lakes residents who will share regularly with Council what the public would like to see Council doing. Clarkson was disappointed that at the first Council meeting issues that had “broad support” across the electorate were voted down by the three councillors who formed a united front against Clarkson and the Deputy Mayor on all key business discussed that day. She believes that those councillors will “be getting an earful” from their constituents who she claims support the three depot solution, a 52-bag dump policy, and a restructuring of pay for Trent Lakes Council.
Mayor Clarkson wants to see more help forthcoming from County Council and the Province to deal with the Internet/cell phone issues that have been plaguing Trent Lakes for many years. Clarkson is aware that fibre optics is on the way, but at a very slow pace. She is also aware that the landscape of Trent Lakes is problematic, but it is still a problem that impacts economic development and real estate transactions.
In closing, Clarkson shared that she was very pleased with her two committee responsibilities on County Council, based out of Peterborough. Mayor Clarkson sits on the Affordable Housing Committee that manages County owned properties in Apsley, Lakefield, Norwood and Peterborough. She is particularly passionate about her position on the Long-term Care Committe that manages Fairhaven in Peterborough. Clarkson is very proud of the quality of care provided at Fairhaven and the reasonable costs for residents. However, she is concerned about the 7-year wait to get a bed in the facility. She says the County will have to take a hard look at that level of demand moving forward, and what they plan to do to provide more beds as the County ages.
It promises to be a busy year at Trent Lakes Council, and residents are reminded that Council meetings are every second Tuesday and are open to the public. Don’t be afraid to attend a meeting. It is amazing what you will learn.