Shaking hands with the future
Previous North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan shook hands with incoming Mayor Tony Fraser at the North Dundas inauguration Tues., Dec. 4. Duncan has stated that he has full confidence in the new council’s abilities to provide the county with what they need.
NORTH DUNDAS – After a full year of meeting on main street, prosperous business developments and an exhausting election, residents of North Dundas can look back on a successful 2018 and look forward to a fruitful 2019.
“We’ve had another good year of commercial growth, which was very nice to see and, again, we’ve been lucky where we don’t have a big business coming in and creating a bunch of jobs. It’s been more existing businesses expanding, which is really great,” said previous North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan. “There have been more jobs and then they’ve been putting up more expansions on their buildings, which has helped create more construction jobs.”
He continued, “Every pocket of the township has been getting a piece of the pie, which is very nice.”
Parmalat has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest hot button topic of the year after locals endured one of the worst smelling summers in the county’s history. Duncan stated that he regrets that the problem went as far as it did but is happy with the amount of work that went into fixing the problem.
“I kind of regret that this issue went as far as it did, that the public had to get so adamant about change. However, I will give Parmalat credit because they’ve really taken the issue seriously and the public pressure has really helped expedite some of the changes,” he said. “I think the public meeting that was held this summer was actually very productive. Gave people a chance to really understand Parmalat’s game plan and have the company understand the frustration in the community.”
Duncan continued to cheer about all the projects that were able to get accomplished by Parmalat in the past year and said that he is cautiously optimistic about next season’s progress.
“I think when we look back, now at the end of the year, and look at what’s been done, like the barrier fence along the neighbours on Gladstone Street, that’s going through the engineering process now; that’s been talked about for years and now it’s happening,” he said. “The parking lot was gravel for decades and they paved a significant portion of it, so that’s helped with dust control. And, they have the DFA Unit which is the big thing that’ll get the odour back in the lagoons. Parmalat’s gotten bigger and more affluent but now they’re starting to adapt coming online and they put millions and millions of dollars into the lagoon system to help alleviate the odours. So, I’m cautiously optimistic that the spring and summer of next year will be much better because they still have several engineers on it in the back and they’re continuing to take it very seriously.”
North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser also made a statement about this issue, confirming that much work has gone into fixing the problem this past year.
“There’s certainly been lots of effort put towards solving the problem and lots of money put towards solving the problem. There’s been a strong commitment from the local management group, from the Canadian management group and from the international management group,” he said. “It’s been a problem that they understand. An issue that’s been pressing to the residents of North Dundas. The number of people on-site is surprising. For someone who has worked there a long time and knew everyone’s names, the amount of people to come on-site to work towards solving the problem and to run into new people on a weekly basis to work towards a solution, it’s mind-boggling. To think that there’s that level of effort with a number of engineers on-site and the equipment they’re bringing in speaks to their commitment.”
Fraser has many plans going into the new year including diversifying the households, creating a more pleasant attraction for tourists and getting the community more active.
“One thing I would like to see in 2019, and if not in 2019, then sometime in the near future, an effort to work with the waterfront and to work with people in the community of Chesterville and North Dundas in ways to maximize the usage of the waterfront,” he said. “We have to find ways to make it attractive. I’m not a designer but my plan is to find someone or a group that can come up with a plan to make better use and beautify the area. There has been some talk about mosaics or a mural on sections of the waterfront to outline the history.”
Fraser continued, “I’ve talked throughout the campaign about diversification of homes, being proactive and search out developers or work with our current developers and work to satisfy the needs of the people of North Dundas. We want diversified homes, townhouses, row-houses, condos and apartments.”
Fraser would also like to create more opportunities for locals to get more active outdoors involving marathons and bicycle races.
“I’m a proponent of using your bicycle because, as a youngster, my generation and generations before us were always on our bikes. I’d like to see that support of a bicycle friendly community,” he said. “We’re not bicycle-unfriendly but I’d like us to be more bicycle-friendly. I’d like to see people use the road system of North Dundas for healthy living for biking and walking. I’d like to see a 20k, a 30k and a 40k loop in North Dundas where people can go out with family or a group of friends.”
Mayor Fraser, along with deputy mayor Al Armstrong and councillors Gary Annable, Tyler Hoy and John Thompson, will be serving the county for the next four years and Duncan strongly believes they will do a bang-up job.
“I have full confidence in the council right now, they have the experience and they have the know how to help the county with what they want and need,” he said. “They’ll do a great job.”
According to the 2018 annual report to taxpayers, 24.7 per cent of the township’s budget went towards roads’ counties while 14.5 per cent went towards education. Another 14.4 per cent went towards roads’ township and 10.2 per cent went towards police services.
The full report can be read online at the Township of North Dundas website.
Reporter/Photographer for Chesterville Record and Eastern Ontario Agrinews. Currently working on Record segment, “Chilling Tales from Beyond”