Mayor looks ahead for 2019
Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charboneau expects 2019 to bring great promise to his community.
“We’re still the fastest growing community in our region and we have been ranked one of the best places to live in this country, and because of that we have lots of opportunity, lots of new businesses coming to town, lots of businesses related to the nuclear industry and lots of businesses that are coming to support the new people coming to town,” said Charbonneau in a recent interview.
“We have lots of opportunity and it’s an exciting time.”
Charbonneau said he’s looking forward to progress being made on locating the Nuclear Innovation Institute in Saugeen Shores. Bruce Power withdrew its plans to locate the institute next door to the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre following opposition by some residents.
“I’m sure we’re going to continue that discussion and I’m sure we’re going find a good location for it here in Saugeen Shores,” he said.
Even without a full-time home base the work of the institute continues through the skilled trades secretariat. It’s a joint venture between Bruce County and Bruce Power expected to ramp up this year. Its goal is to establish a framework for a regional skilled trades strategy.
Bruce Power and its suppliers are expected to need to attract skilled workers for the 13-year major component replacement project at the nuclear power plant.
The secretariat will also focus on requirements of other sectors and businesses in the region, which also rely on the skilled trades, a news release announced.
“That is going to be such a critical component; not only for the nuclear industry but every industry in our region and across the province is in bad need of skilled trades. We’re going to start doing some actual on-the-ground work in our region to find ways to make connections to get our young people into the skilled trades and pursue economic development,” said Charbonneau.
“It’s neat to see some of that work get started around that and see what that institute can become,” said Charbonneau who expects there will be spinoffs and ripple effects from this venture across the province.
“It’s more than just about Bruce Power; it’s about industry in general across the county and beyond.”
Charbonneau said he expects the regulation of cannabis use to become an important issue this year. Saugeen Shores council will be making a decision in the next couple of weeks about whether to permit the establishment of retail outlets.
“Beyond that we have to make some decisions about whether we would like to regulate the use of cannabis more aggressively than the province has done in the legislation it has passed. That’s going to be an ongoing discussion over the course of 2019 of how we’re going to handle that at the municipal level,” said Charbonneau, who would like to see a regional approach taken to the regulations.
“It would be unworkable if we had different regulations on the use of cannabis here in Saugeen Shores that they have in Kincardinem than they have in South Bruce Peninsula and other parts of Bruce County. That’s something we need to avoid. So we need to take a regional approach and work together to try to have as consistent approach as possible,” he said.
The issue of affordable housing is being addressed at both Saugeen Shores and Bruce County. Charboneau is optimistic that some of the new housing development in Saugeen Shores will include some affordable housing.
“We could deal with the affordable housing problem by just getting more supply on line. One of the biggest problems we have is the overall shortage of housing which is driving the price up because of the scarcity, but also the issue of genuine affordable housing, subsidized housing projects working at the Bruce County level to get more of these projects on the way along the lakeshore,” said Charbonneau.
“That’s going to be a real priority in 2019, and I think it’s something we’re going to make real progress on.”
He noted among the housing projects in Saugeen Shores are two apartment complexes at the south end of Port Elgin, one under construction and the other to come online this year along with a proposed development on the east side of Port Elgin in the new West Wing subdivision.
“We’ve had a number of smaller multiunit projects that have been approved and I suspect will get underway in the near future. I think all of the developers are eager to get things under construction . . . we’re heading in the right direction.”
One of the recreational improvements planned for this year includes a new baseball complex on the south end of Port Elgin that still needs some budget financing this year.
Saugeen Shores is also working in a collaborative approach with the YMCA to try to get a new recreation centre with an indoor swimming pool.
“We still don’t have the financing yet to make that project happen, at least the construction, but we are certainly making some progress on getting some partnerships together to operate the facility . . . I’m very confident we are going to make some progress on that this year,” said Charbonneau, who isn’t sure it will get built this year but he is confident that once the funding is in place that project will take place.
“It’s going to be an exciting year. We’ve got lots of good stuff started and I think we are going to make progress on lots of different things,” said the mayor.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau