Mayor looks ahead for 2019

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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

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