Too many school boards: war­den

The Glengarry News - - The Glengarry News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

For the sec­ond time since 2016, Jamie Mac­Don­ald will serve as war­den of the United Coun­ties of Stormont, Dun­das and Glen­garry.

In his open­ing speech on Fri­day morn­ing at coun­cil cham­bers in Corn­wall, Mr. Mac­Don­ald, who was ac­claimed as North Glen­garry's Mayor in the re­cent mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, listed bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Corn­wall, im­prov­ing cel­lu­lar data ser­vice, and fight­ing the spec­tre of fu­ture school clo­sures as be­ing of paramount im­por­tance in the up­com­ing term.

He sug­gested that the num­ber of school boards be re­duced.

“School clo­sures will con­tinue to be an is­sue, they are a vi­tal part of our com­mu­ni­ties and we need to fight for our chil­dren to be ed­u­cated in the com­mu­nity they live in,” he said. “Change needs to hap­pen. Four school board spend­ing tax dol­lars ad­ver­tis­ing and com­pet­ing for chil­dren to come to sev­eral half empty schools in the same com­mu­nity -- this is not sus­tain­able or a fi­nan­cially sen­si­ble use of our re­sources.”

Re­gard­ing cel­lu­lar data, Mr. Mac­Don­ald said that the Eastern On­tario War­dens' Cau­cus will work with fed­eral and provin­cial part­ners to im­ple­ment a $213 mil­lion part­ner­ship to im­prove cov­er­age in the area.

“This in­vest­ment is not about dropped calls,” he stressed. “It's about pro­vid­ing real mo­bile broad­band so lo­cal first re­spon­ders, busi­nesses and res­i­dents can en­joy con­nec­tiv­ity on par with ur­ban res­i­dents of On­tario.”

There were many pos­i­tives in the new war­den's speech as he spoke about the op­por­tu­ni­ties the area will see now that nat­u­ral gas will be more widely avail­able out here. He also noted that SDG is “one of only a handful of On­tario mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that are debt-free.”

Mr. Mac­Don­ald, who is known for his sense of hu­mour, couldn't re­sist tak­ing a few shots at the masses as­sem­bled in coun­cil cham­bers not just to wit­ness the war­den's swear­ing in but also to be present for the in­tro­duc­tions of

the rest of coun­ties coun­cil, eight of whom are first-timers.

For ex­am­ple, Mr. Mac­Don­ald said good­bye to Bill McGimpsey, North Stormont's for­mer DeputyMayor who did not seek re-elec­tion this time around.

“I am go­ing to miss your com­men­tary on ev­ery is­sue and look for­ward to get­ting 20 min­utes of

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

FA­MIL­IAR ROLE: New SDG War­den Jamie Mac­Don­ald was in­tro­duced by his chil­dren, Madi­son and Cameron, at his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony in Corn­wall Fri­day morn­ing.

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