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2017 Inaugural Speech
Welcome friends, family, members of County Council, distinctive guests, and members of the media. I am very honoured to be representing our community as Warden. I want to begin by thanking my mover Councillor and past Warden Janice Visneskie Moore, and my seconder Councillor Robert Kingsbury, as well as all of County Council for your confidence and support.
It takes the strength and support of many to be a good and effective leader. As Warden I know that the support of my family, fellow councillors, county residents, and staff are the keys to my success as head of council. Please allow me to introduce you to my husband, Dave Murphy, my father Larry Sinclair, my aunt Sharon Drew and I know my Mom is here with us in spirit. Your unwavering support, strength and great advice are why I am here today.
I would also like to introduce you to some of the great councilors and staff that support me in my local municipality of Bonnechere Valley. Council members, Jackie Agnew, Meredith Jamieson, Bob Peltzer and Merv Buckwald. CAO, Bryan Martin, Deputy CAO, Sandra Barr, Public Works Superintendent, Bill Kennedy, Manager of our Water Department, Daryl Verch, Recreation Manager, Noreen Calver, By-Law Officer, Steve Fiegan, Community Development Officer, Dana Jennings. You are steadfast in your support and I feel blessed to have you all backing me.
Under the leadership of past Wardens, County Council has achieved a great many things and advanced numerous issues, all in an effort to continue making Renfrew County a great place to live, work and play. I look forward to this responsibility and to working together as a council on the work set in place by all those who came before us. We will continue to represent this county in the best possible way not only in our own communities, but also at the Provincial and Federal levels to ensure that our voices are heard, and that our issues are addressed from a rural perspective. It is vitally important that we as a council continue to have a seat at the table of organizations like FCM, AMO, and the EOWC, again to ensure our voice is heard.
I expect that the Committee Chairs and their Vice-chairs will work diligently to make sure the County of Renfrew is addressing the needs of our ratepayers and our communities in a responsible and effective fashion.
We will, together as a Council, move forward on initiatives that support our Strategic Plan and the goals it has set out.
Recently we have moved initiatives like advocating for the extension of Highway 17, and the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail forward, and in 2017, we will continue to move these initiatives even further in a positive and engaging way with our community and with our partners. In these times of increasing financial pressure on municipal budgets, we will explore new and innovative ways to consider options like shared services, new funding opportunities, and increased economic development to assuage these pressures.
One of the options we will consider to increase efficiencies and decrease economic pressures on rate payers is to review the document from 1997 regarding the role and responsibilities of Upper-tier and Lower-tier services. Perhaps changes could be considered with regards to shared services leading to benefits to all residents of the county.
We will continue to grow our existing partnerships and develop new ones as well. These partnerships make our community stronger, such as our relationship with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and Garrison Petawawa just to name a few. We must strive to lead the way in positively promoting Renfrew County to the World with the help of partners and organizations like the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association.
As a council we will make sure Provincial and Federal Government Ministries keep hearing our perspective on our key issues like the Endangered Species Act, Planning, Funding Transfers, Highway 417, and countless others. Working with the senior governments we will bring to the forefront other issues like the cross-region ambulance issue, with the City of Ottawa. Working together we will seek a swift and fair solution.
I look forward to continuing the county’s great working relationship with our MPP John Yakabuski and our MP Cheryl Gallant. Together we bring the issues of Renfrew County to Senior Government in an effective way. Partnerships with both Provincial and Federal Governments are critical to moving ahead on the initiatives just mentioned in a positive and impactful way.
I am sure I can speak for all of council when I say to our staff, thank you for your diligent and unwavering service. I know we can continue to rely on you to be our experts, and bring us the very best recommendations and assistance in a variety of situations. Our residents expect professional, caring and efficient service delivery, and you don’t disappoint. With one thousand baby-boomers retiring each day in Canada, we need to encourage succession planning, and investment in our talented people with initiatives like the Municipal Administration Program that is being offered right here at the county. We also need to keep bringing in new ideas and new people to our organization to make us the best we can be in terms of serving our community.
My fellow county councilors, with all the challenges that we face as a council we will need to seek a unified approach to examine issues like shared services, expanded partnerships and funding opportunities. Our resident’s expect the very best from us and I know that together we will not disappoint them. As community leaders we need to lead the discussions here and at our local councils to lessen the impacts of financial constraints, and to celebrate the achievements that we make that better our communities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with humbled honour that I sit here before you as Warden of the County of Renfrew. I look forward to the challenges and responsibility this position brings, and I thank you for your confidence. I will encourage all of you to partner on an agenda that allows us to drive ahead on the key issues we have before us. Working together I expect we shall achieve many goals, and continue to make Renfrew County the best it can be. This coming year I ask each of you to remember to: Experience our History, and Share Our Future.
To each and every one of you, and your families; have a wonderful Christmas, and a prosperous and exciting New Year in 2017. Thank You.
Warden Jennifer Murphy
December 13, 2016