Newly elected Hudson Town Council sets sights for future
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson’s newly elected mayor and council told residents of their approach to running the town at the first council meeting following the municipal elections.
Change was in the air from the beginning of the first meeting for the newly elected Hudson mayor and council held Monday November 13.
“It has become common practice in public assemblies across the country to recognize the traditional territories of which we are upon,” said Mayor Jamie Nicholls as he called the meeting to order. “It was a recommendation made by Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Therefore, following this council, we will open all council meetings with the following recognition: we are honoured to be on the traditional territories of the Anishinabeg and Kanien’keha ka First Nations as well as the Métis Nation,” said Nicholls.
Mayor’s opening remarks
Nicholls listed eight items that would contribute to making Hudson a stronger and more prosperous community:
Fix infrastructure and watershed
Get the town’s finances under control
Focus on citizens by improving governance practices
Plan neighbourhoods through responsible and sustainable community planning
Leverage the assets of the town with vibrant economic planning
Make the cultural communities flourish by giving them the tools they need
Connect green spaces and people through the natural infrastructure of parks and natural areas
Improve public transportation by connecting with regional authorities.
Taking each of the points into account, Nicholls said that potential sites for a potable water well had been identified near the Bradbury Well. In terms of infrastructure, he said that council would continue with the previous council’s list of priorities for resurfacing roads. Nicholls also said council would deliver a budget without raising taxes. The focus on citizens will include monthly score cards giving residents the opportunity to evaluate the work of the administration. Nicholls said it was important to make the auditors’ management letter public. He said that they would begin to identify the “must have items” for the town as well as find ways of sharing costs regionally and sourcing subsidies.
Former committees were dissolved and new committees formed by council. In so doing, council began to address some of the issues outlined in the eight points. For example, the newly formed Watershed Committee has the task of continuing long-term water sourcing solutions initiated by the previous council.
Council approved an expenditure of $18,000 annually to support the development of monthly District Advisory Committee meetings held by elected councillors to address their constituents’ concerns. The money will fund rental space and basic refreshments. During the second question period, resident Frank Hicks suggested councillors use the community centre as a cost saving measure. The mayor said there are rental spaces in the districts and the community would benefit from the expenditure.
Council approved a moratorium concerning the town’s legal actions. The ruling states the town is postponing any new legal action until it can assess the reasons why the town has spent nearly $1 million in legal proceedings over the past four years. It also says the preferred course of action is mediation, negotiation, or conciliation in civil lawsuits. The goal is to mitigate negative public perceptions related to the judicial proceedings in which the town participates.
Grant deadline extension
The grant from the federal government covering the costs of construction for a bicycle rest area adjacent to the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre has received an extension until March 2018. Originally, the required deadline date was December 31, 2017. Council approved a call for tenders from architects for the project.