I would like to start off by thanking The Seeker for the invitation to submit a monthly column. There’s always a lot going on the City and lots to talk about. As I do contribute to another media outlet, I will do my best to make sure that I don’t repeat myself anywhere. For this first column, I wanted to talk about Good Roads and the recent meetings that I attended in London, Ontario.
As many of you are aware, I joined the Good Roads Board in April of this year. But what is Good Roads? Good Roads was established as the Ontario Good Roads Association in 1894. Most municipalities in Ontario are members. As the name suggests, their primary focus is that of roads, or more accurately, infrastructure. This also extends to laws and policies that apply to road use. Good Roads further looks at road safety as a major issue.
To achieve this focus, Good Roads hosts an annual conference to discuss topics of relevance to municipalities, provide an avenue for municipalities to have delegations with Provincial Ministers, and to network. They also run a number of courses which offer training to municipal employees across the province. They further act as a lobby group on behalf of municipal interests.
So why did I look to join the Board? There are a few reasons. The work that Good Roads is undertaking is important. Infrastructure, especially roads, are critical to the province and our ability to connect. The upkeep of this infrastructure and the ability to ensure funding are top priorities for all municipalities, including Cornwall. I also wanted to provide representation from our part of the province. In the past, we haven’t always been successful in this, and it is important to have Cornwall and Eastern Ontario at the table. Our input matters.
In addition, being on the Board allows me to attend all Conference and Board Meetings at no charge to the City, save for the first Conference where I was appointed. This allows me to participate without any extra cost to the tax payer. Not all organizations are structured like this, and it shows consideration to allowing more involvement from municipalities where cost can be restrictive.
Good Roads is structured similarly to many other Boards in that there are a number of Committees as well. I am currently on the Education and Training Committee and am the Vice-Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I am particularly excited to be part of the EDI Committee as we are just undertaking our own EDI work within the City of Cornwall and it is always a good to be able to learn best practices from other organizations.
Last week, we held a Good Roads Board Meeting and Committee Meetings in London. A variety of topics were covered, including courses and training offered to municipal staff, infrastructure funding options, road safety, lobby efforts, and a number of others. These meetings also provided an opportunity to tour parts of London and to see some great municipal investments first hand. Some of which could possibly work in Cornwall.
All in all, I am excited to start my term as a Director with Good Roads, and am looking forward to the work and term ahead. I do believe that my appointment as a Board member will also be beneficial for the City.
I am also looking forward to keeping you all updated in this space. Stay tuned.