Major Issues Being Brought To The Table

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro speak to media at the AMO Conference, August 15, 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

There are some key points of discussion regarding Chatham-Kent-Essex that will be brought up during the 2016 AMO conference in Windsor this week.

MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex Rick Nicholls says there are two major issues that need to be discussed: infrastructure and hydro.

Nicholls says concerns regarding infrastructure stem from rural Ontario (specifically Chatham-Kent-Essex) putting in the revenues and only seeing the improvements in the GTA.

“Once again, rural Ontario is going to help finance infrastructure issues and road issues and road challenges in the GTA,” says Nicholls. “We get very little as a result.”

He says some of the infrastructure repairs needed in Chatham-Kent-Essex include roads, bridges, and sewer systems. Those repairs could cost around $140 million.

Speaking of major costs, Nicholls says the province sees some of the highest energy rates in North America.

In Monday’s meeting, Nicholls says he spoke with Hydro One and says he’s concerned is that they’re not using the funds to provide quality service to those in rural Ontario.

“We have too much energy now because we don’t have the industries, because the industries are leaving Ontario,” says Nicholls.

He adds that because the province has too much energy that can’t be stored it’s being given to areas such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quebec, and Winnipeg.

“They’re getting our hydro which we’ve already paid for with big bucks and they’re paying pennies on the dollar to have our hydro,” says Nicholls. “We’re helping them grow their economic development programs at the cost of hurting ON. It’s not fair, [it’s] not the right thing to do.”

Meetings are expected to continue until August 17.

The AMO conference is an annual meeting of municipal, provincial, and federal officials to discuss issues regarding their respective locations.