New arena, Lake Erie among issues to be discussed at provincial conference

Ck Mayor Darrin Canniff at the 2019 budget deliberations. January 31, 2019. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

Municipal officials across Chatham-Kent are gearing up for a weekend conference that will include some quality face-time with Ontario ministers.

Mayor Darrin Canniff, along with a few local councillors will make their way to Ottawa for the annual Association of Municipalities Ontario conference. A gathering is designed to allow officials from across Ontario to network and discuss issues with provincial ministers.

“It’s a great opportunity for Chatham-Kent to get out there and meet with other people from across the province,” said Canniff. “A lot of time discussions are used to explain, ‘well what are the differences between Chatham-Kent and Toronto?'”

The group, which includes new faces to the municipal council, will get one-on-one time with ministers to talk about potential funding for the area. This includes money for a new arena and how to combat shoreline erosion.

“We want to work with them and make [provincial officials] understand more of where we are coming from,” he said.

Canniff said a program for new arena funding is in the works, adding the four-day conference is going to be beneficial because the group will meet the minister in charge of providing money.

Among the sessions in which local officials will participate are:

  • Changes to social services and protecting the most vulnerable – from the┬áMinistry of Children, Community and Social Services
  • Supporting accessible, affordable, quality licensed childcare – from the Ministry of Education
  • Community, cultural and recreational infrastructure funding – from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
  • Great Lake erosion and climate change impacts to Chatham-Kent – from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Seven senior municipal staff will also participate in the conference that sees more than 1,900 attendees each year. The conference begins Sunday, and the mayor anticipates being back in Chatham-Kent on Wednesday.