Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville-Mossley and surrounding area
Signpost photo by Wendy Spence
SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY PROJECT: From left, Val Griffiths chapter IODE member Sue Stephens, mayor-elect Alison Warwick, provincial IODE president Renate Schuetz, Val Griffiths IODE president Sharron McMillan, national IODE secretary Chris Bateman, Mayor Jim Maudsley and Val Griffiths IODE member Kristin Van Berkel prepare for the ribbon cutting for the stone and plaque donated by the Dorchester IODE chapter in honour of Canadian veterans. The plaque gives details of the chapter’s 20th anniversary project, 10 regal petticoat maples that were planted along Dave Clarke Memorial Parkway, the entrance to the FlightExec Centre on Dorchester Road.

Council divided on

community group's request

for monetary support

by Wendy Spence

        I Love Thorndale’s “ask” will have to wait. The community group requested $9,620 from the municipality. At last week’s council meeting, mayor-elect Alison Warwick and deputy-mayor elect Kelly Elliott were in favour. Current Mayor Jim Maudsley and Deputy Mayor Marcel Meyer were conflicted, but did not support it. Ward 2 Councillor Jennifer Coghlin was not present, so because the vote was tied, the motion was lost. It can be brought forward again at a future meeting.
        Warwick said, “It supports economic development at the grass roots. Other areas wish they had this type of organization. The work that they’ve done is supporting Thames Centre.” The current Ward 3 councillor said I Love Thorndale’s initiatives encourage the community to be proud of where they live, increasing the quality of life in Thames Centre. Deputy-mayor-elect, current Ward 1 Councillor Kelly Elliott, who helped form the community group, echoed Warwick’s comments. “The work they have done is invaluable. They absolutely have the ambition to move outside of Thorndale.” She said a clearer understanding is necessary of how Thames Centre and I Love Thorndale can work together.
        Deputy Mayor Marcel Meyer said he appreciates what the group has done but feels that their efforts are local to Thorndale, some expenses should be covered by local businesses and that the request should be deferred to budget discussions.
        Mayor Jim Maudsley mentioned that $15,000 was set aside for the current budget year for economic development and this was a tough decision because when I Love Thorndale approached council in the past they had asked them to “get their ducks in a row,” to become a registered non-profit and bring a request back. “I do agree a lot with what Deputy Mayor Meyer is saying. I don’t like the third party funding.”
        Chief administrative officer Stewart Findlater has a concern about handing over more than $8,000 for web hosting because of the municipality’s procurement policy and thought there should be more discussion on how the money would be spent. The request includes: $5,000 for marketing, communications and design; $3,120 for website hosting and redesign; $500 for printing and supplies and $1,000 for ads, promotional materials, and paid social media promotions.
        Arden McClean and Becky Clark of I Love Thorndale said in an email statement that they find council’s decision disappointing. “Although we could take it personally, or we would point fingers at certain people who seem to stand in opposition to our volunteer driven community building efforts, we see it as a failing of the system. That is the only way that we can explain how council could have been so divided on a decision to use the funds that were already built into the current budget to support the work that has been acknowledged by staff and several council members to intentionally and effectively support economic development in Thorndale.”
        “We believe that I Love Thorndale represents an opportunity for Thames Centre to strengthen the communities within the municipality. But to do this they will need to be brave enough to work against the historical context that positions communities against each other, and they will need to embrace and support resident leadership. The fact is, people identify with the communities where they live, work, and play and not with the system that was built to support infrastructure. No one will ever love Thames Centre, but residents do have the capacity to be invested in or ‘love’ the community that they call home.”

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