What to expect from your mayor and council

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I recently got a call from someone I know in my municipality about the upcoming election. After discussing who was running, and which councillors were or were not returning, the question of what residents expect from their mayor and councillors was raised.

I recently got a call from someone I know in my municipality about the upcoming election. After discussing who was running, and which councillors were or were not returning, the question of what residents expect from their mayor and councillors was raised.
Of course, residents’ expectations need to be in line with the mandate of the positions; these are laid out in the Municipal Code of Quebec. It prescribes how they should supervise the affairs of the municipality, including collecting revenues, writing and executing by-laws, land use planning, communicating with staff and citizens in an ethical, fair and impartial way, tendering contracts, and so on. This is a lot of responsibility for a mayor and a few part-time councillors to oversee, but
I think there is something critical to the development of a community missing – the role of the mayor and council in developing a  vision and plan for the future.
A clear vision and plan for the municipality is not a few nice words at the front end of a land use focused municipal or regional plan. It should look beyond land use planning and guide how the community will develop economically, socially and environmentally. This requires a mayor and council who can seek out and reflect the views and expectations of rate payers, and who understand the value and potential  of the tremendous assets we have (Ottawa River, the Gatineau Park, high quality farms and farmland, established businesspeople, entrepreneurs, proximity to Gatineau and Ottawa markets, etc.) Another asset is the long-time, and newer residents we have with considerable experience, knowledge and skills. 
So to answer the question directly, my expectations for the upcoming election
candidates is to think beyond their municipal code duties and to commit to working with residents, businesses, municipal staff, farmers and community groups to create a long term plan for the community. If they do that, and combine it with a commitment to responsible management of tax dollars, I believe they can count on a lot of support, both in the election and throughout their mandate.

Kevin Brady
PONTIAC (LUSKVILLE)