Busy AMO conference for Sioux Lookout delegates
Tim Brody - Editor
Sioux Lookout municipal representatives attended the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa, which ran from August 19 – 22.
Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance attended, along with Councillor Yolaine Kirlew, Acting CAO Ben Hancharuk and new CAO Michelle Larose.
“The Municipality had delegations with the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) Caroline Mulroney, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) Michael Tibollo, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,” Lawrance shared.
“The theme for our discussions with all Ministers started with some education about where Sioux Lookout is located and why we are unique in Ontario. Justice and policing were the focus with MAG and MCSCS. We described the current system and service gaps and the relationship between social issues and policing costs. We advocated for system changes as identified in the community justice centre project completed last year. With the Ministry of Housing we described our predicament, told them of our continuing efforts such as the Northern Housing Summit, and asked for their cross-ministry support in our efforts,” he explained.
Lawrance added, “My schedule was quite full with delegations on behalf of the Municipality, KDSB, NOMA, and meetings with NOMA and AMO Boards, CN Rail, and our Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa.”
He noted, “Of particular interest, due to the recent Provincial announcement, was a session on cannabis and communities. We will need to deal with this in the near future, but more information will be coming from the Province.”
Lawrance said the AMO conference is always worthwhile to attend, “The delegations are important in terms of relationship building (especially as this is a new government) and information transfer to the Province related to Sioux Lookout. We always go to these events with solutions for the challenges – we need Provincial help to implement the solutions but we show the Province not only the issues and challenges but the opportunities. This has certainly worked for things such as our recent infrastructure upgrades, the airport terminal expansion, the co-location of the college and counselling services in the new high school, our new 20-unit supportive housing project, 76 additional long terms care beds, and more.
“AMO this year was definitely a bit of feeling out between the new government and the municipalities. The government is still formulating programs and budgets. The conferences held in January and February (OGRA and ROMA) will build on this one and we will have a better idea of where the government is going in terms of some of the programs we are interested in pursuing.”
Lawrance concluded, “In my role as a Director on the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) I was able to attend delegations related to justice, policing, housing, and education. I can tell you that KDSB is highly respected at the Provincial level and that we hope to have some very positive results for our area related to services provided by KDSB.
“I was very pleased to get back on to the Association of Municipalities Board of Directors sitting in the Northern Caucus. This is another avenue where we can influence policies and decisions taking into account a Sioux Lookout perspective.”