By Chris Pickup
MPP Toby Barrett’s ears ought to be blistering after Haldimand county’s latest council in committee meeting.
Councillors were already upset after the recent ROMA (Rural Municipalities of Ontario) conference where, along with Norfolk and Six Nations, they managed to snag a 15 minute meeting with the ministry of infrastructure seeking a viable solution to connecting water to Caledonia and Hagersville, and connecting the Nanticoke line out to Port Dover.
Only to get a ‘deer in the headlights’ reaction. Faced with the ministry’s obvious lack of information, the three had to present their case within a 15 minute window.
But “They didn’t see the urgency; there was not a lot of indication of support. They didn’t seem to be well prepared.”
Come the final day of the conference, 27 joint projects were approved and Haldimand’s wasn’t even on the radar.
A furious Mayor Ken Hewitt laid the blame directly at Barrett’s door.
“We have a win win win situation that can benefit two counties and Six Nations,“ Hewitt said, noting that he had kept Barrett fully apprised of the particulars of the proposed project and expected him to lobby the province on their behalf.
He fired a letter off to Barrett and “got an email back asking us once again for information.
“They are aware, we’ve had conversations face to face with Barrett. It shouldn’t come as a surprise there’s an urgency of water coming into Norfolk.
“There’s a disconnect between the county and our provincial counterpart.”
He suggested Barrett spend less time on Facebook. “His posts suggest he knows nothing about these issues when he’s been made fully aware of it.
“It puts us at odds to see him in a silo completely alienated from Haldimand and Norfolk. We need him to work better with us.”
As for the final phase of Hwy. 6, “Again, our counterpart had been made aware of that. I find it odd our MPP would post in his Facebook that it’s about time to deal with Hwy. 6. We’ve had these discussions. It’s frustrating.”
Councillor Tony Dalimonte noted Hwy 6 was dangerous all the way back to Port Dover.
“ We’ve been calling for a bypass for over 20 years. Stelco and other industries were promised there would be a bypass and it’s never been done. The closest we came to a secure corridor was under an NDP government with Norm Jamieson.
“I’m not going to keep misleading people.”
A final slap in the face came from the Minister of Transportation Carolyn Mulroney whose letter to Haldimand county indicated there were not enough bad accidents for a Hwy. 6 extension although they were looking into rumble strips.