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Stratford council passes new diversity and inclusion plan

Coun. Gary Clow, left, speaks during the Stratford council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2018, as Coun. Steve Ogden looks on.
Coun. Gary Clow, left, speaks during the Stratford council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, as Coun. Steve Ogden looks on. - Josh Lewis

STRATFORD, P.E.I. - Stratford’s diversity and inclusion plan has been “a real success story for the town,” says Coun. Steve Ogden.

The councillor says residents he talks to often mention the importance of feeling included in their community.

His comments came as council passed a new, 10-year diversity and inclusion plan during the second-to-last meeting of its term Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The town originally signed on to the plan in 2008 and it was time to renew it, said Coun. Jody Jackson.

“This helps us provide a welcoming community for everyone,” Jackson said. “This is more reflective of our current makeup.”

Emergency services

Other items up for consideration for the outgoing council were re-allocating funding from the New Deal for Cities and Communities fund for Stratford’s new emergency services building, as well as endorsing a recommendation from the Public Schools Branch to add school infrastructure for the growing town.

Council approved $493,000 out of $616,000 left unspent in the New Deal for Cities and Communities fund to go towards energy costs for the new building that will house the fire department, police and Island EMS.

Other funds include $45,000 for recreation projects, $48,000 for building repairs and $30,000 for the Kinlock beach extension.

“We allocate these funds years in advance and tell the federal government our plans,” Mayor David Dunphy said. “Those plans don’t always work out. This is not something new … if we don’t spend it, we’ll lose it.”

Schools

As for schools, Ogden said building additional facilities, “for anyone with children or grandchildren, it’s the No. 1 issue in Stratford right now.”

Council passed a motion stating Stratford stands ready to collaborate with the Public Schools Branch and provincial government to determine the number of schools required.

Council also adopted a feasibility report from Stratford’s Program for Energy Audits and Renewables (SPEAR), which aims to meet the town’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 2015 levels.

“It’s not a great bang for our buck,” Jackson said. “It’s a great pilot. There may be better ways though to achieve our targets.”

Council also approved the requisition of 130 additional water meters for 2019. The town’s current deal will allow them to save about $8,800 on those meters, at a cost of $313.50 per meter, for a total of just under $41,000.

Several members of council welcomed Jeremy Pierce, who has been hired as the town’s new recreation director.

Coun. Keith MacLean reported housing development is up significantly from September of 2017.

“I’m very pleased with the way this town’s developing,” he said. “Everyone around this table is doing it in the best interests of the town.”

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