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A new era

(Cartoon by Lance Goosen)

It seems hard to believe, but it’s already December, which means a new city council has taken office.

During his first address after taking his oath as Mayor, Dan Carter pledged the need for more accountability and transparency.

Previous councils have faced this issue before, particularly in regards to the 2013 purchase of 199 Wentworth Street East for the consolidated operations depot.

This situation likely served as a reason as to why some current councillors decided to run in 2018.

While the purchase took place several years before the 2018-22 council took office, it will be this current council that will have to deal with any aftermath once the documents are released.

As councillor John Gray pointed out to The Oshawa Express, council’s credibility may be suffering in the eyes of some residents.

With the potential of a police investigation of the purchase looming, how this situation is handled will go a long way in determining public trust in this group.

Councillor Brian Nicholson showed good initiative in being proactively accountable and transparent when he requested that interview results of potential civilian appointees to city committees be brought forward to councillors so they are all in the know.

Although it was pretty much a given, councillor Bob Chapman also brought forward a successful resolution pledging council’s support for the efforts to keep Oshawa’s General Motors assembly plant open beyond the end of next year.

While there is likely little the city can officially do to make this happen, it shows solidarity with workers and provincial and federal politicians, and may help to put more pressure on the upper levels of government to take action.

Another positive step taken by council was to show support for a motion brought forth by Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri that could potentially see community safety zones created in the area of UOIT and Durham College.

After the death of a 19-year-old university student who was struck by a vehicle in the area of Conlin Road and Simcoe Street, it is time to take action, as the area is only going to get busier with escalating development.

It’s nearly impossible to judge a council based on one meeting, but this one will have its hands full with a number of items almost immediately, including the 2019 capital and operating budget and finding a compromise with the port authority so taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for a full extension of Harbour Road.

We, along with many others, will be watching closely.