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Back to the grind

cartoon_sept72016While the season may not be officially over until Sept. 22, summer is, for all intents and purposes, done.

Class bells are ringing once again with schools back in session, and people have returned to work from Labour Day activities, whether it be a long weekend at the cottage, time visiting family or just a relaxing long weekend at home.

Among those soon to get back to the full-time grind is both the city and regional councils. While officially on its summer break, council chambers at city hall did not remain empty, with pressing matters requiring councillors to filter back in for special committee and council meetings. After all, the city does not stop during the summer months, and kudos on council for coming back to deal with matters immediately, rather than wait until September rolled around.

While city committee meetings get underway next week, there has been another special meeting of council called for Sept. 19 to deal with the ward boundary review. Council should be commended for bringing this time sensitive matter to a vote as quickly as possible, rather than waiting another week to deal with the matter at the previously scheduled Sept. 26 council meeting.

The same was not necessarily true over at regional headquarters. Earlier this summer saw the conclusion of an investigation into two meetings held in December and January in regards to the Durham York Energy Centre. Following complaints from the public, the investigation dealt with whether the two meetings surrounding the incinerator – one leading to the facility’s acceptance testing being rejected and the other to change the contract between Covanta and the region so that the testing was now approved – should have been closed to the public.

The report, detailing if regional council was in the right or in the wrong, was completed since late July and came into the region’s hands shortly thereafter. However, the verdict remains a secret. As The Oshawa Express stated in early August, regional council is being held back by a formality that states they must vote on releasing the report to the public in session, even though the report is to be public knowledge anyway. This formality only stands to make the region appear less transparent, counterproductive for a group that has said in the past it wants to be as clear as glass.

So with councils and committees starting to get underway, as always, be sure to pay attention to what is going on and speak out when you see something that you do not agree with. After all, democracy only works when people voice their opinions and desires for change.