Ian Munro to run for Napanee Council

July 31 | Posted by Jeff | News, The Leaky Land Blog

Ian-MunroJim Barber, Greater Napanee News

A keen observer of the goings-on at Town Hall for a number of years, Ian Munro felt he could make a positive contribution around the council table and has let his name stand for the upcoming municipal election as a candidate for council representing Ward 4.

A 22-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, Munro was an Air Force engineering officer who servedthroughout Canada, including National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, as well as a stint in Australia. After leaving the Forces and settling in Napanee more than 15 years ago, he has consulted for the Canadian Department of National Defence, NATO and the United Nations.

More recently, he has become an ace mechanic specializing in vintage car maintenance and restoration. He has also been an integral member of the Concerned Citizens of Tyendinaga and Environs, the group that is the primary opponent to the proposed Beechwood Road Environmental Centre (BREC). But Munro said that the future of the Richmond Landfill and the BREC is only one of many issues that he is concerned about in this campaign.

“It’s true that council has done some good things over the past few years, but one of the things I don’t think they have done that well is looking forward. This election is an opportunity for new candidates and incumbents to talk about what they are going to do for the next four years, but I would like everyone to be talking about what they’re going to be planning for over the next eight years, 10 years or 20 years. I want to hear about their long–term visions for the town,” Munro told the Greater Napanee News.

“I think the town is going in a pretty good direction. But there are some risks out there, some threats to our prosperity that I see and I would like to hear from all the candidates as to how they intend to navigate us past those threats to a long-term, healthy economy and community.”

A staunch defender of popular democracy, Munro also doesn’t care much for acclamations in elections. For the last municipal election, held in the fall of 2010, two of the five council candidates ran unopposed and were acclaimed to their positions – Ward 1s Michael Schenk and Ward 4 incumbent Bill Pierson. Pierson has also filed his nomination papers for the Oct. 27 vote.

“I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the previous municipal elections that there were acclamations. That’s not healthy for democracy. No matter how wonderful the human being is who is mayor or deputy mayor or councillor, those individuals need to be challenged in an election so they can explain what they have got in mind for the next term of council, and so voters and hear what they have to say but also listen to alternative options and be able to make an informed choice.”

Munro feels he would be a good choice for town council because of his approach to the various issues that come before the august body throughout its four-year term.

“I think it’s fair to say that I am a logical thinker and I am able to take positions based on genuine facts as opposed to beliefs and wishes and hopes. So were I elected I would absolutely follow the facts. If the facts suggest that a particular course of action is the right course of action, whether it’s popular or not, I would always be inclined to go with the facts and make the right choice as opposed to the popular choice,” he said.

“My experience in watching things over the last few years is that most times the right choice and the popular choice are the same – but that’s not always the case.”

Munro identified a few issues that he believes are important ones for this campaign, including the aforementioned Richmond Landfill/BREC, the possibility of an aquatics facility, as well as how to combat over-reaching provincial policies and decisions that impact negatively on the municipality.

“As far as I can tell there is no prospect for funding for a pool. I think it’s a ‘motherhood’ statement to say I would like to see a pool in this town. But it’s not fair to suggest that I somehow am going to make that happen. If the funding is not found and it’s determined that $6 million or $7 million for the capital costs, plus the operating costs on top of that, are not affordable, I think we need to be honest with the voters about that,” he said.

“If there is some prospect for some funding for a substantial portion of the costs I would love to hear about it. I would absolutely, in principle, be in favour of Napanee having a pool. Can we afford it? During the campaign we as candidates should be discussing what those prospects are. Are they real?”

As for the BREC, as a member of the CCCTE, Munro has been quite public in his opposition to any sort of expansion by Waste Management to the current landfill and believes most of the members of the current council and the community at large have similar concerns about the proposal – although they may not be as vocal about it.

“In the past council has passed resolutions indicating they are not a willing house to the expansion of the Richmond Landfill and I absolutely support that position. I agree that the current council has been relatively low key in its position on this and hasn’t been aggressively pursuing a stance on it, but I suspect that most current members of council are against the prospect of 450,000 tons of garbage coming here on an unstable location,” he asserted.

“Indications of serious issues going forward are already happening because of the existing landfill. It is well known that the existing landfill is leaking – it is leaking massively and private wells have been impacted. All of these things should be important to the present council. And I would really like to see and hear from the current members of council as to what they think about it and what our council’s position should be on it and what future councils might say and do and respond to these developments.

“But this is one of many issues and I believe that this issue is effectively over. It’s obvious to me and to people who are familiar with the situation, that the BREC mega-dump cannot legitimately be approved by the Ontario government. That doesn’t mean the process is going to stop and it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to worry about. It could still be approved illegitimately by some future government if we are not vigilant. It’s simply now pursuing the process to its logical and just end and putting it behind us. For Ian Munro the candidate, it is a fairly minor issues as I campaign to become a member of council.”

One bigger issue is what he calls the “intrusive” overregulation of both the provincial and federal governments and the impact that it has on local communities and more significantly on municipal taxpayers, particularly in the area of renewable energy.

“I don’t think I have bumped into anybody who isn’t into affordable renewable energy. That’s not the issue – the issue is always implementation. How is it being done? Premier Wynne has admitted that is hasn’t been done very well. And the outrage here in town in just the past 12 months about the prospect of a massive wind turbine proposal being built in the southern portion of town demonstrates that the process for approving these sorts of things is not ideal. So many of the provincial processes do not give those who are affected adequate input and that has to be fixed,” he said.

“As a community we need to be more vocal. Clearly the Town of Greater Napanee itself is not going to move provincial policy, but we cannot just passively accept unjust policies from above simply because they are from above. For example, I think council is doing the right thing in making an issue of OPP policing costs. It’s out of control. Everybody sees that. It needs to be fixed and we are doing the right thing by bringing other municipalities into the discussion.”

Munro also said that as he campaigns in over the next three months he will be finding out what the voters of Ward 4 also think are important issues that need to be addressed.

“The issues I have outlined I think are the big issues – ones that affect everyone in town. But there are issues that will impact smaller groups and even individuals and I want to hear about those. I am ready to listen.”

Munro and wife Marilyn Kendall have lived in Napanee since 1997.

For more information, contact him at 613-354-1828 or email s.cubed14@gmail.com.

- Jim Barber is the editor of the Greater Napanee News. Contact him at jim@greaternapaneenews.ca.

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