Thursday, July 18, 2024

Gananoque mayor wants to spark more public interest in local government

Gananoque Mayor John Beddows – Submitted photo

Gananoque’s mayor would like to see more participation from the community when it comes to council and public meetings.

Along those lines, he’s pushing to have a council meeting held at Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School during the school day, at some point this year; the town is also trying to fix audio issues in the council chambers, to help improve the town’s online presence during meetings.

“Democracy only works if everyone plays,” said Mayor John Beddows.

“Showing people how things work, how they can influence outcomes. It’s about empowering them to be heard. A lot of high school kids probably don’t think that town council matters. When we talk about funding parks, funding the library, funding soccer, funding Lou Jeffries (arena), when we start putting stuff like that on the table they can see where the rubber meets the road for them and empower them to do so.”

In 2023, Deputy Mayor Vicki Leakey put forward an initiative for a member of the public to sing, or play on an instrument, the national anthem, prior to council meetings. So far, the initiative has only brought forth one eager youth. But town staff is looking for more interest and participation from the community.

“If you can play O Canada on a trumpet, let us know,” said Beddows. “We’d love to have you with us while we sing O Canada at the beginning of a council meeting.”

(Those interested can contact Town Hall at 613-382-2149, or the town’s clerk, Penny Kelly, at clerk@gananoque.ca.)

Beddows added that the town is looking into fixing the audio in council chambers to help improve accessibility to meetings for people viewing online.

“Right now, it’s as good as it can be and we’re going to try to fix that,” said Beddows.

“And we’re going to try to find a means of the most cost-effective means of recording and posting our meetings online. For some people, having that availability after the fact, will be useful.”

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