COMMENTARY: Kill three birds with one stone

With Brock Frost making his exit from Cornwall city council, the work now turns to filling the vacant seat. Council will get a report next month giving it three options to fill that seat: call a by-election, pick the next person from last year’s election or pick someone randomly from the public at large (an option rarely exercised). The next person that got the most votes was Guy St-Jean. But he has moved to Florida and sold his home in Cornwall, making him ineligible to hold office. Then it falls to Denis Carr, who has made it clear he would take the job if asked. But some have pointed out that Carr is from the previous council – half of which was wiped out in the last election. Does the public want part of the “old guard” back? Maybe voters’ minds have changed in the 12 months since the election and maybe someone fitting of the job was “drowned out” by the number of candidates looking to hold office in October 2014.

This may be an opportunity for the city to kill two birds or three birds with one stone. The hot button issue of fluoride has also been bantered about as well as whether the city of 47,000 people should be on the ward system. Why not combine these issues and hold a by-election with two referendum questions? At anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 for the by-election, it would certainly be more cost effective and cover a number of issues, put those issues to bed, and allow the council to move ahead with more pressing issues in the last three years of its mandate.

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