Proclaiming days and weeks for certain causes is something that Grey County has not done since 1995.

That policy came before council May 9 to see if council was interested in starting to make declarations.  

After some discussion of the “slippery slope” of growing numbers of requests that could follow, Grey County councillors defeated the proposed draft policy.

 The staff proposal was that the warden be delegated to issue proclamations, in the interest of efficiency.

Grey Roots plans to have its own stand-alone community flagpole. The present municipal flagpole at Grey Roots could serve as the community flagpole in the interim, staff member Tara Warder said.

A local councillor observed that each group asking for a proclamation starts somewhere in a local municipality, so there is always an avenue to pursue at the local level.

Staff member Tara Warder did not have information on how the issue is handled between upper and lower tiers in other counties and regions.

The approach proposed was not meant to be usurp any lower tier’s authority, she said.

Paul McQueen said Grey Highlands went years without  proclaiming anything.  

It started to do so with Agnes Macphail Day, and later proclaimed Black History Month.  

Starting to make proclamations can be a “slippery slope” toward more and more requests, he said, but sometimes there are occasions the municipality deems important. He noted that Grey Highlands has a separate flag pole and a policy to govern flag flying.  

Scott Greig, Owen Sound, said he was happy with the existing policy, which leaves  the lower tiers to make their own decisions.

He said there’s always a hidden cost to such proclamations, including muni­cipal representatives like the warden travelling to attend flag raisings.  

“I think the easier thing is to leave the policy as it is – and not open a Pandora’s Box,” he said.

Barbara Dobreen of Southgate said there are many worthwhile organizations and awareness campaigns, but also echoed the phrase “slippery slope”.

She added that a policy which left decisions to the Warden would put pressure on that position and that choices about what is recognized might change with each Warden.

“I think this is best left to the lower-tiers to decide their role,” she said.

Scott Mackey said he agreed with others, and said he thought the thorny side of the issue came “when you don’t agree” with some of the requests.

Sue Carleton gave an example she found with the difficulties with recognition requests, citing June as both Pride Month and Indigenous Awareness Month. “Which do you give priority to?”, she asked.

CAO Kim Wingrove thanked the clerk’s department for the report. Because requests keep coming in, and it has been 30 years since council looked at the question, the question arose as to whether that is still the county’s will, she said. She thanked the council for its clarity on the matter.

By M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 31, 2024 at 11:26

This item reprinted with permission from   Dundalk Herald & The Advance   Dundalk, Southgate, Grey Highlands, Ontario

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