MacDonald takes over as SDG Counties warden

Newly sworn-in SDG Counties Warden Jamie MacDonald (centre) is congratulated by fellow councillors Francis Landry (left) and Marc St. Pierre (right). (Contributed/SDG Counties photo)

CORNWALL – There is a new Warden in the counties, but he has been here before. Councillor Jamie MacDonald (North Glengarry) began his third non-consecutive term as warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry at an inauguration meeting December 15.

MacDonald – who is also mayor of North Glengarry Township – congratulated outgoing warden Tony Fraser (North Dundas) for leading the council in its first year with seven new members around the table.

In his inaugural address, MacDonald highlighted many of the challenges the upper-tier municipality is facing in 2024.

“We have many challenges ahead as we face increasing costs, downloading [from the province], housing and workforce shortages, and mental health and poverty issues,” he said. “We will meet these challenges though partnerships and collaboration. Working with our neighbours is a cornerstone of our strategic plan.”

MacDonald stressed the need for the entire region to work together to advocate to higher levels of government.

“Municipalities are ready to work with provincial and federal governments to hit their [housing] targets, but we cannot maintain our current assets – road, bridges, water, and sewer systems – it is beyond our capabilities.”

MacDonald said that adding the pressure of new services to support provincial and national housing goals is unattainable without financial assistance.

“Show us the money and we will get the housing built – guaranteed,” he said.

An additional worry for MacDonald is the impact still-frozen municipal property assessments will have on home owners. The province extended freezing MPAC reassessments until 2025.

MacDonald pledged to shepherd SDG’s new strategic plan through the next year. He said the Counties’ commitment to rural schools is an important pillar to the community and the local economy, and that he is pleased with the recent announcement by the province to speed up construction projects for schools, and allow for more community hubs and sharing of schools.

“I am expecting great things this term,” he told the audience of about 150 people. “We will be looking to the future. It won’t be easy, but we are certainly ready to move forward together.”

MacDonald twice previously served as SDG Counties warden. His first one year term was in 2016. MacDonald served as inaugural warden for the 2018-22 term of Counties’ council.He defeated councillor Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) in the annual warden’s election in October.

MacDonald will serve as the head of SDG Counties Council until mid-December 2024.

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