Editorial: Study without action wastes resources

There is a growing and wasteful trend around municipal council tables. It is noticed in South Dundas and has been observed at other municipal councils – over-studying issues or creating study projects without acting. Resources are finite in municipalities. Elected leaders have to balance the resources they have based on staff recommendations, their own knowledge, reports, and what the community need are. Lately both municipal councils are wasting those resources on fruitless reports and inaction.

South Dundas council recently voted against two battery energy storage facility projects proposed for near Brinston. Preceding their vote, council asked for in-depth study and reports from staff on the projects. Staff even recommended one of the two projects to council for a vote based on the land use requirements being favourable, and the financial windfall through increased property taxes and a community fund. Council ignored the recommendations and reports on the projects and voted against the projects. Up to this point, very little – if any – money was spent by the project proponents. The net losers here is the cost of staff time – for which there was a significant amount used.

Council has also asked for new reports in addition to already existing recent reports on the condition of the two village plazas. An extensive report was presented with some large price tags attached for the neglected municipally-owned facilities. These new reports just add to the stacks of existing reports sitting in an office or archive somewhere. The issues have not changed – neither has council in-action. Why waste the resources when no decisions are made or discussions had?

South Dundas’ waste management strategy, needs, and solutions have been studied for the last 10 years. Plans were made, but never fully enacted. Now the solution is to study the problem more and waste resources to do it – all while a less-than-three year window to do anything about the Matilda Landfill continues to draw nearer. Council’s plan to deal with municipal issues is to ask for more reports and studies – like a new speed limit study for municipal roads recently requested. A similar study is proceeding at SDG Counties too.

The paradox to this is, there are issues in South Dundas that have been acted on with little study where there should have been. What affects would closure of the Rideau St. Lawrence Distribution office and the Provincial Offences Act court have on the South Dundas Justice Building? No study. What are the ramifications for turning the unused portion of the Dundas County Archives building into an ad hoc storage facility? No study.

Asking for reports or studies on an issue or topic is part of the job of being on council and entirely appropriate. Once the information is provided however, it is also appropriate for council to do their work. Not acting only wastes valuable time and money paid for by us, and that is inappropriate.

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