NEWS

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luke charbonneauBoth the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) and Saugeen Shores Police Services Board have re-elected Saugeen Shores Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau as Chair. After having served both agencies for a number of years Charbonneau will continue through a busy 2018 with plenty of goals on the docket.

During a January 17 telephone interview Charbonneau said that it’s important to have a municipal official at the helm to make sure “money is being well managed, well spent and that the public is getting what they deserve.”

“Between the Conversation Authority and the Police Services Board, the Municipality is spending nearly $4 million, the Town of Saugeen Shores, directly on just those two agencies and that’s a lot of public money,” said Charbonneau.

The past two years has been busy for the Police Services Board as it has hosted public meetings to inform about the need for a new police headquarters. Construction is expected to get underway in 2018. The Board also went through the hiring process for a new Chief of Police, Mike Bellai.

“The new Chief has come along with a lot of new ideas,” said Charbonneau. He also went on to say that the new detachment is still a big issue for the Board.

Furthering the relationship between officers and youth in the community is one item on the agenda; as well as implementing the staffing of police at Saugeen District Secondary School to help deal with drug related issues and online safety. A positive police presence will hopefully ignite beneficial relationships between youth and police services.

Opioids have been on the minds of board members as well as at the forefront for police and emergency services and the Board is expecting the momentum to continue. “We’re preparing for a wave, which is sort of coming up towards us from the south,” said Charbonneau. “We know it’s coming and we’re lucky that Chief Bellai has a lot of knowledge and experience there and he's beginning to organize the force to deal with it.”

The Saugeen Shores department has been working with the existing meth task force to bring Opioids into the framework and Saugeen Shores Police has also been provided with Naloxone. If Naloxone is given to someone under the effects of opioids, it can reverse an overdose, and only affects people who have taken opioids. Charbonneau said the force is also working with addiction agencies.

Also on the list for Charbonneau is negotiating the collective bargaining agreement with the police officers which the Chair said will get underway in February.

For the SVCA, invasive species such as Phragmites and Emerald Ash Borer continue to be a thorn in their side. The Authority oversees 1,800 square miles of watersheds and Charbonneau said that a recent donation from Bruce Power to the tune of $106,000 will see funding go towards the elimination of invasive species and damn removals along the Saugeen River to restore the flow of the water bringing it back to a natural state.

Charbonneau said another top priority will be improving planning and regulations services. “Making sure the Conservation Authority permits get out as quickly as they can, that our enforcement is streamlined and that it makes sense that we protect the watershed but at the same time make sure that our communities can continue to develop.” The Chair is working on negotiating planning services agreements with municipalities and said that he is hoping to sign a new deal with Bruce County as well with other partners in Grey County.

Editor's Note: The original article stated that Charbonneau hoped the collective bargaining agreement with police officers would be completed in February, when in fact they are getting started in February. The article has been corrected above.

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