Great things ahead for Brant, says Mayor Bailey

Great things ahead for Brant says Mayor Bailey

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If Brant County’s future gets any brighter, Mayor David Bailey is going to need sunglasses.

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Bailey said the county has made its way through the pandemic better than many municipalities and is looking at all sorts of good news for 2022.

“The future is bright all over the place with development, moving forward with buildings, fire halls, community centers and the big library slated for next year,” he said in an interview. “We just finished the health hub and everything’s been so positive.

“Everything got finished on time and we just seemed to have the right council.”

The “big library” is the plan to create a new Paris library in the Bawcutt Centre, while the Cowan Community Health Hub opened in Paris last November.

Bailey, who is in his first term as mayor after defeating Ron Eddy in 2018, said decisions to centralize certain staff turned out to have a positive impact on dealing with the pandemic as it extended through 2021.

“The COVID changes blended in with the county’s plan to move forward together.”

As well, money from the province to help offset pandemic costs, along with development income, leaves the county in good shape financially, he said.

“I sit on the Ontario Wardens Association with mayors from all over Ontario and some places have no development at all, so they have no money coming in. COVID is a whole different animal when you have no development, no money and no future looking bright.”

Bailey said 2021 did present some challenges, including lessening the role of council in certain decisions.

“When you go into an emergency situation, the council steps back. All of a sudden you don’t have to listen to 10 people but you miss it. I didn’t like the feeling because, while our discussions take up a lot of time, it’s how you make good decisions.”

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But he noted that much was accomplished because of the good work of CAO Michael Bradley and municipal staff.

Bailey said one of the biggest changes he pushed for was ensuring the municipality, which includes the communities of Paris, St. George, Burford, Scotland. Middleport and Cathcart, now is branded as the County of Brant in signage and references.

“The tax money is brought in from across the county and we need to think of it as a whole. People think that Paris gets everything but that’s not true.”

The mayor acknowledged that some complain that the county is seeing too much change, development and traffic. “And these are the same people who want us to expand the arenas, build community centres, keep the curling clubs, add a dog park and maintain the trails. The complainers want the same things as everyone else.”

He noted that the influx of newcomers means more diversity and the potential for new restaurants and festivals.

“They’re excited to be here and we feel that excitement.”

Once the pandemic is over, Bailey said county residents can look forward to good things.

“We’re going to have all the bells and whistles people want and it didn’t get done off the tax base. People are going to be living in this wonderful County of Brant and it won’t cost them a lot.”

With the next municipal election set for Oct. 25, Bailey said he is running for re-election.

“My name will be the first one registered,” he said.

“I knew I would like being mayor but I had no idea I’d love it, and I do. People are buying what I’m selling and we have a lot of big plans ahead.”

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