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Warden gives recap of collaboration and investment at her luncheon


Warden Hilda MacDonald speaks at podium

Working together and making investments were part of what was on Warden Hilda MacDonald’s mind last week.


The 17th annual Warden’s Luncheon, hosted by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, saw MacDonald address colleagues and guests in a packed room in the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh last Wednesday afternoon. She started by reminding her political friends that it is about the job and not themselves personally.“It’s not about us as political leaders,” she said. “It’s about the chairs we sit in.”


MacDonald, the mayor of Leamington in addition to being the first-ever woman to head Essex County council, said she is “proud of my colleagues” for working together to get the job done. She also praised county staff in her address.

“County of Essex employees do it all and do it well,” said MacDonald.


MacDonald went over the county’s long history, which dates back to 1792, but also how the county needs to look forward. She touted the agricultural industry’s innovation as well as the area’s role in the automotive and automobility industry. The new Gordie Howe International Bridge and new hospital were also highlighted as part of MacDonald’s address.


“Essex County has always been a sustainable community,” said MacDonald.

The region has always been a caring community willing to work together, she stated.


“We are a region on the rise,” said MacDonald.


Essex-Windsor EMS is hiring 16 more full-time paramedics and getting an increased investment in equipment, with county council also agreeing to purchase eight new ambulances.


The County of Essex is preparing for growth through a large investment in roads, with $94 million approved for 2024 with that being a $24 million increase from 2023.


“We expect our investments in roads will only increase in coming years,” she said.


The county is updating its Official Plan with growth expected to rise to 2,300-3,900 residents per year or 1,000-1,400 homes per year.


“Get your head around that,” she said.


Increasing support for affordable housing in the region is another focus for county council, adding there is homelessness in the county. She said the Hub in her hometown of Leamington offers overnight housing for those in need. The issue is somewhat new for the county to tackle but they are committed to working towards a solution.


“We’re out of our comfort zone at times but we’re working at it,” said MacDonald.

MacDonald also pointed out the county’s biking trails, greenways and CWATS investments, the latter seeing a master plan with 510 km of routes proposed.

“We have so much to be proud of in Essex County,” the warden stated.


Essex County has seven unique and diverse municipalities with their own rich histories, but MacDonald said the region is stronger together.


The Warden’s Luncheon was sponsored by Libro Credit Union with the Windsor Port Authority as the partner sponsor.

Warden gives forecast of collaboration and investment at her luncheon

By Ron Giofu

 

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