- Hub staff

The Owen Sound Hub was present to cover the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference which was held virtually last month. Accessibility to events beyond our region is one positive in our pandemic year.

ROMA is the rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the conference included presentations from the Premier, Minister of Health, leaders of the Opposition parties and others. More significantly, the Ministers' Forums, discussions with almost all provincial Cabinet Ministers at the table, allowed the attendees from participating municipalities to ask their questions directly.

Journalist Chantal Hébert gave the keynote address and answered questions on federal provincial relations, the prospects for a federal election, and other timely subjects. Break out sessions over the two days focussed on issues like waste management, economic resilience, climate change mitigation and internet connectivity.

A particularly interesting lunchbreak networking opportunity hosted by the Ontario Medical Association featured several doctors responding to questions on COVID-19 vaccines and roll-out, and the pandemic’s effects on rural health care.

We requested a report on Owen Sound's participation in the conference from our Mayor and City Manager, but received no reply. The only member of Council to report publicly on their participation on our behalf was Councillor Carol Merton who shared a brief report at Monday's council meeting.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to have attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Virtual Conference, “Connecting Rural Ontario”, held on line on January 25th and 26th, 2021.
There were many interesting topics to choose from in the Concurrent Sessions. I attended the following:
• Come Hell or High Water: Actions to Mitigate Flooding;
• Now What? An Open Conversation on Community Safety and Well-Being Plans;
• The Pathway to Full Producer Responsibility of the Blue Box;
• The Science Behind Implicit Bias.
The information shared, the key messages and the opportunity to connect with other rural municipalities were all extremely helpful to me as we move forward through Respond phase of COVID-19 into Recover and Thrive over the next months."

photo source: Bill Walker MPP, Twitter




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