The municipalities of Chatham-Kent and Leamington are becoming quite neighbourly these days, and it is hoped this friendship will translate into benefits and savings for residents in both communities.
The municipalities of Chatham-Kent and Leamington are becoming quite neighbourly these days, and it’s hoped this friendship will translate into benefits and savings for residents in both communities.
Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald, who came to Chatham Friday for an announcement on provincial funding for transit through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, said being on friendly terms has been the approach she and Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff have taken since they got into government.
“It’s better for everyone if there is a co-operative element to it, the discussions go better … the willingness to work together for a final end, I think that only behooves all of us,” MacDonald said.
Transit is one area where Chatham-Kent and Leamington could work together in the future to create a regular service between the two municipalities.
“We just got the Leamington to Windsor (route), so for us that’s a huge step,” MacDonald said.
She said a transit service between Leamington and Chatham-Kent is something she hopes to see happen within her tenure as mayor.
Noting the route between Windsor and Leamington was a long time coming, despite the need, MacDonald believes establishing a route between Chatham-Kent and Leamington would be an easier and quicker step to make.
“But I still see it as a bit of a way off.”
Canniff also likes the idea.
“I want to look at everything that will improve service to our taxpayers here in Chatham-Kent and Leamington,” the mayor said.
He said with Chatham-Kent and Leamington sharing a border, emergency services is an area where there’s potential savings, noting Wheatley’s fire station as an example.
“I want to have a great relationship with our neighbours all around (Chatham-Kent),” Canniff said. “It seems to me to be pretty much a no-brainer to get together with your neighbours and work with them.”
He said Chatham-Kent has also met with other neighbouring communities to discuss what they could do together to save money and improve services.
“There’s all sorts of opportunities between communities to save money,” he said, citing shared purchasing as one area that working groups are exploring.
MacDonald said she looks forward to further discussions and hopefully seeing some ventures result in the future.
The two mayors have already begun a friendly rivalry over their respective Junior ‘B’ hockey teams.
In April, Canniff agreed to wear a Leamington Flyers jersey during a Chatham-Kent council meeting last April when the Chatham Maroons were eliminated by the Flyers in the playoffs.
The two mayors are also planning to continue their good-natured rivalry when the upcoming hockey season begins in September.