O’Hara wants to review compost site decision, rebuild trust in Petrolia

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Petrolia Council veteran Ross O’Hara wants to rebuild trust with the community and take a second look at whether the town should run its own compost site.
O’Hara, 68, was on council for nine years and then became mayor for nine years. After taking a break from service, O’Hara returned as councillor in 2014. He’s running for another term on Oct. 22.
“I think we need a new person as mayor. About a year ago, I thought  about running for mayor. But then I thought, ‘no we need someone with new ideas. A new leader of the pack’”
What can you contribute to council with your experience?
I think I can contribute in stability when it comes to budget. We’ve done a lot of things in Petrolia in the last four years and I appreciate all that we’ve done but we also have to keep an eye on our debt. I’m always conscious that we have to make sure we don’t put the town too far in debt…Basically, I’m very approachable; I’ve always tapped in with the people…I want to see council very open and very approachable.
“We’ve had some problems over the last few years and we’re coming out of that and I want to see that get even better where people have a trust in their municipal government.”
What’s the biggest issue this election?
I think still we know we had some difficulties in the last four years with trust from the public and that was pretty obvious; I think that’s still going to be a major issue…I think we’re coming out of that really well right now.”
What would you like to see accomplished in the next four years if you are elected?
One of the things I definitely – I’m not going to say I would support it – but I would like to look at reopening the compost site. I think I’ve had more people approach me about that than probably anything else. They feel it was a huge cut in service and I’d like to explore the possibilities of that.”
If you’re elected, would you vote to have the Fleming report on the actions of the former CAO released?
That’s a tough one…if there is anyway it can be opened up I’m all for it. If it cannot be because of legalities, than it can’t be.”
Do you favour moving town hall out of Victoria Hall as suggested to council by a consultant?
We certainly didn’t hear any numbers as far as financial but, boy oh boy, it looked like an awful lot money for the town to spend to be able to go that route. I realize the theatre could use some more room – maybe we could possibly put an addition on and keep our municipal offices there and maybe, if they need another stage, maybe we can have another stage in another place,” he says.

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