Four challenging years ahead in Petrolia says mayor



Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says the next four years will be “difficult” but he’s confident the new council will be able to make the right decisions.

McCharles and council, including Grant Purdy and Ross O’Hara the two newest members of council – were officially sworn in Monday.

“We have some difficult times ahead of us,” McCharles said during his inaugural address. “The upper tiers of government don’t hand out money like we’re used to anymore.”

That could be a big problem as the town looks for cash for the $3 million rebuild of Petrolia Line and the $21 million needed for a new sewage treatment plant.

“We have to find ways to look after our own banking,” McCharles told councilors. “And we have to hope and pray we also get some funding….with our waste water treatment plan – we can’t do that alone; we need federal and provincial cash.”

He adds while raising taxes is not what any politician wants, “that’s almost impractical.”

Even as McCharles voiced concern about the next four years, he says the town is blessed with wonderful volunteers and residents who keep the community working.

Councilor Tim Brown agreed. “When there is a need in our community, the community meets it.”

And while the task might be daunting, Purdy – a first-time councilor – says he has some good teachers.

“I’m grateful I have all these experienced people to learn from,” adding he would “keep the best intentions of Petrolia at the heart of decision making at all times.”

Councilor Joel Field agreed council is prepared for the next term. “This is a good team moving forward to work together on the hard decisions.”