Ready to listen
Candidates in the 2018 municipal election were given the opportunity to listen and learn about agricultural issues in Dundas County. DFA president Marty Derks was pleased with the turnout and the ability to provide information on the agricultural sector of the local economy.   Thompson Goddard photo.

Carolyn Thompson Goddard
Record Correspondent
CHESTERVILLE – The DFA meeting hall in the basement of the Nelson LaPrade Centre was almost at capacity when many of the municipal candidates from North and South Dundas gathered to hear a presentation by Alison McDonald from the United Counties of SDG and Rhonda Boutz of South Nation Conservation on forest cover in SDG on Sept. 5.

The Dundas Federation of Agriculture had invited all the 2018 municipal election candidates in Dundas County for an information session during the regular DFA meeting. It should be noted that members of the North Dundas Council who are seeking re-election were unable to attend the event due to a special meeting of council held concurrently in North Dundas council chambers.

McDonald provided those in attendance with the presentation which had been previously given to municipal councils on the state of forest cover in the United Counties and possible ramifications of its loss. The forest cover is now is 28.1 per cent, just below the recommended level of 30 per cent for optimum ecological health as set by Environment and Climate Change Canada.  McDonald commented the loss of forest cover is due to a variety of factors including agricultural, industrial and residential development.  She and Boutz provided several ways to combat the loss of forest cover in SDG which included supporting a tree giveaway day and working closely with municipalities to develop preventative measures.

Jackie Pemberton, OFA Zone 11 director, sees education of municipal council members and citizens as an important tool in ensuring the needs of all sectors, including those involved in agricultural businesses, are considered when decisions are being made. She is looking forward to continuing a good relationship with council members and feels that forest cover is an issue of importance.

DFA president Marty Derks commented on the role of agriculture in the Dundas economic health and mentioned this was one of the reasons behind inviting candidates to the meeting.  He also suggests there may be an advisory role for the DFA in municipal government as agriculture is the largest industry in North and South Dundas.  He continued he was “very happy with the turnout” as it gave everyone an opportunity to meet and get to know each other.  Representatives of the DFA plan to attend the candidate meetings in both municipalities.