The NG Times met with Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville, to talk about some of the recent issues that have been to the fore in the region. Excerpts from the conversation:
Steve Clark on the on-going talks between the Municipality of North Grenville and the Province on the future of the Kemptville College campus:
“I was disappointed…the Government treated it like any other asset that they have, and they made the Municipality sign a gag order, a non-disclosure agreement. Let’s face it, they made it very clear that they didn’t want me involved because I think the site provides great opportunity and there’s great examples out there to show how the Government, at a very low cost, has been able to sell an asset to a prime stakeholder (and in this case, I don’t think you could find a better stakeholder than the Municipality, other than the federal government) and run it in a way that would maximise its existing assets. I think the government should be looking at it like that, instead of trying to hose the municipal taxpayers by trying to offload something.”
Steve has been very concerned about the threatened closure of schools in North Grenville and Merrickville-Wolford. In particular, the fate of Oxford-on-Rideau Public School is one, he believes that should have been clear to the school board, but they have been far too inconsistent in the way in which they have approached the issue:
“When a school like Oxford-on-Rideau talks about rejuvenating it through a program, having a robotics course and making it a centre of excellence, why do you not take their suggestion, but take another community’s suggestion for another centre of excellence? I really thought that the Board, based on the presentation that the parents put on that night, would have saved the school. I can’t understand why you would close a school when you’ve just opened a high school here in 2010. Now that school needs expanding. And you’re in the process of building another new school here in Kemptville: it’s not even completed and yet there’s rumblings that it’s over capacity before its doors are even open.”
When asked about possible roles for him in any future Conservative Government in Ontario, Steve made it clear where his focus lies:
“I think the people in Merrickville-Wolford and North Grenville know me as a hardworking and visible member of the Legislature. I take my other duties within the Party as the Deputy Leader very seriously, but I haven’t really changed my way of doing business since when I was a local Mayor, I guess it would be 35 years ago. I am going to continue to be focussed on Leeds-Grenville, as opposed to being focussed on Queen’s Park. It’s a very delicate balance, but you need to be the person at Queen’s Park that represents Leeds-Grenville, not the other way around.”
The full video interview can be seen on our website at www.ngtimes.ca.