Chatham-Kent council is playing a game of chicken with the provincial government.
We’re not sure that’s the best way to deal with ServiceOntario centre funding, because the losers are the taxpayers of this municipality.
Council wants to see the province shell out more cash – about $40,000 – to cover the costs of operating the ServiceOntario office in Dresden.
If the province says no, council has stated it will close the ServiceOntario offices in Dresden and Chatham, as the municipality operates both locations.
Blenheim, Tilbury and Wallaceburg have ServiceOntario centres run by private entities, just as Chatham’s and Dresden’s were until a couple of years ago.
In the name of providing services important issues such as renewing drivers’ licenses and health cards, the municipality took over the operations.
Now, they’re threatening to stop doing so.
Again, the threat is directed at the province, but the fallout lands in the laps of local citizens.
Municipal council and officials are in a bit of a dream world. They think that just because they operated by working remotely through the pandemic – heck, council apparently is still too scared to meet in person – that everyone embraces the mentality.
Perhaps they should get in touch with the local school boards to learn what a nightmare remote learning was and of all the devices the boards had to come up with to provide to families who didn’t have the luxury of tablets and computers at home.
And then there is access to reliable Internet.
We’re just not there yet for everyone in Chatham-Kent.
Furthermore, and it’s asinine to think that council needs to be reminded of this fact, but we are an aging community. Not everyone is computer literate and some are happily computer-free in their homes.
Granted, there are many seniors who are well versed in operating smart devices and navigating the Internet. But not all.
They don’t get all their information online. In fact some don’t get any of it from online sources. Many still read newspapers; local newspapers.
Sharing information solely online will guarantee you will miss an important element of our population, some of our seniors.
Need we also remind council that seniors also do something more consistently than all other age brackets of our population?
Go ahead, anger our seniors. See how that works out come November.