Members of the Concerned Residents of Norfolk County Facebook group took their message on the road on Feb. 18.
Group members and supporters filled the council chamber for the Norfolk County council meeting.
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Linda Vandendriessche spoke to council on behalf of the Concerned Residents of Norfolk group.
“Our vision is to have well-funded and viable community, cultural, and recreational facilities,” said Vandendriessche.
The group, that now boasts more than 2,000 members, formed in response to Norfolk County’s recent budget deliberations. The county approved an 8.4 per cent residential tax hike and announced impending closures of county facilities including at least one arena.
Vandendriessche said the group hopes to work with council to help volunteer, fundraise, and whatever else it takes to keep these facilities afloat.
“Our arenas, community centres, and cultural facilities are the lifeblood of Norfolk,” said Vandendriessche. “They provide a sense of community and these amenities help attract families to locate in Norfolk County.”
The group has also created a petition to put a hold on closing any facilities that have cultural value, provide recreational opportunities, or provide multiple uses in the community.
“Everything she says is exactly what council intends to do,” said Coun. Chris Van Paassen following Vandendrissche’s address. “Maybe we didn’t do a very good job rolling it out, getting the facts out there early enough, but that’s exactly what I want to hear.
“We want to work with the communities to find ways to make it happen. What historically has been going on with the finances in the county is not sustainable, we need to find better ways to do things, we need to work with our communities.”