Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen is Grey County’s Warden for 2020. McQueen was elected on December 3, 2019 at the inaugural meeting of Grey County Council.
In his inaugural address, Warden McQueen spoke of the history and importance of the role of Warden. “It’s a privilege to serve in the proud tradition of those who have come before me as Warden,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to live up to this tradition. I accept the role of Warden with humility and pride.”
McQueen has served in municipal office for 16 years, the past five as mayor. This is his third term on Grey County Council. In addition to his municipal roles, Paul is an executive on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and sits on the Niagara Escarpment Commission as a commissioner. Outside of government life, Mr. McQueen is a beef producer and lives on his family farm with his wife Cindy and their three sons.
Warden McQueen also spoke of what he hopes to accomplish during his term. He spoke specifically to affordable housing, newcomer attraction, services for seniors, and economic development and tourism. To accomplish these goals he expects council to work as a team.
“I truly believe that Grey County is greater than the sum of its parts. Individual gears work well on their own, but when they are connected, they generate tremendous power,” he said.
The election of the Warden happens each December at the inaugural session. This year’s election was a close race between McQueen and 2019 Warden Selwyn Hicks. After a secret ballot, the election was tied at nine votes each. To break the tie, names were placed into a hat and Paul McQueen’s name was selected.
Warden McQueen was nominated for the Warden’s position by Grey County councillors Scott Mackey and Aakash Desai. Councillor Hicks was nominated by councillors Boddy and Paterson. Councillor Christine Robinson was also nominated but declined to run.
Warden`s Inaugural Address
Good evening fellow County Councillors, colleagues, family, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your confidence in electing me to the position of Grey County Warden. It is truly my honour to serve alongside my colleagues from across Grey County, and work with each of you to serve our residents and businesses.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Mackey and Aakash Desai for nominating me for the role of your Warden. I am so appreciative of your confidence in me, and for your support.
It is a privilege to serve in the proud tradition of those who have come before me as Warden and who have represented the County with commitment and passion. Please know that I will do everything in my power to live up to this noble tradition, and that I accept the role of your Warden with humility and pride.
The definition of Grey County Warden is as follows:
As the head of County Council, the Warden provides leadership to Council and represents the County at official functions; carries out the duties as described by the Municipal Act, making sure the decisions of this body are followed through.
While the Warden serves as the “head” of County Council, I recognize that I am merely your representative. As we all know, the power of Council is the ability to work together, debate issues and bring forward solutions that will guide our communities in the future.
Not all decisions are easy ones, but I believe we all recognize and respect the opinions of all our representatives from across the nine municipalities in Grey County. I truly value the skills, opinions and perspectives of all members who sit around this table. I believe my role as your Warden is to help facilitate respectful debate, and then speak on behalf of the collective decisions that we bring forward.
Grey County is blessed with a robust economy, beautiful landscapes, passionate community members, recreation and tourism opportunities that attract visitors from far and wide, and a lifestyle that makes this a wonderful place for families of all ages.
By embracing a shared vision for 2020, working as a County Council team, and supported by our talented and innovative staff, we will be able to deliver impactful results for our constituents. I see 2020 as an opportunity for Grey County to find innovative and forward-thinking solutions for many of the issues that we are facing and that rural communities across the province are dealing with.
During this term I would like to see us find solutions for attainable housing across the County. With outward migration from the province’s large urban centres, I believe Grey County will be positioned for unprecedented growth. Newcomers will be our future ratepayers and our future workforce. We need to ensure that we embrace their skills and ensure that they can live and build a life in Grey County.
We also need to find solutions for our aging populations, many of whom want to live and retire in the place that they’ve called home for decades. I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that we do our best to provide affordable housing solutions, so they don’t have to leave their community and their family.
Tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand. We have visitors who come from around the world to visit our Georgian Bay shorelines, the Blue Mountains and the Beaver Valley. We have a tremendous opportunity to embrace the economic impact these visitors have in our communities, by finding ways to encourage increased visitor spending and tourism development in a way that is respectful of our values and landscapes. Visitors who discover Grey County as a tourist, often come back again and again, infusing money into our economy and often becoming future residents and business owners.
Owen Sound, the County’s largest urban centre, is critical to our future. We need to support the city’s growth by working collaboratively with their Municipal Council and respecting their contribution to the overall vibrancy of the entire County.
Long-term care has been one of the key issues before County Council for a number of years. We have already started the process of rebuilding the Rockwood Long-Term Care Home in Durham, as envisioned by Carol Lawrence. With the new Markdale Hospital being slated for construction beginning in 2020, and the application for 62 new beds at Grey Gables (which was the original location of the Grey County’s House of Refuge), we have the opportunity to explore the possibility of developing a health campus that will leverage the County’s commitment to long-term care.
I humbly accept the role of Grey County Warden for 2020, following in the steps of those who held this position before me.
At this time, I ask you to join me in thanking 2019 Grey County Warden Selwyn Hicks for his leadership and commitment over the past year. I am honoured to follow in his footsteps and will be working with him closely as the Deputy Warden.
The nine municipalities of Grey County are some of the best examples of rural government in the province. When we come together at Grey County Council, we have an opportunity to work together and leverage all our resources for incredible collective impact. I challenge all of us to seize the opportunity that we have before us and recognize the importance of working together to come to meaningful solutions that will shape our future.
I’m excited to serve as your Warden and as Grey County’s ambassador and look forward to working with all of my colleagues to capitalize on our potential and bring to life our vision for 20/20.
I’ll close my remarks with the deepest gratitude, humility and appreciation for this great honour.
For more information contact Rob Hatten, Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 519‑372‑0219 ext.1235, or 519-373-1592.