Wednesday, April 30, 2014

“Seeds Sown for a Social Services Network”

April 30th, 2014 - News Release

Over seventy people participated in a very successful one day workshop focusing on social issues in Halton Hills.  The event was held on April 25 at St. Andrew’s United Church.  Participants included representatives from Halton Region, the Town of Halton Hills, a wide range of “not for profit” groups and organizations, as well as church groups and private citizens.
Mayor Rick Bonnette’s address illustrated how the social component is an integral part of the Integrated Community Sustainability Strategy (ICSS), which was recently adopted by Council.  Damian Szybalski, Manager of Sustainability, Town of Halton Hills gave a presentation outlining the overall framework of the ICSS, and highlighted the contents of the Social component of the Strategy. The other three parts of the Strategy are the Economy, Culture, and the Environment.
Regional Councillor Clark Somerville explained the important role that Halton Region plays in the delivery of many social services in Halton Hills, including child care subsidies, subsidized housing, employment skills, managing the Ontario Works program, services for seniors, and mental health programs.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton, gave the audience a snapshot of the demographic and social dimensions of Halton Hills as a community of communities.  She emphasized that social services enhance the quality of life of the entire community, and the importance of neighbourhoods as the core mechanism for people to look after each other. 
Beatrice Sharkey used the evolution of   the Cultural Roundtable as gave an example of how a small group of people can build an effective network to share information, improve cooperation and partnership, and increase the effective use of resources. She emphasized how the social services sector could benefit from such a mechanism locally.
Small group discussions tackling issues in the social services sector were animated and productive, and a key outcome was strong support for the concept of creating a structured ongoing network in the social services sector. Volunteers will be following up to make this concept a reality.
Event organizers David Clayton and Nancy Heinmiller, (who were the original co-Chairs of the Social component of the ICSS) said: “Our objective was to emphasize that the social services sector is as important as the other three components of the Sustainability Strategy, and to sow the seeds for a network that would bring greater cohesion and effectiveness to the social services sector in Halton Hills. We are pleased that we went some distance in achieving these goals, and greatly appreciate the help of the team who helped organize the event, and the enthusiastic participation of those who attended”.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Councillor Clark Somerville calls on Federal Government to fix Flaws in New Building Canada Fund

Halton Hills, On
– Councillor Clark Somerville joined other members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Board of Directors in calling on the Federal Government to fix serious gaps in the design of the New Building Canada Fund.  Those gaps could put much-needed infrastructure investments in Halton Hills at risk.

Councillor Somerville, who is also the third vice-president of FCM, issued the call in Thunder Bay, following a meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Board of Directors from March 5-8.

“Halton Hills welcomed the federal government’s investment in the New Building Canada Fund, the longest and largest infrastructure program in Canadian history,” said Councillor Somerville. “But it is critical that these gaps be addressed so that the program can meet the needs of this community over the next decade and give our residents the best value for money.”

Councillor Somerville joined other board members in calling on the Federal Government to work with local leaders to address flaws in the design of the BCF and to work to prevent similar concerns from emerging in the future by improving the quality of federal consultations with local governments.

In 2012-2013, consultations between federal and local governments led to ground-breaking federal infrastructure investments, including a commitment to a new 10-year, $14 billion Building Canada Fund (BCF), a two per cent annual index of the federal gas tax transfer, and a pledge to work with FCM on the detailed design and rollout of the plan. However, a lack of meaningful program design consultations followed and there was inadequate study and discussion of the issues.  This left important concerns with the New Building Canada Fund unaddressed and important questions unanswered.
Municipalities like Halton Hills own the vast majority of Canada’s roads, water systems, public transit and other core infrastructure, but to date they have received no clear indication that a fair share of the new BCF will be invested in vital future municipal The new BCF’s funding rules further reduce local flexibility by eliminating core infrastructure categories from eligibility, such as local roads.
“It’s not too late for the federal government to work together with us to resolve these issues,” added Mayor Rick Bonnette.  “It is our joint responsibility to do so. This community counts on its federal representatives to work with local leaders to make informed decisions that serve the people of Halton Hills and get the most out of every tax dollar.”

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thank you to all my supporters.  I am honoured to be your 3rd Vice President of the FCM.

FCM speech

It was a great weekend at FCM and I am humbled by the support I have recieved.  Here is my speech I gave that morning to the delegates.

Good Morning Everyone, Bienevue
I am Clark Somerville, a Local and Regional Councillor for Halton Region, and I am a asking for your vote for 3rd Vice President. 
I share your passion for strong local government.  I believe that municipalities are the true keepers of democracy in Canada as we ARE the order of government closest to the people. We listen, we work together and we respond.  But we can’t do it alone.

My Council role, like being 3rd Vice President, requires balance. I deal with issues like poverty reduction, housing, public transit as well as the vitality and sustainability of our agricultural communities.  I deal with places that have high as well as no growth. I am someone who will meet YOU on the level.
I am willing to learn to improve myself and serve you.

We don’t know what the next 5 years will bring, but I feel I have the VISION to lead us as we move forward. I AM committed to FCM and to serving you and your communities.
Increasingly a rural /urban divide is being felt and we must remember that all of us have a tremendous amount to contribute to the agenda and WE AS AN ORGANISATION must strive to reach that,  we need to build bridges, not of steel and concrete, but of understanding between our large urban centers and our smallest rural areas. 

We need to find ways to keep OUR members engaged through  innovative ideas like  webstreamed meetings,  and pooling travel rewards programs to assist smaller communities in attending.  Let’s have the discussion.
We have made great strides with the Federal government but we can’t rest on our laurels.  We need to advance OUR municipal agenda and lay the ground work to build 22nd century Canada.

Infrastructure means different things to different people.  Transit is not just roads but includes active transportation and public transit.  It must include our hospitals, recreational, senior and youth centres and a host of other projects we fund off our property tax base.  We need to make sure that ALL infrastructure is discussed.
We need to get aggressive on items that may be falling behind. 
We all know we need a better financial deal.
We need to enhance our partnership on trade issues as ALL trade and economic growth in Canada begins on Main Street.  We ARE the front line.
Canada is only as healthy as our cities, towns, regions and rural areas.
We must take EVERY opportunity to remind the Federal government of our needs. 
Together let’s make our voices heard.    Together, elect the candidate with vision, passion and commitment to advance your needs as your future President.  Together elect Clark Somerville as your 3rd Vice President.
Je vous demande d’élire Clark Somerville pour le TROI-ZI-M  vice-président de la FCM.
Remember Click on Clark 

Clique Sur Clark
I ask for your vote.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why I am running for FCM 3rd VP

I’m Clark Somerville a Local/Regional Councillor for the Town of Halton Hills and Halton Region. I’m also a candidate for 3rd Vice President of FCM.

I have served on the Board of Directors and the Ontario Caucus of FCM for the last 4 years on various committees.  I am currently the Vice Chair of the Rural Forum and have served as the Chair of the Housing Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Social Economic Development Committee.  I have actively participated in the annual Advocacy Days and other FCM events, such as the Sustainable Communities conference.

All of us who run for municipal government have a passion to serve our constituents, to make our communities better and to help plan and guide them into the future.  I share that passion.  We know we need to collaborate, build consensus and listen to our citizens.  We need to be willing to adapt to, and  listen and learn as new items come forward.  The one constant we know, is change.

I feel my background provides me with a unique perspective and balance to represent you as 3rd Vice President.  My community, while on the edge of the Greater Toronto Area, is both urban and rural.  I see daily the challenges and conflicts that happen as our cities and towns grow and the pressures that it places on our rural and agricultural communities.  As Chair of the Halton Health and Social Services Committee, I see the need for affordable housing and other social programs that assist those in our communities who may be on the lowest spoke of life’s wheel. 

All of us are facing challenges with our infrastructure deficits and tightening budgets. We need to ensure that when we talk about building much needed infrastructure, that it’s not only roads and bridges but also the social infrastructure our communities need.

Over the last few years FCM has made tremendous gains with the Federal Government and we need to capitalize on this and ensure that our voices continue to be heard.  We need to listen to the concerns of our communities and act on them. 

It’s important that all FCM members are able to participate and we must explore innovative ways to engage them.

Municipalities have a role to play in the economic development and the strength of our nation.  Whether it is manufacturing, agricultural, resource based, or tourism, municipalities must be recognised for the role they play in building our nation.  All trade travels on Main Street and we should be treated as partners.

FCM is a dynamic organisation and its 3rd Vice President should be someone who will work and help advance our agenda.  FCM needs someone who will work to bridge the rural/urban divide that is felt increasingly as Canada grows.  It needs someone with a vision and passion for municipalities.

On June 2nd Vote Clark Somerville for 3rd VP of FCM.

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.  My email is or phone at 905-703-6388.  Visit

Friday, May 10, 2013

About Clark Somerville

Growing up on a farm just outside of Acton, Clark saw first-hand the value that agricultural and rural areas play in the vitality of our communities.  Clark has served as a Halton Hills Local Councillor and Halton Regional Councillor for over 17 years His ward encompasses both urban and rural areas, and as a result Clark has continuously advocated for protected the countryside and the Niagara Escarpment from being designated for future highway corridors and growth areas.
Municipally, Clark has served as a member of the Halton Regional Police Services Board, Chair of Halton’s Health and Social Services Committee, Vice President of the Halton Community Housing Corporation and a variety of other committees.
Clark has worked with various community groups such as Poverty Free Halton, and has been an advocate for accessible and affordable housing.  He has supported transit passes for low income earners as well as worked to ensure that all official plans include inclusive neighbourhoods and affordable housing options
During his 5 years working on FCM, Clark has served as the Vice Chair of the Social Economic Development Committee as well as the Rural Forum.  He also served as Chair of the Housing Committee and has been a member of the Municipal Finance and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation, International Relations and the Corrections Canada Working Group along with the DFAIT Working group on trade issues.  He was instrumental in founding the “Men4Women” Group that annually raises money for the Mayor Andree Boucher Memorial Scholarship.  Clark also led a fundraiser for the Angel Street Women’s Shelter, in Iqaluit, which brought much needed supplies to the residents of that area.
“I feel my background and unique perspective provides me with the valuable tools to be the 3rd Vice President of the FCM, “ said Clark Somerville .  “As a Local and Regional Councillor, I understand the issues facing our communities, whether its immigration services, affordable housing, transit or other services that matter to our residents. There is a need for us to continue to work in partnership with the Provincial, Territorial and  Federal government to ensure our communities are sustainable.”
It’s important  that whoever is elected, understand  the uniqueness of all the areas of our country.  Canada’s rural communities have huge housing challenges as well as infrastructure needs that could cripple their ability to pay.  As our natural resource sectors grow its essential to ensure that the rural communities have the necessary services in place.
“I have the experience and the balance as a Councillor who represents a largely rural and urban area, in the fast growing Greater Toronto Area, to understand and work with all areas of the country.  I believe in being open and approachable and always welcome feedback on all the issues,” commented Clark Somerville “I look forward to and appreciate your support.”

À propos de Clark Somerville
 Ayant grandi sur une ferme juste à l'extérieur de Acton, Clark a vu de première main la valeur que les zones agricoles et rurales jouent dans la vitalité de nos communautés. Clark a servi de Halton Hills Conseiller local et régional pour plus de 17 ans sa paroisse englobe à la fois les zones urbaines et rurales, et en conséquence Clark a toujours pousser en faveur de la protection de la nature et de l'escarpement du Niagara d'être désigné pour corridors routiers futurs et les zones de croissance.
Localement, Clark a servi en tant que membre de la Commission des services de police régional de Halton, présidente du comité des services sociaux et de santé de Halton et, vice-président de la Société de logement communautaire de Halton et une variété d'autres comités.
Clark a travaillé avec divers groupes communautaires tels que la pauvreté gratuite Halton, et a été un défenseur de logements accessibles et abordables. Il a soutenu les titres de transport pour les personnes à faible revenu ainsi que veillé à ce que tous les plans officiels comprennent quartiers inclusifs et des options de logements abordables.
Au cours de ses cinq années de travail de la FCM, Clark a servi comme vice-président du Comité de développement socio-économique ainsi que le Forum rural. Il a également servi en tant que président du Comité du logement et a été membre du comité des finances municipales et le Comité intergouvernemental sur les relations, les infrastructures municipales et transports, relations internationales et le Groupe de travail sur les services correctionnels du Canada avec le groupe de travail du MAECI sur les questions commerciales. Il a contribué à la fondation du groupe "Men4Women" qui soulève chaque année des fonds pour la Bourse d'études pour la maire Andrée Boucher.  Clark a également mené une collecte de fonds pour le refuge de l'Ange, rue des femmes, à Iqaluit, qui a apporté des fournitures indispensables pour les habitants de cette région.
Je croie que ma jeunesse et mes expériences et la perspective unique me fournit les outils précieux pour le 3ème vice-président de la FCM », a déclaré Clark Somerville. «En tant que conseillère municipale et régionale, je comprends les problèmes auxquels font face nos communautés, qu'il s'agisse de ses services en matière d'immigration, le logement abordable, de transit ou d'autres services qui comptent pour nos résidents. Il est nécessaire pour nous de continuer à travailler en partenariat avec les gouvernements provinciaux, territoriaux et fédéral pour que nos collectivités soient durables ".
 Il est important que celui qui est élu, comprenne le caractère unique de toutes les régions de notre pays. Collectivités rurales du Canada ont des problèmes de logement énormes ainsi que les besoins d'infrastructure qui pourrait paralyser leur capacité de payer. Comme nos secteurs des ressources naturelles poussent il est essentiel de s'assurer que les communautés rurales aient les services nécessaires en place.
«J'ai l'expérience et de l'équilibre comme un conseiller qui représente une zone essentiellement rurale et urbaine, dans la région du Grand Toronto et sa rapide croissance, de comprendre et de travailler avec toutes les régions du pays. Je crois qu'il faut être ouvert et accessible et toujours recevoir des commentaires sur toutes les questions », a commenté Clark Somerville" J'ai hâte de vous entendre et je vous remercie de votre soutien. "

Monday, March 4, 2013

New federal long-term infrastructure plan must provide secure, predictable funding for Ontario rural communities, says FCM(26/02/2013)

TORONTO - The federal government's new long-term infrastructure plan must provide secure, predictable funding for rural municipalities, said Federation of Canadian Municipalities' board member Clark Somerville, to delegates gathered today in Toronto for the 2013 Combined Conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA).

"Predictable funding is key for good planning, but it is also essential for Canada's long-term economic prosperity," said Somerville. "Without predictable and long-term funding partnerships, it is impossible for rural municipalities to maintain infrastructure that is used not only by rural citizens, but also by the industries operating in rural Canada that form the backbone of our economy and contribute to over 50% of Canada's exports."
Like larger cities, rural communities need a full range of public infrastructure, from roads and water supply networks to libraries and community centres, to protect their quality of life and foster new economic development. With secure, predictable funding, municipalities will be able to budget efficiently and develop long-term repair and replacement plans for aging infrastructure such as roads and bridges, water and wastewater facilities.
"Rural Ontario's contribution is vital to our national economy," said Somerville. "To secure Canada's long-term economic growth, we need rural Ontario communities to have the infrastructure and services to support growing businesses and working families, and compete globally."
The federal government has committed to have the long-term plan in place before current federal infrastructure funding programs expire in March 2014. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) says Canada needs a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its crumbling infrastructure. FCM is proposing new investment through predictable programs that will ensure matching provincial and municipal dollars, cut red tape and further leverage private sector investment.
In addition to the ROMA/OGRA conference, FCM is taking part this week to the annual meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, where it will speak to the importance of long-term, predictable infrastructure funding for rural communities.