County of Brant community business members attended the second annual Mayor’s Luncheon with David Bailey at the new TF Warren Group Cainsville Community Centre on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
As attendees ate their lunch and mingled, Michael Harrington, President of the Paris and District Chamber of Commerce (COC), welcomed everyone and acknowledged board members and their hard work, as well as the bar staff and caterers working the event.
Harrington discussed the purpose of the COC and the work they strive to create.
“What we strive to do day to day, through all of our meetings and events is to create an atmosphere where we can help business owners build their brand, network with each other and create new business,” he said. “So if you’ve ever been to our events, we are generally grabbing people and introducing them and saying ‘you should speak to each other because you can help each other,’ and that’s a big, big objective of ours.”
Cindy Stevenson, General Manager of Community and Protective Services at County of Brant later spoke to attendees about the new community centre and all those who have had a hand in the facility becoming a reality.
“New connections and lasting memories will be made here, including today’s luncheon. It is our pleasure to facilitate special events with friends and family, community group meetings and fundraisers, area industry work functions, training and meetings, programming for people of all ages, and countless more wonderful events for many years to come,” she said. ”We are honored to showcase the County’s newest facility, which is very quickly becoming this community’s most sought after venue. …,The journey from inception to completion of this beautiful new Community Centre started back in 2015 as local community members Jim Barton and Brian Smith approached County of Brant council to request consideration for a new community centre in this area. The former Cainsville Community Centre was aging and no longer meeting the community’s capacities.”
She spoke about the generosity of Terry Warren, CEO of the TF Warren Group who was the major donor in the centre’s build and where the building got its namesake from.
Stevenson informed attendees of the building’s features including, accessible entrances and washrooms, LED lighting, a patio, electric vehicle charging stations, office spaces, multipurpose meeting spaces, a community hall, kitchens and serving windows as well as a bar and more.
Mayor David Bailey took the podium next to speak about his role as the Mayor of the County of Brant and how the county is rapidly growing and changing.
“Looking around the room, all the movers and shakers from all the organizations that matter are here, I thank you all for everything you do. For the foundations to the charitable people and the people that run their own foundations and their own funds,” said Bailey. “…,I am glad to see people from the city here, counselors in the city, I see the Branford Chamber is here. Thank you all for coming out and supporting this event. As you know, the County of Brant is on the move. We are a very saleable product, we are doing extremely well. We have all kinds of interests from all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. The unfortunate thing about having a product that’s worth selling, is the fact that not everybody wants the same thing, not everybody thinks it’s a good idea that we have such growth.”
Bailey spoke about being excited for the new diversity coming into the County, though he made it a point to try to understand those who have been in the country for generations and why they are hesitant of change.
“I understand why people want to live here, I understand why people have struggled their whole lives living in Brampton and Markham, and they have made fortunes, they made money and they’re coming to the County of Brant with fist loads of money, with big smiles and a hope for an easier retirement in a paradise,” he said. “They consider it a paradise, and it is a paradise we’re just use to the paradise and we don’t understand it anymore. But outsiders coming in, it’s something spectacular. For the people that are coming to live in the County of Brant, I don’t blame them – I encourage them, I’m excited by them being here. They bring with them festivals and culture and foods and restaurants, and all kinds of things we’re not used to. However, the diversity that’s coming to the County of Brant is a two-sided sword. I think the people that have lived here for generations have been asked to not swallow – but put up with a whole lot of things lately. I think at some point, we have to step back and stand in the shoes of the people that have been here for five generations. We’ve asked them to accept diversity they don’t understand, restaurants they don’t have the confidence to order from. We’ve talked about gay pride, we’ve talked about flags, we’ve talked about crosswalks, we’ve talked about all these things that may have been uncomfortable for them and it’s just a lot. And at some point people when you force this much on anybody it becomes a titling place and they get angry more than they want to.”
Before wrapping up the event Bailey also made it known that while some are hesitant, these changes in diversity are just the beginning and they are not temporary.
“This is the new reality of the County of Brant,” he said.”I never want to be a Mayor or a person that tells you that ‘this is only temporary’ – this is not temporary at all. …, People are coming here because it’s beautifully placed on 400 series highways, it’s beautiful countryside, we have beautiful rivers, we have a County that is easy to work with and you have a council that gets along. We joke, we smile, we play, we kiss babies and shake hands and cut ribbons. But the whole time we’re doing it, we’re getting the work done, and that is an amazing county to be part of – not every municipality can say that.”