News Council debates bilingualism policy SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Monday, Feb. 11th, 2019 West Nipissing Mayor Joanne Savage. Photo credit: Supplied West Nipissing council wants to create a bilingualism policy where documents and signage would be in both official languages. Mayor Joanne Savage would also like to see the Franco-Ontarian flag flown on all municipal buildings. Savage says it’s frustrating when you’re in Toronto and someone hears you speaking French and asks if you’re from Quebec. The Mayor says flying Franco-Ontarian flags would be an expense for the municipality but it would tell people West Nipissing is a bilingual community. However, CAO Jay Barbeau says the cost to officially make West Nipissing bilingual will go far beyond paying for some flags. He says the financial impact will be great because declaring official bilingualism means having the municipality’s documents in both English and French. And Barbeau notes this is not a one-time cost. He says every council meeting produces lengthy minutes which would have to be translated, in addition to the agenda, which is very lengthy. Barbeau says this is a huge administration cost. Barbeau wants council to understand this is not a political issue, but rather one of finances. He adds administrative costs aside, there are also human resources issues to consider. Barbeau suggested council create a subcommittee which could iron out some of the difficulties going officially bilingual creates. Council agreed and the ad hoc committee will be made up of staff, which includes Barbeau, and four members of council. The committee will report back to council sometime in the second half of March.