Questions for Candidates for Councillor:
What are your top three priorities for the coming four years of Council? How have municipal priorities changed since the last term of Council?
The 2018 election held the same priorities we are seeing this time around – Water & Sewer, The Landfill, and Infrastructure: Roads & Rural High Speed Internet. North Dundas residents are concerned, and rightfully so. These are tough and expensive challenges for a community of our size and tax base. It is also important to note that solving these issues does not happen overnight, but requires long term planning often stretching much longer than one term. My intent is to pick up where the previous Council has left off and solve these challenges through meticulous planning and action. For priorities surrounding community safety such as speeding, these can be accomplished rather swiftly through adequate signage, and partnerships with our police and residents.
What would you bring to Council this term that hasn’t been there previously?
I am going to answer this question through a different and forward looking perspective. This coming term we are losing a key member of Council who with his 22 years of service, served as a Councillor, the Fire Commissioner, our Deputy Mayor, and the Warden of SDG Counties – Mr. Al Armstrong. Al is highly respected by all, not because he made people happy but because he would challenge people to prove their points, and has a strong voice. This is exactly what is needed at Council. I am not saying I can fill Al’s shoes, but what I am saying is that I will be a strong advocate for fairness and will hear both sides of the argument.
Do you think more can be done to involve the community in the affairs of Council and being part of the decision-making process?
More can definitely be done to encourage the participation of the community in the affairs of Council. For example, a committee representing the agriculture sector can easily be established and consulted for input on the impacts of proposals to the farming community. We would not be reinventing the wheel, but rather adopting a page from South Dundas’ book on how they consult the Dundas Federation of Agriculture prior to any changes. This level of consultation does not exist in North Dundas.
Furthermore, one of the chief complaints I’ve heard from so many residents over the past few weeks is that they want to participate and be active in the affairs of Council. However, a disconnect exists in the current system of streamed Council meetings. Residents often are left in the dark as to the context or background of an issue discussed and quickly voted on. A simple ‘Cole’s Notes’ of the meeting minutes could provide the necessary context and background which would be a quick and inexpensive fix that could inspire residents to actively participate.
How do you think future development in North Dundas – infrastructure, economic, environmental – should be directed? What new initiatives need to be undertaken in those areas?
We need to continue investing in our community. North Dundas is already a desirable place to live but we also need to plan for future growth over the next 5, 10 and 50 years – not just opening new businesses but retaining and supporting existing businesses. Clear and easily understood policies and procedures need to be created by Council which will facilitate responsible growth for all areas and sectors. The situation in Hallville where a subdivision was allowed to be built without any provision for internet service should never be repeated. Currently, growth of existing businesses is being limited by labour shortages, lack of water infrastructure, poor internet connectivity among other factors. A proactive and visionary Council is required to help solve these issues.