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?
Communication: I will create a weekly newsletter to circulate to residents. People deserve to be kept up to date & engaged. They want to be part of the decision making for their township. Many residents feel ignored, invisible, & silenced.
Action: focussed towards ensuring food security, securing dependable funding for infrastructure, attracting & supporting a diversity of local small business, encouraging local makers, growers & producers, addressing lack of affordable housing.
Accountability: clear & concise zoning bylaws & changes, an emphasis on active citizen engagement, clear & transparent infrastructure decisions & expenditure, inclusive development ensuring that none of our citizens are left behind as we seek to define what kind of community we want going forward
What would you bring to Council this term that hasn’t been there previously?
Citizen engagement. We need all voices at the table. Open up the process of governing & encourage citizen advisory committees. Consider all involved & impacted when making decisions. Remain actively engaged with all groups & individuals. We can’t keep making decisions for people without their participation.
Communication. Very few know what is happening at Council. My weekly newsletter will ensure they do. Diversity. Balance. New perspective. A fresh voice. Trust in the residents of this municipality.
Do you think more can be done to involve the community in the affairs of Council and being part of the decision-making process?
Yes! Absolutely! 100%! Citizen Advisory Committees are used successfully in many neighbouring municipalities. Our community is rich in “Subject Matter Experts.” We must stop making rules for people without their say. Balancing diverse needs in a community is a challenge, but people & groups know what they need. Residents have a right to participate in how their community is shaped. I personally do not know everything! (I know! Shocking right?!!?) Seriously though, we need to make it easier for people to stay informed. My weekly newsletter will help. We need to allow and encourage engagement. People really want to participate! We are at a crossroads in our community; we need to all help define what kind of community we wish to live in. We need to do everything possible to keep people informed & included.
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 secure funding from all levels of government and through development fees. So much of current “post-pandemic” funding is secured through grants from the federal & provincial governments. The municipality shouldn’t “have” to constantly hunt for funding, but that’s the way the system is set up. Many of the “rules” governing how a municipality runs are set by provincial governments. It’s the municipality’s job to fight for their residents. Some extremely important programmes (such as the SDG OPP nurse ride-along programme, and the Rural Education Summit) which have saved the province a lot of money, are truly under provincial jurisdiction. These programmes were funded by the township and counties because the municipal & county councillors really believe in the programmes’ value. We need to secure ongoing funding. Water & sewer infrastructure cannot by law be funded from general taxes because it is not available to everyone. (Only Winchester & Chesterville are on municipal water, therefore taxes cannot be used to fund water & sewer infrastructure.) Secure, sufficient, & ongoing funding must be sought. We can’t keep patching our roads. Our landfill is at the end of its life. We must safeguard all our water (municipal water supply comes from township wells.) We’re losing farmland, forest & tree canopy, & wetlands at an alarming rate. All three need our protection. Native species & biodiversity are essential to our survival. Food security must be prioritised & encouraged, including small agriculture holdings. We must ensure safety for everyone on our roads: children, elderly, people with disabilities, cyclists, pedestrians, horses, atvs, snowmobiles. We need to attract: doctors & health care practices; small, diverse & local businesses; makers, producers, crafters, & skilled workers; and businesses with secure, well paying jobs. Development must be sustainable. Affordable housing for everyone must be a priority. We need clear & equitable zoning bylaws, that people understand, informed by experience and current issues. People seeking a place to live and work must be informed about what they are allowed to do with their land. No surprises or uninformed changes. We need to engage all residents to ensure that no one is left behind as our community grows. We have a chance to help shape what kind of community we live in going forward. Development and infrastructure decisions must be backed by an informed population.