Candidate For Council Stefan Kohut

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Stefan Kohut

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?

My three priorities are: Recreation, Development, and Services. 

Our communities need places for our kids to gather and play. As we have no extra money to finance new construction it falls upon galvanizing the community to volunteer and donate for specific regional projects. For example, we could cut bmx paths on the back side of the hill behind the Winchester Arena. We could plant a food forest behind the soccer fields in Chesterville. We could use the fenced off area with the septic system behind the south mountain school as an off-leash dog park. 

We are a fast-growing community. As we develop, we need to consider how it effects our services and our businesses. We should always have reserves of water for businesses to grow. The previous council allotted the water licences to new residential development without setting aside any for new or growing businesses.  I also support mix residential use zoning over single use residential as that tends to create suburban sprawl and the need for big box stores. 

Services such as our waste management are on the top of my docket because it’s a huge opportunity to increase revenue and an asset for all in North Dundas should the landfill expansion be approved. However, I’m very concerned about the lack of a leachate barrier to protect our water from possible contamination. Leachate is the toxic sludge landfills produce. Furthermore, because of increase in cost to maintain our services, taxes will go up. Playing with how we deliver and charge for these services could allow us to avoid a tax hike. 

What would you bring to Council this term that hasn’t been there previously?

I’m a happy guy who’s not afraid to ask questions.  I bring a focus on the arts and recreation as its what brings me joy and its what my kids need. The literature is clear, when my kids reach around 14 years old, they will primarily listen to their peer group. I need there to be activities that will direct my children towards productive and positive ends when they no longer listen to me fully. 

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, for example to enhance civic engagement we could create local recreation committees to drive locally sourced projects for all; a few examples: dog parks, trails, food forests, and bike parks. Ive heard from many that amalgamation hurt local communities ability to act because their recreation committees were disbanded. I would also strive to establish a farmers advisory group and a weekly or monthly newsletter. 

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? 

The future for North Dundas is bright, but without proper oversight we could build a community that has few locally owned businesses, isn’t affordable or walkable , has water shortages, leachate leaking into the ground, poor roads and high taxes.  One great asset is our landfill. We have an opportunity to incorporate new proven technologies, such as incineration. Yet that alternative was dismissed due to viewing it only through a large operational lens when a smaller incinerator may suffice. If elected I would strive to keep taxes low and businesses locally owned.  I would push for the creation of walking/bike paths between Winchester and Chesterville. I would vote to set aside a portion of future water licenses for businesses. I would fight to ensure that the water we do have isn’t contaminated by leachate. I would work with developers to set aside affordable housing and work with by-law to craft livestock rules to better serve smaller lots, and seek to allow back yard chickens (no roosters in town). I would work with ATV’ers and snowmobilers as I believe they may be a good source of tourism and they should be allowed access to our businesses and facilities. 

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