The key words that I have used to describe my campaign are Leadership, Experience and Trust. I believe these three core attributes are what will make me a successful and effective councilor.
My interest and passion for politics started while I was in high school and has been steadily increasing ever since. I decided to run for council because I care greatly about our municipality and am confident I can have a positive impact on its continued progress. I feel as though my leadership skills and professional experience will be a great asset to council.
Most importantly, I will work tirelessly to help improve not only North Kent, but the entire municipality.
My goal is to hold regular town halls and to continue visiting and talking with residents and business owners to find ways we can all work together to make our municipality even better.
- Do you support increasing funding for infrastructure given the fact several culverts and bridges – including the Third Street Bridge – have had emergency issues and closures recently?
Yes. The infrastructure budget is severely underfunded which in turn sets us back with each passing year and will end up cost tax payers more in the long run. We must give precedence to allocating more funds to the infrastructure budget and aggressively work towards this budget being fully funded.
- Would you support a tax freeze or rollback if it meant reduced staff and/or services?
(Did not provide a response)
- Would you support shifting some services to the private sector if those services could be done more efficiently that way?
Yes. However, the analysis must show that long term efficiency can be maintained and that truly equitable services will be received. Many service providers are well known for starting out with low cost options for the first year or two and then increasing their rates in later years. Another consideration would need to be contingency planning and the difficulty of bringing services back in house once they have been outsourced.
- Do you believe we need a municipal ombudsman or ethics commissioner?
Yes. Having a municipal ombudsman would provide a local independent party to help resolve taxpayer complaints. This position could also help alleviate the issues of trust and pessimism towards the municipality.
- Do you support investigating a reduction in the number of council members?
- Should the municipality try to land an Ontario Cannabis Store as soon as possible?
Yes. The direct and indirect economic benefits of the cannabis industry will be substantial for the municipality. Regardless if you agree or disagree with legalization the fact is, if local access is not available consumers will go elsewhere.
- Should council be more proactive in terms of working with landowners with contaminated wells?
Yes. Having access to safe, clean water is a basic human right. I have personally visited and talked with well owners and have seen firsthand the financial, mental and emotional toll not having access to water has taken. Council must advocate for a proper health hazard investigation into the sediments, advocate for a root cause investigation as to why wells have gone down and advocate for a solution. These actions should be taken even if it means the municipality must contribute to the remediation costs.
- Some critics say the municipal building department is an impediment to development in C-K. Do you agree?
Yes. I have met with many residents, entrepreneurs and business owners during this campaign and the consensus is that the municipal building department is difficult to work with. We need to ensure this process can be as streamlined as possible and staff are easy to work with.
- Do you believe Chatham needs a new twin-pad arena?
No, not at this time. With current cost projections and no provincial or federal funding commitments, Chatham-Kent cannot afford this project. Current reports on the two arena options omit several cost requirements and of even more importance the municipality does not have a good track record staying on budget for large capital projects. This idea is something that could be revisited in the future.
- Should the municipality cut back on its expenditures for overseas economic development efforts?
Yes. As very little has materialized from the overseas efforts they should be stopped, and we must review and refocus our economic development strategy.
- Should municipal councillors ever be forced to go the Freedom of Information route when seeking municipal information?
Yes. Municipal councilors should have the same access to information rights as members of the public. Councillors do not nor should they have special access to information by the virtue of their position.
- Should members of the public have more access to municipal information without having to resort to an FOI?
Yes. I would like to see more municipal information made publicly available particularly reporting on infrastructure and business development return on investments. However, the current freedom of information request process and procedures should remain in effect.