Ward 5 Aaron Hall

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I’m running for Council to ensure Wallaceburg has continued and effective leadership and representation on Chatham-Kent Municipal Council.

I love our community and the people who live here and I would be honoured to represent everyone here in Wallaceburg.

I will work extremely hard, do my research, listen to our residents and always do what is right for our community.

I was born at the Sydenham Campus, grew up in Wallaceburg and am now raising my family in my hometown. I have two beautiful, vibrant and smart daughters: Ava, 13 and Daylia, 11.

Together with the love of my life Dana, we run our business, the Sydenham Current online newspaper, out of our Wallaceburg home.

I am a director and sponsorship manager for WAMBO and I have dedicated my professional career to informing our community about important issues, promoting local events and helping local businesses.

  1. 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. We need to continually invest in our infrastructure budget to ensure Wallaceburg and all of Chatham-Kent’s needs are met. We need good roads and sidewalks, safe bridges, quality sewer systems, well maintained buildings: for work, for play and everything in between. Our community deserves this inevitably, without having the worry about it. All decisions need to be done so in a fiscally responsible way to ensure the taxpayers are not left with a financial burden.

  1. Would you support a tax freeze or rollback if it meant reduced staff and/or services?

No. I cannot answer this question without having specific details in front of me. We need to fight for the services we have in Wallaceburg and all of Chatham-Kent. However, Council needs to take a critical look during budget season, and on a continual basis, to find cost saving opportunities and ways to become more efficient.

  1. Would you support shifting some services to the private sector if those services could be done more efficiently that way?

Yes. Private/public partnerships are excellent ways to stimulate the economy and lessen the tax burden on our residents. These types of arrangements should be considered by Council and examined closely by staff.

  1. Do you believe we need a municipal ombudsman or ethics commissioner?

No. Chatham-Kent currently has access to the services of the Provincial Ombudsman, which handles complaints about all of Ontario’s municipalities. Chatham-Kent also has hired an integrity commissioner, who helps ensure compliance to the Municipal Code of Conduct for Members of Council.

  1. Do you support investigating a reduction in the number of council members?

Yes. If the people of Wallaceburg want it addressed again, I’d be happy to look into the appropriate next steps. This issue has been debated extensively, discussed during public consultation and defeated by Council in the past. I have not heard a public outcry in the community about this issue, but I have had discussions with some residents about this concept while on the campaign trail. I was also handed the 2010 Community Governance Task Force Final Report, which provides extensive details about this issue. I have been studying it and absorbing the wealth of information included in the report.

  1. Should the municipality try to land an Ontario Cannabis Store as soon as possible?

Yes. However, we need to continue our due diligence on this issue. Council and staff have been proactive with public engagement with the upcoming legalization of marijuana. Also, Chatham-Kent has already been designated as a retail site when the legislation becomes active. It will be critical for our Public Health and other officials to stay on top of the issue and provide clarity to Council on an ongoing basis.

  1. Should council be more proactive in terms of working with landowners with contaminated wells?

Yes. When this issue was in the daily headlines, there was a lot of conflicting views between landowners, wind companies, consultants and government officials. I know the Municipality took steps to offer to pay for testing of well water, but I’d like this situation to become more black and white. Recent news reports indicate the Provincial PC’s have promised to follow through with a Health Hazard Investigation to look into the impacts in North Kent. I am looking forward to the results of this investigation and using that information to make an informed decision on how to best move forward.

  1. Some critics say the municipal building department is an impediment to development in C-K. Do you agree?

No. While I have heard about this issue before with my work in the media, I haven’t received direct communication about the problem during my Election campaign. I’d be interested in hearing from concerned citizens in Wallaceburg about this issue, they can call me at 519-365-1079 or email me at aaronwilliamhall@gmail.com. I’m always willing to speak with and listen to local residents and, if elected, work with staff to help create solutions to problems or alleviate any concerns.

  1. Do you believe Chatham needs a new twin-pad arena?

No. However, I am not opposed to the possibility. I was fortunate to be in the Council chambers in May to hear the discussion about a possible twin pad arena for Chatham.

Council directed staff to create a plan about two different twin pad options for Chatham (a 4,200 seat event centre or a 2,200 seat community facility), which would also be contingent on receiving funding from the Federal and Provincial governments. I will need to review and examine the financing options and detailed plan for any recommendation moving forward before making a decision.

  1. Should the municipality cut back on its expenditures for overseas economic development efforts?

Yes. I believe focusing economic development efforts in our own community, province and country should take priority. The example of Whyte’s Foods investing $16.5-million into Wallaceburg and creating 100 new jobs is a prime example of how this is already taking place and paying off. Staff tell me this will show other food manufacturers in Canada the incredible benefit of how being closer to our growers and farmers can be beneficial to help their own businesses grow and succeed in the North American marketplace. We cannot ignore our global efforts, but creating targets closer to home should take precedence.

  1. Should municipal councillors ever be forced to go the Freedom of Information route when seeking municipal information?

No. Councillors need to have all available information at their fingertips in order to make effective, well-informed and the best decisions on behalf of our residents.

  1. Should members of the public have more access to municipal information without having to resort to an FOI?

Yes. I believe in an open and transparent government. We should make information available to our residents in a timely fashion, as long as it falls within legal parameters and doesn’t infringe upon potential acquisitions/investment opportunities.

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