Kirsten Gardner uses her strong family values during her campaign for Deputy Mayor

Seen in image above: South Dundas candidate for Deputy Mayor, Kristen Gardner and one of many meet and greet events she has been hosting near the murals of South Dundas. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Candidate for South Dundas Deputy Mayor

Kirsten Gardner
47 years old
Operations Manager – Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

1. What prompted your decision to run for council this time?

I believe in public service and I also believe in South Dundas. Working for and with the community has been the trademark of my professional and volunteer experience.  During the ARC process (I was the Morrisburg Public School Arc rep.) it became clear that now more than ever was the time for building and growing our community. My husband and I voted with our feet when we chose South Dundas to raise our family.  But my connection to South Dundas isn’t a new one. I was the one who facilitated the outdoor historical mural project, the save the train project, founder of the Antique festival and the 1st female lions club member for the Morrisburg Lions.  I want to help build our community, I know that I will work hard to restore trust in our Municipal Government.

2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?

Everyday in my professional life I make decisions and I’m no stranger to government, having worked at the 3 levels in a leadership capacity.  I’m familiar with budgets, project management and community engagement. I deeply value the efforts of volunteers. I’m not afraid to ask questions or to speak up.  I am a strong problem solver and advocate for people and for doing the right thing. I currently sit on the police services board for the OPP of SDG, so I have a connection to the counties, which will help in my deputy mayor role.  I’m enthusiastic and like to see things accomplished. I’m also accountable and have never shied away from answering questions and having a discussion.

3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Municipality?

We have infrastructure needs that require attention, the landfill (as it nears the end of it’s lifespan) and the construction of a new water tower.  We have pending heritage and recreational projects that need proper direction. Most importantly we have a deep disconnect between the municipal staff and council and the residents of South Dundas that needs to be repaired and strengthened.  The new council will have to earn the trust and respect of the community.

4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Municipality?

I would work hard to restore good will at the municipality level.  I’d like to see a council that is diverse in their backgrounds, professional and able to work together to make decisions and get things done.

5. How is your message being received during this campaign?

I have had so many people tell me that they are so glad that I’m running for Deputy Mayor, that they know that I will get things done and that I also will listen and will fight for what’s right.  With my professional and community experience, along with the fact I have a young family, the feedback has been that I will bring leadership and a fresh perspective to the Council table.

6) Voting begins on Oct. 17 — ironically the day of marijuana legalization. The new council will have to decide soon if your municipality will permit storefront cannabis sales, or opt out altogether. Should your municipality allow pot shops or ‘just say no’?

As a parent of a 22-year-old and a 6-year-old I understand people’s concerns around this issue, but after October 17 marijuana will be in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes. I’d want to participate in a fulsome discussion with my fellow council members at both the municipal level and county level, hopefully finding a balance between retail opportunity and peoples concerns.

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