Candidate for South Stormont Councillor
Community Relations Coordinator for The Seaway International Bridge Corporation
1. What prompted your decision to run for trustee this time?
Having been raised in South Stormont, I am keenly aware of how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderful community. South Stormont has become the fastest growing municipality of SD&G and is on target to becoming the biggest municipality of all of the Counties. This is exciting, and I want to help find the best path for our community’s future. South Stormont’s future looks bright; however, we must work hard to defend our assets and find the innovative solutions that are the right fit for our community. I am looking forward to offering a fresh perspective and bring with me a wealth of experience. I wish to serve, to the very best of my ability, the people of the community about which I have always cared so deeply.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
If elected, I bring to the table a professional background in communications, finance and marketing. I have been committed to contributing and advocating for this community for over 25 years. As an elected member of Council, I hope to be able to serve our community on a different level. I have been a dedicated South Stormont volunteer since the age of fourteen. Some of the initiatives that I have co-chaired are Celebration 50 and Celebration 60, I have coached and convened minor sports in South Stormont and I have Co-Organized 7 years of Ingleside Firefighter Challenges. Most recently, I lead the Save South Stormont Schools campaign to help save both Longue Sault Public and Rothwell-Osnabruck Secondary. This became my second full time job for nine months. I learned from this, that as a united South Stormont, we can accomplish so much. If granted the trust of the people of South Stormont, I will work hard, as I have always done, and I will be diligent in reviewing every line of our budget so that the spending of tax dollars is done responsibly. I will make thoughtful, well researched decisions that will be in the best interest of long term planning for South Stormont. And I will be someone that our residents can trust to represent them respectfully and professionally.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
Communication and public engagement: As I spend time canvassing throughout South Stormont, it is frequently brought to my attention that residents want further access to information and decisions made by the Township. Let’s look at using technology to increase the public’s access to Council information, let’s get meetings live streamed or recorded on video and in turn increase community engagement. A more engaged and involved community will lead to new ideas, better decisions and further pride in our community.
Economic development: We need to work towards finding new and progressive ways to promote our community in order to help build our tax base, support our existing businesses and attract new businesses to South Stormont. We need to actively pursue business and industry to our community and continue with the CIP plan that encourages and supports existing businesses to expand and improve. We must regain access to the Lancer Center and the Secondary end of Rothwell-Osnabruck school that this community has invested in. There is great potential in this building for economic development and recreational opportunities.
Representing residents of every village and hamlet: South Stormont encompasses villages and hamlets that all have unique needs and concerns. From roads, to schools, to the needs of families, farmers and seniors. Every resident needs to feel like they are represented. I have had great conversations with residents throughout South Stormont. I am often informed that the smaller populated areas feel forgotten and this must change.
Long term planning: One of the main projects on the Township’s horizon is the improvement of the Ingleside waste water treatment system. We must make thoughtful, responsible decisions for our municipality. We need to make the right decisions that will serve our citizens for the long term. Let’s be cautious and not cut corners that will cost us in the future.
Protecting our assets: Throughout the Pupil Accommodation Review I was a passionate voice to protect and defend all of our schools at every level of government. We must continue to be actively following and advocating for our schools. Decisions about changes to busing and boundaries should not be made without municipal input. We must be prepared to defend any further attack on our schools. We also need to ensure proper management of our municipal buildings and equipment. Council needs to review the waste management plan to find efficiencies within the systems and plans that we already have in place in order to identify how they can be improved and better serve our residents.
Building partnerships: Our waterfront is one of our richest assets; with stronger relationships with stakeholders, we may be able to negotiate further public access to our beautiful waterfront. We also need to continue to advocate with the IJC to try to find a solution to the extreme low water levels that are affecting our area. I strongly believe that community growth can come from building relationships and forming partnerships. It is through working with other stakeholders such as the St.Lawrence Parks Commission, our school boards, other municipalities and other levels of government that we can achieve great things
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
Through identifying the issues that our municipality is facing, it is clear that there are certain things that I wish to improve. We need to work diligently to grow our tax base, to improve and maintain our infrastructure so that we may grow and also better serve our residents. If elected I hope to see communication with the public improved as well as relationships with stakeholders strengthened. I hope to be part of a team which can set priorities, respectfully debate issues and then come together to create a strong and vibrant community.
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
I am thoroughly humbled by the positive response that I have received from residents. My platform resonates with the community at large as it addresses the unique needs of families, seniors and business owners. My past community involvement and advocacy has helped me gain the trust of many residents. Through canvassing, I have heard an appreciation for the hard work that I’m putting in and my desire to listen and learn to better understand the needs of each village and hamlet. Through social media, I am able to interact with residents at their convenience and have open dialogue about ways to improve South Stormont.
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’?
Even this close to the date of of marijuana legalization, the regulations for municipalities and policing are still undefined by the government. We must tread very carefully on this issue so as to make sure that our municipality makes the appropriate choices. This is a great issue for us to collaborate with our neighbours in other municipalities on. Although this is a contentious issue, it is one that our municipality will have to deal with, and we must ensure that we are not left behind on opportunities that could develop for our municipality.