Candidate for North Dundas Councillor
34 years old
Musician (church organist, singer-songwriter), support worker, former Anglican Church minister, now Catholic high school chaplain
1. What prompted your decision to run for council this time?
When we decided to raise our kids in the country, near where I had grown up, I wanted to be more involved in a hands on way.
I didn’t initially think that meant running for office at this time, but a friend convinced me to try running for a seat in his Toronto riding in the provincial election earlier this year. I wasn’t nominated, but I realized that I did want to represent people politically, and I realized what I really wanted to do was seek a spot on the municipal council.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
I have experience in a number of fields, all working with people. I’ve spent a lot of time working with adults with special needs, seniors, students, and other groups. Currently I’m a high school chaplain, so I understand some of the pressures our youth are facing each day with drugs, cyber bullying, etc.
I’ve studied at four universities in Ontario and Manitoba, and recently completed my masters. During my studies, I developed my skills in writing and research, and collaborated with faculty and fellow students with a wide variety of perspectives.
I work well with others, and seek to find a win-win solution.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
-Revitalize and grow our downtown areas while protecting farmland
-Developing the Winchester downtown requires a satisfactory solution to odour and air quality concerns related to the Parmalat plant
-More resources and activities for young families, such as splash pads (beginning with parks in Winchester and Chesterville, and possibly South Mountain and Morewood)
-Providing affordable housing, and more accessible housing and services for seniors and others.
-Working closely to build effective partnerships with community groups, cultural organizations, local churches and service clubs, to help grow our volunteer sector.
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
We feel that North Dundas is a wonderful place to live, but all healthy things grow and change. Too often I’ve been hearing that there’s a deadlock between people who want development and people concerned about conservation. We should be working together to find ways of growing our tax base that will help us preserve our agricultural heritage.
For example, if we built more apartment buildings, this could provide accessible and affordable rental housing we desperately need, while avoiding suburban sprawl.
More than anything, we need to have better communications between people from all parts of North Dundas, to work on issues collaboratively.
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
Since entering the race I’ve had encouraging calls and emails from people all over North Dundas. I’m honoured to have the support of farmers, business owners, and residents from all walks of life. It’s exciting to be able to bring people together.
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’?
I’m not necessarily opposed, but we need to do it right.
Before agreeing to license retail cannabis outlets, the new council would have to have some time to prepare various regulations about zoning, minimum distance from schools, etc.
I think that given the amount we still need to know, the council would have to opt out at least for now. We have the option of opting in at any point, but once we do, we can’t change our mind.