Candidate for North Dundas Deputy Mayor
Age: Did not disclose
Occupation: Director of municipal needs at Netfore Systems
1. What prompted your decision to run for council this time?
I have been a resident for 19 years (in Winchester) and always been involved in the community through business ownership, social clubs and volunteering. The first two terms I was disappointed with the council I saw no new ideas and as a business owner did not feel I was well represented. But I had children at home my wife and I worked so there was very little time to take on the job of a council member. In the last two terms, I thought that Eric did a great job of finding new ways to do things and with the help of Gerry Boyce was able to get staff and public buy-in. With Eric leaving I cannot see anyone with new ideas so I felt a new voice and new energy was needed. In looking at whether to run for Mayor or Deputy Mayor it was clear to me that the town deserves a full-time mayor, who will always be around to be front and centre with citizens. I saw Gerry was the only one who could fill that role and I have been around the block long enough to know that I could not make the 30 hours a week commitment. So I opted for the Deputy Mayor because I can take 10 to 15 hours a week. As the Deputy Mayor, I could be the right hand of the mayor and provide some new ideas and do some of the back groundwork to get the information out for the citizens to have a say.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
I have 30 plus years as a business person and I am a serial entrepreneur. I have made my way by looking at an issue, defining the real underlying problem and finding unique solutions by drawing on my past experiences. I rely on my strong research background to help in getting the information needed to lay out a number of solution to help the council and citizen make a logical choice. In my current position as the Director of Municipal Needs, I meet with small municipalities across Canada every day and have been able to see what some have accomplished. I know that I can bring some of this information to help us grow our community.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
- Waste management – need to create Sustainable Waste Management(composting and incineration issue with Parmalat smell hold them accountable (help them be better community citizens)
- Low business Grow & connect all town businesses
- Poor citizen engagement (transparency, Consult with our communities (farmers, citizens, businesses)
- No access to meetings online. Live online council meetings, so everyone can participate
- Youth retention to grow we need to have our children find good work in town – the fix is makerspaces & incubation space to keep them in town!
- We spend and think too much like a government office we need find ways to help the town staff & to be more efficient and save money!
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
- Add rural transportation system
- Use tech to have council meetings online
- Get the office to look at their processes and apply a lean methodology so we can find savings.
- Build an action group made-up of all type of farmers (Dairy, livestock, crop etc) to bring issues and solutions to council and trust that they are looking out for the sustainability of our town.
- Task the staff to first find grant programs before starting to cost activities.
- Ensure we have a transparent council and township so everyone can (if they wish) become part of a solution
- Lastly, we need to keep up some of the great programs that Eric started (Meet Me On Main Street, communication in water and tax bill etc).
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
Some love it and some do not, which is what you would expect in a good active democracy.
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 township we need to make that choice together, we have until Dec to come up with our answer so there is time for citizen input.
This is a community issue, and as such, it should be handled by getting direction from the community. I would propose we set up a community committee made up of police, by-law, Health unit and citizens for and against to bring a recommendation back to council. It is not just the question of yes or no to retail, we need to have the right bylaws, zoning, and policies to address protecting our families, landlords and citizens. We all know that even if we vote no to retail all the other issues:
* Where and when can you smoke pot?
* Can you grow plants outdoors and if so what do you need to do to protect our children and families?
* How will we support landlords who are concerned about their properties being affected by to smell of growing or smoking pot indoors?
* Will we have different by-laws for vaping pot?
* What will be the fines or penalties?
* When will we involve the police? … and the list goes on
The last set of questions are how will we spend the $10K the province will give us?
Education, enforcement, signage or maybe all and if so what percentage of the money to where and who will run any programs etc..
With or without Retail real issues noted above will start on October 17th. Remember that as of the 17th anyone over the age of 18 can order seeds and pot online and have it delivered to their door.
Eric I were at the same seminar in Aug 2017 put on by the AMO around cannabis legalization and what to do to prepare your community. The talk focused on some of the issues I outlined above. The speaker from Denver said that we should be working on these issues then and not wait until the 11th hour. The council did not do anything. In fairness to our community, we can not make the current councils lack of planning our emergency and make a series of bad choice because we did not consult and rushed the process.
I am neither for or against retail cannabis in North Dundas and where it is a community issue that is where we need to start.