Mayoral candidate Tony Fraser focuses on development, growth agenda for North Dundas

North Dundas Councillor Tony Fraser is committed to running for mayor of the township this year. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Candidate for North Dundas Mayor

Tony Fraser
54 years old
Parmalat employee

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

The decision to run in 2018 for the mayor’s position is based on a number of things. One of them would be that I’ve enjoyed council thoroughly — I feel I’ve done a good job serving the people of North Dundas, promoting North Dundas. And I’d like to continue in that, to have more of a leadership role as mayor.

There are some things I would like to see done — not that it’s much different — to continue moving forward, with some tweaks to that. It’s an evolution of the process, an evolution of our journey, I guess.

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

One of the key strengths … is leadership. Twenty-three years on the fire service, as a leader for a majority of them, be it a leader as a captain, a deputy, leading meetings, or in my brief role as acting chief. As I’ve said, the leadership of firefighters, volunteers and the demonstrated commitment is a key strength that I have. It’s vitally important that you lead a team, so you can continue in the direction that the electorate wants you to continue in.

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

Roads, recreation, landfill, they’re always top of mind, and those are always a concern. But the issue I want to pursue with vigour and enthusiasm is attracting developers. We need homes for younger families. We need homes for families that want to transition from a home full of children to essentially an empty nester. And then to find developers to build housing for those empty nesters that want to transition to a smaller home, one that’s more easily managed, allows them the freedom to be snowbirds if they desire, allows them to remain in the community with their friends and family without having to move to another community to seek out that. That is my main focus — finding developers to provide those different styles of accommodation of homes for our residents so they can remain in the community.

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

When I go back to one of the reasons I want to run for mayor, it’s not so much to change, it’s to evolve where we are to find new avenues to develop, to grow. So it’s not so much to change. The enthusiasm we’ve demonstrated to the business community through our CIP [Community Improvement Plan) program and the active pursuit of finding businesses to take advantage of the beautification process … that enthusiasm that all of council has, the building department has, and our economic develop office has needs to be the enthusiasm that we show to recruiting, finding, supporting developers. And having them feel that the support we demonstrate and offer to the business community is the same level of support that we offer to the developers. I want them to be able to spread the word to their fellow developers that North Dundas supports us. North Dundas is eager to have us come and develop in their community. That is, I guess, a change, but it’s an evolution of our support.

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

It’s been received well. We have a lot of people looking for different types of homes, smaller homes. It’s housing of all types that we need. So I’ve had lots of opportunity to talk to people about that, and I do voice how I feel about the evolution and focus of our energy to support developers. And that is met with enthusiasm from the residents that I’ve had an opportunity to express that to. It’s people in the ag community, because they know that they will want to transition from the family farm and still want to be close to the community they grew up in. It’s professionals. It’s people that work in our community that want to stay in our community. Everyone has been receptive to the idea…. of my desire to refocus support for developers.

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’?

One of my platforms in 2010 [when I first ran for elected office] was we need a council supportive of business, business people, entrepreneurs and growth. On October 17th marijuana will be legalized. In 2019, storefront operations will be legal. In between Oct. 17 and 2019, online sales of marijuana will be available. I’ve always been a supporter of business, and I’m a firm believer the marketplace, the people of North Dundas, will have a chance to express their opinion if they would like a cannabis retail outlet in North Dundas.

And the way they will express their opinion is by voting with their feet. If it’s unnecessary to have a retail outlet, if it’s not a viable option, the public will decide and then the business person will understand if it’s desired or not. I don’t want to say to an entrepreneur that has a vision that ‘no, we don’t want it.’

It’s legal, it’s allowed, there will be controls, there will be regulations, there will be restrictions, and I don’t believe it’s up to our council to dictate whether a legal operation should be allowed in our township. That entrepreneur will have to decide if the market is in North Dundas, is a viable option, and if it’s an option that makes sense economically to invest his time, energy and money into opening.

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