Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
This blog series explores some of the questions I have been asked by Grey Highlands' constituents. This post reviews the questions asked of all candidates at the TWO All Candidate Debates hosted by The Grey Highlands Chamber of Commerce.
ANNESLEY UNITED CHURCH – October 8, 2022
1. Grey Gables is an important nursing home in our community and is part of the Grey County long-term care system. Grey Highlands residents have shown their strong desire to keep and improve Grey Gables. Will you defend the continuing upkeep and improvement of Grey Gables at the county level? How would you do this?
Grey Gables is a priority within Grey Highlands, and I think most would say we need more than the 62 bed expansion. As the mayor of Grey Highlands, I will put forward a resolution to direct Grey County Staff to include Grey Gables and the approved beds in the County's ten year plan.
THEN, I will also reach out to each and every Mayor and Deputy Mayor at the County (all while keeping within the restrictions of Procedural By Laws) to ensure they understand the issues history and the NEED.
Additionally, not only will I prioritize the long term sustainability of Grey Gables, but I also support The Grey Highlands Age-Friendly Action Plan that was supported by this Council. I would like to see the new Council develop a Strategic Plan that ensures age-friendly policies are supported.
2. The new Municipal Council for Grey Highlands will probably be dealing with a Transportation Master Plan (TMP). What would your goals be for this TMP?
Roads and the associated infrastructure like bridges and so on, are clearly a huge expense to the municipality, and I look forward to this report on the inventory and shape of these assets. Additionally, this reports on Grey Highlands' sidewalk inventory and needs. I believe communities are well-served by safe, active transportation infrastructure, and I will prioritize financial investments to increase our sidewalk inventory and slow people down.
3. With the new waste removal contract for Grey Highlands, what is your position regarding the business community that has been receiving waste removal services from the Municipality but may not continue to?
It is the hopes of everyone--Staff, Waste Management, and the business community--involved that anyone who had garbage and recycle picked up this week will also have garbage and recycle picked up the week of Jan 1, 2023. This is the same with Private Roads. This is what the Request for Proposal (RFP) asked. This is what the proponent bid on.
4. The Municipality of Grey Highlands Council declared that we are in a climate crisis. If on the next Council, what is your strategy to help alleviate this crisis?
I would not be in politics if it were not for the climate crisis. My strategy to help alleviate this is to continue the work I have done through the Federation for Canadian Municipalities or FCM's Partners for Climate Protection (PCP). Grey Highlands is currently at Stage One where we inventory all of our green house gas (GHG) emissions, once completed this opens funding for projects like natural free-one for ice surfaces, natural infrastructure projects, and so on.
5. There are many empty storefronts in our downtown areas. How will you improve having vital down towns in our communities while employing traffic safety and improving parking?
I recently rediscovered The Grey County Age-Friendly Community Action Plan and many of these initiatives would go a long way to creating an open, inviting space that all ages want to be in. Additionally, Climate Initiatives like planting mature trees and native plants makes our downtown spaces nicer for us and the bees!
Check out my post on The Grey County Age-Friendly Community Action Plan.
OSPREY COMMUNITY CENTRE – October 13, 2022
1. Grey Highlands is home to many small, medium and large businesses, with differing needs while contributing economic benefits to the community. How will you advocate for these businesses while balancing the needs?
Yes, businesses are different, and while many will benefit from safer roads, increases in tourism and the beautification of our villages, not all do nor do they equally. I will advocate for equity, and I will do that through an open relationship with not only the Chamber but all business owners and business groups, for example, Grey County Agricultural Services, the Arts Community, and so on.
2. Where do you stand on the Private Roads Grant Policy in the Municipality of Grey Highlands?
The next Council will receive a Staff Report on suggestions for a Private Road Grant Policy. My goal is to ensure equity. This report traditionally only includes the financial competent, for example, maintenance costs.
Check out this article in the Toronto Star https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/05/06/tlti-to-update-private-roads-policy.html Here, The Town of Leeds and Thousand Islands, incorporated an Emergency Plan as part of the overall private road grants discussion.
If I am part of the 2022 team, I would direct staff to include an emergency plan as part of the private road grant policy. And, of course, I would then need the majority of Council for the motion to pass.
3. Including the public in decisions made by Council is important. However, public sessions about upcoming important issues were usually poorly attended by the public. What measure would you take to improve the public’s input into issues that affect them?
We have an engaged community right now, and, as the Mayor of Grey Highlands I hope to build on this momentum. Over the last few weeks, I have really enjoyed meeting face-to-face with individuals and community groups over a coffee, and I hope to continue this. Grey Highlands will be best served to use a variety of communications tools: the more communication mediums you use, the more people you will get!
And, of course, I am hoping my blog will also serve as one more way to communicate with you!
4. C4 Zone allows commercial buildings on farms for On Farm Diversified Use. There is a proposal to increase the allowed size of commercial buildings in C4 Zones. Currently allowed industrial buildings are 250 sq. m. (2,690 sq. feet) on land of 20 hectares (50 acres) or more to 743 sq. m. (8,000 sq. feet) allowable on 10 hectares (25 acres). There are over 200 C4 Zoned sites in GH and the majority are industrial. How will you ensure that our rural areas will not be turned into an industrial zone?
319 acres of farmland lost per day, and I think preserving farmland should be a priority of all three levels of government. I think this means critically looking at things like C4s and preserving our rural landscapes, for example, we could look at C4s like we do Short Term Accommodations (STA) and only allow a set maximum density, for example, too many, too close means no new STAs in that area.
Also, of note is the number of farms reporting to the Census in Ontario also decreased by over one thousand in this same time period.
5. Affordable housing is a concern for all Canadians. How would you increase affordable housing in our communities?
As your mayor, I will:
Encourage infilling within serviced areas because much of the infrastructure spend has been made..
Support secondary dwelling units (SDU), as well as an analysis of increasing to three units.
Support tiny homes on temporarily leased land in Grey Highlands.
Support partnerships to get truly affordable homes built in Grey Highlands.
Support a review of minimum parking requirements.
See my post, Running for Mayor: Smart Growth for more details.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!