Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: THE ROCKLYN COMMUNITY
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 Rocklyn All Candidates Meeting on Friday Oct 7, 2022.
1 minute introduction
Max. 30 second answers
What are some new or old programs that you can encourage the municipal staff to invest for the whole municipality not just the main centers?
I think the next step in GH is cultural and recreational programming both in- and out-of-doors. Of course, I would love to have more physical activities for my children like organized sports or gymnastics, but I would also love to see things for seniors like Ti Chi, as well as art and photography and writing classes.
Taxes and general fees have increased over the last four years with services decreasing in our municipality. How are you going to avoid/discourage any more increase during this
There are efficiencies to be found through efficiently chaired meetings and effectively chosen committees. Council meetings are way too long, not only are they efficiently chaired but there is almost no communication between Council members. This leads to needless amendments to amendments.
Much of this could be addressed if Council was encouraged by leadership to actually talk with one another instead of looking at each other like political enemies.
See more at:
Transparency and Communication https://www.daniellevaliquette.ca/post/qs-from-constituents-on-budget-deliberations
What are 3 main goals you wish to accomplish during your term?
Improved communication between staff, constituents and through Council ourselves.
A Breadth of indoor and outdoor cultural and recreational programming.
Completed the required Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) steps that allow Grey Highlands to access grant money like Net Zero Naturally for ice rinks.
Are you a life long resident or new to the area? What is one thing you have done or taken
part in to benefit the municipality?
I lived in Grey Highlands for almost 15 years, and chose Grey Highlands to raise my family. One of my most favourite volunteer job was running The Macphail Breakfast Club. I have also volunteered for Pony Club, 4H, School Committee Committee (SCC), Macphail, Priceville Improvement Committee and much more!
How are you going to hold staff accountable for their responsibilities to the municipality?
How are you going to make staffs work more transparent, including supervisors for all
Communication is key, most residents feel that our municipality does not communicate very well (i.e. the new garbage/recycling program and last minute public meetings). How are you going to encourage more communication between council, municipal staff and
As the Mayor, I will be cooperative, but just because I believe that cooperation is King doesn't mean I am a wallflower or can be pushed around.
As the Mayor of Grey Highlands there are several things I will:
Meet with the Deputy Mayor regularly.
Meet with Members at least quarterly.
Encourage strong liaison relationships between Staff and Council.
Encourage strong relationships between Council and the communities.
Encourage Council Members to Chair Committee of the Whole (COW) for which they are the liaison, as per The Procedural By-Law.
Encourage committee assignments that are based on talents, skills and preferences, not politics.
Encourage inclusive language. As you mayor, there is no need to call me "your worship". I will encourage Council to call all staff by their titles followed by their last name in formal settings to encourage inclusive language. Language matters.
Efficiently run meetings. If meetings were chaired efficiently there would be more time for constituents to speak at Open Forum. (This would mean a change to the Procedural By Law that would require the majority of Council to approve.)
Here is an example of the way a delegation to Council could be handled with me as your Mayor.
Each Council Member is currently assigned a department to liaise with, for example, this term I was Council and Legislative Services, as well as Environmental. I feel like this works very well. I am suggesting that future Councils also be assigned one of six communities (Eugenia, Flesherton, Kimberley, Markdale, Osprey/Maxwell/Feversham, and Priceville/Ceylon), and the Mayor being assigned to all.
Let's say Susie delegates to the future Council about there not being any programming in Eugenia. At the end of the delegation, Susie is connected with the Council member that is the Staff Liaison for Parks and Recreation, as well as the Council member who is the Community Liaison for Eugenia. Now, the resident has as many as two Council Members to work with. I will encourage both Staff / Council and Constituents / Council relationships and get "updates" on these working relationships during my regular meetings with individual Council members.
Have you reviewed the RECREATION Master Plan? How are you going to fight to keep Rocklyn's ice surface and arena open. Are you aware of the community investment and the amount of rentals that this arena can book over a winter season?
Yes, I have reviewed the Recreation Master Plan, and am very aware that the Rocklyn Arena and ice surface are well utilized, additionally, I am aware of the community investment in both financial investments and sweat equity.
I believe that we can invest in Rocklyn and the environment at the same time by installing a new refrigeration system that uses heat recovery and runs on a natural refrigerant that is ultra-low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and zero Ozone Depletion Potential (OPD). These refrigerants are also free of trifluoroacetic acid, a forever chemical.
Additionally, there are many federal, provincial and local grants and incentives Rocklyn and Grey Highlands can take advantage of to fund net-zero projects.
If you were to win your candidacy, How are you going to engage in the all communities?
I like people, and I really enjoy just sitting around and shooting the sugar (usually while consuming coffee and some sort of sugary treat). ;-) In the first year of office as your Mayor, I will implement a Listening Campaign where I will visit groups and individuals around the municipality to listen, hopefully over pie and coffee. ;-)
What kind of business incentives would you suggest to create/grow new/current business in the municipality?
I would like to see two existing business programs strengthened: Digital Main Street and The Farmer's Market, as well as continuing to monitor the STA program.
How are you going to be our voice when at the council table?
By listening. Listening to you and listening to your Council Liaison.
We are losing farmland every day. Once farmland has been developed or changed it will
never go back to farmland. When you are elected to council what are you willing to do to
help preserve farmland in Grey Highlands?
According to the new (and very depressing) statistics from the 2021 Census of Agriculture, Ontario’s rate of farmland loss has increased to 319 acres 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.
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.
What do you see as the greatest strength of the municipality, and how can it be built upon?
We are in an advantageous and envious position where we can look around at developed communities (like Dundalk, Stayner, Collingwood and so on) and decide what we like and don't like.
What do you see as the greatest weakness of the municipality, and how can it be improved?
Politics that fuels the general underlying motif of working against one another instead of cooperatively.
We see growth in some communities but how do you see history being preserved (ie, the
centennial gates were removed in Markdale and never replaced. The stone gates to the
Markdale arena were damaged by municipal snow plow and was removed instead of
I believe that some of these historic landmarks have been removed because there was no investment into them. Without an investment in maintenance, everything falls into disrepair eventually. Once it can't be saved, it is removed.
How are are you going to support the Trustees?
Are there plans to encourage more teachers into rural areas?
Moving forward, how will you work with the communities to build and support our schools in Grey Highlands?
Beavercrest is going to be too small on Day One. This Council delegated to The Minister of Education because we know Beavercrest is too small. I will continue to drive this advocacy.
The municipality could encourage more housing by playing a role in attainable housing development and support the trustee in any way needed.
Do you foresee a plan for improved busing in rural areas?
I am assuming this refers to school busing. Or maybe I am just assuming this because it is a source of frustration to me right now. We are not through 6 weeks of school and my children's bus has been canceled three times. My family is certainly privileged in the sense that there is usually at least one parent working from home to get them to school and back. But it is stressful and, certainly, annoying. I hear it; I feel it.
And, I am going to be honest with you here, I do not know the answer.
Before the Pandemic, the Grey County unemployment numbers were very low, and now they are even lower. I believe we will see more and more labour shortages in jobs like School Bus Driver, retail clerk, garbage collectors. Grey Highlands is already seeing this with municipal job postings only attracting a very small number of resumes and NO ONE showing up for the interview.
See my post, Running for Mayor: Smart Growth for more details.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!