The Times is committed to fair and equal opportunities for all candidates, and in this issue we have published the first selection of articles by candidates for both Mayor and Councillor positions. To ensure fairness, we had Mary-Anne Leang, of the law firm of Jansen Law, to arrange the order in which the articles would appear and to vet the contents.
In the interests of fair play, we have not edited this in any way.
Questions for Candidates for Councillor:
What are your top three priorities for the coming four years of Council? How do they differ from the last four years?
My vision for North Grenville (NG) is to be a safe and healthy community. My priorities are based on what is needed to achieve this. First is to continue to promote a pedestrian and bicycle friendly community through pathways, sidewalks and paved shoulders on roadways. As well as to establish an Equity, Diversity and Inclusive framework for NG that will ensure people of all ethnicity, ability, race, colour, sexual orientation or identification and faith are welcomed and safe in our community.
Secondly, we need better access to primary health care and I will continue to advocate for more Primary Care Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses working to their full scope of practice as part of a team. This will enable primary care physicians to manage a larger number of rostered patients in their practices.
The third priority, which has come about since the last election, is to ensure that the NG taxpayers are not held responsible for any construction or operational costs of the new Eastern Ontario Correctional Centre. This centre is a decision made by the Provincial Government and we need to advocate for the transfer of the surplus lands to the Municipality so that the land can be developed for community and agricultural use. And to advocate for an improved justice system where the facility treats the inmates as humans with single accommodations where they are safe. There should be appropriate health care and programing to treat and manage mental illness, addictions, and provide opportunities to turn their lives around.
What do you bring to Council that hasn’t been there previously?
I am a Registered Nurse and I do not believe that there has been a health care professional on council previously. Where we live is a social determinate of our health and I feel that I have a great deal to offer with respect to building a community that is safe and inclusive. I have clinical and administrative experience in primary care, health promotion, advocacy, risk management, quality and safety. I have spent my career advocating for people and it’s a continuation of that servitude.
Social media has become toxic locally, especially over the past year. Do you think Council has a role in creating a more civil atmosphere generally? If so, how would you go about it?
I believe that the first thing council can do is to set a good example and tone with respect to social media. Unfortunately there are many ‘keyboard warriors’ who post things that they would likely never say to someone’s face. I believe that this is worse since the pandemic when face to face conversations didn’t happen. With social media we are also missing the body language and communication experts say that from 55-90% of the message is portrayed through body language. Words alone can be very harsh and taken out of context.
We need to THINK about what we post. Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?
Do you think that more can be done to involve the community in the affairs of Council and being part of the decision-making process?
Since the last election there have been more Community Advisory Committees than ever. I believe these should continue as they engage community members with a particular interest and are a great source of information for council. I would encourage the establishment of an Indigenous advisory circle and a Seniors Advisory committee. I also will support the return of the ‘Town halls’ which were a way to reach out to the hamlets but we had to stop due to the pandemic. As a councillor I represent you and I want to hear from you.
How do you think the future development in North Grenville –infrastructure, economic, environmental should be directed? What new initiatives need to be undertaken in those areas?
Growth needs to be sustainable and manageable. I would like to see a more balanced tax base through an increase in light industrial businesses attracted to NG. The creation of a multiyear budget allows for planning on the infrastructure rehabilitation that is required as our community grows.
I want to see an urban canopy/tree preservation bylaw established that supports our green while growing vision. I would like to see new initiatives in waste management that will address recycling of agricultural plastic waste. I believe that we need to increase the frequency of yard waste pick up. I am very supportive of the Blue Community initiative and feel strongly that we must protect all of our natural resources. Let’s keep our community green, growing an beautiful.