Kristin Strackerjan

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?

Building a stronger, better community for all was always a priority for me as a Councillor. The topics below cover many areas and they are all about making North Grenville a more welcoming, inclusive, safer place for all. While not entirely different from the priorities of the last four years, they are areas that require continued attention and improvement.

Effective communication: Building and maintaining great communications with residents and business owners via greater transparency in decision-making and more opportunities to meet.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): Ensuring that our community continues to grow its understanding of Indigenous reconciliation, social and environmental responsibility, by learning more and making sure that leaders across NG have the tools that they need to succeed.

Growth: Managing financial, economic and development growth in a responsible way.

What do you bring to Council that hasn’t been there previously?

I am not new to Council and I know that I have unique skills based on my professional and personal background that will complement any team of elected members of Council. I will continue to address issues from a fact-based perspective, to discuss them publicly via the Council meetings and to listen to community members. Working ‘out in the open’ means greater transparency, something that we developed and fostered over the last four years on Council. I am always willing to engage and meet with anyone in the community. I bring a youthful, progressive perspective to conversations and decision-making.

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?

Absolutely. We are leaders and, with that, comes a greater responsibility to reflect the type of community in which we would all like to live. When answering or creating an online post, I assume that my children or loved ones will read what I have written. If I would not want them to read my comments or posts, then I likely have not approached things with kindness and patience. Although personal attacks have been infrequent, it is not always easy to answer with calm and grace. I try to remain respectful even when others may not be.

Do you think more can be done to involve the community in the affairs of Council and being part of the decision-making process?

Currently, Council uses Discussion Forums, open Council meetings, Advisory Committees, representation on various boards, such as the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and the Kemptville District Hospital, and active involvement in community association meetings to communicate with and hear from the community. Improving the use of these tools should be on the radar of the next Council. We have already discussed options to increase youth participation and encourage more residents to get involved, as well as the need for an Indigenous Advisory Circle. A focus on DEI will mean that more folks will know that they have a place at any table.

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 in North Grenville needs to be sustainable, from both an environmental and an economic perspective. Housing affordability and increasing the available housing stock across the spectrum are both important now and should continue to be. Our new Housing Strategy will help guide the way in the decisions that will come before Council. There are a number of affordable housing projects already underway (Habitat for Humanity, the Courthouse renovations, as examples) that offer different models to meet different needs. It will be necessary to seek out innovative ways to fund such projects while ensuring that we continue to address the immediate needs of our residents. Where and how we build homes is very important to our environment. Smaller footprint homes, infill over clearing greenspaces, green building options, protecting water sources and floodplains, and efficient construction are some of the environmental considerations related to development. Use of experts within the RVCA and our Environmental Action Advisory Committee can also help advance greener development conversations.


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