CANDIDATE Q&A – Diane Pouget

 

The town is going through a re-branding process. How would you define what Amherstburg is and how it should be promoted?

I believe we should continue to improve our website and advertise our Town.  However, I spoke and voted against rebranding, because I believe spending $75,000 of taxpayers money was unnecessary and it was an unrealistic figure.  I think the total cost will be far greater, if we have to replace all logos on Town vehicles along with letterhead, etc.  Many people fear we will lose our identity.  On one hand, we advertise Amherstburg as historic with old world charm and we state we are proud of our heritage.  Our crest depicted our past including the contributions of all people in our former Anderdon, Amherstburg and Malden areas.  We have been very successful with our tourism program and people love to visit and as a result, many people have chosen to relocate and move to Amherstburg.  All this with our current colours and logo.

Welcome to beautiful, historic Amherstburg, a clean and safe community.

Diane Pouget is running for the position of deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

 

Taxes and spending will always be election issues. What is the best way to spend money on roads and infrastructure while, at the same time, keeping taxes at a reasonable level?

I firmly believe improving our roads and infrastructure is an absolute necessity.  Many of our roads require major repairs and must be prioritized.  Once this is done, all necessary preparations should be shovel ready, in case grants become available.  Amherstburg has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure to prevent flooding and we have initiated and encouraged our residents to take advantage of our Back-Flo Program.  The Town has moved toward “Pay as you go programs” and I believe this program should be extended, so that we don’t add to our still significant debt.

 

 

“Transparency” and “accountability” are words often heard during election campaigns. What specific measures would you undertake to ensure town council lives up to those words?

I was successful in passing motions to view Accounts Payable and for fire, police, and the building departments to supply updated reports to council and to the public.  I fully believe this has been beneficial to all and it should continue. If elected, I hope to reintroduce the finance committee, whom I believe assisted council with expert advice, especially during budget sessions. I also think the new council should encourage our ratepayers to attend budget meetings and they should continue with the line to line budget review.  I honestly believe the new council should agree to waive the Rules of Order to hear a resident, who has a concern, in order to address council at public meetings. The more open and welcoming council is, our residents become more comfortable and trusting, believing that council is actually listening to their concerns and is working in their best interests.

 

 

How would you encourage economic development for the Town of Amherstburg over the next four years (and beyond)?

The people of Amherstburg are very fortunate, that we have excellent real estate agents, who sell our community.  Our tourism department does an excellent job enticing visitors to our Town.  Our businesses are effective, desirable and they advertise accordingly. However, we desperately need new, clean industry for jobs and a higher and more secure tax base.  Although, I have consistently voted against many of the new positions, because I believed some of these postings were not justified, I would be willing to consider an Economic Development Officer on a contract basis to entice developers, especially on the grounds of the former General Chemical property.  If this land could once again be thriving with activity, it not only would increase our tax base, but it would start a healing process for all those employees and their families, who not only lost their jobs, but suffered economic hardships with reduced pensions and redundant benefits.

 

 

The policing issue is still top-of-mind for some of the electorate. Is providing services on a regional level a good way to save money, a detriment to the town and its identity or would you view it on a case-by-case basis?

I am fully aware, that our residents want us to maintain our current jobs and keep our identity. Mr. Graham Hobbs had what appeared to be an excellent idea on how to share services with other municipalities, while saving a great deal of money in the IT Department. I fully believe this idea should be pursued.

It is a well-known fact, that we share services with other fire and police departments. If we need assistance, they are there for us.  If they require assistance, we are there for them.  We share resources with our Emergency Response Plan.  We use a regional EMS Service.  Many of our residents do not realize how many services we actually share.  With all the provincial demands, we must look at ways to protect our taxpayers and save money.  I believe we should pursue the concept of regional transportation, if the price is right, but whatever we do, we must consult and listen to our taxpayers.  It is also important to allow our current employees to remain in Amherstburg, if they so desire.

 

 

 

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