CANDIDATE Q&A – Jason Lavigne

 

 

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

Amherstburg has so much to offer, it is difficult to pick just a few things to promote. Our town’s history is something we can all be proud of and definitely helps us stand out. We are lucky enough to be home to not only a historic national park but also a provincial park that offers some of the best birding and wildlife in the area. We have proven time and time again that we know how to host amazing festivals and events that are always the envy of our region. We are home to some of the best volunteers in the country that have helped highlight our community with accolades such as being home to Canada’s first Miracle league Baseball diamond. Our Libro recreation facility is second to none and gives our residents and visitors access to top notch sporting opportunities.  Amherstburg consistently ranks among the safest communities in Canada and is a wonderful place to raise a family or retire to.

Jason Lavigne is seeking re-election as a councillor 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?

Our current council took significant steps towards a pay as you go system. We also implemented the capital replacement levy and the capital reserve levy which will reduce the town’s dependence on issuing long term debt for future infrastructure projects. 

I was in favor of the road needs study that now gives council and administration a comprehensive look at the condition of our roads and the order in which they should be upgraded.  

I also voted in favor of increasing a dedicated amount to be spent on roads annually.

Most of our current debt load occurred when the town had to upgrade its sewer treatment facility. That infrastructure upgrade alone cost our town over $20 million. The water treatment facility will be the next large upgrade our town needs to address. Hopefully there will be federal and provincial grants available to help our community with these types of projects.

We all need to lobby provincial and federal governments to help cover the costs for roads and infrastructure that have been downloaded to municipalities over the years.

 

 

 

“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?

Being transparent and accountable should be a given for anyone running for an elected position. I’ve never heard any candidate claim they won’t be transparent or accountable.

Putting measures in place to ensure these behaviors isn’t always as easy.

I attended council meetings for years before being elected and, in my opinion, our current council has made it very easy for residents to be involved in decisions.

I have supported allowing residents to speak at council meetings and ask questions without being on the agenda and will continue to if re-elected.

I believe it is important to listen to the public on major issues and have always respected the opinions council received through online surveys, websites and open house meetings.

I would also support live streaming future council meetings so that more residents could get involved.

 

 

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

Over the years most of Amherstburg’s industrial base has disappeared.  With an ever changing economy it has been difficult to lure new industrial development. There has been a shift to tourism and culture and I believe council should continue to support initiatives such as culture days and festivals. These help showcase our community to future home buyers and business owners.  The Canuck it Up weekend alone brought in almost $800,000 from non-local spending which drives our economy.

I believe we should also support expanding our town’s wine and brewery industry.

I voted in favor of continuing to defer development charges for home builders. This has helped spur new home development which increases our tax base and supports local construction jobs.

I believe the future development of Boblo Island is very important and the town should work closely with the developer to insure it moves forward.

 

 

 

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?

All major decisions should be on a case by case basis.

The policing issue was the most difficult decision I felt this council had to deal with in its four years.

We conducted surveys, web polls, and public meetings. We received phone calls, emails and read the comments on social media. The over whelming majority in all cases said they were against a switch and were willing to pay to keep their police force under local control. 

The OCPC in their decision stated “after reviewing the transcripts it appears there was very little support expressed for the proposal and instead a considerable amount of opposition was voiced. Similarly during the commission’s public meeting the vast majority of citizens spoke against adopting the proposal.” 

I voted against the switch. I stand behind my decision based on the feedback from the community. I believe being an elected representative means you represent those who voted you in. I believe it is imperative to listen to the ratepayers.

 

 

 

 

 

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