candidate

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.

 

 

 

CANDIDATE Q&A – Bob Rozankovic

 

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

What must be understood is that it doesn’t matter what one individual thinks. The re-branding is a collaborative effort that is extremely dependent on resident input. Having said that, I would define Amherstburg as a “quaint town full of opportunity to become so much more than it currently is”. How Amherstburg should be promoted is dependent on what the residents want it to be. In time, should Belle Vue materialize, we could promote the town as a cultural and arts center. If the Duffy’s property is developed we can promote the town as a waypoint for the many boaters on both sides of the border. With the Miracle league Field and the Libro Center we can promote our exceptional facilities for athletes of all abilities.

 

 

Bob Rozaknovic is running for 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?

The current budget of 1.41 million dollars per year for roadwork over a 10 year period could be increased with the proposed saving from outsourcing our policing service. According to current estimates that would approximately $550,000 per year.

 

 

 

 

“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?

Accountability and transparency are standards of good government that enhance public trust. They are achieved through the Town adopting measures ensuring, to the best of its ability, that all activities and services are undertaken utilizing a process that is open and accessible to its stakeholders. In addition, wherever possible, the Town will engage its stakeholders throughout its decision making processes which will be open, visible and transparent to the public. Personally, ensuring that council lives up to these words is predicated on completely understanding what must, by law, be discussed in-camera, and always insisting that as much as possible be debated in public.

 

 

 

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

It would seem the Town has reached a point where a dedicated Economic Development Officer is warranted. Neighbouring communities have such a position within their administrative structure. This position would be directed to meet with Provincial EcDev authorities on a regular basis to ensure we are made aware of all opportunities being presented. The position would also be in constant contact with the Windsor Essex Development Corporation, exploring possibilities as they arise. We must be “out there” marketing Amherstburg. Opportunities will not simply come to us.

 

 

 

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?

Whether to contract out policing or not is a generational issue and not simply an exercise in “what is cheaper”. The public meetings that were held fully showed the depth of emotional involvement by this community with its police service.
Though I am not a proponent of referendums in most cases, I believe a this is one of those rare times. If we had submitted a request to the province by March 1st, we could have had this issue on our ballots for the October 22nd election. This would have pushed the contract start date to July 2019. A very small delay to ensure a correct decision.
Furthermore, there are times when emotional connection is more important than saving money.
I don’t profess to know whether the majority wanted a switch or not. I do know that in door-to-door campaigning I am getting many different opinions.
The fact that a three to two vote, with two abstentions, decided this important issue is so sad. How could a referendum have been any worse? At the very least, council would have known the will of the people.

CANDIDATE Q&A – Frank Cleminson

 

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

Amherstburg’s heritage and history cannot be lost in this exercise.  However, the Town and the community have done an amazing job building a constant flow of festivals and events.  Any branding of Amherstburg needs to recognize the value of yesterday in relation to who we are today.

 

Frank Cleminson is running for the position of 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?

Grants from the upper tiers of government are and will continue to be key to the Town keeping up with its infrastructure demands.  With that being said, we need to make sure that we balance the needs of the core with the needs of the rural areas by building a long-term plan that we can all count on and plan for.

 

 

 

“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?

The almost weekly “in-camera” meetings need to stop.  As I visit people in the town, I am constantly faced with suspicion and mistrust because of the number of in-camera meetings and the fact that this Council has violated the Municipal Act in regard to closed meetings more often than the last Council.

 

 

 

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

 

Rebranding, festivals and infrastructure all key elements, but this council has failed to build a real strategy that considers the opportunities, risks and rewards associated with focusing on the residential, commercial, industrial sectors as well as tourism, retail, hotels and dining.

 

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?

When Amherstburg amalgamated with Malden and Anderdon, the council of the day was afraid to make the tough decisions that would have resulted on long-term savings for the taxpayers.  I think regionalization makes sense when a real business case is developed, vetted and verified as viable.  This means that I agree with steps that maintain essential services when real savings can be proven and council has the courage to hold administration accountable.

 

CANDIDATE Q&A – Peter Courtney

 

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

 I love this question, and I love the process for re-branding that has begun with Cinnamon Toast’s involvement! I am passionate more than most I believe because I am born and raised in Amherstburg and so much of what defines this town is also what defines me. We are a close knit group of citizens that believe in local, support local enjoy our tourism and feel safe in raising our families here. However, to continue to enjoy what I have here for some many years requires our town to ensure we keep current, modernize our processes, extend our reach and marketing efforts and ways of doing business. 

Peter Courtney is running for the position of 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?

This is perhaps the biggest concern of residents and is a tough one to answer. We want the best for our town and that comes at a cost.  Keeping taxes at a reasonable rate will occur when there is a proper plan in place for capital spending.  That plan should consist of prioritizing the needs, allocating the funds accordingly and possibly phasing things in, so as to not overburden the budget and placing it on the taxpayers.  I believe that we the residents just want peace of mind knowing that the town is running as efficiently as possible, and that we are getting the biggest bang for our dollar. 

 

 

 

“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 feel strongly that our town council can only do its job if it’s given the proper tools to do so. Accountability and transparency (which I believe if it is not, should be identified in a policy document that is applicable to all levels of decision makers) is a result of proper planning, communication and integrity. The measure I would take would be to ensure council is supported, educated and trusted.  As well if elected, I’d like to implement a “Council Corner” blog or Q and A in the RTT so we can stay connected with a broader resident audience.

 

 

 

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

The strategic pillars that our town has identified in the 2016-2021 Community Based Strategic Plan has outlined some very promising commitments towards the economic development for the Town of Amherstburg. I support the actions the plan identifies, and if elected to council I would want to ensure we had a clearly defined action plan with associated targets & deadlines to ensure administration and council jointly are accountable to the commitments that have made in this published plan.

 

 

 

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 personally believe in local policing over a regional strategy. Even though there may (I stress may) eventually be some realized cost savings, by going regional I do feel we compromise our identity and that our local police force is part of the small town culture we strive to preserve. As a business, I do believe there will be some tough decisions that our Town has to make that will need to be taken case by case, but my view on this particular top of mind issue is as I have stated above.

 

 

 

CANDIDATE Q&A – Pauline Gemmell

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

Amherstburg is a small historical community located on the water where residents enjoy many family activities in well maintained public areas. Many towns and universities have decided to rebrand themselves in order to attract business and people.  In this area, LaSalle and Kingsville along with the university have also gone through a re-branding process refreshing their image. Amherstburg has included the community members in its re-branding process to ensure that the focus reflects what the town is about. Most recently the town has acquired the old St Bernard school with plans to develop a health hub aimed at helping citizens to maintain their health and wellness through access to a variety of primary care services and health education. Walkable streets and an active waterfront aimed at promoting wellness and a healthy lifestyle are areas that we should promote as part of our unique historical town.

Pauline Gemmell is running for the position of 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?

Corporations must always spend money for various reasons in a planned and deliberate way. Municipalities that promise to not increase taxes over multiple years risk the integrity of their services, infrastructure and municipal assets. Amherstburg must continue to develop an effective asset management plan that will help to optimize infrastructure investments in order to achieve sustainable assets over the long term taking into account service levels required, condition and risk, financial implications and long term sustainability.

The plan needs to be updated regularly and used to determine priority and non-priority investments based on continuous improvement information. Over time the plan will become part of the town’s overall strategic plan and used to set goals for service levels by setting service indicators that can be measured to improve outcomes. Council should use that plan to assess the effectiveness of investments on service delivery levels.  Too often tax increases are said to be necessary for funding needed municipal infrastructure projects without corresponding follow up as to the effectiveness of that investment.

 

 

“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?

Town council is accountable to the public for the decisions that they make, the reasons behind those decisions and the process used to arrive at those decisions. These must be made available to the public in a method that is easy to access using language that is easy to understand.

Transparency and accountability is democracy and demands that the interests of the general public are served. Town council and administration create paths of access to information but that also requires energy and the will of the public to access these paths. There needs to be value for both.

Surveys and community meetings to identify what people believe about the current state of affairs of the town and their expectations are essential but not always the clearest method to ensure transparency. Amherstburg has actively participated in these processes but many community members feel that their voice wasn’t heard.

I have heard from many citizens who have an interest in re-establishing the ‘Finance Committee’ and given our town’s concern regarding the debt I believe this is a reasonable expectation and the committee should be returned.

 

 

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

The town needs to ensure that the business investment community is aware that the town is welcoming business opportunities. This means creating a more supportive and competitive business environment as well as basic infrastructure aimed at reducing the cost to business and facilitating doing business in Amherstburg. We should be offering education, mentoring, internships and training for students in the community who are studying business. I would look to establish a bursary and internship program for a local student studying within a specific area such as urban planning or economic development. This would not only provide the town with valuable information and planning but as a bonus would create an interest in the town’s business for our youth.

For existing business I would encourage the municipality to offer tax rebate targeted at encouraging expansion of existing business and the development of new business.

 

 

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?

It has been my experience that not all communities who have opted for policing services other than their own local have been particularly satisfied with the service they currently receive. The primary benefit of keeping our own local police service is having control of the budget and governance. In our community, we have experienced better outcomes – our officers know the community and they’re aware of the issues locally as well as those in the larger communities surrounding us and our officers are committed to our community.  Our Chief and Deputy have been proactive in ensuring that our officers are trained in, and provided with, the equipment and knowledge to keep them and the community as a whole safe.  Our local service has changed and adapted with the needs of the community because our Chief and officers are actively involved in the community and its residents. If there was ever a need for specialized services these have always been accessible through agreements with other police services.