Pauline Gemmell

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. 

 

 

Gemmell believes town is corporation, should be run like one

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Pauline Gemmell wants to continue to help the community she lives in so she is trying again to become a councillor.

Gemmell, the executive director of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, is running in the Oct. 22 municipal election. That is the clinic that is expanding into Amherstburg with plans to move into part of the former St. Bernard School. She said she is anxious to get that going so that local people can access more medical services locally.

As for why she is running, Gemmell believes people should give back to the communities in which they live.

Gemmell said Amherstburg is a big corporation and has to be run that way.

“You have to build a team that can run it as a corporation,” she said.

In addition to her current position, Gemmell’s background includes owning Equity Group Property Managers Inc. and being a senior business analyst for the Ministry of Community and Social Services business transformation team. She has a business development background with the Bank of Canada and she added she has experience working with WSIB claims. Her experience has involved her providing full property management services for municipally-owned housing units and not-for-profit properties.

Gemmell said she would like to see the tax base expanded from a residential and business perspective. She believes now is the time to try and bring in business and industry to Amherstburg.

“I think we’ve had a good council the last four years,” she said. “I’d like to continue that.”

Gemmell said she is “thrilled” that the town purchased Belle Vue and hopes for the land’s development. As for the Duffy’s site, she would like to see that developed in more of a passive sense.

“Active is good too,” she added, “but it depends on what goes on there. Let families enjoy the space. Extend Navy Yard Park all the way across Duffy’s.”

Pauline Gemmell is seeking the position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

The issue of boat trailer parking is best left to the private sector, she adds.

Regarding the policing issue, Gemmell heard during the last election that people wanted a costing. However, the former Amherstburg Police Services Board member said she wanted to keep the existing Amherstburg Police Service.

“I’m sad to see that we’ve decided to have the Windsor Police Service police our community. I would have preferred to keep our policing services here,” she said.

Gemmell is also in favour of having clear lines of communication between the mayor, council, administration and the public.

Among the skills Gemmell said she has are the ability to develop and present monthly financial statements to her board of directors, the ability to develop quarterly financial reports for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the ability to develop monthly financial statements for submission to private and municipal property owners, and the ability to create annual budgets and manage a budget of nearly $3 million. Gemmell is also on the board of directors with the Glengarry Non-Profit Housing Corporation and with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Her background in business and management as well as her volunteer work are what she believes make her stand out among the 2018 municipal election candidates. She said she can relate to people running their own businesses and the difficulties they can face.

“I know how tough it is sometimes,” she said.

Gemmell is a graduate of Lakehead University in psychology and law, has a diploma is gerontology from Confederation College and is a certified mediator thanks to her education at Canadore College.

“I’m very familiar on how government works,” she said. “I’ve worked extensively in management for a lot of years.”

 

 

Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic AGM features CAO as guest speaker

By Jonathan Martin

 

The Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic presented its annual report June 20, where Amherstburg CAO John Miceli stepped up as the night’s guest speaker.

Miceli lauded the clinic’s “notable success,” but also provided a little bit more insight into Amherstburg’s own plans to adopt the clinic’s programming.

Miceli brought the listeners back to Aug. 21, 2017, when Amherstburg Councillor Diane Pouget put forward a unanimously supported motion that “administration should be directed to investigate the number of family physicians and the availability of current and future services to residents of Amherstburg.”

Miceli then brought a report before council on Oct. 23, 2017 outlining provincial funding to expand primary care services for $15.5 million.

He was given a resolution that “the CAO be directed to work with Pauline Gemmell, executive director of Essex County nurse practitioner-led clinic, to develop a business case and apply for grant funding for the expansion and enhancing of interprofessional primary care for the Town of Amherstburg.”

Amherstburg CAO John Miceli speaks at the Essex County Nurse
Practitioner-led Clinic AGM June 20 in Essex.

Council voted in favour.

It supported the initiative for two reasons, according to Miceli.  First, he says it was an opportunity to broaden the Amherstburg health care network and provide Amherstburg residents with access to additional front-line medical professionals.  Secondly, it allowed the town to partner with the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic.  Miceli said the clinic has a “proven, success model” and that the program’s success is “known in (Amherstburg).”

Miceli said the clinic is doing an “exceptional job, which makes me grateful, because it makes my job easy.”

Miceli confirms that the new clinic will be located at the old St. Bernard School at 320 Richmond St., which he described as a “great location.”  He reiterated that the clinic will be part of the town’s planned seniors’ hub, but that it would be open to residents of any age.  In fact, he emphasized that the town’s new high school will be located just across the street at the southern 15 acres of Centennial Park.

“Acquiring St. Bernard’s was strategic,” he said.  “We knew we wanted to have programming with the new high school and knew that we wanted intergenerational programming.”

The CAO did recognize that Amherstburg’s senior population is growing quickly, though.  At present, seniors make up around 20 per cent of the town’s residents.  Within the next three to four years, that number is expected to leap up five percentage points.

Miceli said he expects the clinic to be open by the end of 2018 or in early 2019, which he expects will allow the town to meet the increased medical demand.

Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic approved for Amherstburg

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The nurse practitioner-led clinic that is likely to be moving into the former St. Bernard School is one step closer to reality.

The clinic has received official approval from the province and will be part of the seniors’ hub that is planned for the former Richmond St. school. The Town of Amherstburg recently announced it will purchase the school building from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board for $550,000.

In a letter from Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell to CAO John Miceli that was included as part of Monday night’s agenda, Gemmell advised of the approval.

“I am very pleased to share with you that on April 30, 2018 I received notification from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that the application to expand access to lnterprofessional Primary Care Teams to the community of Amherstburg was approved,” Gemmell wrote. “Through this expansion, the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic is committed to providing services to the unattached patient population in the town of Amherstburg with a focus on patients that are at risk of prevalence of chronic disease or frail/elderly.”

Gemmell said the Amherstburg clinic will have three full-time nurse practitioners, a registered dietitian, a health promoter, physiotherapy services, a full-time registered practical nurse, an office administrator and a full-time receptionist

“This team will target 2,400 patients,” she said.

The Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Essex is expanding to Amherstburg. The province has approved a clinic and it is expected to locate in the former St. Bernard School.

Gemmell told the RTT that “this story began last August when Caroline Davies, a nurse practitioner in the community suggested that I should consider bringing service to the town. I had several conversations with the CAO of the town John Miceli and the business case was written with input from the community. We held several town hall type meetings bringing our team to Amherstburg to respond to questions and provide information. We were joined at these meetings by our board of directors president Michael Lavoie, our Clinical Lead Nurse Practitioner Kate Bolohan, Miceli and Amherstburg nurse practitioner Caroline Davies.”

At a public meeting in March, Miceli told residents that the aim is to have the clinic open later in 2018 or by early 2019 and the clinic would take up about 4,300 square feet of the roughly 30,000 square St. Bernard School building. Kate Bolohan, a nurse practitioner and clinical lead at the Essex County clinic, said at the same meeting that appointments are roughly 15-30 minutes in length and can involve other health professionals to help treat the needs of the specific patient.

There are roughly 25 in the province with NP-led clinics within the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) currently being in Essex, Lakeshore and Sarnia. The Essex County Nurse-Led Practitioner Clinic also operates an “outreach site” on Drouillard Road in Windsor.

“I think people will be really happy with the service,” said Gemmell.

Public meetings held regarding proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg hosted two public meetings last week on a proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic for the community.

The first meeting was held last Wednesday evening at Amherstburg town hall while the second was held Friday morning at the Libro Centre with the bulk of the attendees being seniors. Those fielding questions included CAO John Miceli, Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell, members of Gemmell’s team and local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies.

Miceli told residents that the aim is to have the clinic open later in 2018 or by early 2019 and the clinic would take up about 4,300 square feet of the roughly 30,000 square St. Bernard School building. The town and Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board are currently in arbitration trying to settle a dispute on the value of the building, located at 320 Richmond St., as the town wants to purchase it for a seniors’ hub.

The town is undertaking a seniors’ master plan to confirm programming and community needs “for the fastest growing sector of our town’s population,” Miceli said, adding that plan should be completed this year.

AO John Miceli and members of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic make a presentation at a public meeting held last Friday morning at the Libro Centre.

While nurse practitioners may consult with a physician, they would provide primary care to residents themselves. People of all ages can use a nurse practitioner-led clinic and such clinics can offer a variety of services from chiropractors, physiotherapists, diabetes care, nutrition and cooking, women’s health and social work.

It was also learned at the public meetings that those enrolled in a nurse practitioner-led clinic may also be eligible for home visits from staff.

“It’s very exciting,” said Michael Lavoie, president of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic’s board of directors. “It’s something new, something innovative.”

Lavoie quoted statistics from a recent survey the clinic had done which showed those enrolled at the clinic were overwhelmingly satisfied with the care they received with 98 per cent of people stating they would recommend it to family and friends.

“I’m excited for the future of health care not just for our clinic, but for our region,” said Lavoie.

Whether or not such a clinic comes to Amherstburg depends on funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care but Miceli said it would have a major positive impact if approved.

“If we get the funding for this, it’s going to increase the quality of life for many of our residents,” said Miceli. “I truly believe that.”

Tina Heeren said she looks after some friends and believed “there are a lot of health issues in this town.” Heeren said there are many who need help “and they are not getting it” as many have difficulty leaving their homes.

Local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies fields a question at a March 2 public meeting at the Libro Centre.

John McDonald called a nurse practitioner-led clinic an “intriguing” option and suggested outreach into churches to gain further access and knowledge of who needs assistance. Kathy Hay said she hopes it does come, as people of all ages could use the clinic.

Gemmell said services at a nurse practitioner-led clinic are funded by OHIP and emphasized that people would receive primary care from a nurse practitioner.

“It’s a different kind of care,” she said.

Kate Bolohan, a nurse practitioner and clinical lead at the Essex County clinic, said appointments are roughly 15-30 minutes in length and can involve other health professionals to help treat the needs of the specific patient.

Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell and board chair Michael Lavoie listen to a question during a March 2 public meeting.

“We all work together,” said Bolohan. “It’s a great collaborative effort from all angles.”

Gemmell pointed out she has received letters of support from a wide range of people in the community and provided letters of support that were left at town hall that people can sign, if interested. Those letters will be given to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, who will bring them to the Ministry of Health.

No timelines were given for when a funding announcement could be made, but Gemmell indicated there are rumours that something could be announced before March 31.