Ron Sutherland

CANDIDATE Q&A – Ron Sutherland

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

Amherstburg was re-branded during Amalgamation and the Crest has the three municipalities: Amherstburg/Anderdon/Malden already displayed and must be preserved. The Crest outlines and informs that we are indeed a heritage destination. The war of 1812 was partially fought on our shores.

I certainly hope that the residents will have input in whatever design is presented prior to a final decision by a select “few.”

Ron Sutherland is seeking a position as a town 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?

There will always be roads that need repair with some being completely restructured due to wear and council/administration must comply with due diligence by outlining a short and longer term repair/replacement on a timely basis. Having said the aforementioned, it must also be pre-planned in the operating budget and stuck to, however, there will also be emergency situations that have to be dealt with. Taxes, unfortunately are a necessity, however with the proper planning they can/must be held to a minimum increase, keeping Amherstburg a vibrant and prosperous community. The simplest way to hold taxes in check is to seek new industry opportunities to locate to this municipality (this is not rocket science) however, that is why economic development is crucial and needs to be an integral part of operating, just like public works/planning etc.

 

 

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?

Transparency and accountability are “buzz” words stated by many if not all candidates, however, statements issued by perspective members of council regarding any issues must be monitored to ensure that they are indeed being implemented and not just uttered to make a good impression.

 

 

Sutherland stated he is only going to address the three as listed. I do believe that the final two questions are very important and must be discussed, however, in my humble opinion, I believe that these two topics need public and one on one conversations.”

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

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?

Sutherland trying to return to council, looking at a councillor position

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A former deputy mayor is attempting to return to town council, this time as a councillor.

Ron Sutherland, who served as Amherstburg’s deputy mayor from 2010-14, is trying to be an elected official once again. He said he made the decision to run for a councillor’s position as he, as well as residents he has spoken with, “are not pleased with the lack of transparency” with the current council.

“There are too many in-camera meetings with very little information being shared with the residents,” said Sutherland. “I truly believe that an elected official must be accountable.”

As for why he is seeking a position as a councillor in the Oct. 22 election, Sutherland said he believes he can have just as strong of a voice as a councillor as opposed to any other position.

“I believe I can be just as or more effective as a councillor at this juncture,” he said.

Sutherland opposed contracting out policing services from Amherstburg to Windsor.

“I spoke out against the contracting out of our police service to Windsor as there are too many unknowns,” said Sutherland. “For example, is it a 20-year contract with the possibility to get out of it and return to our local force after five years? At what cost? This has not been discussed publicly. What about the officers who apply to Windsor police? Will they be able to return and, again, at what cost?”

Sutherland also wonders if the “so-called savings of over $500,000” will cover the cost of retirement benefits for those officers who qualify.

Meeting attendance is something that needs to be addressed, he believes.

“Absenteeism is atrocious and out of control, not only on council but also some of those councillors who are on sub-committees that never attend these meetings to the point that some have had to be joined with others,” he said.

Sutherland added there are ongoing expenditures that could possibly increase the town’s debt. According to Sutherland, he has seen figures where new salaries over the last four years have averaged over $1 million per year.

“I realize there could be some savings by not farming things out but that still has to be addressed,” he said.

Ron Sutherland is seeking a position as a town councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Sutherland said he contacted the province four years ago asking for an audit of the town’s finances but a review was done instead. That eventually lead to the recommendations contained in the Deloitte report.

Sutherland said he is concerned about the efforts to rebrand the town.

“I don’t have a solution but I do question it,” he said. “We’re supposed to be a historic town. I don’t see the point of rebranding.”

Sutherland also voiced concern about the loss of ball diamonds at Centennial Park and whether the name of Murray Smith will be carried on, as for whom the park is named. He favors the town keeping the 12 acres of Centennial Park that wasn’t sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board.

“I’m very concerned they are going to sell that off as well,” he said.

Sutherland added he supports the Belle Vue purchase “but it has to stay as a fundraising initiative.” He opposes any money for restoration coming from the tax base.

The issue of a boat ramp at Duffy’s is one that “I truly believe there is a solution to” without causing parking problems.

“More to come on this issue,” he said.

Sutherland noted he is chair of the Amherstburg Drainage Board, an ERCA board member, a member of the board for the Community Housing Corporation, a former member/chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board and former president of the Ontario Association of Police Services Board. He also said he was “instrumental in keeping Amherstburg’s shares in Essex Power.”