Candidate – Deputy Mayor
The Echo sent the following questions to all candidates running for a seat at the council table in Dysart et al.
1. Provide an introduction to yourself. (This could be about how you came to the area, your hobbies and interests, family life, education, accomplishments.)
2. What is the most important issue facing Dysart et al today? As a council member, how would you address that issue?
3. Are there services or facilities you would like to see in Dysart et al that don’t already exist? If elected, how would you go about making them a reality?
4. Explain how climate change is impacting Dysart et al, and what council can do to help mitigate its effects.
5. The chamber of commerce and local businesses have raised concerns that there are not enough young adults and young families choosing to live in the Highlands. This has led to shortages in some fields (skilled trades, for example) and fewer children and youth in the community. What can council do to attract and retain young people?
The ballots will be going out in the mail this week. Election day is Oct. 22. For more information on voting, contact the municipal office.
Next week, we will feature the Q&A from Highlands East candidates.
1. As a lifetime resident of Haliburton, together with my wife Roxanne Casey (station manager for Canoe FM) we have raised our now adult twin daughters locally. Our children both now live and work in Haliburton and are raising our four grandchildren here.
With a diploma in Financial Management Business Administration from Fleming College I have been self-employed for many years. I currently operate Roxden Management Services.
I have spent my working life in the road/heavy construction and within the tourism industry. My family owned and operated Birch Point Lodge on Lake Kashagawigamog from 1922-1996. This background has given me necessary background for potential issues stemming from our road’s infrastructure and a strong appreciation for the challenges and the rewards of tourism here in Haliburton County.
Giving back to the community in which you live is very important. Over the years I have volunteered for the Haliburton Chamber of Commerce, and Canoe FM where I host a bluegrass program. Several committees on which I have been a member include Fleming College, Getaway Country, Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Central Ontario Tourism Association. It is with great pride that as a result of my successful bid I secured Haliburton County’s first Ontario Senior Games in 2011. On a final note, I am currently treasurer of the Haliburton Highlands Resources Center (charitable arm of HHOA).
2. Definitely economic development. A healthy economy is interconnected and means a healthy community. A strong local economy will provide a draw for potential business which in turn provides jobs thus providing residents with a more comfortable lifestyle and more disposable income to spend within their community.
I believe Dysart et al should commit to improving our local economy so that businesses and residents alike can realize the benefits in the form of more jobs, better wages and expanded government services.
We all want to be part of a vibrant community while living in a location that suits our needs and interests, where innovation and entrepreneurship thrive. Our community should provide quality health care, affordable housing, transportation, improved cell service, shopping, dining and more to thrive. For this we require new business to settle and invest here and become part of our community structure.
The Economic Development Committee mandate should be to serve as advocate and ambassadors to assist new business in settling here by helping navigate the municipal process and identifying resources. Our Industrial Park is zoned to accommodate many types of businesses and therefore it is time to open the second phase of the Park services with the adequate services and infrastructure in place.
3. The biggest void we have in Haliburton County is the lack of internet and cell phone service. We are not alone as most of rural Ontario is struggling with the lack thereof. Through the efforts of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) it is improving. Haliburton County has invested some $505,000 which in turn spurred a $11,000,000 investment by private enterprise to help improve our internet and cell phone services. The county further invested another $186,000 to expand our municipal broadband to enhance our municipal services.
Currently the county has approved a $40,000 contribution to a much-needed broadband gap analysis. This analysis will show how much it will cost to bring fibre to everyone’s home here in Haliburton County and hopefully giving us at least 50Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.
As a sitting member of county council, I will support the EORN initiatives in continuing its efforts to fill our internet and cell phone void.
4. The changing climate is having an impact on our municipality specifically with our road system. Instead of moments of gentle rain, we are now experiencing short periods of wilder weather causing extensive damage. In the past five years we spent between $300,000 and $400,000 on road repairs due to sudden heavy down pours and extensive flooding. Climate change is also affecting our road surfaces in that there are fewer cold days and more hot days. This results in the deterioration of the road surface resulting in such deficiencies as pot holes, cracking and pavement softening.
In planning for future road repairs and maintenance as well as future new construction the municipality is looking at better ditch design and culvert sizing in order to accommodate the massive amounts of water and the varying temperature differences we are now experiencing.
As chair of the Environmental and Conservation Committee our committee has looked at various initiatives in doing our part to mitigate climate change in some small way in our municipality. Over the last term we have actively investigated Bio Digesting for septage, Methane gas extraction at the Haliburton Landfill and Bio Energy production for the village of Haliburton. I believe we should continue to work on all climate change issues to ensure that we are doing our part in what ever way we can.
5. I will refer back to my comments in answering Question 2. Young people, particularly those with young families, need the security and comfort of well-paying jobs. They also need to feel that they belong and are entrenched in our community. This is one of the reasons why economic development is so important. We should, in addition to other initiatives, be supporting and promoting the availability of day care facilities, identifying employment skill shortages and identifying business opportunities. As deputy mayor of Dysart et al I would work with and encourage my fellow councillors to push forward with our Economic Development plan as presented to council in May 2016 that addresses the issues of attracting and retaining not only young people but individuals that would invest in our community to ensure growth and sustainability.