We asked our local and regional municipal candidates a few questions on where they stand on issues in this election. Here are their responses.
1. What can you do as a member of council that you cannot do as a private citizen?
2. How would you ensure that Cornwall is able to attract a young workforce to the city?
3. Are you in favour of purchasing all of Cornwall’s waterfront so that the citizens of Cornwall can decide how it is developed?
Alex de Wit
1. As a private citizen working with the Social Development Council of Cornwall , I focused on building a healthier, more vibrant community by addressing employment, food accessibility and poverty reduction, community supports, and socio/economic development. I found myself limited to what I could do to advance these goals.
2. I would work to ensure that Cornwall is able to attract a young workforce by establishing things that appeal to young families: affordable housing, strong social-services, sound community infrastructure, attractive arts/culture and fiscal responsibility. It is equally important that we work to attract businesses/employment opportunities for young adults returning after completing their education/training.
3. I am in favour of creating incentive programs for a combination of public/private businesses. That said, these programs must align with the input from Cornwall residents regarding waterfront development. This type of setup would allow for the City to have significant influence on the development while also reducing spending.
1. Each private citizen can indeed do much to make our community a better place. As Mayor, I believe that I can be the spark that helps bring this spirit together so that we can move forward. The right leadership matters in renewing pride in ourselves.
2. I will bring energy and vision to attracting new job opportunities to make Cornwall a dynamic place where a young workforce can thrive. Our economic development must be re-energized, and a balanced approach taken with our finances to make us an attractive place for these new jobs.
3. I want to secure these lands without paying an open market price. We cannot afford this. We must use our strength and dignity to speak Mayor to Minister to obtain these lands with respect for us as a community never properly recognized for its key role in the Seaway.
1. One of the best ways to bring about change is through government policy. The best way to be able to impact policy decisions is being part of that decision-making process. This is the reason I got into politics. To be able to influence positive change for the community I love.
2. I think this works twofold. Yes, we should put a focus on attracting a young people however we should also be working on retention as well. Many young people leave for further education and don’t return. We do this by improving our quality of life and expanding local educational opportunities.
3. Yes, it’s our waterfront and we should absolutely own it. We now own the harbor lands which has much potential however we should be creating a strategy for our entire waterfront from boundary road to Guindon Park.
1. Being chair the Accessibility committee for four years, I have had little influence concerning accessibility. I need to be on council in order to push the issue further to make sure accessibility is obtained by 2025. Also, I can bring the accessibility issue to all future projects in the city.
2. I believe by making the attractions to the city like the Waterfront and Guindon Park more beautiful and pleasant, have more fun events as well as obtaining new businesses that cater to the young adults, we will get more people to stay in the city.
3. It is to our advantage to purchase the now federally owned properties in order to have control of what to do on our Waterfront. We should partner with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne since they have attractions too to the city and can bring good ideas for our waterfront.
1. It is a partnership: every four years voters have the power to “hire” or “fire” city councillors. City councillors are the decision/policy makers who make decisions and set policies by listening to the public and arming themselves with facts and reasoned opinions.
2. The city can’t attract a “young” workforce but it can do things to attract companies that require a “young” workforce.
3. I’m in favour of purchasing the waterfront from Pointe Maligne (we own the harbour lands that will be cleaned up) to just west of the RCAFA Wing. We already have a consultant’s study that was approved for the redevelopment of Pointe Maligne. Government grants may be available. Taking ownership of the waterfront (we own Lamoureux Park) will keep the waterfront and access to the river for the citizens and out of the hands of developers.
1. A member of council has a seat at the table, an opportunity to lead the debate, to influence the direction and the actions of Council. A private citizen does not have the level of influence he gets to view the parade not lead it. An individual member of Council can Council to a new and unplanned direction.
2. To attract a young workforce Cornwall City Council needs to provide the economic situation which will foster growth. Good infrastructure, helpful city staff, competitive taxes, vibrant art and recreational programs and educational opportunities are needed to encourage entrepreneurs to set up shop in Cornwall. Foster growth and we will retain our youth.
3. I am in favour of negotiating the transfer of all of these lands from the Government of Canada to the City of Cornwall at no cost to the ratepayer. For more than a century Cornwall was deprived of its waterfront to meet national transportation goals. Canada needs to recognize the sacrifice that Cornwall made and return all of these lands to Cornwall.
1. Members of Council set policy as well add and remove budget items.
2. By continuing to work with Economic Development we can highlight the fact we currently have a need for high skills trades as well as opportunities for young entrepreneurs to begin and grow their business through our Business Enterprise Centre.
3. We must have control of our waterfront to have any say in what happens to it. While we cannot afford to acquire it at market value, we should negotiate with the Federal Government for (potentially) a long term lease-to-own. We should also consider partnering with our neighbours in SD&G as well as Akwesasne to present a unified voice to the Federal Government.
1. As a member of Council I can voice my opinion on matters brought to council meetings. I can initiate new policy idea’s at council meetings , Information on municipal business is not always readily available to private citizens.
2. We could create a confidential register of our young people listing academic qualifications , work experience , availability , personal goals , interest’s etc that could be made available to prospective employers.
3. Cornwall is part of the decision making process on Waterfront development we should wait to see exactly this whole process is going to unfold to make sure the development of the waterfront lands provides maximum benifit for the city and citizens of Cornwall.
1. As councilor I can influence city spending in support of services and programs that might not otherwise get adopted.
2. By giving max support to Economic Development department efforts, we can have the jobs in place that young people need. They leave to look for jobs, so we must do all we can to have the jobs here.
3. Absolutely, and in concert with Akwesasne everywhere we can.
1. Implement. I sat on the waterfront committee for 3 years and very little got done with ideas coming forward. It takes councillors that can move things through city hall in order to get them done, and that will be a priority as a councillor.
2. I think we need to start with looking to attract remote workers from tech companies in Montreal and Ottawa. The cost of living being so much lower here, the quality of life being so much higher, and remote workers are becoming a larger percentage of the workforce.
3. Yes. I think we will have to work with Akwesasne on this file though and I am fully supportive of that.
1. As a member of City Council I can propose motions at a council meeting(s) that can change the strategic direction of the city. Also, I can be the voice of concerned residents.
2. Our Economic Development Strategic Plan has various ways to attract young, and older, workers to our community. Currently, there is a shortage of young and older workers in our community and that is causing problems in attracting developers to come to Cornwall. This is a very difficult question to answer with specific actions.
3. One of my goals in this term of council is to once again start discussions with the Federal Government on the acquisition of the waterfront lands. The main purpose of acquiring the waterfront lands is to give control of the future development on this land to the residents. My plan is to acquire the lands with minimal or no cost to the residents.
1. I am Heather Megill and I am running for Councillor for the City of Cornwall. As an Elementary Teacher and retired Captain with the SD&G Highlanders, I have made Cornwall my home for 28 years.
2. Positive Change for the City of Cornwall requires cooperation between all segments of our community.
3. I am committed to work with the Private sector and all levels of government to bring well paying, environmentally sustainable jobs to Cornwall. Building and maintaining Cultural, Recreational and Outdoor Spaces will enhance our lifestyles. Meeting the needs of all residents requires building alliances and working to support community agencies.
1. Have control of the agenda items that are important to Cornwall residents and implement those decisions that are made.
2. There are a number of work related agencies in the city now with different but important agenda’s. Ensure those groups are talking and eliminate the any sense of competition. The competition is against other communities with the same agenda. Foster within the city a set of basic principals to make new entrepreneurs feel welcome. Continue to chase the idea of a University here in the city..a huge challenge granted, but one worth the effort.
3. I would say that the Seaway City without control of our waterfront is not a Seaway city at all, and this can be done with our Mohawk Council partners. There are a number of sites that can be developed as amazing recreation area’s with commercial development that enhances the recreation aspect.. if anyone talks about the Domtar site, run…run quickly. Leave that mess to private developers.
1. As Councillors we have an impact on the day to day lives of the residents of the City. We can effect meaningful change to improve our community by making projects, policies, or initiatives happen.
2. There’s a two fold approach in order to achieve this. We need high skilled jobs and we need attractive neighbourhoods. The jobs will attract new residents and by having liveable neighbourhoods, people will move to the city. We need new residents to look at a neighbourhoods and say “I can live there”. This includes improvements to parks and infrastructure.
3. Yes. I am. While this would potentially be a major investment, it would give us direct control over the development of the waterfront. Right now, we have to purchase at least a few pieces, such as Lamoureux Park. Other pieces have existing lease agreements, which would provide revenue for the city.
1. As a Councillor, I would be in a position where I would have the most direct impact on people’s everyday lives than as a private citizen. This means I could affect and influence many opportunities to strengthen the community as a whole. I have no self or special interests, just a sincere will to offer my services to all citizens.
2. By revitalizing our neighbourhoods and infrastructure by investing in parks and rec facilities, and streets, to make the city more attractive to young professionals.
3. The City and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne should be collaborating in the spirit of cooperation to achieve the best possible deal for both communities in order to deliver the best possible waterfront for its citizens and to maximize the public benefits of employment, increased visitor spending, increased tax revenues and public and private sector investment.
1. I feel that I have a lot of passion and ideas of the efficiencies we can create using data and technology but unless I’m in a position of putting a motion forward, I feel that I can’t make as big an impact as a private citizen. Which is why I’m running.
2. The best way to attract a young workforce is to ask them what they want. Make sure that we have just the kind of jobs they are looking for when they graduate and find ways to motivate them to move back or consider Cornwall. We need to create higher paying jobs of the future to compete with the tech sector.
3. Most definitely, I think we should purchase the land but in partnership with Akwesasne. It’s been a part of our community for so long, we can’t miss the opportunity to officially call it our own.
1. As a councillor I can push difficult conversations forward that I simply can’t get traction on as a private citizen. It is one of the main differences between myself and most other candidates, as a war veteran I have faced life threatening situations head on. As a councillor, I will not fear bringing difficult files forward that other councillors would shy away from.
2. I think that by developing Cornwall’s waterfront which would offer an increased nightlife and increased shopping and then fixing our canal and making it more accessible for activities like swimming, canoeing and skating in the winter would be a huge step forward in bringing a young workforce into Cornwall. This would help attract bringing a University to Cornwall
3. I am in favour of purchasing the entire Waterfront starting with the Domtar property. The Domtar property with it’s location on a busy international border, on prime waterfront land with 401 access is the key to making Cornwall a destination city. This will also allow us to keep certain parts of the Waterfront green that our residents cherish.
1. As an elected official, I would become one of the decision makers that determines how our community moves forward.
2. I will ensure that our economic development team has the resources that they need to attract new business, support entrepreneurship, continue to support innovation and offer a place for the arts to succeed.
3. The City of Cornwall will always control the waterfront by way of our official plan and zoning bylaws. Once we have all of the information on the waterfront lands, we can decide what we need. Point Maligne to the customs building is a “must own”.
1. A member of council can bring forward a new idea to help build a better Cornwall through a Motion to Council.
2. Affordable recreational and cultural programs and services are what’s needed to attract a young workforce to the city.
3. Partnering with the MCA to secure all the federal lands is the best way forward regarding waterfront development.
1. Candidate for Major,
– provide leadership, organize a great team: that their purpose is to treat all
residence, equal, and with respect.
– that tax dollars, what is major, our homeless, provided them with shelter: to a better quality of life, our Seniors, assist them, so they may remain within their residence.
– make our community safer, not with a second dump site, example: Montreal road.
2. Attract a young workforce, nothing replaced Domtar, and now with the minimum wages at $ 14.00 per hour the price of everything and so on, again to meet our high taxes: POVERTY sets in, a need full time, part- time, with a family: where is your HEALTH and WELLNESS: to replace and attract a younger, workforce to this community: SHOP LOCAL: HIRE LOCAL, with all opportunity, be treated equal.
3. To your waterfront, not in favour, to partner up: waste time debating, what steps to take: when infrastructure: very much in need of quality up grade.
3. As a member of council, I can vote on issues (citizens can’t). Table some motions (citizens can’t). Act/represent the City in an official capacity (Citizens can’t) just to name a few.
2. As a (part-time) teacher at St-Lawrence college, I have seen too many young people leaving Cornwall. Let’s make sure that the post secondary education that is offered can be reflective of the needs and demands of this community. We need to keep our parks, public pools/splash pads and recreations to high standards. If you want to bring in companies (that will bring in people), the one question that always comes up is “What does the city had to offer for my employees in their spare time?”
3. We absolutely need to look into this- the M.C.A. (Akwesane) should also be part of discussions on possibly joint partnership/ventures with Cornwall.
1. City Council has absolute Control of the budget affecting taxes. Council is responsible for, the safety of its citizens, potable water, and a multitude of services. Councils lobby senior governments at conferences such as A.M.O. to present their needs. They effect also changes to rules and regulations through by-laws. Councillors are responsible for maintaining and keeping infrastructure up to date.
2. Many small cities attract millennials through higher learning institutes.Young people are eager to relocate for quality of life as well as job prospects and affordable housing prospects. The City of Cornwall Economic Department along with Councils support should be launching initiatives to secure employers who have a demand for workers with post secondary qualifications. Cornwall should be looking to become a hub for technology and education.
3. The question of purchasing the waterfront is debatable, given that those lands were expropriated for the O.P.G., dam and Seaway projects. To my knowledge, there was no compensation ever received by the Cornwall as opposed to the millions received on the south side of the river. It is my opinion that both our Federal Representative and our Provincial Representative request that the land be returned to Cornwall.
1. A councilor can take projects completed by committees of council, and implement. When in favor of a project, we decide what the priorities are, decide how to fund, and timelines for completion. Budgeting capital projects from one year to the next to maintain proper infrastructure, & look for creative ways to find alternate revenue sources.
2. Continuing to offer and expand on services that are important to young families looking for a place to live ( schools, sports facilities, arts and culture facilities, recreational activities, affordable housing, and job opportunities. Create an environment that is attractive to new business (tax levels, infrastructure support, and a skilled workforce). People won’t come here for a job only, they need their families to thrive in a city outside of the work place and school.
3. Council needs to do everything fiscally possible to obtain all of the available waterfront lands. This way we can ensure that private interests don’t load up all the waterfront space with condos and commercial enterprise. We can protect our open park spaces, and direct housing and commercial development to the areas already approved by the Waterfront Plan.
1. Is the steep increase that communities like Glen Walter are seeing in their water bills justifiable? If elected would you curb the impact of these increases? How?
The increases in water taxes put forward by the previous council is totally unacceptable. Its outrageous for young families and the elderly trying to make ends meet. A gradual increase in these taxes is the only logical way to proceed for the Glen Walter and area.
Communities were recently hit with water tax ‘reserve’ increases 12% to 50%, and more next years. Our tri-monthly water bills cover operations, somehow, Administration/Council present, had not building “reserves’ for over 10 years. In violation of a 2008 consultant’s report they advise, that there are NO guidelines/rules as to reserves. There should be. If elected I’ll motion to return to 2-5% maximum, and find other funding, to reduce the impact, especially fixed incomes.
Is the water rate increase justifiable? To a user pay view perhaps, but my view of “community” entails sharing. Do I have a magic wand to offer an instant solution? No, but I am open to listening to and considering other options to help mitigate the shock of these increases.
The new water & sewer fees were determined incorporating predicted system maintenance, repairs and upgrade forecasts. This strategic plan is demanded by the Province. Based on the projections, the new fees are justifiable. Any change to the rates can only be determined by a majority vote of council.
The province is pushing harder and harder for municipalities to have asset management plans, for replacement in place. This includes water and Sewer Systems. The rate increases will put us where we need to be, for future replacement of the systems, according to the staff report presented to council. I stand by my decision.
The Water Service is just covering the cost to provide the service, therefor the reserves required to update the system are not being collected. Glen Walter will require a new pumping system, a million dollars investment. Unfortunately past councils have overlooked the required reserves. I feel the increase is extreme, there should be a revisit to the decision.
As the only member of council to vote against the water rate increase I felt that this decision was problematic to those on low and fixed incomes. I suggested a phased in approach over 4 years to ensure we have the necessary funds for improvements to the system. If Re-elected I will bring this solution back to the council table.
1. Are you in favour of private marijuana vendors in your municipality? If yes, then why? If no, then why not?
Address the matter at the County level and with constituents of the municipality to come to an informed decision. We need to be aware of the strict guidelines of the act in order: To keep marijuana out of the hands of the youth, criminal element and protect public health, safety.
I truly don’t feel that an accurate answer could be reached without further Consulting with the municipality, the residents of South Stormont and the federal government. There are too many things to consider.
I am open to private marijuana vendors in our municipality however, we need to discuss as a community, in an open forum before rendering any decision. We also need to review and understand all aspects of the legislation prior to coming to any conclusion.
The province has just recently given us some very vague information regarding retail outlets and the regulations that pertain to them are still unknown. We don’t know what the consequences and/or benefits are of opting in or opting out. We require more information and input from our constituents to make an informed decision.
I’m in favour of having private marijuana vendors. If we opt-out, we will lose out on the economic benefit. We do not need to rush into this decision however, we must first consult with residents, and see how other communities roll this out before deciding what’s best for our municipality.
I have no need to use it recreationally or medically but would be in favour of private marijuana vendors in South Stormont. I believe that the market will dictate the need for a vendor to setup or not setup a location within the township. It is legal and restrictions would be applied.
Cannabis should be offered throughout the township in commercially regulated outlets. Not doing so would not only take the cannabis business outside the township but also our other businesses of the township would lose their attraction. The cannabis outlets may well attract customers to our current businesses and attract new businesses to our community. I think they call this a win win.
It’s pretty obvious to me that if the Province has allowed private marijuana vendors in municipalities, then in my mind I would have no choice but to agree to allow it as well.
Private business should be able to benefit from the proceeds like any other business would. God knows, small businesses need all the help they can get.
Further, I suspect other municipalities around us will agree to allow private marijuana vendors. Therefore, why would we choose to opt out?