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This is a very significant election. Our Town is changing. Growth is expected over many years. This is a time in our history when we need Council members that will be consistently aware of, and responsive to, the variety of challenges and opportunities that result from municipal actions and inactions.

I’m running for Deputy Mayor. I place tremendous value on the role that community input, good planning decisions and strategic public investments will have during the next four year term. I’m not afraid of ‘change’ because I know that our community will benefit from growth realized through improvements and new builds that include important aesthetic, environmental and social enhancements, in addition to the potential economic benefits to developers, builders and the Town itself. Council, quite simply, needs to emphasize the necessity for desirable community benefits to be evident in every municipal action as well as private investment and activity.

After two terms as a Councillor; one term as Vice-Deputy Mayor; 11 years as a member (plus 4 years as an alternate) of the Town’s Planning Committee; membership on many of our Advisory Committees; and participation on purpose-driven Ad Hoc and Steering committees I have an expansive range of Council experience and historical perspective to carry forward into the next term.

I understand the process that is necessary to be transparent, proactive and reactive as a member of Council. I am able to commit the time and effort required of the Deputy Mayor to be successful in representing both community and neighbourhood interests, to fill in for the Mayor during meetings and in the event of an emergency (if needed) as well as with attendance at town events, conferences and other activities promoting Saugeen Shores as a great place to live and to invest.

I believe Council can play a huge role in encouraging greater collaboration between Town departments as public programs and projects are planned and rolled out. Every municipal action has a chance to address multiple goals within the Saugeen Shores Official Plan (OP) if we let them. The OP guides land use decisions and manages change. The review of our OP will be a big agenda item in 2019. This is my third OP review. I have lots to say and am also planning to listen carefully as the Community, and Council, considers what’s working in this vital planning document and what’s not.

The OP states up front that we aspire to be a leader in Bruce County. As a leader we should expect a high standard of design and construction here that leads to buildings and streetscapes that function well, that look good, that fit in with their surroundings, that add environmentally important aspects (trees and natural ways to deal with storm water) as well as always improving civic pride. We should require that new investments provide financial and infrastructure contributions that help us build/rebuild roads, sidewalks and underground pipes, install streetlights and make important public investments in parks. We should streamline some process aspects associated with development and growth however I don’t think everything needs to be easier or faster. This is a very attractive and viable place to invest. I believe most developers and builders are willing to work with the Town toward economic and other successes for both sides. That’s growth that I think is very possible.

I will continue to advocate for improvements to public amenities, especially playgrounds, as well as the need for ‘more’ season public investments. I will be an enthusiastic voice and vote for recreational and cultural “growth” including: a new Pool complex; sidewalk and trail enhancements to connect us and create more winter-use options; dedicated spending to maintain attractive downtowns; advancing our Bike Friendly strategy; support for small scale initiatives by businesses, community groups and residents; and the Southampton Town Hall/Library concept that creates a community cultural hub to enjoy for the next 100 years. These are significant investments for long term benefit and that also represent amenities to use right now on a ‘more’, if not four, season basis.

I had a 20 year marketing career working at two Ontario universities while they were expanding in size and reputation. As a student I studied urban planning, municipal politics and public administration. Adding the historical perspective and knowledge gained during three terms on Council with these life experiences presents a great resume for a Deputy Mayor position. I’m ready for the job. Your vote will help.

See also: Don Matheson - candidate for Deputy Mayor