SAUGEEN SHORES ELECTION 2018

election 2018

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Saugeen Shores Hub reached out to readers and came up with the following questions for your municipal candidates.

Mayor Elect Luke Charbonneau went unchallenged for the mayor's seat in Saugeen Shores. Here are his answers.

1) All municipalities have borrowing limits for debt. Given the many projects either underway or proposed what is the maximum percentage of borrowing capacity you are willing to commit to?

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing sets limits on the amount of money the Town can borrow; in 2017 the Town of Saugeen Shores had available debt room of approximately $42 million. The Town currently has a policy governing how this available debt room should be managed; 25% is to be set aside as a contingency in case of emergency, 30% is to be left available for rate funded services (eg. water and sewer) and up to 45% can be allocated toward tax funded services (eg. the new police building, renovations to the Southampton Town Hall or a new pool). I support this borrowing policy. I also think that it is best not to commit most or all of our available debt room in any one category to any one project. Instead, I think it is most prudent to use a mix of grant funding, tax revenue, development charge revenue and borrowing to fund larger capital projects.

2) What are your views or proposals for the future of the Port Elgin and North Shore Railway?

I like the Train and would be happy if we can find a way to get it running again on Port Elgin’s main beach. I will work to ensure that public lands on Port Elgin’s main beach are used to provide a wide array of family friendly attractions for beach goers.

3) What, if any, assurances can you give business owners and their staff that local businesses will not be targeted for closure should the Town choose to repurpose their property in the future?

The Town will honour its existing agreements with businesses located on municipally owned lands and will work to maintain positive and productive relationships with all businesses in Saugeen Shores.

4) What calming measures can be implemented to reduce excessive vehicle speeds in busy Saugeen Shores neighbourhoods?

The most effective way to deter speeding is through persistent enforcement of speed limits. Saugeen Shores Police are tasked with these enforcement efforts and can be deployed flexibly and proactively to deal with problem areas. I will encourage police and Town staff to work with the public on an ongoing basis to determine where additional enforcement action would be beneficial.

5) What is your position on a YMCA coming to Saugeen Shores?

One possible way to help make a new pool facility financially feasible for the community is for the Town to forge partnerships with organizations that can help to operate the facility; the YMCA is one such organization. A feasibility study is currently underway to determine if the YMCA model could fit a future recreation facility in our community. I will base my views on whether or not the YMCA is an appropriate partner on the outcome of that study.

6) What specific actions would you take to meet the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Report, especially as they relate to Saugeen Ojibway Nation? (http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Exec_Summary_2015_05_31_web_o.pdf)

One of the most important Calls to Action for municipal governments is the one calling on us to ensure that our employees receive education in the history of aboriginal peoples. The municipality should work to provide opportunities for staff and Council members to receive training that will help them to better understand the culture and history of aboriginal citizens and of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. The municipality must also proactively maintain open relationships with the leaders of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation in the interest of ensuring mutual understanding and, in particular, respect for the cultural heritage of aboriginal peoples within Saugeen Shores – I intend to do that.

7) With businesses closing their doors or reducing their hours because they can't find enough staff, what can be done to create affordable accommodations for service workers or lower income residents in Saugeen Shores?

The problem of worker shortages in the service industry must be addressed in collaboration with local business leaders and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the BIAs. The Town should engage these groups to identify the causes of the labour shortage and to identify innovative solutions. Additional affordable housing for service industry workers will undoubtedly be part of the solution to this problem. The Town needs to support and encourage the development of new rental units and apartment complexes in order to increase supply to better meet (or exceed) demand. In partnership with Bruce County, we also need to use available tools to incentivize and subsidize the development of affordable housing.

8) What can be done to create affordable housing for younger, first time home buyers as well as retirees in Saugeen Shores?

Through planning control, the municipality can help to ensure that there is an appropriate mix of housing types located appropriately throughout the community. By ensuring that higher density, lower cost housing is part of all new developments, we can help to provide home ownership opportunities for first time home buyers in our community. A review of the Saugeen Shores Official Plan will begin in 2019; I expect that the need to provide opportunities for the development of low cost housing will be a major focus of that review.

9) What can be done to create affordable housing for retired seniors in Saugeen Shores?

See answer #8. Seniors have some special needs particularly in terms of accessibility and care. I have said that, as Mayor, I will personally serve as Council’s representative on the Accessibility Advisory Committee. We need to emphasise the need to develop accessible housing options for seniors and to ensure that it is possible to build housing types that allow seniors to live at home with dignity. Secondary suites that allow seniors to live independently, in close proximity to family members or care givers are an option that we need to support and promote.

10) With fewer low to middle income families coming to Saugeen Shores, what can be done to help local businesses stay afloat?

As I said in question #7, we need to work collaboratively with local business leaders to identify the causes of the problems they face and to develop solutions; businesses will have the best, innovative solutions. The Town needs to be a partner in these efforts and to provide assistance and support wherever possible.

12) As the town grows and new developments happen, how might you protect local farm land from development pressure?

The Town has enough approved development land (settlement area) available to serve the community for many years to come. Small developments may be permitted in new areas of low agricultural potential in accordance with the policies of the Town, County and Province but I do not anticipate that large tracts of agricultural land will be considered for addition to the settlement area of the Town in the near future.

13) With all the new development and the ever growing population in Saugeen Shores would you agree there is a need for an expansion to our water treatment facility and would you support action being taken toward this?

The Town undertakes thorough and detailed planning in order to ensure that our water treatment capacity keeps up with growth. An update to the Water Servicing Master Plan will be undertaken in 2019. Through this process, experts will determine what changes (if any) will be needed to maintain an adequate supply of treated drinking water. I will support taking every action necessary to ensure that we always have enough clean water for drinking; increasing treatment capacity when needed and enforcing outdoor watering restrictions when necessary.