SAUGEEN SHORES ELECTION 2018

election 2018

kristan shrider 560x373

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

Kristan Shrider is running for Port Elgin Ward Councillor in Saugeen Shores. Here are her 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?

Long-term debt is a financing tool that can be used to fund capital projects, not to generate revenue and can be an effective way to spread out the capital cost of the project over the life of the asset. If we have limited internal funding (i.e. reserve funds), long-term debt can assist with asset replacement. I believe that reserve funds should be established for high value assets to allow the municipality to set aside money annually for future replacement needs. If the annual repayment limit was established at 25% of our annual own source revenue, I would strive to keep it as far below the permitted borrowing capacity as possible, without compromising the asset management plan and ensure that we are developing and maintaining our asset management plan effectively so that the replacements are forecasted, budgeted and scheduled for properly. I do believe that long-term debt is a powerful tool and if we can establish internal funding sources and explore external funding opportunities, we can keep our borrowing capacity reasonable.

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

The train that operated out of The Station has been a staple along the waterfront for tourists and locals for many years. It was actually one of my first jobs as a teenager. I ran many miles along side that train! It is a shame that the train and the business did not operate this past summer season. I would like to see the train operational again and hope it will call our waterfront and North Shore Park home again. I believe that with proper planning and implementation of the Waterfront Master Plan and entering into an attractive lease agreement, it will become an integrated part of the community again.

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?

I am assuming that this scenario is implying that the land that the business operates from is municipally owned. I deal with lease agreements on a daily basis and they range from lease of lands, lease of buildings and agreements that businesses or groups provide a service. Clear and open communication is key with any agreement between the owner and the tenant. Often times we inherit agreements that were made many years ago and the terms and conditions were not detailed enough to outline responsibilities, elements and intentions. When lease agreements are renewed, we need to ensure that they are revised and updated with contribution by both parties.

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

We are seeing different measures being implemented by many counties and municipalities. When development occurs and site plans are reviewed traffic flow and safety is critical components. Just as important is the engineering designs of our future construction of existing infrastructure. Deciding on what methods of calming measures are applicable for different neighbourhoods is difficult to summarize in a general response as each roadway, intersection and scenario should be evaluated separately. Each measure has its own merits but I believe that monitoring of implemented methods needs to occur to gauge their success.

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

I believe that the YMCA is an incredible organization. They have successful businesses in several municipalities and was the right choice for those municipalities and I believe we will continue to see those successful partnerships in more municipalities. I am a huge supporter of our Saugeen Shores Aquatic Division and I feel that it is important to keep aquatics as a municipal service and a program within our Department of Community Services. The staff have done a tremendous job of building the programs and increasing the participant numbers in the last 10 years. The study that is being completed will be interesting and I think there will be a very healthy discussion at the Council table of the future of Aquatics in Saugeen Shores. I support a new pool in Saugeen Shores. I support an affordable, accessible, functional and efficient pool that staff and residents can be proud of.

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)

I have not read the report in enough detail to highlight actions items to implement. I am confident in saying that Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and Saugeen Shores are partners in our community and have strived to work together in the past and believe this will continue in the future. I respect and have great appreciation for the heritage of Saugeen Ojibway Nation and Canada’s Aboriginal history.

Shrider answered Questions 7, 8 and 9 with the same answer:

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?

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

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

I believe that approach to solutions needs to be at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for affordable housing programs in Ontario. There is housing crisis across the province (and the country). We are not facing this struggle alone. At our level, within our municipality we can implement intiatives for developers. For example, dictate a percentage of new development that must be housing that is geared to income opportunities and encourage the development of centrally located rental units within Saugeen Shores.

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

I believe that one of the biggest challenges that we face is to keep growth and development at a manageable rate and the approach to municipal management must adapt accordingly. I would like to see the municipality, through the Economic Development/Strategic Initiatives Department explore partnerships with business owners, the BIAs and Chamber of Commerce groups to ensure we are supporting our existing business owners and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. Some established businesses in Saugeen Shores are facing staffing challenges and I believe that the municipality could be a resource and a partner to assist in coordinating possible solutions. All to often when Economic Development is mentioned, people relate it to attracting new businesses only but the municipality must also take an active role in supporting existing business owners.

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

We must trust the processes and polices in place. We have an Official Plan that creates the framework for development related situations. Proposals for development must follow a process and the zoning of those parcels of land will demonstrate the intended purpose and dictate the process forward to rezoning or change of use for that particular parcel of land. I believe that it is up to the land owner to decide what is best for them and their family. I do not believe that anyone should be pressured into making a decision and the municipality should look out for the best interest of our property owners, our taxpayers.

12) 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?

I believe that one of the biggest challenges that we face is to keep growth and development at a manageable rate. We need to ensure that our services and assets are able to keep up with the rate of development. Council and staff need to ensure that our asset management program is on target for not only our current needs but also for the future demands that growth and development will require. Financial responsibility or responsible spending is not always the lowest cost when it comes to municipal assets. The overall operating costs and life cycle of an asset needs to be a factor along with the upfront capital cost. Growth and development increases usage on our infrastructure and other municipal assets, which increases the maintenance and potentially reduces life cycles. As long as we plan accordingly and are aware of the impact growth and development has on our assets, we will be able to build and maintain an asset management plan that will allow us to plan for the future demands that our assets must meet.

Other Port Elgin Ward candidates (two elected):

See: Paul Seaman; Ask a Candidate

Jami Smith; Ask a Candidate

Saugeen Shores Hub gave each of the candidates equal opportunity to respond but has not heard back from Port Elgin Ward candidate Dianne Mini Jacques. If we do prior to voting opening October 12 we will update accordingly as time allows.