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

Dianne Mini Jacques 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?

The province says a municipality can borrow up to 25% of its revenues annually for long-term debt. According to Town Staff Saugeen Shores’ long-term debt stands at approximately 5%. So if needed we could borrow funds for proposed projects.

We have seen in the past with The Plex, the Port Elgin Library, quotes and final costs are not the same. We need to be smart in our approach to funding community projects and new builds.
Staff look to borrow at low fixed interest rates then as inflation rises the cost to pay for an asset does not rise even if its value goes up.

We are first responsible to taxpayers to stay below the best practice limit of 10%. Staff and all new hires need to be experienced with sponsorship, grants, community partnership fundraising to get outside funds as well.

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

I have promoted the Port Elgin and North Shore Railway since 1993 as Port Elgin’s Tourism Coordinator. For four years when I was on the Town’s Waterfront Committee helping to create the Waterfront Master Plan included was a “Branding and Tourism” section which I personally oversaw, researched and wrote. I also wrote a Tourism Strategic Plan that included the train and the train station as a key attraction.

I can only hope that the future owner includes the train in the purchase and this attraction can be showcased as part of the new Tourism Strategic Plan.

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?

As a renter for 35 years I assure you that every land owner I’ve met looks to maintaining the value of property to ensure:
Reasonable standards of maintenance of building.
Treat all lease holders equally.
Property standards are maintained by all lease holders.

Every tenant has the opportunity to:
Negotiate with their landlord regarding lease content
Negotiate requests from the owner of the property regarding upkeep of the building for safety, and facade/streetscape standards.

Whether landlord is a private individual, corporation or a municipality the bottom line is: Respect needs to be given from both parties.

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

Traffic calming by way of physical design and other measures to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will be included in Town’s new Transportation Master Plan. It aims to encourage safer, more responsible driving and potentially reduce traffic flow.
Three areas covered:
Police/enforcement with by-laws that designate a street under its jurisdiction as a community safety zone and sets speed limits, eg School zone, Residential, Trail crossing etc.

If you have a direct concern contact the town at

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

I want to see results of the YMCA feasibility study and would only agree to moving forward when factual information is compiled in a “Community and Recreation Facility Master Plan”.

This plan would outline a 10 year comprehensive guide for the Town in making informed decisions about both existing/proposed recreation facilities.

This plan allows the community to voice what they want and stakeholders to say what they currently offer in recreational facilities and programs.

Businesses owners can learn what residents want in new programs and services now and in the future for all ages/incomes.

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?

I would like to see actions and recommendations taken from the TRC Saugeen Ojibway Nation Anishinaabe civic cultural protocol (TRC Principles 3, 6, 8, and 9).

Creating Municipal & Community Indigenous cultural awareness training modules.

Creation of Town interpretive kiosks/signage and a “Reconciling History" Walking Tour.

Culture - Literature: Sponsor collection by Indigenous writers/poets in town libraries/schools/SFN Library. Include Duke Redbird a poet/activist, born an Ojibwe from the SFN Known as a leader in development of First Nations literature in Canada.

Employment: Increase the number of Indigenous people employed at the Town of Saugeen Shores.

Jacques answered Questions 7, 8 and 9 in one 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?

Saugeen Shores Housing Demand & Strategy:

a) A Housing Needs Study is needed now

To identify housing issues and solutions that can be used to make strategic decisions related to the housing market, used as a basis for future housing and planning/policy decisions, to secure financing for various housing programs and projects.

Why a housing needs assessment? We would have facts on what is actually needed for developers and Town Staff to plan housing and developments for now and in 10 years
eg. Market ready housing for new arrivals and retirees, Rent to own housing for those not able to afford market ready homes, Affordable rental units for those in the Tourism industry the #1 employer in Saugeen Shores and seniors on limited incomes.

There is a large percentage of people who work in Saugeen Shores that support our main industry, tourism, who work for low wages/live on low incomes that cannot afford to live in the community they work in.

b) Finance affordable housing without taxing the resident or business owner

Funding would be created for the Affordable Housing Financial Incentives Program through the 2019-2025 w/budget process for developers and with a Municipal Accommodation Tax initiated town wide.

Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) does not come from the taxpayer.

Port Elgin used to have a Municipal Accommodation Tax so why not take advantage of the influx of contract workers coming to this area. A percentage have taken over affordable housing inventory as they can pay more than those working in the Tourism sector.

c) Seniors

We need to:
Support/empower older adults to age in place with dignity.
Educate housing providers and developers about the need for increased appropriate housing stock for older adults and those with accessibility issues.

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

a) Emphasis On Attracting Light Industry
For those residents who make below $50,000 a year why not focus on bringing light industry and manufacturing to the area so residents can earn a 'living wage'.

b) Education and Mentoring Programs
Aid and assist local business owners via programming and education ways to enhance, grow and expand their businesses.

c) Creation and support of area promotions and events in the “shoulder seasons”
Marketing of our two diverse downtowns via shoulder season promotional campaigns and help find government funding for staffing for downtown event and promotions.

d) Downtown Improvement With Emphasis on Parking:
Create a plan that includes more parking by looking at how we are planning our downtowns and where we can be innovative in creating more downtown parking.

e) Creating A Vibrant Downtown With Key Tenant Selection:
Bring in experts in downtown development to help owners understand the benefits of choosing "anchor retail" businesses and the benefits of a destination retail marketing plan.

f) Labour Force:
Attract and aid our local businesses and their labour force shortages and develop targeted resident and worker attraction programs to attract new entrepreneurs and business and out of town service industry workers to fill job vacancies in our area.

g) Tourism:
A working Tourism Strategic Plan that is easy to follow for local businesses

h) An Age-friendly and Accessible Community
It is a need and growing demand heard by residents and businesses such as realtors, builders/developers that we need to be catering and planning initiatives to this age group.

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

We have to be cognizant of the environmental impacts of land use decisions, but also the socio-economic consequences that aid fully informed planning, policy and decision-making that account for a multiplicity in rural Ontario with a “building boom”.

Key opportunities in land development might include:
The occupation of a unique vegetable growing environment
Capitalizing on the area’s close proximity to beach-side visitors
For a minority of participants, possible financial gains through residential housing development that value green space/community gardens and preserve the farmers deep connection to the land with seasonal events for the neighbourhood/community and its residents.

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 will support Staff recommendation for the planned expansion project for our Water Treatment plant in the 2019 budget. This will help with the peak demand flows in the summer.

During the drought this summer, Staff recorded peak daily usage around 5,000 cu. m/day, this is more than the average demand.

Included in the plant’s design is a second expansion, in 2032 we will need to expand further. This would bring the plant close to the maximum rated production of 18,000 cu.m/day and meet our residents' and businesses' needs for many years to come.