"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." ~G.E. Woodberry

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." ~G.E. Woodberry

Councillor Conversations

Let's talk about Municipal Government.

Part Three: Eight Questions from the All-Candidate Meeting

Q1: What do you think about Premier Ford’s plan to look at municipal governments and possibly downsizing them? Do you see this a possibly having a negative effect on the township?

This past summer Mayor Shantz and myself met with Minister of Municipal Affairs Stephen Clark in Ottawa. Minister Clark assured us at that meeting that the government was only looking at the municipalities identified. A larger scope of assessing regional governments across the Province was being examined to improve their effectiveness. I really hope that Minister Clark was being genuine in his comments to us that mass amalgamations were not on the table. Amalgamation in Waterloo Region would be devasting for representation and services in the townships. 

Q2: Is there any plan to preserve our heritage buildings?

This Council endorsed the creation of the Woolwich Heritage Committee which came into effect in 2015. About a dozen buildings and structures have been designated already. That work is ongoing.

Q3: Do you support the historic environment of this area? Why or why not?

Yes. Landscape heritage gives municipalities added resources to resist future developments or enterprise from destroying farmland. Protecting these landscapes for our future residents to enjoy as well as visitors to the area is just the right thing to do.

Q4: What are your thoughts of the cultural heritage and historic assets of this township?

Being exposed to cultures around the world makes us better people in general. Having an appreciation for another's culture and being open to learning is the kind of respectful attitude that can foster stronger connections. Appreciating our own history is a worthwhile venture that I will do my best to support.

Q5: What are the worst things that have happened in this township over the past 5 years that the public should be aware of? Is there a plan to oversee this or these issues? If not, will there be one in the future?

The worst thing in the past five years was a breach of trust charge against former Mayor Cowan. Breaking the public trust in local governance is unacceptable. This issue was resolved with an election. Administrative changes at the township and Region will prevent the events that led to the charges in the future.

Q6: What do you see as the most important issue facing Council in the next four years?

Growth and the negative effects of growth including demand for services, traffic and growing disconnect between communities. Equally important from a financial point of view, the significant decrease in funding from the province will directly impact tax increases.

Q7: What does Elmira and/or Woolwich do well, for instance parks, trails, sports, music, health?

Woolwich Township does a stellar job at community safety. Woolwich is a leader in the Region of Waterloo for our Community Alert Network. Woolwich has an amazing and active volunteer fire department. Community emergency response is something we can all be proud of. Lead by the Elmira Lions Club, we have an amazing ring trail around Elmira. These trails are first-rate and well-used.

Q8: What could Elmira/Woolwich Township do better? Specifically, issues related to trucks, odours, communication?

Advocacy. Engaging the community in worthwhile causes. Instead of reacting, anticipating and planning for future events or obstacles.

Trucks: Short term: decrease speed limit to 30km in downtown Elmira, more crosswalks in core Long term: bypass route around Elmira.

Odours: Not a municipal issue to enforce. Facilitate with local business emitting odours to find solution.

Communication: Communication is a two-way street. Woolwich provides information in a multitude of formats. Residents have a responsibility to be engaged and interested in their communities, not just when a sidewalk is proposed to be installed on your property. As a Councillor I have a website, social media, email, phone that I regularly use to communicate with residents. I would also be willing to meet with interested groups and service clubs if they wanted an update about Council initiatives.

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