Ward 4 candidates make pitch in Delhi
A candidate in Windham-area Ward 4 said last week that he will fight for a bigger piece of the pie if elected to Norfolk council.
Chris Van Paassen, who resides on Radical Road in the south-east corner of the ward, says Ward 4 doesn’t have a lot to show for all the tax revenue it pours into the Norfolk treasury.
“We’re the only ward without an urban area,” Van Paassen said at an all-candidates meeting at the Delhi German Home.
“I think we’ve been neglected for far too long. The only recent addition to our ward is a fire truck for the Vittoria fire hall. Come Oct. 22, Ward 4 is going to re-introduce itself to Norfolk council.”
The all-candidates event in Delhi was held Sept. 26.
A total of 13 candidates were on hand for the three-hour meeting. This includes mayoral candidates Kristal Chopp of Port Dover, Russell Colebrook of Simcoe, and incumbent Charlie Luke, also of Simcoe.
Also having their say were councillor candidates from Langton-area Ward 2 and Delhi-area Ward 3.
Joining VanPaassen at the Ward 4 table was Dean Morrison of Windham Centre. Morrison represented Ward 4 for the first two terms of the new Norfolk council before he was unseated by Jim Oliver, a former general manager of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority, in 2006. Oliver is one of three incumbent council members who have chosen not to run.
For his part, Morrison has heard the complaints about red tape and bureaucracy in Norfolk and wonders if the county might benefit from hiring a “concierge.”
This employee’s sole responsibility would be helping developers and land owners who want to improve their property navigate the myriad rules and regulations in the planning, bylaw and building divisions.
“If they’re a large developer or a small developer, we need someone to walk them through what is required,” Morrison said. “I think that would help reduce the frustration.”
Van Paassen said an attitudinal shift would help as well.
“I notice that Norfolk says the county ‘is open for business.’” Van Paassen said. “How about we change that to ‘open to business’?” That would produce a subtle shift in thinking that will get us moving in the direction we need to go.”
At its peak, there were nearly 300 people at the German Home event. Morrison told the crowd that Turkey Point, at last, seems to be moving in a positive direction.
He is pleased that the province is finally on board with phragmites eradication along the beachfront. If elected, Morrison would lobby Union Gas to build a natural gas main into the resort community.
In the area of youth retention, Morrison said youth today are hyperconnected and regard high-speed internet as a necessity. If Norfolk wants to hang onto its young people, the county – at a minimum -- needs to provide and encourage the development of this infrastructure.
Van Paassen wonders if the education system is a barrier to youth retention in places like Norfolk where skilled, high-paying jobs go wanting due to a lack of qualified workers.
“Maybe the problem is we’re graduating too many young people with master’s degrees in fluff,” Van Paassen said.
“Where are the millwrights, the welders, the machinists? Isn’t it time we put more pressure on government to put more money into these high-skill programs?”
The third candidate in Ward 4 is Thomas Ferris of Vittoria. He did not attend the event. Voters in Norfolk elect a new council Oct. 22.
Two council candidates in Windham-area Ward 4 shared their views at a well-attended all-candidates event in Delhi. They are Dean Morrison, left, of Windham Centre, and Chris Van Paassen of Port Dover.