Ward 4 can­di­dates make pitch in Delhi

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION - MONTE SONNENBERG MSon­nen­berg@post­media.com

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.

MONTE SONNENBERG /DELHI NEWS-RECORD

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.

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