Meet SG’s council candidates, part 1
As an eight-year veteran on South Glengarry council, Trevor Bougie knows that infrastructure accounts for roughly half of the township’s annual expenditures.
“It is imperative to continue to work with upper levels of government (MP Guy Lauzon MPP Jim McDonnell) to seek funding for various projects within the Township i.e. roads, bridges, recreation for all ages, water and wastewater projects,” he says. “I want to continue to work to retain and attract businesses in the township through economic development and our newly developed community improvement plan which allows businesses to apply for funding for improvements to their façade, building, and accessibility.“
Mr. Bougie, 33, would also expand South Glengarry’s Celtic branding and would attempt to renegotiate council’s previous decision to increase water and waste water by 37% and 34% in Lancaster and Glen Walter respectively.
He would also work with Enbridge to expand natural gas and bring in new technology such as LED streetlights, “which lowers the cost of those systems for the taxpayer.”
Mr. Bougie, a born-and-raised South Glengarrian, has been on the planning advisory committee, heritage committee, Glengarry County Archives Board, Chairman of the ice allocation committee, Glengarry Memorial Hospital Board, Community School Alliance Executive and have brought motions forward to the province to help our local residents i.e. motion for paramedics to be a fully essential service.
South Glengarry is a township facing many of the same challenges of rural townships across Ontario, says 76-year-old Claude Bourcier.
“With a limited regional economic base, it is important that the council be forward thinking and actively seek to attract economic opportunities,” he says. “The location of a major highway in our township offers the opportunity to develop warehousing/industrial park hubs.
He says there’s also a need for sound financial management.
“The water rate increases which residents are facing underlines why greater care needs to be taken in anticipating future expenditures,” he says.
He says council should be “a problem-solving body that works in the best interest of the residents of the townships.” He would promote “a more open and transparent decision-making process, and promote input from constituents to ensure that all voices are heard with the goal of achieving the best outcome for township residents.”
He adds that the township needs to find means of raising additional revenue by soliciting government funding whenever available and by attracting and leveraging new business and tourism opportunities.
Mr. Bourcier has been “a proud resident of South Glengarry for decades” He worked 23 years as a maintenance foreman at a chemical plant, for four years in the forest industry as well as five years as a new construction foreman.
“I grew up in central Saskatchewan on a small mixed farm where all our family worked on whatever chores and farm work needed to be done,” says Joanne High. “I joined 4-H first as a participant, then became a leader and a judge. The motto: Learn To Do By Doing has served me well all of my life.
“My husband and I have moved many times because of his work w i th Transport Canada. For me this meant becoming part of a new community, meeting many new people and ways of life. I learnt to be open minded and accepting of other people’s values. It was a huge opportunity to learn new things.”
Ms. High has lived in South Glengarry for 25 years. For most of her professional life, she worked in non-profit organizations, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, where a large part of her job was to develop leaders in the agricultural sector to deal with municipal, provincial and federal government. “I have held contract positions where volunteer recruitment and training were critical, as were sticking to a tight budget and timelines,” she says. “My strong work ethic means that I always deliver on time and budget.”
Regarding budgets, she says: “There is never enough money to go around these days for all of the things on our wish list. What I can tell you is, if we work carefully as a team, this Township will continue to prosper and grow. I offer an open door policy, so please accept my invitation to call or email me.”
Stephanie Jaworski says that the record number of people running for South Glengarry council shows that the people want change. And she has a number of changes she’d like to make.
She’d like to change the perception that it is harder to build in South Glengarry than in surrounding communities, which, she says “negatively impacts our economic development.”
She’d like to change the water rate increases in some communities, making them as gradual as possible. She would also improve communication from the township (“Can we cost- effectively live stream council meetings or allow access to the recordings?” she asks) ensure the long-term success of local schools, and improve access for cell phones, high-speed internet and natural gas. Ms. Jaworski, 41, would also expand the “Celtic Heartland” branding, incorporate publicity for arts and crafts industries and agrotourism, to promote tourism and invite new residents, and improve accessibility to recreational activities, especially for seniors and those with reduced mobility.
She would also provide more incentives, as opposed to bylaws, to recognize the public benefit of maintaining forested land, increasing waste diversion and maximize our revenue from recycling, and create a Local Schools Committee with regular meetings of the trustees, school representatives and council members to promote dialogue.
Ms. Jaworski graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Engineering and is a Senior Technical Advisor with Imperial Oil.
“In my opinion one of the most important issues facing the residents of South Glengarry is the need to balance the complexities of the Ontario Building Code with the need to assist investors in our Township with their projects,” says Martin Lang, a 55year-old farmer from just west of Williamstown.
“Another important issue for many residents is the dramatic increase of the water rate fees for those using this Township provided service.”
Regarding the building code, he says that if elected, he would work with council and staff to reconcile the need of the building department to enforce the building code with a plan that ensures building permit applicants are fully aware of their responsibilities and are helped and encouraged though the process.
That process would be balanced by an inspection schedule that minimizes delays and frustration for the project owner.
Regarding water, he says “the municipal owned water system is quickly approaching a major maintenance and upgrade expense but the user fee structure for this expense has not kept pace.
“A large fee increase to users becomes an unplanned expense for many – especially those on fixed income. I would support a more balanced fee increase to this problem using a longer term financing plan.”
Mr. Lang is the Deputy Chief of the Williamstown Fire Department and has also served as a volunteer for the Williamstown Fair, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Glengarry Federation of Agriculture, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the SD&G Stewardship Council, the South Glengarry Agriculture Advisory Committee, the Char- Lan Minor Soccer and the Char-Lan Minor Hockey.
Although Sam McDonell has heard a number of concerns as he hits the campaign trail, he says that the big three issues are the Building Department, Water and Waste Water, and basic Cellular and Internet Coverage.
Regarding the latter, he says he would push the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to improve access in the area.
He says residents are deprived of “consistent quality cellular and internet coverage, and access to natural gas.
“Our cellular coverage is inconsistent to the point that it makes having a Bluetooth system in your vehicle useless.”
He’s concerned that local students don’t have the Internet in place to allow them to research projects.
“Natural gas is another thing that we need to push for,” he says. “It is a great resource to help our residents save on their energy costs.”
He also wants to help area seniors stay at home longer, partly by helping them access appointments or even just trips to the grocery store.
When it comes to the water hikes, he “would be interested in visiting other options to soften the blow to our taxpayers.”
Mr. McDonell, 23, is a graduate from Char-Lan DHS. He obtained an Associated Diploma in Agriculture from The University of Guelph Kemptville Campus, and then furthered his education by attending Olds College where he studied Business Management. He works part time on a dairy farm in Bridge End (North Lancaster), as well as a full time position with Maizex Seeds where he is an Account Manager and Agronomic Support for Eastern Ontario and most of Western Quebec.