Mayor De­bate

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Front Page - KATH­LEEN SMITH

Af­ter an un­der­whelm­ing re­sult of the top­ics cov­ered at the Meet the Can­di­dates: Coun­cil and Deputy Mayor event last week, the com­mu­nity took the May­oral Can­di­dates to task. Or­ga­nized by Ro­taract, En­gage Goderich and Huron Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Meet the Can­di­dates: Mayor event at Lakeshore United Church was in­quis­i­tive and in­for­ma­tive. Whether the ques­tions were bet­ter fil­tered prior to the main event, the top­ics cov­ered is­sues and con­cerns of value to the com­mu­nity. Each can­di­date, John Grace, cur­rent Mayor Kevin Mor­ri­son and David Yates pro­vided in­tel­li­gent, thought out and ar­tic­u­late re­sponses while put in the hot seat on is­sues con­cern­ing Goderich.

In the com­ing weeks prior to the 2018 Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tion on Oct. 22, vot­ers must take into ac­count what is of value to them and elect the best per­son to lead for four years. Be­low is a sum­mary of the open­ing and clos­ing re­marks of each can­di­date, as well as the ques­tions asked and each can­di­date’s an­swer.


Can­di­date John Grace (JG): “Thank you. Wel­come ev­ery­one. Who has the ex­pe­ri­ence, who has the drive and who can de­liver? I’m John Grace, and I am that per­son. I wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to share my in­ter­est and pas­sion for serv­ing as Mayor. For me, be­ing Mayor is about the big idea of lead­er­ship. Lead­er­ship is about who has the ex­pe­ri­ence, the char­ac­ter and the com­mit­ment to de­liver a shared vi­sion. A lit­tle bit about my­self: born and raised, right here in Goderich, I moved away to de­velop my ca­reer and busi­ness and came back here in my 30s with my wife Wendy, to raise our fam­ily. I chaired the dial­y­sis unit at AMGH. I have con­tin­ued to demon­strate my lead­er­ship, pas­sion and ex­pe­ri­ence through ini­tia­tives such as the Mait­land Recre­ation Cen­tre, the build­ing of the Mait­land Val­ley Med­i­cal Cen­tre, re­build­ing the com­mu­nity af­ter the 2011 tor­nado, and the up­grades to the dial­y­sis unit just last year. It’s about us­ing my lead­er­ship to bring peo­ple to­gether for one com­mon goal – the bet­ter­ment of our com­mu­nity. I spear­headed the de­vel­op­ment of Fan­shawe Col­lege here in Goderich, bring­ing post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion to our doorstep. I serve on United Way and I also Chair the United Way Goderich. Since 2016 I have chaired the Mait­land Manor Fo­cus Group – our goal was the re­ten­tion and ex­pan­sion of brand new, fa­cil­ity. To add to that, eight years at County Coun­cil. I come from a busi­ness back­ground, yes I’m full of en­ergy and I know how to lead. I have the char­ac­ter, the com­mit­ment and the ex­pe­ri­ence. I have the rep­u­ta­tion of get­ting things done. Over the last three years, my fam­ily and I have been in the process of tran­si­tion­ing our fam­ily busi­ness to our el­dest son John. It’s time for me to step back and it’s time for him to take the reigns. I’m com­mit­ted to be­ing YOUR full time Mayor. For those who know me, when I say com­mit­ted, I’m all in. Thank you.” Can­di­date Kevin Mor­ri­son (KM): “Good evening and thank you for hav­ing us here tonight. I don’t know where these last four years have gone. I’m go­ing to be brief on my back­ground, as most of you know my back­ground. For those of you who don’t, it prob­a­bly doesn’t mat­ter here tonight. Like many of you, in 2008 I made Goderich my home, along with my part­ner. I got very in­volved in this com­mu­nity when I ar­rived. I love Goderich as so many of you do, or you wouldn’t be here tonight. When I de­cided I was go­ing to run for Coun­cil back in 2010, that Au­gust I knocked on about 200 doors. My ques­tion was, ‘Have you al­ways been from Goderich? If not, where are you from?’ 82 per­cent of the 200 doors I knocked on, were from some­where else and made Goderich their home. We made Goderich our home be­cause of what it of­fered and con­tin­ues to of­fer. Back then, my slo­gan was ‘The fu­ture be­gins now’ and as a sur­prise to many, I was elected to Coun­cil. I asked to be judged in those first four years be­cause the next four years I would be run­ning for Mayor. And, the most you would have me, if you had me, would be two terms. I’m very vo­cal to the Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment that we should have term lim­i­ta­tions when it comes to the top job. I be­lieve in fresh, new ideas. I don’t be­lieve in ca­reer pol­i­tics. I be­lieve that you get in, do your job and move on. I had a vi­sion for this town when I ran for Mayor – that vi­sion was that it was time for change, and change we have had. I have had the priv­i­lege and hon­our to work with an amaz­ing group of in­di­vid­u­als who have been ded­i­cated on your cur­rent coun­cil. The other night, last week, the ques­tion was asked about di­ver­sity on coun­cil and I think we have al­ready achieved that with this last coun­cil. We had one in­di­vid­ual who was a re­tired Supreme Court Jus­tice, push­ing 90 years old and is one of the wis­est men I’ve ever met; we had a young in­di­vid­ual in his young 20s; Michele Hansen I see here tonight who is a woman and has been a great rep­re­sen­ta­tive; and yes you have an openly gay Mayor. I’m not afraid of the is­sues, I’m not afraid of the chal­lenges, but I stand up for what I be­lieve is right. I have no per­sonal agen­das and I be­lieve that we have just be­gun. Most of you in this room have seen what has hap­pened in the last four years. Goderich has be­come a more de­sir­able place to live and it’s all be­cause of not only the ded­i­ca­tion of your cur­rent Coun­cil and those seek­ing re-elec­tion, but also due to the ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment of this com­mu­nity. I look for­ward to be­ing your rep­re­sen­ta­tive as Mayor, for four more years. Thank you!” Can­di­date David Yates (DY): “Thank you and I wel­come ev­ery­one here this evening. This is an elec­tion about lead­er­ship. The vot­ers this year have to de­cide what type of lead­er­ship does the town want at the helm, to steer us into the fu­ture. I’m build­ing a grass­roots move­ment to be Mayor of the WHOLE town. All this town’s cit­i­zens from the busi­ness owner who needs the town’s as­sis­tance to help grow their en­ter­prise, to en­cour­ag­ing an en­tre­pre­neur who wants to re­lo­cate here, to the young fam­ily who wants a place for their chil­dren to have a safe place to play, to se­niors who need ac­cess to the town’s ser­vices, and help­ing the home­less get the nec­es­sary ser­vices needed to im­prove their lives. I would be a Mayor for all of Goderich. Whether it’s my home, com­mu­nity, school, church, I have al­ways taken an ac­tive lead­er­ship role in what­ever field of en­deav­our I have been in­volved in. I have served and was hon­ourably dis­charged as a mem­ber of the Royal Cana­dian Reg­i­ment Re­serve. I taught Cana­dian and World His­tory to thou­sands of Huron County youth. I took a lead­er­ship role as a Town Coun­cil­lor and served on sev­eral town boards, com­mit­tees and ser­vice groups, while be­ing ac­tively in­volved in sev­eral her­itage and cul­tural events that have high­lighted Goderich and area. In dis­tin­guish­ing my­self from the other can­di­dates, not di­min­ish­ing the achieve­ments of Kevin or John, they are real, make no mis­takes, but what­ever ac­com­plish­ments I have had, which I take pride in, has been as a mem­ber of a team. I can’t take sole credit for all of those achieve­ments that have been made in what­ever role I had. I did it as a func­tion­ing mem­ber of a team. As a calm, steady, de­liv­ered and em­pa­thetic in­di­vid­ual, I have demon­strated the abil­ity to act and move for­ward. I am an ef­fec­tive lis­tener and com­mu­ni­ca­tor. As some of you know, over the past weeks, I have knocked on doors and lis­tened to the con­cerns. I heard ev­ery­thing from some­one wor­ried about a bro­ken side­walk that might en­dan­ger the safety of kids or se­niors, to home­own­ers con­cerned about their tax rates, to peo­ple wor­ried about the town’s eco­nomic fu­ture. As your Mayor, I have a key un­der­stand­ing of the town’s past and I share the con­cerns of the present and want to guide the town into its fu­ture. Mov­ing into the fu­ture can only be done with a Mayor who can ap­peal to the broad­est cross-sec­tion of the town and work co­op­er­a­tively with all lev­els of gov­ern­ment. A con­sen­sus of the town also in­volves you. This is a time when we have to mo­bi­lize all the town’s re­sources to be­come a pros­per­ous and com­pet­i­tive en­tity in the fu­ture. Thank you!”

Ques­tion 1: When Huron County had com­mit­tees formed to con­sider a strate­gic plan, Goderich was iden­ti­fied for a fo­cus on health­care. One con­sid­er­a­tion was to have a sep­a­rate men­tal health fa­cil­ity to ser­vice Goderich and the sur­round­ing ar­eas. How will you make this be­come a re­al­ity?

(KM): “I don’t think many re­al­ize, but we are the only men­tal health fa­cil­ity at the hos­pi­tal, here in Huron County and we are over­ca­pac­i­tated. We are cer­tainly aware of the needs here in Goderich. When I took of­fice, we had a very large or­phan list, of peo­ple who needed doc­tors and that has de­creased sub­stan­tially. Health­care is im­por­tant to us in this com­mu­nity and we will con­tinue to fight for what is right­fully ours. The health­care sys­tem across the prov­ince is bro­ken. You need some­one who is well con­nected to the prov­ince and other lev­els of gov­ern­ment, to make our needs known. I think it’s been more ob­vi­ous this past win­ter than any other time be­fore that we have men­tal health is­sues on our streets. Po­lice are called to the third floor con­tin­u­ously and tak­ing away from polic­ing. Train­ing of the fa­cil­ity staff, train­ing peo­ple how to in­volve them­selves with men­tal health prob­lems, bring­ing on an ex­pert as I’m not an ex­pert when it comes to men­tal health, and bring­ing on the peo­ple that un­der­stand it is where we need to go. We’ve gone leaps and bounds in the last six months when it comes to what we can of­fer. Men­tal health is not go­ing to go away but in fact will in­crease. When you take a look at the stress peo­ple go through, it’s go­ing to get worse and we need to ad­dress it, and we are, but more needs to be done.

(JG): “Thank you. Health­care in gen­eral has been a con­cern of mine and has been a hot but­ton is­sue. Ever since I moved back to Goderich, I’ve al­ways been in­volved in health­care in one level or an­other, whether it’s dial­y­sis or men­tal health. To­day, be­ing in­volved in two dif­fer­ent projects, re­ally ze­ros in on men­tal health. That is be­ing Chair of the United Way, and the other is­sue is the home­less is­sue that we have in the com­mu­nity. We have men­tal health is­sues all through so­ci­ety and it’s quite acute in Huron County. Men­tal health is im­por­tant, needs to be ad­dressed. It’s not a prob­lem, but an is­sue we can ad­dress, but we have to get go­ing on it.”

(DY): “Thank you. There’s no doubt, hav­ing been in the class­room over the num­ber of years, and over the last five to 10 years, we have seen a real in­crease in men­tal health is­sues amongst our stu­dents, amongst par­ents and so­ci­ety at a large. We need to work closely with our County part­ners at the Huron County Health Unit, we have to work with the Pro­vin­cial Min­istry of Health and other agen­cies that can as­sist Goderich in solv­ing men­tal health. It’s not at a cri­sis stage yet but there is cer­tainly an in­creas­ing de­mand and it can’t be swept un­der the car­pet. It can’t be ig­nored. We now have to deal with se­ri­ous men­tal health is­sues within our com­mu­nity.” Ques­tion 2: There are many high cost plans for Goderich, for in­fra­struc­ture. What are your pri­or­i­ties and how do you in­tend to pay for them?

(JG): “Yes there are some pri­or­i­ties. The big­gest one that is in front of us right now is fin­ish­ing off Ag Park and pay­ing for it. The next one is the water­front and how we ap­proach that. As far as I’m con­cerned, the money that we get from the Port Cor­po­ra­tion needs to be used for the water­front rede­vel­op­ment. It can pay for it and it should. I know that for sure be­cause I sit on the Goderich Port Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Board and I know of the money that is avail­able. The har­bour is in re­ally good shape right now and we are ready to start on the water­front rede­vel­op­ment. This last coun­cil has put for­ward a plan. We need to look at that plan again and start to im­ple­ment it right away. We need to have a good look at our down­town, and how that needs work, as far as road sur­faces are con­cerned. We need a five year plan when it comes to in­fra­struc­ture and then we need to set pri­or­i­ties and a bud­get to meet those plans. It can all be done, but it has to be done me­thod­i­cally and there has to be a plan in place so we can pay for it.

(DY): “In short, we have to hold the line on taxes. We have to fin­ish the Ag Park de­vel­op­ment – it will look beau­ti­ful when it’s done. The one thing the next Coun­cil can ini­ti­ate is the water­front de­vel­op­ment. A water­front de­vel­op­ment scheme would help al­le­vi­ate some of the prob­lems we saw down at the beach this sum­mer. I think what next Coun­cil has to do, is sit down, have a pri­or­ity plan­ning meet­ing and pri­or­i­tize our ex­pen­di­tures for the next four years, based on what is needed to be done, what would like to be done and what can be held off for a fu­ture time.”

(KM): “In May of 2015, this coun­cil sat down and we did pri­or­i­tize what was needed. There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween spend­ing and there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween in­vest­ing. There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween needs and be­tween wants. What we have com­ing along with the Rec Park, which has re­ceived amaz­ing sup­port from this com­mu­nity, was long over due. I know some peo­ple don’t agree with the money that was in­vested into it. I think once you see what hap­pens with the out­comes, I think you will be im­pressed. These same peo­ple were prob­a­bly the ones who com­plained about the Rec Cen­tre [YMCA] as well, and we have seen how suc­cess­ful it is. You have to have Recre­ation Fa­cil­i­ties to draw peo­ple. When it comes to in­fra­struc­ture, I agree with John, that we have to look at our down­town. How­ever, af­ter the tor­nado, we had a num­ber of busi­nesses on the square that lost their busi­nesses be­cause of work be­ing done. We have to be cog­ni­tive of that. I know this coun­cil was crit­i­cized be­cause we did a crack and seal ap­proach to pro­long the life of the streets. $2,500 to take care of some­thing and pro­long the life of one of our ma­jor as­sets, is a far cry from the four of five mil­lion it would cost to rip up the square and work on in­fra­struc­ture. The water­front re­mains a high pri­or­ity and is one of the gems that we have. We have a unique sit­u­a­tion in this town be­cause we have an in­dus­trial mar­ket but we also have a recre­ational mar­ket. Goderich has be­come a des­ti­na­tion of those who want to share in what we have to of­fer here. It was a prob­lem this sum­mer, with park­ing is­sues down there. This next coun­cil needs to take a look at what we need to do to en­force those by­laws. Just so you know, there were $8M in cap­i­tal ex­penses this past year and $800,000 in tax­a­tion.”

Ques­tion 3: What in your back­ground and ex­pe­ri­ence makes you the best can­di­date to sig­nif­i­cantly cre­ate eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Goderich?

(DY): “I’m not a busi­ness owner, nor have I ever owned a busi­ness, but I shop and spend money in lo­cal busi­nesses. I think I know what peo­ple want in this town. One of the things we need to look at in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in this town is one of the key driv­ers in our mod­ern econ­omy – cul­ture and her­itage econ­omy. Peo­ple will come to Goderich if we main­tain our in­tegrity and have things that will en­tice peo­ple. I think I’m the best per­son to guide a new econ­omy where we could em­pha­size things like mod­ern in­dus­try, IT, a so­cial and cul­tural econ­omy. I would reach out to the BIA and the Cham­ber. I’m go­ing to lis­ten to their ad­vice, act on it and co­or­di­nate a strat­egy to see some eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.”

(KM): “I’m proud to say that our County has taken on a great lead­er­ship role on this, along with our town. We now have an Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment right in the heart of down­town Goderich. Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment is much more than just her­itage. We have been known as a se­nior’s com­mu­nity or sea­sonal com­mu­nity, and we need to fo­cus on what we can do year round to draw peo­ple here. Not only vis­i­tors but also busi­nesses. Over the last four years we have had sub­stan­tial in­creases in in­dus­trial busi­ness and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment. In the last four years we in­tro­duced a ho­tel, and we have the ex­pan­sion of the med­i­cal clinic. We have a 29-unit res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment com­ing to the Vic­to­ria Pub­lic School prop­erty and 12 will be af­ford­able hous­ing. It’s an on­go­ing thing, it will never stop. We had those changes and it’s work­ing.”

(JG): “The Huron County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Board was es­tab­lished and spear­headed by my­self a cou­ple months prior to the last elec­tion. I play an ac­tive and proac­tive role in bring­ing fi­bre­op­tics to down­town and farm­land. My big­gest thing right now is how to get Goderich mov­ing again. As far as I’m con­cerned, it’s mov­ing with the small busi­nesses. Of course, we can al­ways have our hands out and arms open if there was an op­por­tu­nity to at­tract busi­nesses to Goderich. Our real op­por­tu­nity is to be with new busi­ness and young en­trepreneurs that we can at­tract to Goderich. We have the hub, the life­style and we can at­tract.” Ques­tion 4: Given lack of women can­di­dates in this elec­tion, what con­crete steps will you take to at­tract more fe­male can­di­dates in the next four years? (KM): “This ques­tion came up last week and there is some­thing far more than di­ver­sity than just women can­di­dates. Di­ver­sity is all walks of life. The new­com­ers who come here to be Cana­dian cit­i­zens de­serve to have rep­re­sen­ta­tion as well. The more di­verse coun­cil, the bet­ter. I’m go­ing to share a story with you. Two ladies who I thought would have a lot to con­trib­ute to our coun­cil, I ap­proached and asked them if they would run. You know what their an­swer was? Not on their life. They said that with so­cial me­dia and the en­vi­ron­ment of the way pol­i­tics are run to­day, there is no way they would put them selves or their fam­i­lies through that. I un­der­stand what they are talk­ing about. In the last four years, I have gone through a liv­ing hell. I have stood up for what I be­lieve in, and I will go back to the Gay Pride Cross­walk. I have never hid­den the fact that I am gay. There’s di­ver­sity on your coun­cil right now. But I stood up for what I be­lieved in and for what is best for this com­mu­nity. It’s not ex­clu­siv­ity, it’s in­clu­siv­ity. Why does the gay com­mu­nity have to sep­a­rate them selves from ev­ery­one else? And when you say why aren’t more women on coun­cil? Then run! Do what I did, and run and get elected. Do your job and do it well and hope­fully you will be re-elected. How do we en­cour­age more women to run for coun­cil? Sup­port them. En­cour­age them. Don’t beat them up when they put their names for­ward. We have so many peo­ple out there who have so much to of­fer this town. It’s a tough job, you lose friends, you lose busi­ness, but in the end it’s worth­while be­cause you’re stand­ing up for what you be­lieve in, and do­ing what you think is best for the whole com­mu­nity, with no per­sonal agen­das.”

(JG): “It’s all about en­gag­ing peo­ple, get­ting them onto com­mit­tees, get­ting them in­volved in the com­mu­nity, giv­ing them a taste of be­ing a com­mu­nity builder. There is no way there shouldn’t be more ladies on coun­cil. We need their voice. Di­ver­sity, I don’t have a prob­lem with it. I look back on my own ex­pe­ri­ence. I know when I look at my kids to­day and see the part­ners they have cho­sen, I know we have gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple who un­der­stand di­ver­sity and I’m proud of that. Di­ver­sity makes our coun­try and my­self stronger.

(DY): “I don’t think you’ll see a lot of day­light be­tween us on how we per­ceive di­ver­sity and in­clu­siv­ity. It’s some­thing that is re­ally im­por­tant and strength­ens the com­mu­nity. You have to reach out and en­gage com­mu­ni­ties that maybe haven’t been lis­tened to be­fore, or maybe haven’t been in­vited to the table be­fore. It is a cause of con­cern, that only one of the 12 can­di­dates run­ning for coun­cil this year is a fe­male. How do you over­come that? How do we en­cour­age more peo­ple from di­verse com­mu­ni­ties to run for coun­cil? Well, you get them to serve on com­mit­tees and serve the town in some ca­pac­ity. Maybe when they get ac­cli­ma­tized to it, maybe they can do it. I’m not a big be­liever of pol­i­tics via so­cial me­dia, but maybe the town has to reach out and ask peo­ple to serve. In the long run, we will be stronger and bet­ter for it.” Ques­tion 5: Em­ploy­ers are hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time find­ing labour. What strate­gies would you pur­sue to al­le­vi­ate this is­sue?

(JG): “This has re­ally been the base of my en­tire cam­paign. Where we see, we are on the cusp of a cri­sis when it comes to at­tract­ing youth to our com­mu­ni­ties to fill the jobs that we need. For some rea­son, those who come to our com­mu­ni­ties will stay for six months and leave. We have to repa­tri­ate those kids who have left and have a strat­egy to get them back to our com­mu­nity. We have to build a com­mu­nity that is in­clu­sive to THEM, not us. The down­town doesn’t have to be built to suit our needs at 60 or 70 years old. We need to build the town cen­tre and change the chan­nel on the char­ac­ter, to have them en­gaged and at­tracted. It’s a new world and we need to change the chan­nel a lit­tle bit. We have to cre­ate that com­mu­nity.”

(DY): “One of Huron County’s great­est ex­ports is their youth. I know a lot of them want to come back. In­sert­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy has to be an em­ploy­ment de­velop plan as well. As part of eco­nomic stud­ies, it’s a big­ger pack­age than just a labour short­age. We have to mar­ket the town ag­gres­sively. We have all the as­sets here in Goderich to bring peo­ple here. It won’t hap­pen over night. Once again, you have to have a mar­ket­ing plan to bring pro­fes­sion­als back. Once we do that, we will see an im­prove­ment in labour short­age.”

(KM): “Not only am I a Mayor, but also a lo­cal busi­ness owner. I em­ploy a lot of peo­ple, and I sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses and sup­port lo­cal sup­pli­ers. In the last four years [coun­cil] cre­ated 467 jobs here in Goderich, but we can’t fill those po­si­tions. Em­ploy­ers are look­ing. One of the prob­lems we have is we have no place to house the peo­ple who come to this com­mu­nity. We have a hous­ing short­age. Prop­erty val­ues have gone up. John men­tioned he has three kids and I am just won­der­ing when they are com­ing back? We are do­ing what we need to do to at­tract young fam­i­lies. The Rec Park is a great fa­cil­ity, the Rec Cen­tre is a great fa­cil­ity. We are bring­ing con­fer­ences here with a new ho­tel and con­fer­ence cen­tre. It doesn’t hap­pen overnight, as David said. But we have a lot more than we had

four years ago and a lot more to come. My plat­form is sim­ple – keep do­ing what we’re do­ing be­cause it’s work­ing. Why go back to where we were?” Ques­tion 6: As the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are both Goderich’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Huron County Coun­cil, what do you see as pri­or­i­ties of the county for the next four years?

(DY): “The county is like the town on a large scale. You want to make sure the in­fra­struc­ture is in place, that hous­ing and so­cial ser­vices are work­ing and func­tion­ing prop­erly, and that you have an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment scheme. At county level, what ben­e­fits one com­mu­nity, ben­e­fits all. You’re as­sign­ing some­one to look af­ter the town’s in­ter­est and the county’s in­ter­est. It would help us in the long run.”

(KM): “David you’re bang on. It’s called work­ing to­gether. What’s good for Huron County is good for Goderich [and vice versa]. Four years ago I cam­paigned to have a closer re­la­tion­ship with Huron County and we have achieved it. One thing is be­ing at the table. It’s be­ing there, it’s show­ing an in­ter­est and lis­ten­ing and work­ing with peo­ple. We have so much sup­port from Huron County and other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, be­cause we are at the table work­ing with them. The County ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fices are right here in Goderich. It’s called work­ing to­gether on like-minded goals. I’m proud of re­la­tion­ships we built and am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the new coun­cil at County level as well.”

(JG): “Eight years at County Coun­cil and I was very in­volved in Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, to be­ing a Chair of Board of Health. The whole idea and my fo­cus at the time was for fi­bre-op­tics and con­nec­tiv­ity. I worked ag­gres­sively for the County. It’s about work­ing to­gether as a team – what’s good for Goderich is good for Huron County. It’s im­por­tant that we all work to­gether. I look for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity to be part of that process, to move Goderich for­ward but also the County for­ward.” Ques­tion 7: Are you in favour of putting the ice back into Memo­rial Arena, or build­ing a sec­ond ice pad at the Mait­land Recre­ation

Cen­tre? How would you di­rect the Town to pay for it?

(KM): “I’m in favour of look­ing into it. It came as a rather large sur­prise re­cently to make that de­ci­sion to take the ice out. We were only one of three are­nas in Canada that still had the am­mo­nia sys­tem in there. We did a study back in 2016 about the life of the arena, whether the ice at Memo­rial was com­ing to an end. There was no way we were go­ing to risk the health and safety, so a de­ci­sion had to be made. Back in 2002, when the Rec Cen­tre was built, there was an op­por­tu­nity to build a sec­ond ice pad. Un­for­tu­nately I wish back then, it was done by the coun­cil of the day, be­cause it would be a lot cheaper than how much it will be now. I’m not op­posed to it, but we have to know what it’s go­ing to cost and we have to know the ben­e­fits, and how much us­age it will get. I can’t give a de­fin­i­tive an­swer here tonight. All I can tell you is that I am in favour of it if it is af­ford­able and ben­e­fit­ting the com­mu­nity.”

(DY): “We have to see what fu­ture ice us­age would be be­fore we com­mit to a sec­ond ice pad. It’s look­ing like at Memo­rial Arena, the ice go­ing back in there with the am­mo­nia sys­tem is just a non-starter. We would have to do a study about fu­ture ice us­age, but there is not way any­one can com­mit to a sec­ond ice sur­face at this par­tic­u­lar time.”

(JG): “It’s un­for­tu­nate that this hap­pened but it’s not some­thing we didn’t see com­ing. When we orig­i­nally de­signed the build­ing, the Rec Cen­tre, it is de­signed to have a prac­tice pad at­tached to it. The ca­pac­ity is there. The pipes are laid and foot­print is there. It’s all ready to go. We are go­ing to have to move for­ward. The YMCA stated, I spoke with the staff, that there is no way that we can go with­out a sec­ond ice pad. The ca­pac­ity is there. We have to move on. How fast we can move on, and how we will do it, are the ques­tions. We have to take a sec­ond look at all of the re­ports and do some in­ves­ti­gat­ing. I’m hear­ing to­day from the YMCA staff, that the ca­pac­ity is there and we will need a sec­ond ice pad. We will have to find a way to look at that and see if it’s a vi­able op­por­tu­nity for this com­mu­nity.” Ques­tion 8: The As­set Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion cur­rently grades our in­fra­struc­ture as a D. Can you ex­plain what that means and how to im­prove it? (DY): “I’m not sure what that means ei­ther. I would need to read that re­port. A ‘D’ doesn’t sound good. It’s one of those things that we would need to sit down with a pri­or­ity and plan­ning ses­sion and de­ter­mine what’s crit­i­cal and what can be de­layed.”

(JG): “I un­der­stand that re­port. The way that I look at it, and yes it’s a ‘D’, but the hard thing about it, is we are go­ing on about the age of the sur­faces, not the im­pact to the sur­faces, which are two dif­fer­ent things. There are ways to find out the longevity of these sur­faces. Bot­tom line is, some of our roads in our com­mu­nity are in bad shape. We have to deal with it and chase the money with the prov­ince. We may have to repri­or­i­tize how we op­er­ate the fi­nances and how we op­er­ate the over­all sys­tem of mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment in or­der to take care of some of these as­sets be­fore they get worse. They won’t get bet­ter at this rate. I look for­ward to the chal­lenge to do that over the next four years.”

(KM): “I’m aware of the re­port and of the ‘D’ rat­ing. John is right. The rat­ing is based on pri­mar­ily the age of the as­set. Any gov­ern­ment fund­ing com­ing from the prov­ince is at­tached to a mu­nic­i­pal­ity hav­ing an as­set man­age­ment plan. Goderich in the last cou­ple of years has grown ahead of other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties with our as­set man­age­ment plan. We have one street that was a ‘C’ rat­ing and all we did was a sim­ple top­coat and you can change the rat­ing from a ‘C’ to a ‘B’. One thing in­cluded in the re­port is the fact the air­port run­way is in­cluded. As we know, the air­port run­way needs some at­ten­tion and we are work­ing

on it. When we look at South Har­bour Road and trucks are com­ing along all the time – that’s one of the pri­or­i­ties we have to do. Hope­fully the prov­ince comes into part­ner­ship with that. With the few sec­ond I have left, I want to men­tion how im­pressed I am with the ques­tions tonight. Those of you who were here on Wed­nes­day night were a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed with the ques­tions. You have great ques­tions tonight and are cov­er­ing is­sues that have value to this mu­nic­i­pal­ity.” Ques­tion 9: What is your out­look for the Goderich beach, go­ing for­ward with de­vel­op­ment and rev­enue gen­er­a­tion?

(JG): “The re-de­vel­op­ment can be, should be and would be paid for by the rev­enue gen­er­ated by the Goderich Port Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion. I sit on that Board. I un­der­stand it, I know the in­fra­struc­ture. Our har­bour is in good shape on the com­mer­cial side. There is ex­tra money that now can flow over to the pub­lic and recre­ational side. Yes, we need to re­build both North and South Roads, but we also need to re­build a life­style con­ducive to the lakeshore. It’s an at­trac­tive as­set to the de­mo­graphic we want to at­tract to our com­mu­nity. It’s im­por­tant to start that project. There is op­por­tu­nity for rev­enue. There is no rea­son why you couldn’t have small kiosks against the bank, to al­low mer­chants from down­town to have small kiosks at the beach, or rent­ing bi­cy­cles. There are lots of small en­trepreneurial op­por­tu­ni­ties all along the lakeshore. I think it’s a great as­set, and let’s get go­ing.”

(DY): “The water­front is our last great as­set that hasn’t been fully de­vel­oped to it’s full po­ten­tial – en­vi­ron­men­tally, cul­tur­ally, eco­nom­i­cally – we have to have a plan that will see our water­front be­come the best des­ti­na­tion choice for tourists, boaters, fish­er­men and the peo­ple in town. As far as rev­enue gen­er­a­tion, I don’t think you could ever make a profit off the beach. I think we should re­con­sti­tute the En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee be­cause they were a wealth of good in­for­ma­tion and help to as­sist the water­front.”

(KM): “John men­tioned the Goderich Port Man­age­ment and I agree full heart­edly that we should be tak­ing a look at some of the fund­ing com­ing from there. We have been ne­go­ti­at­ing with Port Man­age­ment for three years over the gov­er­nance is­sue and that’s go­ing to flow over into the next coun­cil. I’m proud of what we have done with the water­front. We have the mas­ter­plan, which we are slowly work­ing on, and as funds be­come avail­able we will. We have re­fur­bished the wash­rooms, we have re­placed the stairs and we have the two new ac­ces­si­bil­ity mats. We also have park­ing is­sues down there. We are try­ing to work with Com­pass Min­er­als, with fish­er­men. When you talk about rev­enue gen­er­a­tion, we al­ready have a few busi­nesses down there and I look for­ward to other busi­ness ideas. Just keep mov­ing for­ward and make the water­front some­thing to be proud of.”

Ques­tion 10: What can be done to make a full range of hous­ing op­tions avail­able to meet the range of needs of our cit­i­zens?

(KM): “This is a dif­fi­cult one. When I moved here in 2008 I had a hard time find­ing hous­ing. When I was sit­ting down with Min­is­ter of In­fra­struc­ture, they un­der­stand be­cause we aren’t alone. It’s every­where. We need to pro­vide hous­ing. I men­tion the units go­ing in the south end of town – are they go­ing to af­ford­able? We are do­ing our best on this one. It’s ap­proach­ing de­vel­op­ers and look­ing for an in­cen­tive, not look­ing for hand­outs, but in­cen­tives to make it af­ford­able for them to build these units. We need more hous­ing. It’s not an overnight so­lu­tion, but if we keep work­ing at it, even­tu­ally we will get there.”

(JG): “Res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment is a prob­lem. Sim­ply put, there is a lot of red tape to de­vel­op­ment every­where, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need to be. We need to be pro­gres­sive in our na­ture and the sta­tus quo is not an op­tion any­more. We need to cre­ate a frame­work in or­der to work with the de­vel­op­ers to move this for­ward. Goderich is stag­nant, so there must be some­thing wrong with our sys­tem. We need to have a close look at it and build re­la­tion­ships with de­vel­op­ers. I worked on Nel­son Street Project for af­ford­able hous­ing with the County. We need to do more of that. We have to loosen up the red tape and build part­ner­ships.”

(DY): “Hous­ing is an is­sue, but we are lim­ited by the size of our town. We do have to

work and form those part­ner­ships with de­vel­op­ers. We need to work with pro­vin­cial agen­cies, which will al­low us to act on the hous­ing short­age, es­pe­cially for af­ford­able hous­ing. I taught in Clin­ton, and I can’t tell you how many peo­ple have moved from Goderich to Clin­ton over the years be­cause they can’t af­ford the hous­ing in town here. It’s some­thing we need to move for­ward on, but we can’t do it alone.” Ques­tion 11: If elected Mayor, would you be in sup­port of A) Re­in­stat­ing the En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee and B) Would you be in favour of work­ing to­wards a form of by­law on sin­gle use plas­tics (bags/wa­ter bot­tles)?

(KM): “The En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee is some­thing we are in­ter­ested in re­in­stat­ing. I sit on the Great Lakes Ini­tia­tive and the en­vi­ron­ment on the Great Lakes is more im­por­tant than ever be­cause of Trump’s cuts when it comes to the health of the Great Lakes. Pat and I have a small town down in Mex­ico that we have fallen in love with and we went out on the wa­ter a few times and helped re­move straws from dol­phins and sea tur­tles. We came back here and in­tro­duced the ‘Last Straw’ pol­icy at our res­tau­rant – now you don’t get a straw un­less you ask for one, and if you get one, it’s pa­per. I’m pleased to say most es­tab­lish­ments in town are do­ing that. I’m in favour of mov­ing to pa­per bags from plas­tic bags. It’s time we took a look at our en­vi­ron­ment.”

(DY): “As last chair of the En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee, I want to say how im­por­tant I think it is that we re­con­sti­tute it. The Com­mit­tee worked re­ally well on a va­ri­ety of is­sues from the Great Lakes wa­ter sys­tem, to help­ing al­le­vi­ate the over­flow of storm man­age­ment at the old wa­ter treat­ment cen­tre. I am def­i­nitely in favour of re­con­sti­tut­ing the En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee, maybe un­der new terms or ref­er­ence or more ag­gres­sive terms of ref­er­ence. I would be in favour with some sort of phased in elim­i­na­tion of plas­tic bags. As cus­to­di­ans of a large sec­tion of the lakeshore, we re­ally do have an obli­ga­tion, a duty, to pro­tect the ecosys­tem here and that’s one im­por­tant step.”

(JG): “Ab­so­lutely in re­gards to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee, but I would take it one step fur­ther – they need to play a more sig­nif­i­cant role. They need to be part of the sys­tem, whether de­vel­op­ment or mu­nic­i­pal projects. In re­gards to the bag is­sue, I’m all for it and work to­wards what Bay­field has done in their com­mu­nity with the bot­tles. There are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties when it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment. We can ei­ther fol­low or we can lead. I’d much rather lead. We need to ad­dress it now. We need to be a lit­tle more proac­tive.” Ques­tion 12: Hy­dro rates are set to in­crease, how can we al­le­vi­ate this cost on home­own­ers and how would you im­prove on this? (DY): “I’m not sure what we can do as terms of with Erie Thames and bring­ing down Hy­dro rates. It seems to be that we have lost part of the con­trol over our lo­cal util­ity sys­tem. I’m not sure there is much that we can do, other than in­ves­ti­gate what Erie Thames is do­ing and put the pres­sure on Erie Thames to limit what rate our in­creases are. It’s a press­ing is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed.”

(JG): “It’s un­for­tu­nate that hy­dro rates are go­ing up, but it’s across the prov­ince and coun­try. It’s reg­u­lated by the On­tario En­ergy Board and we aren’t go­ing to have an aw­ful lot to say about that. We do have an in­vest­ment now in Erie Thames and we do have an as­set, but as far as our rate of con­sump­tion and over­all price, is go­ing to be based on us and how we deal with it in our homes and in our busi­nesses. It’s about be­ing proac­tive along that line.”

(KM): “When this coun­cil took a look at merg­ing with Erie Thames, we did so be­cause the writ­ing was on the wall. The gov­ern­ment is forc­ing you to ei­ther merge or sell. There is no way we would ever sell to Hy­dro One – we didn’t see that as a good deal. We part­nered with Erie Thames for a rea­son, and they pro­vided the sup­port we need. Hy­dro rates are reg­u­lated by the En­ergy Board but we are with a good part­ner and will do Goderich well. We are share hold­ers. We will not be op­er­ated by the gov­ern­ment solely and we have a say. It was a smart move and I de­fend that move. You won’t see a sub­stan­tial change be­cause of the ar­range­ment we have with Erie Thames. They are very cog­ni­tive of the fact that we want to keep our rates where they are or as close as they can.”


David Yates: “Pol­i­tics is the art of the apos­tle. As my wife and I have raised three chil­dren in Goderich, we know how much it has to of­fer and prom­ise. My plat­form is very sim­ple – we need to hold the line on taxes with­out com­pro­mis­ing the qual­ity of our town’s ser­vices; any ex­pen­di­tures of tax­pay­ers money must have a proven ben­e­fit to the en­tire town; next Mayor and Coun­cil needs to pause, re­group and take stock of our fu­ture pri­or­i­ties. I hope that we fi­nally take ac­tion on the water­front de­vel­op­ment. A plan that will ad­dress some of the prob­lems we faced on the beach this sum­mer. More than that, there should be a plan to make our beach­front one of the finest in the prov­ince in recre­ation and ma­rine trans­porta­tion and her­itage com­po­nent that al­lows us to have a peace­ful co-ex­is­tence of recre­ation and in­dus­try. We must re­con­sti­tute the En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mit­tee and en­sure that all of our growth is not just eco­nom­i­cally, but en­vi­ron­men­tally. We have spe­cial du­ties of cus­to­di­ans of the lakeshore to do what we can to pre­serve our ecosys­tem, which is un­der in­creas­ing stress. Of course a key com­po­nent for an eco­nomic strat­egy has to be a point of de­vel­op­ment. Mean­ing­ful jobs and live­able wages and we need to find new and creative ways to mar­ket the town so our kids re­turn and find mean­ing­ful work.

We need to at­tract new­com­ers to our shores and en­sure se­niors have con­tin­ued ac­cess to health and recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties. We have to plan for busi­ness that is the right fit for our town. We have to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of re­cruit­ing mid­sized IT based in­dus­tries for ex­am­ple. Cul­tural in­dus­try is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant pil­lar of the lo­cal econ­omy. Preser­va­tion of our town’s her­itage, its ar­chi­tec­ture, water­front and peo­ple, will be an im­por­tant part of our de­vel­op­ment. We can’t turn our town into a mu­seum. We have to ac­com­mo­date change rather than take away from our her­itage. In short, I’m a sucker for a great idea. As part of a team with con­sul­ta­tion with the town’s cit­i­zens, as Win­ston Churchill once said, ”We can move for­ward to­gether“. The world is be­com­ing a far more com­plex place for the ideas of just one per­son to tackle it alone. Mov­ing for­ward to­gether is the only way that we can get things done. Does that mean we will be free of con­flict, and dis­agree­ment? Ab­so­lutely not. Which is why it is so vi­tally im­por­tant that the next Mayor has the tem­per­a­ment, the em­pa­thy and the stead­fast­ness to en­gage with the broad­est coali­tion of cit­i­zens. I can be per­suaded, but not pushed. Of the three lev­els of gov­ern­ment, mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment is the clos­est to the peo­ple. There is a per­cep­tion that Town Hall is an in­tim­i­dat­ing place. I heard it over and over that peo­ple are re­luc­tant to ap­proach their mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers. The wall be­tween the peo­ple and elected of­fi­cials is one of the walls I would like to break down. Does that mean ev­ery­one gets what they want and ev­ery­one is happy? Of course not. But, it does mean that if we want to make the most of our sub­stan­tial cap­i­tal in this town, ev­ery­one needs to feel that this is their coun­cil that rep­re­sents them. That’s the pledge I make tonight. I’m not be­holden to any in­ter­est group, nor do I take dona­tions for my cam­paign. There are few who know this town’s soul bet­ter than I do. I spent a good part of just over a decade writ­ing about

Goderich, Huron County and it’s his­tory. I un­der­stand as much about this town as al­most any­body and feel that I can carry it’s story into the next four year chap­ter. I said at the be­gin­ning, and I say again, I will be Mayor for all of Goderich.”

Kevin Mor­ri­son: “Ladies and gen­tle­men, it’s been a plea­sure serv­ing as your Mayor for the past four years. My cam­paign slo­gan four years ago was ‘It’s time for change’ and I truly be­lieve it was time for change. I’m proud of the ac­com­plish­ments that we achieved work­ing to­gether. There are no in­di­vid­u­als who will suc­ceed if they work alone. Just to re­it­er­ate again, we have worked hard. Taxes have been of great im­por­tance and you have had min­i­mal tax in­creases. When I take a look at 2015 af­ter a full year with this Coun­cil, our bud­get sur­plus was over $462,000. In 2016 over $327,000, and last year $476,000. We are healthy when it comes to our fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion in this com­mu­nity. Our re­serve funds and bal­ances have over $4.2M more than when this Coun­cil took of­fice. We are proud of what we could ac­com­plish with­out go­ing to tax­pay­ers and have been fis­cally re­spon­si­ble. My com­mit­ment to you is we will con­tinue to. I do un­der­stand the strug­gles you are go­ing through be­cause I not only live here, but op­er­ate a busi­ness here as well. In 2014, when you voted for change, I want to point out some of those ac­com­plish­ments. We have seen a sub­stan­tial in­crease in in­dus­trial and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment and will con­tinue to do so. We have a long-awaited re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Goderich Rec Park tak­ing place in just a few short months. We have a much needed ex­pan­sion to Mait­land Val­ley Med­i­cal Cen­tre com­ing in at an in­vest­ment of $1.56M, in­stead of pre­vi­ous coun­cil’s vi­sion of over $5M. We had a 4-5acre ex­pan­sion to the Goderich Har­bour Wharf. We are in­tro­duc­ing 12 af­ford­able hous­ing units within a 29 hous­ing de­vel­op­ment. We in­tro­duced a trans­par­ent and ac­count­able coun­cil. Se­nior man­age­ment and elected of­fi­cials’ ex­penses are now posted for you to see on­line on a quar­terly ba­sis – that is open and trans­par­ent gov­ern­ment. Our coun­cil meet­ings are now stream­ing on the In­ter­net. We en­gaged our youth to be­come more in­volved in de­ci­sion-mak­ing process that af­fect them and our fu­ture. I want to thank Coun­cil­lor Bazinet for tak­ing on that role. He has done amaz­ing things with our youth here. We lis­ten and we act upon what we hear. We had a closer re­la­tion­ship with the County of Huron and I’m pleased to rep­re­sent this town. We are com­mit­ted to the health of our Great Lakes and are ac­tively in­volved in ini­tia­tives. Proven re­sults over the past four years make Goderich a des­ti­na­tion. A des­ti­na­tion place for vis­i­tors, who some­times choose to live here. I’m a strong sup­porter of our se­niors com­mu­nity, and ser­vices of­fered for their needs. We have so much to of­fer in this com­mu­nity. Fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity, we have done it. It’s been an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to serve you as Mayor and I ask for one more term, to con­tinue on with a vi­sion that we started four years ago. As I said, proven lead­er­ship, and we will keep do­ing what we’re do­ing be­cause it’s work­ing. Why would you want to go back to where we were? Thank you!”

John Grace: “Thank you to Huron Cham­ber, En­gage Goderich and to Ro­taract. Straight to my plat­form and it’s taxes. One of the most dif­fi­cult things to talk about and it af­fects ev­ery­one in this room. I am com­mit­ted to fight to hold the tax line, and hold­ing the tax rate can be achieved in three ways: By in­creas­ing the tax base through ex­pan­sion of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment ; By cut­ting the cloth to fit and re­align the cost of ex­pen­di­tures to meet to­day’s eco­nomic and so­cial en­vi­ron­ments; Im­ple­ment cost-ef­fec­tive busi­ness prac­tices and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for shared ser­vices and other po­ten­tial ini­tia­tives. The de­mo­graphic shift is a chal­lenge across On­tario. The youth are mi­grat­ing out of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and into larger cen­tres.

We need to at­tract those youth back to our com­mu­nity – they are our fu­ture. We have to put the re­sources into a sus­tain­able, long-term strat­egy and be wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive just like we did years ago when we at­tracted the doc­tors into our com­mu­nity. We need to in­vest in our youth. Res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment is sim­ply a prob­lem. The process is dif­fi­cult at most times, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s about be­ing not only pro­gres­sive but also proac­tive. The sta­tus quo is not an op­tion any more folks. It’s about break­ing that frame­work for pos­i­tive en­gage­ment and build­ing the part­ner­ships that we need with de­vel­op­ers. The real­tors have spoke and loud and clear. We have to have res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in or­der to move this com­mu­nity for­ward in any way. I have a long his­tory in busi­ness and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and I know how to use part­ner­ships. I have the drive, I have the lead­er­ship and I have the ca­pa­bil­ity to get it done. In­fra­struc­ture, roads, water­front and the down­town core – we ab­so­lutely need a plan. We need to pri­or­i­tize and cre­ate bud­gets to meet those goals. The down­town core is crit­i­cal to us mov­ing for­ward – it has to be vi­brant and full of en­ergy and we can at­tract youth back. We have to get it go­ing. Make Goderich a des­ti­na­tion all across On­tario. In con­clu­sion, this elec­tion is about lead­er­ship, char­ac­ter, ex­pe­ri­ence and com­mit­ment. I am the best can­di­date for the Mayor of Goderich. Vote John Grace for Mayor and let’s do it to­gether. Thank you!”

The 2018 Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­toin will be con­ve­nient and ac­ces­si­ble to all vot­ers. Votes will be cast by In­ter­net and tele­phone only. There will be no polling lo­ca­tions. Vot­ing will be avail­able via In­ter­net and tele­phone from Oct. 11 at 9am un­til Oct. 22 at 8pm. Con­tact the Vot­ing Help Cen­tre at Goderich Town Hall for ques­tions, to en­sure you are reg­is­tered to vote or for as­sis­tance in vot­ing: 57 West Street; (519) 524-8344;

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