Sel­wyn elec­tion can­di­dates field ques­tions

Ron Black, can­di­date in three-way race for mayor, urges ro­bust eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - JA­SON BAIN Ex­am­iner Staff Writer ja­son.bain @pe­ter­bor­ough­

BRIDGENORTH — Can­di­dates vy­ing for po­si­tions on Sel­wyn coun­cil of­fered dif­fer­ent views on the town­ship’s top pri­or­ity and how to ad­dress it dur­ing an all­can­di­dates meet­ing hosted by busi­ness groups at Bridgenorth United Church on Wed­nes­day night.

More than 200 at­tended the sec­ond of three events hosted by the Kawartha Cham­ber of Com­merce and Tourism, Bridgenorth Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and Lake­field Her­ald – a third was set for Douro-Dum­mer Town­ship on Thurs­day night.

The meet­ing be­gan with may­oral can­di­dates Ron Black, Linda Mar­lene Eales and Andy Mitchell and En­nis­more Ward in­cum­bent Donna Bal­lan­tyne and chal­lenger Brad Sin­clair an­swer­ing what the big­gest is­sue will be in the next four years, in three min­utes.

Man­ag­ing the cost of growth for per­ma­nent res­i­dents is a top pri­or­ity for Black, who spoke of a need for a ro­bust eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plan and iden­ti­fy­ing pro­vin­cial and fed­eral grants to de­crease the over­all tax bur­den.

Eales cited the hous­ing is­sue as pri­or­ity num­ber one. She seeks an al­ter­na­tive model that works for “mid­dle of the road se­niors” and wants to ad­vo­cate for more af­ford­able hous­ing. Money has al­ready been spent on plans, so she wants to bet­ter fa­cil­i­tate them.

Mitchell said he wants to keep Sel­wyn a good place to live by main­tain­ing the low­est tax rate in the county, pro­tect­ing the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, work­ing with small busi­ness to create jobs and mak­ing sure the town­ship serves all de­mo­graph­ics.

Bal­lan­tyne said her main con­cern is re­lated to the town­ship be­ing ex­pected to main­tain ser­vice lev­els with less fi­nan­cial sup­port. The next coun­cil will have to lobby other lev­els of gov­ern­ments to make them aware of the im­pact of that, she said.

Sin­clair said a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween coun­cil and con­stituents is the top pri­or­ity, say­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion should be in touch, easy to mes­sage, ap­proach­able, un­der­stand­ing and mod­ern in terms of tech­nol­ogy. Im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tion would make the town­ship stronger, he said.

Those al­ready ac­claimed were given 30 sec­onds to voice their top pri­or­i­ties, too.

Smith Ward Coun. Gerry Her­ron said new agri­cul­ture map­ping re­leased by the prov­ince has sev­ered the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the town­ship. “We need more sev­er­ances for peo­ple to build homes on the land that they were raised on.”

Lake­field Ward Coun. Anita Locke said long-term care beds are her top pri­or­ity, high­light­ing an eight-year wait­ing list for those look­ing to se­cure them.

Sherry Se­nis, who will serve an­other term as deputy mayor, said cre­at­ing a new Of­fi­cial Plan and up­dat­ing zon­ing by­laws would be her top pri­or­ity.

The can­di­dates were also asked what they would do to cut car­bon emis­sions.

Bal­lan­tyne pointed out the town­ship has six so­lar in­stal­la­tions and has changed arena and street lights over to more-ef­fi­cient LED light­ing.

Sin­clair sug­gested a re­align­ment of the mi­nor hockey sea­son to make sure ice is be­ing put in are­nas when the weather is ac­tu­ally cold.

Black said the town­ship could in­vest in ground source heat for build­ings on its larger prop­er­ties, pur­chase elec­tric ve­hi­cles for staff and cap­ture meth­ane from its land­fill, point­ing out that pro­vin­cial fund­ing is avail­able for those ef­forts.

Eales called for a re­duc­tion in food waste and en­sur­ing food is get­ting into the hands of those who need it, while Mitchell said the town­ship can fol­low more of the ideas laid out in the Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan cre­ated by Sus­tain­able Peter­bor­ough.

The can­di­dates were also asked what demon­strates they are the kind of peo­ple who won’t quit when they are faced with ad­ver­sity.

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