Peter Lemon, city councillor candidate
While at the OSCVI I served on the students council and participated after in public speaking going to the Lions Club Canadian Finals after winning the city, district and zone championships.
I have an Honours Diploma in Agriculture from Centralia College of Agricultural Technology and an Honours BSc from the University of Guelph. I became active in the community at 21 when I joined the Junior Chamber of Commerce playing an active role in the old Winter Carnival and construction of the picnic shelter at Kelso Beach. I also participated in the Owen Sound Little Theatre work on lighting at the old OSCVI. I also chaired the Farmers Market Association and the St. Johns Ambulance Branch for a number of years.
I worked in Midland at CKMP Radio and participated in the Huronia Players Little theatre doing lighting for 18 plays, directing 3 and acting in one. I was active in the Penetang Winter Carnival for 6 years and a led a youth group for 4 years.
I currently a member of the Legion and am an executive member of Branch 6. I am involved in fundraising for the Legion knowing that we fund many community organizations and good works.
Why are you running? Why should people vote for you?
I am asking for support and votes because I listen to our residents and I work hard to help residents with issues. I speak out on issues because I do not do bump on a log well.
Early in my first term on council I put forward a plan that led to Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing which I chaired and we built two projects with 140 units and that has now grown to 268 units paying $500,000 taxes annually to the city. I am an idea person and started a committee which developed the Black History Cairn at Harrison Park which has now become an icon for Owen Sound.
The Maritime Memorial of the Upper Lakes Committee, which I also initiated earlier this year, put the 5,000 lights on the model of the Manitoba on the east harbour wall. This was done with no tax dollars from the City but with the help of the firemen during a training exercise. The committee is planning more heritage project which will benefit the city and our neighbours reminding locals of our heritage and bringing more visitors to the city.
I bring to council a member who listens and works for them and I also bring new ideas without going to the taxpayer for money.
What do you consider the two most important issues facing the next council?
The biggest issue will be dealing with the high cost of emergency services and the impact on residents and the small business community. The second issue is the 10th Street bridge in terms of it being closed and impact on the city residents.
What is your vision for Owen Sound in 10 years? Should the city specialize in one sector - for example Lemon tourism, industry, small business, retirees?
Looking at one sector would be a mistake. We do need to improve our approach to tourism and develop a relationship with our neighbours so that working together we can save money while achieving more. I also believe we should work on attracting industry that can process agricultural products produced in Grey and Bruce counties.
The current council arguably had a mandate to grow the tax base to help pay rising city costs. Has it succeeded? Should such efforts continue?
Yes it has helped and we must continues to encourage beneficial development because opportunities are out there. We are really starting to overcome our small growth for so many years.
Should city council attempt to cut costs? If so, where do you think savings can be found? How would you balance cuts with the need, and public desire, for city services?
Yes we should cut cost but we must reduce the costs of emergency services that now eat up 47 per cent of our budget. When seeking savings it is better to go after savings on the big items rather than the smaller items with much less cost.
Should the city give special support to the downtown area? If so, what would you suggest be done?
Firstly we should continue with the facade improvement program, secondly we should consult with and work with the Downtown Improvement Association and thirdly we should strongly enforce the property standards bylaw.
Should the city work to create or encourage more affordable rental housing? If so, how?
Affordable rental housing is needed in our community, with about 700 applications pending for Owen Sound Housing.
If elected I would use a double approach. Encourage Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing to obtain any federal or provincial money that becomes available and also find methods to encourage developers to build affordable Housing in our community.
The province plans to allow private sector sales of recreational cannabis in Ontario by April 1, 2019, and councils elected in the fall will have a short window to opt out of having private retail pot shops in their communities. Would you support Owen Sound using this opt-out option? Why or why not?
For many years Owen Sound did not have either a LCBO or a Beer Store so many residents drove out of town to by booze so not having outlets did not keep the city dry, Also we had many bootleggers who sold it to anyone who had the money including underage drinkers.
Rather than opting out we should use the zoning bylaw to control where it is sold and make sure that the purchase rules are enforced.
Should the city do anything about the harbour? If so, what?
I believe that we should continue to push for dredging the harbour and at the same time enhance the heritage aspects of the harbour and the Sound. The Maritime Memorial of the Upper Committee which I initiated and chair put 5,000 lights on the model of Manitoba on the east harbour wall at no cost to the taxpayer. This is the type of thing we must do to make the Harbour even more of a people place and enhancing it with more projects will make it a tourist draw thus creating economic benefits the city.