Peter Lemon, city coun­cil­lor can­di­date

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FORUM -

Per­sonal in­for­ma­tion

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.

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