KAWARTHA LAKES-Ward Two is in the northern part of the City of Kawartha Lakes. It includes the villages of Bobcaygeon, Burnt River and Kinmount. According to the 2014 final voters list there are 7454 electors in Ward Two.
The boundaries are as follows:
North – Municipal Boundary
East – Municipal Boundary
South – East in Sturgeon lake to point north of Lot 12 Concession 8 Verulam to north Corner of Lot 11 Concession 8; east on Concession 10 between Concession 11 and 12 to Boundary.
West – Boundary with Ward 1 and 3 and South from Somerville Boundary – all lands lying west of the east ½ of Concession 3 from Lots 25 to 32 east along south lot 25 Concession 3 and 4; North to Lot 23/24 Concession 4/5; all lands east ½ of Concession 5 Lots 16 to 23 to North side of Island Verulam.
There are six candidates running to represent the people of Ward Two in the municipal election. Jim Greensides, Afe Helleman, Leslie Mieszkowski, Kathleen Seymour Fagan, Stephen Slack and John Snider.
We asked each candidate the same three questions.
1)What are the top three issues in your ward?
2)If elected what would you do about these issues?
3)A Facebook poll we conducted found that the majority of residents (who answered the poll)would prefer better roads over lower taxes. Would you increase taxes to fix our roads?
The responses are posted in the order in which they were received.
Three most important issues in the ward. Infrastructure,assumed and unassumed roads.Medical doctors and availability. Transportation to facilities for elderly people.
Finding ineffficiencies in the City of Kawartha Lakes to repair roads properly not having to redo them over and over again and wasting tax payers dollars. The northern wards already pay enough taxes and get very limited services . I will advocate for equal services for equal taxation.
Recently three doctors are leaving the City of Kawartha Lakes.Two in Woodville and one in Kirkfield. It is difficult enough to have doctors come and practice in the City of Kawartha Lakes. I am sure the city has many buildings that are not occupied that they are maintaining.Sell the buildings for a low cost to doctors and then the city doesn’t have to maintain them saving tax payers dollars.Plus it might be an incentive to bring in other doctors. The other thought is the city gives grants to students for their medical studies and upon graduation they in turn practice in the northern wards.
I believe transportation is very important in ward two . With the population getting older it’s going to get harder for the elderly to get to medical services and and I’m sure people in ward two would like to go to Lindsay for some shopping or see a show.I would propose getting uber to the northern wards . Innisfil does not have public transportation but they do have uber and are very happy.The cost of this service is far less than public transportation plus it would bring some employment to our ward.
Cost of building re: permits
And fees. Our roads (ie) there condition as well as our people need to be fixing our roads , not farming the work out. Taxes, not putting taxes up or borrowing money to service our needs.
We need to entice people to move and build in our city. Not just in Lindsay , this includes businesses as well. We need to look at the exuberant fees attached to building.
This city has forced business to look other places and stopped prosperous development in our city.
One example is the lack of gas stations in Coboconk, the loose of trailer manufacturing in Lindsay.
We need to deal with our roads, turn more money and our own resources to fixing our roads, Northline being one. There are others that are traveled daily by our residents going to work.
Taxes need to be the last thing we look at. When we were Somerville two. We had money in our coffers,
Our roads were great and our winter roads were well looked after. Our two workers did a great job. We need to get back to this for the whole city and fallow our roots of when we were a township by following Our fore father’s ways.
Last, I don’t believe we need to increase taxes in order to fix our roads. We need to stop the wasteful spending of money this city has been doing. Not just spend money on Lindsay. Place our money through out the whole city.fix our roads instead of commissioning studies. Use common sense.
I believe the three most pressing challenges facing Ward 2, and the City, in the next four years are: control of runaway debt; property taxes out of control and need to be reined in; infrastructure – we are a City of pot holes.
If elected, I believe the Council needs to take back control of spending, reduce bureaucracy, and involve citizens in the decisions of the municipality in order for issues such as roads and other infrastructure can be dealt with.
I am not in favour of increased taxes, I am in favour of more efficiencies with the operation of the municipality in order to generate savings. These savings could then be applied to infrastructure such as roads.
I believe we need change, that includes restructuring how the City runs. We need to give the citizens a chance to speak up and be heard as to how things are done and money is spent. In order to give the citizens that opportunity to speak up, I would like to offer referendums, along with holding regular town-hall meetings, and being approachable for the Ward 2 citizens.
Roads are the number one issue. This past spring many roads were menacing to drive on and required constant pothole repairs. I believe the city has been using the monies previously allocated to preventative road maintenance work schedules to other areas. This has certainly been going on for quite a while. This neglect will now end up costing us dearly towards our road reconstruction work. In the past we always had a reserve fund that we could have drawn some monies from to get us through but as we all suspect this cupboard is probably bare. Council even borrowed 25 million dollars last fall because the interest charge was deemed to be good. We don’t even know what it was used for or how much is left. As a caveat to the road issues let’s not forget that council has washed its hands of the historical agreements that were in place concerning the unassumed seasonal roads. This funding for the most part included 2 loads of gravel and 2 gradings each year. As I understand, it has been discontinued in many areas.
The closing of the Baddow firehall complex is absolute ineptitude. It led to countless meetings even ending up at the CKL council chambers. This meeting did lead to council postponing the closings of community centres and arenas until further notice. The closing of the firehall for a small financial savings ahead of safety and health is incomprehensible. This was a very poorly thought out plan and to even have ordered an additional two consultants reports probably cost more than five years of operational expense. What do the cottage property owners actually receive for the tax dollars paid? This closing should be rescinded, until such time as a new firehall complex is built and operational south of Coboconk. If the province was willing to shoulder some of the expense because of EMS, I am sure that it would still apply. This new hall would include Fire, EMS and a Police substation all in one building on highway 35, which is a main through fare.
For my last area of concern, I would like to reflect on an area that ties all our problems up into one package. Changing the ward structure from 16 to 8 wards will not save CKL any monies but cost us more. I believe that what it really does is, limit our rights as individuals to speak up and be heard. The reality is that eight wards are much easier for the mayor to control. Yes! it is all about control. At a recent council meeting after going through the proper protocol I was told that I could not speak. If you know anything about me, it didn’t sit well. I spoke up and did get the opportunity to speak. This country is great for all the right reasons and the greatest of all is “Freedom of Speech”. During the last 4 years we have received very little in comparison to tax dollars paid. A wedge has been driven between the rural and urban communities. In the former Victoria County there always existed a great camaraderie with our neighbors in all the other townships. I am of the opinion that we have to strengthen our ward system by electing strong councillors who will once again answer to their constituents and not to the mayor. We don’t need yes people in council – we need doers. The residents of CKL must once again believe that it is possible to “Leave no one behind”
What are the top three issues in your ward?
The top three issues in my ward are all about balancing development with maintaining and protecting all that makes our area such an appealing place to be.
- Drawing visitors to other areas of Kawartha Lakes while maintaining a comfortable level of tourism in Bobcaygeon.
- Making steady progress on the established strategic plan.
If elected what would you do about these issues?
Drawing visitors to Kinmount and Somerville Tract while maintaining a comfortable level of tourism in Bobcaygeon:
Enhanced Bobcaygeon tourism was a priority in my last campaign. I delivered on my promise by drawing on my entertainment production experience and 30 years as a successful business owner. I am well versed in federal, provincial and municipal funding opportunities. I have assisted organizations to create fund-raising events, locate grant/funding and develop projects that provide boosts in visitors through community-based programs such as Communities in Bloom, bike share stations, wayfinding, websites and street décor to name a few. I will work to include the expanded new Ward through similar initiatives and promotion. By leveraging all that is great about this area I will continue to work to promote our communities as four-season destinations by enhancing our shoulder seasons with activities and events that showcase our vibrant towns.
Successful businesses must be in place to draw and hold visitors to our area. I have a proven record of working with businesses to access grants/ funding that help position them on a successful path. At the COKL, we have developed a Downtown Revitalization Project and a first ever Community Improvement Plan is in place. I will continue to assist businesses to navigate the programs to access all assistance that is available to them.
Making steady progress on our established plan: Four years ago, when you voted for me you voted for change. I kept my promise, listened to you and represented you with a strong sense of community and understanding of the needs of our residents, businesses and cottagers. We have laid a firm foundation in the past 4 years, and have a balanced strategic plan in place. We need continuity to maximize our progress and reach our goals. I will continue to be an advocate for transparency and community consultation while using my experience to help steer and contribute to building a strong, financially sound and exciting future for all residents.
Infrastructure: The COKL Engineering Department, Environmental Action Bobcaygeon and I have been working on the upgrade of Bobcaygeon’s Canal Street to ensure that the redesign includes multiuse pathways for pedestrians/cyclists, greenscapes, expanded parking and the addition of a traffic light at 36. I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of these items on future road upgrade/redevelopment projects throughout my Ward.
I will advocate for a public works depot in Burnt River.
It is important that the development of Bobcaygeon’s Beach park be tempered to ensure that we include amenities for the entire community, year-round residents and visitors, while addressing environmental concerns and including 4-season activities. I have and will continue to work closely with the COKL departments, stakeholders and the community to safeguard the process to ensure a thoughtful, conservative approach to dock replacements and the park redevelopment. I will ensure that these concerns are addressed, not only in the current project, but on all future such projects throughout the Ward.
A Facebook poll we conducted found that the majority of residents would prefer better roads over lower taxes. Would you increase taxes to fix our roads?
I am proud that at the COKL we have changed the direction of our budgeting process. We are no longer raiding reserves to balance the budget to take care of our infrastructure. We have moved to financial planning for the long-term. With a clear picture of what it costs to maintain our roads we can make decisions based in financial fact. We have now budgeted to spend more on our roads with an additional 10 million allocated to the Roads and Bridges Capital Program and 40% more into our gravel resurfacing program. We will continue to improve our roadways. I believe we can do so effectively, within our new long-term budgeting process, without raising taxes.
With my new Ward boundaries, I will continue to provide responsible, thoughtful and experienced representation to all within my ward.
The issues in Ward 2 are varied as the demographics of the area and the ones that are not mentioned are not any less important, they are just not mentioned as much as the following 3 requested.
We have a combination of towns, villages both on and off water and a significant amount of Lake front and seasonal homes. Combined with rural and Farming community’s leads to a very diverse set of priorities. On top of that we have an average of 30% over the age of 65 in the City with higher concentrations then that in Ward2.
If I had to pick … the following are top on the list.
1) New Development Delays caused by permit processes (Applications, Licences and Permits)
2) Roads, maintenance, unassummed roads, level of services for roads.
3) Rental properties, short term in particular …. Bylaws that need to be altered at community levels
The work begins by defining exactly the source / cause of the issue and then decomposing it into bite size pieces and then looking for the team to focus on developing solutions. Very high level approaches might be as follows.
- a) Determine from staff what the major inhibitors to the approval processes are. Work to correct this using many process improvement techniques. An example would be best processes used elsewhere and implementing here.
- b) Work actively to engage developers and builders that will work within the framework of the primary growth strategies and secondary plans for the City.
- c) Develop an approval process that also allocates resource to high impact projects while improving / automating routine requests.
- a) The very first thing is transparency in the process. Communication out to the public on how and what the decisions are for Roads either building or maintenance. This includes full transparency and accountability of costs.
- b) Second there seems to be a gap in the expectations of the community in the quality of roads and the deliverables provided by the city. I would be a good idea to communicate and build a yard stick that can be used to measure success.
- a) Some of what the council has implemented will help the situation, however there is much more that needs to be done to hold the property owner accountable to their community. For example the use of video equipment for “proof” of violations could be the answer for reducing the cost of extra Municipal law officers. Assuming criteria was given, then the burden of proof would be there and the process suggested by the city would be much more effective.
The first thing that comes to my mind is … but what is the definition of “better roads”. I understand that the City maintains 5,400 lane kilometres of roads in an area just over 3000 sq. kms. I think it makes sense to actually define what is required and then look at what it would cost and they have the community decide what they would like to do to solution this.
I honestly do not believe raising Taxes to fix these issues specifically is the answer …. It is not that simple and requires some real heads down work to figure out the causes.