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Monday, October 18, 2021
Home2018 Municipal Election Ward ProfilesMunicipal Election-Ward Eight Profile

Municipal Election-Ward Eight Profile

KAWARTHA LAKES-Ward Eight is in the southern portion of the City of Kawartha Lakes. It includes the villages of Manvers, Pontypool and Bethany. According to the 2014 final voters list there are 7373 electors in Ward Eight.

The boundaries are as follows:

All lands Lots 1 to 25, Concessions 1 to 13 Manvers and all lands south of the boundary with Ward 6 to Municipal Boundary.

There are six candidates in the race to represent Ward Eight on the new city council. Wayne Hunt, Jack Morrison, Michelle Murphy Ward, Tracy Richardson, Heather Stauble and David Watson.

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.

Wayne Hunt

Top 3 issues, #1 Taxes are high enough in K.L. and should be frozen at
the present level for the next 3 or 4 years. What we are paying now
should and must maintain and improve our roads. #2 We need a transfer
station in the south of K.L., as it is now we have to drive about 40
minutes to the closest dumpster. #3 As 407 approches and the
city[T.O.] comes our way we need to prepare for new living
accommodations and job opportunities in the south of Kawartha Lakes
Ward #8. We need a strong voice for ward #8.

Jack Morrison

3 top issues
1: Infrastructure crumbling. This not only includes roads but the better utilization  of services and buildings we already have.  To solve this problem your question 3  is one avenue. I am not in favor of raising taxes as the first answer. Many constituents are on fixed incomes. We need to determine where are tax dollars are being spent  as of now and to determine if efficiencies can be made. Secondly determine if Kawartha Lakes can work in partnership with paving  companies, aggregate companies and our own works department to lower costs for the over 2000 km of roads needing repair. Thirdly determine if we can get provincial assistance as some roads are classified as ETR.
2nd issue: Be more receptive to businesses to set up. More businesses  means more jobs and a lower tax increase. This will require a facilitator ( who has knowledge of the process) to be assigned to each business application. This will help the application process and may require a relook at the current bylaws in place to determine if they are fair and not too restrictive.
3rd issue: I have had a number of constituents complain about the planning dept and the timeline to get building permits. To determine what the stumbling blocks are I suggest a council member work side by side with all departments in Kawartha lakes (works, planning , garbage etc) and comprise a report to council. This to include not only office but field work. This would not only determine the issues but would also go a long way to support are in place municipal workers. Some personnel may feel threatened by this  however if presented right could go a long way to improving costs and working relations as I believe that all workers want to do a good job but feel that issues are over and above them.
Tracy Richardson

The top three issues in Ward 8 are residential and business growth, road conditions, and the utilization of tax dollars on a local level. Local growth currently focuses on homes construction. This can help boost economy for local businesses, use of municipal services and support the community, including schools. Regarding roads, crumbling paved roads through the villages require more than just cold patching, and side roads need to be graded on a more frequent schedule. Winter snow removal also need to be addressed. Concerned constituents want to know how their tax dollars are being distributed, and feel that the smaller populations in the city receive less for their dollar. This needs to change.

To address these key issues requires a voice to advocate on pressing issues. Ward 8 is the Gateway to the City of Kawartha Lakes and needs to been seen as viable and prosperous. Once completed, the 407, minutes from the Highway 35 turn off, opportunity will be knocking. I will help promote local residential construction to draw more people to the area, hopefully to set up business as well, that will increase tax revenues, boost the economy and increase use of local municipal buildings such as arenas and community centers. I believe a better informed community will be more receptive when they know how money is being spent and will be an effective communicator helping the Ward 8 see when local improvements are scheduled, when projects are slated for the area, and when community events are happening. People want a sense of community and keeping them informed is a essential platform. As well, the regular use of social media is an easy and concise way of engaging and informing the public.

The City of Kawartha Lakes is a very large geographical area comprised of thousands of kilometres of roads. With that comes a logistical array of different roads that need servicing which can be a challenge when it comes to assessing and addressing issues. At this time, my answer would be to review city budgets to see where spending can be reduced in some areas and seek out opportunities to increase revenue; not just simply increase taxes. An increase to residential infrastructure will increase property tax revenues and generate more tax dollars for roads.

David Watson

The top three issues that are of important to residents in Ward 3 are roads, loss of municipal services and taxes

Roads – Roads, both hard surface and gravel are in a serious state of disrepair. For reasons that are unclear, the municipality has allowed roads to deteriorate to the point where driver safety is in jeopardy and vehicles sustain regular mechanical damage. Many roads are twenty years beyond the designed service life and use of cold patch is so extensively used that drivers are weaving from lane to lane. Add to this, poor signage and severe grade changes and road curves all cumulate to establish hazardous conditions. Roads in Pontypool and Bethany are equally poor with deteriorated asphalt, no curbs or gutters. Even the lane widths do not meet provincial standards.

Municipal Services – After experiencing tax rates of double digits over the last several years, the municipality surprisingly closed the only service centre in the Ward. That means that all residents must drive to Omemee to pay taxes or buy a simple garage bag tag. It’s not convenient for residents of Ward 8, most particularity seniors. The other scare that the community had was the proposal to close the Manvers Arena and build a multi-million dollar facilities south of Lindsay. The shuttering plan was averted by local citizens who worked diligently to find teams to rent ice time. Most people much prefer using the existing facility to the city taking on other major debt and building a facility in a strategically poor location. Moreover, earlier this summer it was learned that the city proposes to close the Manvers Works Depot during the summer and dispatch all workers from the Lindsay Works Depot. This is a nonsensical plan, as work crews will lose 1 hour from the work day in commuting from Lindsay. Add to that regulatory breaks and lunch and the work day is down to 5 hours.

Municipal Finances and Taxes – A large portion of the population in Ward 8 are not pleased to have their taxes increased by double digits over the past several years. It is especially difficult to deal with when the municipality makes little to no investment in the area. Of further annoyance is the fact that the municipality turns around, closes facilities, and threatens to shutter more. Roads have not improved, so the obvious question is where have the millions of dollars in additional tax revenue been spent. A good portion of that money should have been invested in roads. Residents are displeased with the city`s lack of effective financial controls. Further, the grandiose plans for twin arenas and a new super works depot at Lindsay will add to the debt and with little industry to tax, residential taxpayers will be left holding the bag.

If elected what would you do about these issues?

Road Solutions – On the issue of roads, I would revisit the priority ranking for capital works. While Lindsay, Bobcaygeon and Fenlon Falls have a greater concentration of residents perhaps a new formula is required to spread improvement to outlining areas. It is worth noting that rural roads coupled with high speed road posting can more often posse greater danger to motorists. Risk is even elevated when most rural roads are in an advanced stage of deterioration. I would like to see capital projects priorities set by a revised needs analysis, with a formula that places ranking rural roads given danger to motorists. All Class 2, 3 and 4 roads will get priority and lower Class roadways like 5 and 6 will be ranked much lower given traffic volumes. I would be pushing for the lower class roads, which are in major disrepair, given more consideration. Given the dangerous conditions of rural roads and major sign-lines issues I would advocate that the posted speeds be lowered to 70km/hr and that municipality returning speed signs on all roadways. This is a requirement of the Provincial traffic manuals for signs.

Municipal services – Providing key municipal services to the customer base in Ward 8 is vitally important to residents here, as it would be in any other community. Recently, the city issued an environmental declaration to deal with Climate Change. An important part of any effort to reduce carbon pollution is to reduce the use carbon emitters, which locally are automobiles. It is counter to logic to require residents of this Ward to drive great distances for service. Spending 30 minute to drive to Omemee for a garbage tag is ridiculous and it demonstrates little respect for residents. Furthermore the location of the new arena facilities are more convenient for Lindsay residents than rural residents. I would be advocating for smarter community facility placement, but for the next 10 years, I would strongly oppose any shuttering of the arena and the works yard at Manvers. With respects to the Omemee Service Centre, it is inconvenient, not just the distance one has to drive, but there is no parking. I would like to see some services available in local places of business. Many other municipalities sell garbage tags and heavy waste pick up tags at local variety stores. Why is this not happening in our municipality? I would also like to see a waste transfer station located in Ward 8 so that people do not have to drive 65 km round trip to drop of waste. I am against the mothballing of the Manvers Yard during summer months and relocating work crews to Lindsay. I also believe that the city is understaffed with field works. My commitment is to bring forward the needs of the community who I hope to represent.

Municipal Finances and Taxes – If elected I will not approve any additional taxes that exceed inflation. Many rural landowners are paying significant property tax. Given that the city finances are not stable, cost overruns are frequent and projects are sometimes approved outside the approved budget. This must be curtailed and the municipality has to look at finding alternative sources of income than simply property tax. Many successful municipalities have a more balanced tax base. This municipality must develop an action plan and get serious about bringing businesses to this community. I will strongly advocate a new approach to the long standing approach/policy when dealing with all business ventures who desire to grow in the municipality. The municipality must stop being negative an unwelcoming to business. If a Walmart is interested in building here we must bend over backwards to make their plans a reality. Staff and council must be welcoming and go the extra distance to make companies feel that they made the right decision to add Kawartha Lakes as a home for their franchise or new business venture. I would increase funding to the business development department and hire experts who have proven records of success working at other municipalities. We must be diligent as the economy of the entire region depends on business growth. No longer can business develop activities be limited to a desk at City Hall. We need to be proactive and bang on the doors of business clients. I would even suggest that low cost service lands are offered as an incentive for business to come here. I would even consider providing new large companies a discount of only paying half the municipal tax rate for 24 months if that is what it takes to settle in the municipality. Far too much pressure on property tax payers is not a healthy way to run a municipality. Not only is tax revenue important, but jobs are vital to the community. And this has been proven by the great numbers of people who relied on the basic income program.

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?

My simple answer to this question is no, I would not support increasing taxes to fix roads in Ward 8. If we look at the increase in taxes for several years, we will find that they have increased substantially to double digit figures. The people of the Ward have paid their taxes and have not received any significant benefit. Where did our taxes go, because they certainly were not invested in fixing roads in our community or not much else noteworthy? The municipality must understand that they must stop taking money from the outlying areas to subsidize improvements and capital improvements in Lindsay and Bobcageon. There has to be a balanced approach, because the current practice has many people very worried and dejected. Additionally, it is not positive to hear people speak with disdain for the municipality’s lack action and obvious unconcern for residences south of Lindsay. There is a very mixed message being delivered by senior politicians. Fairness is a two way street. We need to remember this in all we do. The municipality musts not continue to increase taxes while at the same time do nothing for the taxpayers in Ward 8 who have essentially seen no beneficial activities occur. If elected I would be very vocal as this practice must stop. The council must take seriously the discord running through Ward 8 and appreciate that this area needs investiment.

Michelle Murphy-Ward

What has become apparent to me that Ward 8 is experiencing very similar issues to a host of rural & suburban communities.  I am hearing from the constituents of Ward 8  -as constituents everywhere- that they want their representatives to be straightforward and inclusive.   I also regularly hear that roads require repair and financial security is desired within the community, people need to support themselves in the community in which they reside and not commute long distances to sustain themselves. 
 
If elected, I plan to thoroughly review all work of the previous council to determine the most economical method to move forward and meet the needs of the community.  It is also my belief that council could benefit from a review of the substantial property base; it may benefit our community to lighten the property load thereby achieving an influx of economic security to meet community needs for programs and repairs.   With regard to the critical issue of employment, the City of Kawartha Lakes needs to promote that we are open for business and staff need to be trained to support, encourage and assist new business opportunities.  Lastly, the entire process needs an overhaul to become responsive and stress-free. 
 
Property taxes are another issue of concern in many communities, including our own.  As with road repair and employment opportunities, I will need to research the process reached by the previous council and review decisions on amount required.  It seems that some property owners pay a considerably higher portion than others. 
Now, I need your support. If you trust me with your vote, I promise to represent you in an efficient and inclusive manner.  Every resident of Kawartha Lakes deserves a voice.
Each and every issue of each and every resident is important to me.   
 Heather Stauble
  1. What are the top three issues in your ward?
    The most common issue throughout the ward is the poor condition of our roads, culverts and ditches. Other issues include the refurbishment of the arenas and community centres and ensuring representation of outlying areas under the new ward structure. There will also be issues depending on legislation and funding impacts from the provincial and federal governments.
  2. If elected what would you do about these issues?
    •   Roads, culverts and ditches: I have and will continue to support increasing our budgets for all typesof roads for construction and maintenance including culverts, ditches, calcium and snow removal to improve the condition and extend the life of the roads.As the roads degrade there are increasing costs of trying to extend the life of a deteriorating road through pot hole repairs and increased damage. Residents also call about the costs of repairs to their own vehicles such as tie rods, springs, windshields, body damage.

      Some of our municipal roads such as Porter Rd, Ski Hill Rd, Emily Park Rd, Boundary Rd are heavily used by the public coming off provincial highways en-route to cottage country. They are the gateway to Kawartha Lakes and need to send a welcoming message.

      Our urban and arterial roads are paved to stand up to higher traffic volumes and they cost more. We have invested in our gravel road program but it needs to be increased and then maintained. These roads get less traffic but they need good ditching, culverts and calcium to stay in good condition. They are also very vulnerable to freeze-thaw cycles over the winter.

    •   Arenas and community centres: Council made a decision to retain and refurbish the arenas and community centres. Now it is important to get the refurbishment done.
    •   New ward boundaries: Under the new ward boundaries, each Councillor will represent double the area and number of constituents. It is important that Council makes decisions that ensure constituents in the outlying areas are well represented. As a member of Council, I have dealt with both city wide and ward issues. As a ward Councillor for the past 8 years, I represent my constituents and bring that perspective to Council and assist constituents in navigating the processes with City departments and Council. I will respond and represent my constituents with the high level of commitment and thoroughness that I have for the past 8 years as Councillor.
  3. 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 support spending more on roads. Most people have told me they would rather pay a bit more and save themselves the cost of repairs on their vehicle. Putting off the major work we do on roads costs us all money in maintenance, pot hole repair as well as the costs of reconstruction and resurfacing. A 2 % increase on the average residential tax rate equates to less than $50 a year on a home with an assessed value of $200 K. Doing it all in one year, even if we had unlimited financial resources, is not possible but increasing our investment in reconstruction, resurfacing, ditching, culverts and ensuring ongoing maintenance and winter maintenance saves money in major reconstruction and repair, and vehicle repair costs for individual residents.

Don’t forget to get out and vote!!

Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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