My Platform of Ideas
This is a list of ideas that if implemented, could bring additional employment to the area, improve the quality of life for all residents and improve the relationships between the municipality and all of its potential partners. This list was created through my own observation & research and through extensive coversations with many residents and business owners over the past four years. Having a like-minded council working together could make some great things happen for all residents of North Grenville.
1) Take action about the fact that 78% of our workforce leaves North Grenville every day and spends some of their money elsewhere. Supporting local job creation and reducing the amount of time that residents spend commuting is critical to improving quality of life for residents.
2) Improve our infrastructure (roads, bridges etc.) with more attention on building/repairing sidewalks and roads. Creating bike lanes would help us to become a safer, more active and healthier community as well.
3) Complete the expansion of County Rd 43 to make our community safer and easier to navigate. It’s been four years without any progress. Action on this project is long overdue. It’s time to break it up into smaller pieces and get it done!
4) Make strategic investments in our neglected rural areas. Developing a rural Community Improvement Plan, granting back property taxes to community halls, reviving the Agriculture & Rural Affairs advisory committee are some ways that we can invest.
5) Foster more collaborative relationships with our community groups, local businesses and residents to improve our quality of life. We also must improve our relationships with other levels of government and government agencies to ensure that we get access to our fair share of available funding & resources regardless of which party makes up those levels of government.
6) Support the creation and expansion of agriculture & local food-based businesses as they have the potential to add more jobs and improve our local economy particularly with the addition of the Kemptville Campus property. Agriculture-based training and hands-on workshops at the Campus would be ideal to encourage growth in this area.
7) Insist on more effective two-way communication between residents and the municipality. Additionally, more information must be shared with residents and a new council should show leadership by being more accessible to residents through social media and in person with posted public availability or “office hours”. Having quarterly Town Hall-style meetings with open agendas would encourage and allow people to ask questions in a more casual environment than the formal Council meetings.
8) Create more rental and affordable housing stock. There’s currently a long waiting list (over two years) for people who need affordable housing in North Grenville. As well, a lack of rental housing leads to inflated rents which keeps people from being able to rent a place of their own. This in turn results in housing insecurity with people renting bedrooms, couch-surfing or living with friends.
9) Involve more residents in decision-making and oversight in North Grenville. We have a wealth of human assets in North Grenville and we need to tap into the education, expertise, experience and passion of the people that live here. We can do this through the creation of more advisory committees. Young people included!
10) Investigate funding opportunities for the development of a local (made in North Grenville) transit system. We have a growing number of residents who can’t afford a vehicle or who can’t drive. We also need to create more connections for people to commute to Ottawa.
11) Eliminate red tape, inconsistencies and outdated bylaws to allow our local businesses to expand and be successful. There are plenty of testimonials from local business owners about how North Grenville has actively made it difficult for their businesses to expand and become successful. This must stop immediately! In rural Ontario, existing small businesses are responsible for up to 80% of new job creation. We must support our existing small businesses.
12) Develop our current tourism assets into “daytripping” style tourism activities. A tourism stakeholders meeting (for anyone with an interest in tourism) should take place to pursue funding that would allow North Grenville to develop a new tourism strategy that researches potential tourism areas such as agri-food tourism and active transportation tourism. We already have a number of tourism assets, we just need to get them working together and market them better.
13) Investigate becoming a single-tier municipality like Prescott and Brockville. Right now, the Village of Westport has the same influence as North Grenville at the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville council table. North Grenville is the largest municipality in UCLG (25% of the population) and provides 30% of the tax revenue. Becoming an upper-tier municipality could mean as much as $8 million more for our municipal budget. A good start would be a cost/benefit analysis to see if we would gain an advantage from becoming a single-tier..