1) Yes or No: Should Owen Sound allow bricks-and-mortar marijuana shops to operate in its boundaries? Why?
Yes. As a Registered Nurse I have seen first hand the positive benefits of cannabis on illnesses and disease processes. I have also seen the negative impact cannabis that has come from the black market that is laced with stronger, more detrimental opioids has on the population as well. As a matter of process, we can opt in and still make sure we integrate the legal sale of marijuana in our community in a way that makes sense, when it makes sense. Whether that be putting a cap on the number of stores we allow within the city limit, or not.
2) Yes or No: Should Owen Sound lower its property tax rate? If yes, how would you achieve this? If no, why?
No. It's not realistic to think we can lower our taxes at this point. We absolutely must hold the line on property taxes, however. That may challenge us on other fiscal pressures, but property taxes can't be the default. Honestly, I'm uncertain how much can be saved to offset revenue from not raising property taxes. But I want to be a part of a City Council that focuses on seemingly simple things like the sequencing of projects and their anticipated completion. To not see our downtown in a constant state of repair or disruption. To be a part of an accountable council that answers to the community. But we also need to progressive on how we plan for future growth.
3) Yes or No: Should Owen Sound continue to offer a vacancy rebate on commercial and industrial property? Why?
No. As I have previously mentioned and as a stand-alone issue, I would vote to end this giveaway. However, not certain our downtown is less vibrant because of this tax rebate. Is there a balance? A point where there is an equal amount of incentive to rent the space, without an owner having to sell? I do not want to detract individuals from owning retail/business space in our downtown core. I do not want to see so many vacant spaces. A 30% tax rebate is too much, however.
4) What is your plan to attract new industry and jobs to Owen Sound?
The simple answer is to create the environment where we maintain or grow the stability of our current businesses. These organizations are our employers, present and future. Their success will say as much about our community as any ad campaign. But we also need to be progressive about the new developments or industry we are seeking to attract. It's a question of whether we want to compete with other communities for the same company, or look ahead to the future trends. And we need to do better with sport tourism in Owen Sound. When I compare us to other tourist communities nearby, they just all seem to better have advertising campaigns that brings next level awareness to them.
5) What is one other issue facing Owen Sound you would like to speak to, and how will you address this if elected?
Housing. Our current low income with young families and seniors cannot remain as is. We must amend current municipal by-laws to allow for smaller homes (less than 1200sq ft) to be built.