1) Yes or No: Should Meaford allow bricks-and-mortar marijuana shops to operate in its boundaries? Why?
Yes. But let's restrict it to certain zones away from elementary schools, high schools, playgrounds and other areas where children and youth gather. There may be an unexpected savings in police services as police will no longer have to chase after criminal elements involved in illegal marijuana sales.There will be no criminal incentive to recruit new users which is a good thing. We know smoking of any kind is harmful to one's health. So yes we will have restricted areas where sales will occur, but our public health message remains the same. Don't smoke!
2) Yes or No: Should the municipality invest more into infrastructure and roads maintenance, even if it creates more expense for ratepayers? Why?
Yes. We need to fix our roads. And our bridges. And our sidewalks. As these help us to access our community, whether it be hospitals, schools, work areas, restaurants, parks, or our friends – everything we do.Our primary industry is agriculture, followed by the military and tourism. Without good roads, bridges, sidewalks, none of our industries can excel.The expense may not be more if we avail ourselves of infrastructure grants, new and tested road materials, composite bridges and proper tendering procedures. We need to prioritize our spending and utilize our reserves more effectively.
3) Yes or No: Should Meaford hire a Chief Administrative Officer or continue with the model in place since the departure of the past CAO? Why?
No to both. Though this is a decision of Council, I prefer that department heads report directly to Council so that we as the citizen representatives get to really determine what our spending priorities are. If Council decides to hire a CAO I would strongly recommend to choose someone who has lived extensively in this community and understands our unique qualities. As to the present model, it hasn't been in place long enough to evaluate its effectiveness. From a cost consideration alone and from past CAOs' performances, I am not inclined to hire a CAO.
4) What is one other issue facing Meaford you would like to speak to, and how will you address this if elected?
Council lacks accountability. The Council has been negligent in promoting citizen-based priorities like improving our roads and bridges. Our Council has failed in overseeing how our Municipal employees spend our money. Closing parks, roads and bridges, community halls without realizing the impact of these decisions highlight how out of touch our Council has become. Having a Mayor and Deputy Mayor disagree on an issue like Grey Gables without Council and the public's input speaks directly to the lack of accountability to our community. I will bring back citizens' committees and their input will be incorporated – Council will become accountable.