1) Yes or No: Should Meaford allow bricks-and-mortar marijuana shops to operate in its boundaries? Why?
Yes. It will be a legal , controlled product such as alcohol and cigarettes and it should be treatedsimilarly. There will be concerns about the location of a shop within proximity to schools , parks ,recreational facilities etc. and the next Council will have to be prepared to have lots of publicinput on this issue. Council will have the responsibility to approve shop locations once all publicconcerns are addressed and the correct zoning requirements are met.
2) Yes or No: Should the municipality invest more into infrastructure and roads maintenance, even if it creates more expense for ratepayers? Why?
Yes.Meaford has an infrastructure crisis that has been ignored by the last 3 Councils. In 2011 a report recommended, that at a minimum, $20 million needed to be spent on bridges in 10 years. That Council did nothing! In 2015 another report issued, painting an even bleaker picture and was received by this current Council and again waffling.Finally, in 2016 another report presented to Council which offered 4 choices on how to approach this crisis from fixing as required immediately, which meant $8.5 million in 2 years and $30 million in 10 years, to closing as many bridges as possible and imposing load limits on several bridges.
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?
Cannot answer with yes or no because there is a third option.We do not need a CAO. We do not need this current model either because staff numbers are too high. All surrounding municipalities get by with fewer staff and similar populations. Meaford’s population has not grown in decades, in 2006 we had a staff of 40 , now we are over 60.With the infrastructure crisis looming, serious cuts are necessary. Staff wages and benefits are nearly half of Meaford’s tax revenues. Incumbents will say that cuts to staff equates to overall cuts to service . This does not have to be if we contract out intelligently.
4) What is one other issue facing Meaford you would like to speak to, and how will you address this if elected?
A topic which needs thought on a municipal level is “how do we attract Doctors”? Meaford has had long serving doctors retire recently with no replacement. Many think that massive spending on culture and recreation facilities is needed to attract recent graduates from medical school. This would include theatre , libraries ,indoor pool , indoor ice and gyms. Goderich has done this and have attracted new doctors. Meaford cannot afford this route. We fight to retain Meaford Hospital and keep it modernized and still no new doctors. Maybe it is time to consider a scholarship or bursary program to support local students who wish to pursue a medical career, with the proviso that they start their professional career in Meaford.