1) Yes or No: Should Meaford allow bricks-and-mortar marijuana shops to operate in its boundaries? Why?
Yes. Since May I have been conducting on line surveys on my Facebook page Ross Kentner for Meaford Council. On the question, "Should the Municipality of Meaford host retail cannabis outlets?" 58% said Yes; 42% said No. What's really important is to reduce the exposure of our children to illegal outlets. Children and youth risk long term brain damage from marijuana use. Legal outlets will mitigate against the proliferation of illegal outlets.
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 have a serious infrastructure deficit with some bridges closed and some under serious weight restrictions. That said investing more in infrastructure and roads will benefit agriculture, business and tourism which will pay dividends going forward and not necessarily create more expense for ratepayers if we budget wisely.
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. I differ with most of the candidates on this. Attending the orientation meetings with senior staff I see them functioning effectively as a team. Maybe some adjustments in responsibilities, but the buck should stop with council itself. Some of the mis-steps that occur, like the recent bylaw closing our parks for six months, stem from "the tail wagging the dog." We can have a contract with the OPP, put the remaining $70-$80K in the bank, and have a smoother running municipality without a CAO IF council does its job!
4) What is one other issue facing Meaford you would like to speak to, and how will you address this if elected?
Everything in Meaford is not broken. But the future is here and we're not quite ready. We don't want to be "Collingwood North." For Meaford to be a good place to raise a family we need to be selective with housing development and we really need to stimulate business. I have a 3-point plan to support agri-business, promote tourism and kickstart retail infill in urban Meaford. As a collaborative business leader I will help the new council build the confidence and consensus needed for a future that is already here.