Response to IBPOA - re Municipal Election
QUESTIONS FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTION CANDIDATES from Bob Cunningham on behalf of the Executive of the Isthmus Bay Property Owners Association.
1. Why do you want to serve?
I am a service minded individual who has a keen interest in maintaining an attractive and prosperous community in a high quality natural setting.
2. What skills will you bring to council?
I am educated, well read, experienced and aware of a wide range of community needs and desires. I work well with people in groups towards positive results. See www.brucepeninsula.ca for bio.
3. Are you a candidate for the whole municipality or are your interests regional?
My primary interest is necessarily Northern Bruce Peninsula but I also have a general interest in the Bruce/Grey region as it benefits NBP and the municipalities along the Niagara Escarpment.
4. What issues are at the top of your agenda and how do you propose implementing them?
With a new Council my top issue would be to maintain a high level of community service and quality infrastructure at an affordable price. A strategic planning process would be of benefit if Council deems it necessary.
5. What are the biggest fiscal challenges in MNBP and what do you envision as the best ways to address them?
OPP cost will be the biggest upcoming fiscal challenge for the next five years. The municipality has a few options to reduce these costs with the cooperation of southern municipalities. There can be some reduction in OPP cost based on reduced calls for service since presently NBP accounts for 15% to 18% of the detachment calls.
Based on information received from the asset management information there needs to be increased attention paid to capital funding for roads, bridges and culverts. A careful review by council of the revised roads needs information should define the long term amounts needed to address this need while not heavily impacting the rate.
6. What is your position on wind turbines and will you support the “unwilling host” designation adopted by the current council.
The designation regarding future industrial wind turbines development should be maintained by Council. The Green Energy Act should be amended to allow local decision making. The current policy regarding the Niagara Escarpment Plan area should be maintained and a one kilometre buffer to any industrial wind development should be established by regulation. See www.brucepeninsula.ca for more information.
7. Do you, or any family member, have a pecuniary and/or working interest in any industrial energy project whether local, provincial, federal or international? If so, please elaborate. If not, would you every consider becoming a stakeholder in a large-scale energy project if the opportunity presented itself?
No. Oh Yes! I hear that my sister-in-law is receiving payment for a gas pipeline crossing their mountain in up-state Pennsylvania. They now affectionately call her Elly May.
8. Do you support requiring septic system inspections for older systems?
Council will need to review a policy for septic inspection shortly. Presently the municipalities that have implemented successful inspection programs have included every system within a long range program.
9. Summarize your position on maintaining a balance between environmental sustainability and economic development. How important is it, and is a balance currently being maintained in MNBP?
Carefully identify what is valuable in the community and then work to protect what is valuable. Water quality and biodiversity is a good indicator of balance. Levels of community satisfaction and quality of life are also measurable. The UNESCO World Biosphere Program and the Niagara Escarpment Plan are pretty good examples of how balance is applied in certain areas and indicative of the benefits that accrue to the community. Today the Northern Bruce Peninsula enjoys a relatively high status due to natural heritage features.
10. What is your perspective on the best ways to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for MNBP?
Any municipal leader will need to understand the role of the various agencies of government and the relationships that need to be fostered for these agencies to function in the best interest of NBP and the local residents. A good approach is to invite those working in these agencies to visit the community. This personal interaction has produced the greatest dividends for this community. The activities of Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association is a good example this collaboration and the financial benefits to the community.
11. How do you envision communicating with constituents, many of whom live out of the municipality for parts of the year? What about those who do not have internet access?
In addition to email the phone works pretty well. I have had no problem with communicating with ratepayers. Face to face is also good for those who drop by the business. For specific service information the municipal office is open five days a week and I often followup on referrals made to the office. Council receives correspondence regularly at bi-monthly meetings and reviews responses. On items of particular interest a ratepayer can request regular direct communication regarding any issue.
12. Other than official municipal notices prescribed by law, are there any other ways you will reach
out to local residents to get their opinions and to get them involved?
I support the printing of the full page notice board and the recording of the minutes in the BP Press.
Personally I may use the www.brucepeninsula.ca site. It would be useful to add my opinion collect opinion and counter misinformation or gaps in knowledge. Seems like a good place to display photos also. Also see #11
13. It often appears that administrative staff lead Council, rather than the other way around. Do you agree that staff and planners should function at Council’s behest since it is Council that is elected to represent the views and concerns of the community?
I agree that Council is elected to represent the views and concerns of the community. Council speaks by motion or by-law and staff acts within a framework of accepted policy in dealing with all municipal business. Itemized business comes to Council followed by a recommended option. The reports with an option are presented days before a scheduled meeting for review by council and the public. Background information is also presented. It is the duty of Council members to familiarize themselves with the details of an item prior to the council presentation or to ask staff for clarification before a vote takes place. If the majority of Council is not satisfied with a report or with the wording or general direction of the option presented the option may be modified at that time or a deferral may be in order until an issue is better understood.
Your comments appreciated