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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News PSVA Election 2018 Candidates Evening

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by Doug Harvey
PSVA Election 2018 Candidates Evening

Voting in an Election can get complicated, getting to know the candidates, and finding out what they might do once elected always seems to be an ongoing issue right to election day. Putting your faith in someone to do the right thing can be difficult, so any help in making that choice easier is always welcome for some people. In Port Stanley, the Port Stanley Village Association held a Candidates Evening on Wednesday, October, 03, 2018 at the Port Stanley Arena for anyone interested in an opportunity to meet and listen to candidates for Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Ward 1 Councillor and Ward 2 Councillor present their platforms.

The meeting that almost filled the room was organized and moderated by Dan Ross who began the event with all ten candidates having roughly ten minutes to speak of their background, related experience, and their vision for the future using the question guidelines suggested. This public meeting format also gave the audience as a by-product a sense of the candidates ability for speaking publicly. Being in of any kind public office position requires an ability for getting the message out there face-to-face to the public effectively, and is a trait common to all successful seasoned politicians, but at the same time newcomers to politics that offer change can be at a disadvantage due to lack of experience in speaking to the public.

The questions put forward to all candidates:

  • 1 - Most residents seem to agree that controlled growth is important for a prosperous future. What are the growth related issues you feel are most critical in shaping the future of Port Stanley over the next four years? What steps if elected would you recommend to address these issues?
  • 2 - A recent report by Central Elgin planning scoped the traditional village as separate and perhaps distinct in more peripheral areas of Port Stanley for planning and development purposes. Offer your thoughts on this distinction and the importance of considering and maintaining compatibility with the character of the existing village as contemplated by the Official Plan when considering future development?
  • 3 - Development of the harbour and the berm, especially public green space, building heights and density is on the minds of many residents. What is your vision for the harbour and berm, perhaps comment in the context of the proposed Secondary Plan?
  • 4 - Long term comprehensive as supposed to ad hoc traffic strategy and implementation?
  • 5 - Availability of rental housing, in particular affordable housing?

Candidate for Mayor Sally Martyn comment highlights dealt with:

  • Ways to lower taxes;
  • How Harbour Divestiture spending has left only $2.5 million to maintain the Harbour which led to her concerns about Harbour sustainability in the future;
  • Controlled growth using the Official Plan'
  • Port Stanley needs a traffic study that takes into consideration the whole village;
  • The need for affordable housing for Port Stanley;
  • The need to preserve the character and heritage of the existing village;
  • More public park amenities;
  • Does not support the current Harbour Secondary Plan, but supports partial development with 3-story building heights, but would like to maintain as much park land as possible;
  • Supports the new Port Stanley Fire Hall;
  • Spoke about many senior staff retiring within the next five years and the issues that will create;
  • Spoke about the need for creating a better communication links between Council and the Municipality.

Candidate for Mayor David Marr comment highlights dealt with:

  • His related experience of being active on Council for the past 21 years;
  • How supporting key issues such as water and waste water upgrades created growth opportunities for development in Port Stanley.
  • While Harbour Divestiture spending has left Central Elgin with only $2.5 million now to maintain the Harbour, getting the West Harbour structure fixed early was taken on because of the possible failing foundation, and at that time, the lack of construction going on in that marine construction field which would translate to lower repair costs.
  • He talked about his leadership experience as Mayor and as Warden with dealing with the unexpected;
  • His vision of water and waste water upgrades laid the foundation for future growth, but the problem with the upgrades was that costs were high, but necessary due to containment issues at the lagoons;
  • He is in favour of the Wastell development that was unanimously passed recently by Council at the last meeting, and is looking forward to negotiations on the conditions which could include affordable housing;
  • He is in favour of partial development of the berm, and considers that to be necessary for the future.
  • Will use the new Port Stanley traffic studies to make sure that any new development can satisfy the traffic needs for the whole village;
  • Dedicated to make Central Elgin more efficient, honest, and reliable.
  • Spoke about the need for creating a better communication links between Council and the Municipality.

Candidate for Mayor Casey Siebenmorgen comment highlights dealt with:

  • Casey talked about his family roots and history, how was born and raised in St. Thomas, then moved to Port Stanley with his family in 1974 after his parents bought an acreage along Sunset Road where they built their new home.
  • After graduating from Parkside in 1986, he started his own construction business that has kept him busy for the last 30 years working all over Ontario.
  • During his career he has joined, and actively participated in the Elgin St. Thomas Homebuilders Association for 4 years, with 2 years participation on the executive board. He was also on the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce board for 6 years, and spent 2 years on the board of the Port Stanley Festival Theatre.
  • First on his agenda if elected is to find out how much we are in debt, where we stand with our overall finances, and then through public consultations deliver an action plan that is both efficient, responsible and something that we can afford.
  • Casey believes that everyone on Council needs to be better informed in order to make those big decisions that can affect the entire Municipality. Growth in Central Elgin must be controlled, and developers must be given a clear message on what new development standards should be followed.
  • Casey Siebenmorgen offers an approach and background that's unique, building on his desire to give back to the community, to keep the public informed about where their taxes are being spent, and to be a voice for all residents in Central Elgin.

Candidate for Deputy Mayor Harold Winkworth comment highlights dealt with:

  • He spoke about his involvement in helping the Eastwood community as a spokesperson to challenge the Municipality on the cost of the local sewer project. Bill Fehr joined him in addressing the issues and together succeeded in reducing the connection fees charged to residents from $19,293 to $6,700.
  • Was involved in overseeing the welfare of seniors throughout our community. For the past several years he has participated in fundraising for YMCA to assist children/families from financially challenged homes and has been recognized as being the biggest supporter in fund raising for this program in Western Ontario.
  • Born and raised in Port Stanley and have lived in Central Elgin his entire life.
  • His opinion on controlled growth was that we have to keep a close watch on it to provide the necessary infrastructure before it happens as it can be overwhelming to the Municipality, leading to a development situation like our current one.
  • Affordable housing will need to be subsidized by the Municipality and needs to be included in the development plans before it gets approved.
  • Does not want to sell off the berm.
  • Had the opinion that Central Elgin carries too much debt which limits the reduction of taxes, and services. Future Councils will have restricted borrowing due to current Central Elgin debt that's close to provincial limits.

Candidate for Deputy Mayor Stephen Carr comment highlights dealt with:

  • Is a lifelong resident of Central Elgin, proud father of three beautiful children and three growing grandchildren;
  • Experienced as a Central Elgin Ward 3 councillor which began in 2006; During his 12 years as a councillor he has been apart of several steering committees including the Harbour divestiture in Port Stanley, the Master Trail Plan, the Pay Equity Committee and the New Port Stanley Fire Station;
  • His education in Agricultural Business Studies, and his experience working as a senior Coordinator for the Canada Ontario Agricultural Programming for Farmers, a successful cash crop farmer, and Minor Hockey Coaching provides a rounded background.
  • His vision on the growth in Port Stanley is that it should be well planned that is keeping with our Official Plan Guidelines that are already in place. The Official Plan has identified existing areas in Port Stanley that have been designated as growth areas. Our Secondary Plan is our long term plan for Port Stanley which should be revised to restrict building heights to 3-stories on the harbour lands;
  • Affordable housing could work as smaller single family homes, and smaller condominiums by encouraging these in new developments;
  • Traffic study recommendations should be incorporated into Port Stanley, and that a new alternate road for the Wastell development, although not needed in the traffic study, is needed to service the area.
  • He also believed that the berm should remain public space until after the Divestiture restrictions have elapsed in 2030, and that green space should be maintained there for now.

Candidate for Deputy Mayor Tom Marks comment highlights dealt with:

  • His goal is clear, is to become a valuable member of Central Elgin and the County of Elgin councils. Everyone tries to come up with catchy phrases but simply I promise to work hard for all the residents of Central Elgin, show up prepared and keep an open mind. Working towards reaching a consensus requires teamwork and leadership;
  • Lack of transparency and proper communication has led to rumours. He proposes live streaming of council meetings to allow all the residents to keep up to date on what is happening and be informed;
  • He proposes orderly and proper land development throughout the Municipality, and as for controlling growth, that might not be possible;
  • Is in favour of making the berm available for everyone, restaurants, or a amphitheatre can bring in funds to pay for future dredging, and upkeep of the harbour;
  • The Budget needs to be scrutinized as always, and with a position on Elgin County Council he would also be able watch where over 1/3 of your tax dollars gets spent;
  • Supports the new Port Stanley Fire Station;
  • Traffic concerns of both speed and congestion on our roads are problems that need to be addressed;
  • Community Policing Associations in Port Stanley and Belmont have enjoyed many successes;
  • Has experience with community service for the United Way, Make a Wish, the Harbour Divestiture agreement, upgrades to Glover Park, and upgrades to the Port Stanley Arena;

Candidate for Central Elgin Ward 1 Councillor Dan McNeil comment highlights dealt with:

  • Dan served in the Canadian Military for 36 years. His wife has also served in the health care industry;
  • Retired to Port Stanley in 2006. Running for the third time for Ward 1 Port Stanley Councillor, wants to continue serving, making a difference in areas where he has knowledge, and experience;
  • His mission is to continue what he has done for the past twelve years by offering the same level of determination of making Central Elgin and Port Stanley a better place to live;
  • Gave reasons for getting the West Harbour structure fixed early because of the possible failing foundation, and at that time, because of the lack of construction going on in that marine construction field which would translate to overall lower repair costs;
  • The next Council would have to devise a plan to make the Port Stanley Harbour remains financially sustainable, and a plan to make the Harbour a small craft harbour like it needs to be to stop incidents like the fishing tug hitting the Lift Bridge;
  • Port Stanley does need to preserve the heritage and character of the village, which we all love, while growing your community that is a modern example of a quality community of place. Council today is getting a handle on parking and traffic issues, and communication with residents must improve.

Candidate for Central Elgin Ward 1 Councillor Colleen Row comment highlights dealt with:

  • Confident that experience gained in private business sector can be applied as a Councillor;
  • Excited about the future potential of Port Stanley and playing a significant role on that journey. Success on that journey requires thoughtful planning and execution;
  • We do need controlled and balanced growth for our long term goals, and we need to make the best decisions for the majority of people that take into account public input and financial considerations;
  • Infrastructure, parks and recreation, and development are key platforms that can insure prosperity for residents, business, and tourism. Agriculture, open spaces, woodlands, and commerce need to coexist with the residential neighbourhoods;
  • Beaches must be maintained to that Blue Flag Standard. Port Stanley's themes of "Charming, Quaint, and Neighbourhood like" need to be preserved.
  • Official Plan needs to be reviewed to better reflect the community as a whole. Secondary Plan design requirements should be directed by Council rather than by the Dillion;
  • Can be a mix of small retail development with larger open public spaces on both sides of the harbour that would enhance the attraction of the village to guests and residents;
  • If elected she will try to get standards set that will keep Port Stanley, Port Stanley, Charming, Prosperous and Modest.

Candidate for Central Elgin Ward 2 Councillor Dennis Crevits comment highlights dealt with:

  • Has been a life long resident of Central Elgin and sees Port Stanley as the Jewel of Lake Erie;
  • Is pro-development. Past Councils have updated services such as water and waste water to accommodate more development in the area;
  • In favour of the new Port Stanley Fire Hall;
  • Believes that Port Stanley's road network is adequate except for holiday traffic where increased traffic volumes cause increased traffic issues. In favour of a roundabout on East Road by Dexter Line, and was also supporting a roundabout in the new Wastell development;
  • Supports keeping the majority of the berm a green space as Main Street would not be able handle the traffic;
  • Has the opinion that Affordable Housing in the new Wastell development was brought forward too late, and to accomplish Affordable Housing in the future, the plans have to laid out in the new development process right from the beginning;
  • Supports a Ward boundary review for people currently living in Port Stanley Ward 2 on the fringe of Ward 1. close to

Candidate for Central Elgin Ward 2 Councillor Allison Joseph comment highlights dealt with:

  • Allison Joseph and her husband Jason fell in love with the community of Sparta and bought their dream home just over a year ago. They live with their 2 year old daughter Victoria and their cat Sluggo and love to spend their days exploring the area. Allison has a real passion for locally made and unique items and is delighted by the emergence of artisans and businesses that are showcasing this work throughout Central Elgin;
  • Allison has a long history of political interest and involvement and she holds a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Guelph. She also has a Master's and a Bachelor of Education, though she currently works for CIBC Bank in St. Thomas. She was a member of the Municipal Heritage Committee of St. Thomas and wrote the by-law designating the CASO Station; she is a Board Member of Animal Aide of St. Thomas-Elgin; and she was involved in student government while doing her Master's Degree;
  • Port Stanley has a great communication network that should be an example for the rest of Central Elgin;
  • Supports 3-stories or lower for development, and partial restricted Berm development;
  • Supports keeping education in our communities;
  • Wishes that Affordable Housing would happen in Port Stanley so that people that lived here in Port can also afford to retire here. She also stated that her generation wants to come to Port Stanley but can't afford the current available selection of homes that are being built.

Question Period

A question was asked: How do you propose having increased communication with the residents of Central Elgin to better represent our community?

Sally Martyn suggested Community Input Meetings in the community on a regular basis for all Wards.

Harold Winkworth commented that a working communication network exists in Ward 4, but a need to have public meeting is also needed.

Allison Joseph said that she will promote a better communication network in Ward 2.

David Marr also saw the need for more Community Input Meetings.

Dan McNeil commented that the PSVA meetings is the best place in Port Stanley for Central Elgin communication because meetings are being held every month and that the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and the Ward 1 Councillor attend all the meetings. He also hoped that the Port Stanley example could be used in other parts of Central Elgin.

A question was asked: What are your recreational activities plans for young families in Port Stanley?

Allison Joseph commented that it might help if someone on Council was from a young family, and that she supports local recreational activities 100%.

Tom Marks supports the idea of more recreational activities for Central Elgin.

Harold Winkworth supports the idea of more recreational activities for Central Elgin.

Colleen Row supports the idea of more recreational activities for children in Port Stanley.

Casey Siebenmorgen supports the idea of more recreational activities for children, and also questioned where all the money from the new lot park tax goes. Proposes recreational activities including local swimming, skating, and golf.

Sally Martyn commented that Central Elgin does not run recreational activities but need to provide more facilities for children.

David Marr commented, first we have to establish what recreational activities you are looking for, using an example of a pool. Now the issues cost and of the need to provide the same pool to not one area but to all areas of Central Elgin.

A question was directed to Dan McNeil: What is your vision for the berm?

Dan McNeil's answer was that the berm will be a very public issue in the Secondary Plan. He said it was the most valuable piece of land we got from the Federal Government. The berm has to be a mix of development that supports the long term plan of sustainability for the Port Stanley Harbour. He has mixed feelings on where the development is going as per the current Secondary Plan, and any development that will happen on the berm will have plenty of public input before any actual development takes place.

A question was directed to any candidate: What position will you take when the next developer that comes along and goes against the Official Plan, requires all sorts of variances to the building code. How many of you if elected will vote against that developer?

This question was one of those special questions that no one from the group attempted to answer as it was too hot to handle!


Last Updated: Thursday, 04 October 2018 17:56:10 PM EST

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