This week, the Journal asks the eight men and women seeking a city-county seat in Sarnia to tell us why they should be elected. The four winners will serve Sarnia residents on both city council and Lambton County council in Wyoming. Here are their (largely) unedited answers.
I had the honour and privilege of serving you as Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995 to 1999. I returned to City Council in 2003 and have worked diligently since that time to promote the financial health and growth of the community, while minimizing tax increases.
In 2003, Sarnia’s debt was $100 million and this was reduced to $20 million on 2014. Sarnia was one of the few in Ontario able to do this. Saving from interest and principal repayments helped control taxes and provided more money for roads, snow removal and other infrastructure needs. I am committed to the total elimination of this debt as soon as possible.
Control of taxes is an area of particular concern to me and, for the past two years, City Council has approved my motions in this regard. This enabled us to achieve a less than 1% increase in property tax in 2013 and 2014. Also, lower taxes can attract new businesses and new industries and create new jobs and economic growth.
I offer you honesty, integrity, steady leadership and determination for culture of restraint at City Hall and to help guide industrial, commercial, and residential expansion on a sound economic basis.
The name has appeared on the ballot in every municipal election since 1985. First I was elected to Sarnia-Hydro Electric Commission. You know my record of service there and I am proud of the fact that I left the utility in a better shape than it was when I joined it.
I was first elected to Sarnia Council in 1994, and was re-elected every time since. I believe I represented you well and deserve your continued support.
My vision of sustainable prosperity in Sarnia can become reality only if municipalities in the London-Sarnia corridor realize the great synergies available from complementing strengths of individual municipalities. That’s why I am running for the regional Council of County of Lambton.
I am determined to deliver on this vision. To that effect, for the first time in my life, I am involved in other campaigns in the region supporting candidates who share my vision of renewed sustainable prosperity.
A 200-word limit is not enough to elaborate fully why I should be elected.
To find out more simply call me at 519-332-2639 or email [email protected].
I will gladly meet with you and discuss it further. I am available 24 hours a day.
I am running a campaign for a Fresh Perspective – a direct challenge to the status quo. I have committed myself to developing a strong message that does more than merely acknowledge that issues exist. I propose solutions.
I recognize that Sarnia is stagnating economically, socially and politically. I bring to the table a wealth of new ideas that will bring our community together and help it thrive once again.
I started my campaign with the release of my platform. Since then, through a number of press releases and public presentations, I have continued to offer viable solutions to the larger, more pressing issues that affect our community.
To date, I have released statements on many topics including increasing transparency and accountability, public engagement, the creation of a parks and recreation master plan and improved communication.
We need new faces, but new faces must come with new ideas that benefit the community. We don’t need more of the same. It cannot be business as usual. I am proposing real solutions and I’m ready to make the difference.
Jared Fedora: a Fresh Perspective.
I will continue to support the fiscally responsible direction of debt reduction and building of reserves that is moving us to a debt-free city position by 2018. One of the few in Canada.
We must continue our infrastructure upgrades and street repairs through a capital budget resurfacing strategy, complete the balance of our sewer separations plan to mitigate spills to the St. Clair River, continue the remediation plan for both Centennial and Canatara parks, finalize both the arena management strategy and the transportation master plan, put our best efforts forward to the senior levels of government through the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, the Western Research Park and the Bowman Centre to bring a bitumen upgrader refinery in Sarnia-Lambton.
I will press for the continuation of Rapids Parkway south to London Road, and support upgrading of the Bedford, Green and Murphy Road pump stations, and request staff to research plans and recommendations for a “heavy haul” corridor through the city.
We much complete the sale of the Bayside Mall for the benefit of both city and county residents, and finalize the sale of the Sarnia General Hospital.
I believe my experience, commitment and common sense approach will benefit Sarnia ratepayers.
Anne Marie Gillis
Reducing the debt, re-investing in infrastructure, revitalizing the downtown core and respecting our citizens by keeping taxes affordable.
These are my guiding principals! I ran on them when I was first elected and they are still my guiding principles today.
During my tenure, plans have been put in place to address all of what I pledged to do, and we are seeing the results.
Elimination of the debt in a few more years, infrastructure work both grey and green being done at an unprecedented level, construction of the Alix art gallery as an economic stimulus downtown, and over the past 4 years tax increases kept to 1.5% per annum on average.
These measures have given Sarnia a strong foundation on which to build as we move forward.
And we need to move forward. We must grow our assessment base by bringing in new businesses and allowing existing ones to expand.
I have worked with small businesses assisting them to do just that. If elected I will continue to do so!
As a member of your Centennial council, we have received accolades and awards, but that is not enough. We need a clear vision and a sense of purpose to do great things. I have the vision!
Why should I be elected?
1. I have a background in business, project management and team building. With my past career in telecommunications, including foreign service, I have an advantage over my peers when it comes to decision making.
2. I have spent several years building teams that handled multi-million dollar budgets and met their financial targets.
3. I am a strong advocate for the environment as witnessed by my participation on SEAC (Sarnia Environmental Advisory Committee) whose job it is to advise Sarnia City Council on environmental issues.
4. I have an ability to connect with the public due to my years of political campaigning and canvassing door to door.
5. I am a strong advocate for Health & Fitness as shown by my involvement with Bluewater Trails (City committee) whose mandate is to maintain the “Howard Watson Trail, and promote safe cycling on Sarnia’s streets through my work with the Sarnia Lambton Cycling Advocacy Network.
6. I also advocate for “Public Health Care” through my work with the Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition and Ontario Health Coalition, whose mandate is to stop the erosion of our pubic health care system and ensure the renewal of the Canada Health Care Act, which expires in 2015.
A three term city/county councillor seeking a fourth term – Shaping our future by building a vibrant sustainable community worth investing and living in is my daily motivation in politics.
Committed to sustainability I will work with government, industry, business and education to foster and grow a diversified local economy.
I will support well managed investment into roads, sewers, civic facilities including natural areas. Reducing debt, increasing reserves and responsible spending to deliver sustainable municipal services will remain a priority.
Protecting the environment, including air, water and land resources to pass to future generations – I am committed to responsible rehabilitation of areas of environmental concern.
Safe efficient transportation through development of pedestrian & cycling routes as part of interconnected road and trail networks is wanted and needed by people of all ages in our community and will be supported by me moving forward as an active transportation advocate.
I value a safe community that can provide those services that foster a healthy and nurturing environment for our children and elderly parents.
As a business owner of 21 years I value fiscal responsibility and full transparency. I believe that bringing new business to this area and building on current industries will ensure future jobs that will attract our youth to stay in this community. This is key to building a better and viable future for Sarnia/Lambton.
We should welcome and work with prospective new businesses that want to locate in Sarnia/ Lambton. We already have an excellent skilled trades force from the valley necessary to help build new industry, we can help coordinate the educated workforce needed to run these plants and offer financial incentives to bring good paying jobs and young people to the area. Bringing new business to our community will expand our tax base, which will help the whole city and county. We need to streamline the bureaucratic process to ensure that we remove any obstacles that may hinder growth.