I have been involved in municipal volunteerism and leadership since 1985; initially as a Toronto councillor (1985 to 2003), and more recently as a town councillor from 2014 to 2018, and lord mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake since then.
Throughout my career, I have demonstrated impeccable integrity, hard-working, proven leadership through an inclusive, pragmatic and conciliatory approach to planning, and solving problems in managing your municipal government.
I attend many events in the community and belong to a long list of distinguished organizations: NOTL Rotary, Shaw Guild, NOTL Town Ambassadors, Friends of Fort George, NOTL Historical Society, the NOTL Horticultural Society and the NOTL Social Club. I am a full-time lord mayor.
My priorities for council are financial accountability, finalizing our vision and continuous improvement to town service infrastructure.
I have increased and will continue to increase the capital reserve to help protect taxpayers from unforeseen expenditures. I have put controls and spending freezes in place until expenditures are justified through business cases and increasing revenue streams like the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) to ensure tourism is helping to pay for tourism infrastructure.
I am near completion on our planning objectives to protect both our natural and built form heritage, encouraging to maintain a village feel in all of our settlement areas, and protecting our vibrant farms. The Tourism Master Plan is also set to come out next spring. These plans must be looked at in an integrated way, not in isolation.
When the Glendale District Plan was approved, it plotted out the areas to protect greenspace, places of natural heritage and spaces for public amenities first. This was a good process. Our work is continuing on the Glendale Secondary Plan. It will include a main street with cafes, shops and bike paths. I will be collaborating with the Region to ensure it is not over-developed.
I, together with town councillors, started a process to determine what should be built on the old hospital site. It is a significant piece of land and will have a great impact on our community. I will be engaging with the community, soliciting input on proposals.
I will continue to improve parks (we improved seven parks this term) together with our community partners. We must look at increasing activity for our young families.
Healthcare will form a large discussion this coming term. I have received a commitment from Niagara Health System for a new nurse practitioner for primary care who will serve residents in Niagara-on-the-Lake who do not have a doctor.
Although council approved a project called Tapestry – assisted living for seniors – it did not
proceed due to the impacts from COVID. I, together with town council, must now search more diligently for an alternate solution.
We have come a long way. We are on a good path. We must now finish what we started.
Each candidate for lord mayor was asked to submit 500 words telling readers a little about themselves, their priorities, and their message to voters.