Having resided in Dufferin County for more than 20 years it was 14 years ago my dream was realized when I was able to move to Amaranth Township to a country property. Today I share that experience with my wife Carolyn and sons Erik(step) and Jacob. We operate a small hobby farm specializing in preserving heritage and critically endangered poultry, alpacas and enjoy a few other critters in the mix as well. Our production of various meats from the farm has afforded us the opportunity the past two years to offer local families in need hampers with various goods including frozen meats for Christmas. I am also a member and coordinator for Heritage Livestock Canada, an organization of volunteers committed to preserving heritage livestock of all types throughout Canada.
The residents of the township of Amaranth deserve an inclusive, unified, fiscally responsible and informed council. My 20+ years working in the construction industry brings with it not only the construction experience but also the experience having worked with many different municipalities in permit approvals. Having advanced my career over the years to a senior leadership role I’ve gained valuable corporate and political experience. My desire to serve the residents of this beautiful township brings with it no personal agendas, but rather a desire to bring value everywhere possible in ensuring we return the township to fiscal health. As a unified council we will need to work to expedite planning approvals thus attracting investment in our township while acting responsibly to protect important agricultural lands. Our roads and infrastructure require improvements, we will need to work together to find economical solutions to deliver more with the funds available. As council we will also need to welcome events and attractions to Amaranth promoting our beautiful township as well as the revenue they bring such as the Coming Home music festival and International Plowing Match.
I look forward to serving our community and having the chance to improve our township while building lasting relationships with my fellow residents.
All Candidates meeting – Q & A
Questions not asked
01:16:50 Jocelyne Dewsbury: why does Amaranth have more bad gravel roads than any township in Dufferin.
A: Amaranth Township has many gravel roads, as do other townships across Ontario. I can only assume this statement is being made in regards to the gravel roads in the spring, during a short period when the frost is coming out as other than during this short period, normally about two weeks our gravel roads are as good as any in the province. Portions of our gravel roads, like many roads in Ontario whether gravel or asphalt have unsuitable structural bases which cause issues with surface stability. Any portions of roads like this in service will in time, when the funds are available require re-building. Being a candidate running in this township for the first time, I am not going to attempt to answer why this might be the case, other than say we like I would venture to say every municipality in the province have portions of our roads we would like to reconstruct.
01:17:30 Brynlee & Crystal: The Park in Waldemar is a bit dated and not made for younger children. Is there plans that we could improve these facilities ?
A: I personally am unable to answer as to whether there are plans currently being discussed to upgrade this park, but do not recall any from the meetings I have listened in on. Prior to voting in favor of upgrading this park I would first want to understand where else funds are required for upgrades to our parks and recreation facilities to ensure funds are allocated where most needed first.(Whether here or elsewhere)
01:18:38 Donna Funston: how will infrastructure be funded?
A: Ultimately from our budget. Our newly formed council will need to look at all opportunities to fund required infrastructure before it fails and at times may need to consider difficult decisions even if that means tax increases. Of course this is never a popular decision but I wouldn’t be answering with transparency if I said I would not consider this rather than seeing roads closed. Township council and staff faced with our failing bridges will need to take a very hard look at what alternative means may be available to build lower priced bridges that meet our needs for example. Intersection improvements for example will need to be looked at as well with economy in mind but also in a means that delivers the required upgrades. Roundabouts are not something that I would entertain for Amaranth given their extremely expensive cost and intended use for roads with greater volumes. That being said we will need to be diligent in exhausting all efforts to get funding/grants from other levels of governments as well.
01:18:52 Adam Melen: What is your plan on deplorable properties in Amaranth as there is no properties standards act
A: I currently do not have a plan on this subject. That being said however I am willing to discuss this as a whole with council to determine what options are available to address this concern. I do recognize that this is not an easily addressed subject and that any meaningful new framework will require substantial time and effort from council and staff.
01:32:23 Adam Melen: How will you regulate/prevent dumping fill throughout the township. Dump trucks are dumping none stop during the weekends.
A: The township and province have framework in place to regulate the dumping of fill. Council will need to work with this framework. Ontario regulation 406/19 in it’s entirety is set to come into effect in the new year further restricting dumping. Preventing the dumping of fill in the township is not a realistic expectation. Dump truck traffic on Saturdays is common place across this province, and especially of late with a booming construction industry and driver shortage. I’m not aware of dumping on Sundays but if this is occurring I would be open to discussing whether this is something that Amaranth should be allowing.
01:35:18 Judie: would council consider hosting town hall events to encourage community participation in council?
A: Regularly scheduled council meetings already have a mechanism for community participation via the Public Question Period. I believe it is important to ensure that there is a structure like this in place to ensure that the many things requiring attention on the agenda get their appropriate attention. Public wishing to bring content to the meetings are encouraged to do so via this format.
01:46:24 Milley: I would also like to know how the township plans to address the increasing number of unkempt properties within Amaranth. Do candidates also have concerns about this?
A: Already answered above. I will add that I share concerns about unkept properties, more so properties that present a potential risk to anyone potentially gaining access to them or occupants should this be the case.
01:53:44 Jocelyne Dewsbury: Dufferin still has no waste management plan other then going to Michigan. Why the energy from waste plant not being build purchased by county.
A: Hard to fully understand the question in the format presented. Michigan has a booming waste business not only from Dufferin but other municipalities such as Toronto. As a new candidate, I can not speak to why the county chose not to pursue the facility but would venture to guess that the shear cost of constructing it was a concern not to mention opposition from residents not wanting the odor and truck traffic generated by it. The not in my back yard if I recall was a big issue in the media. A model such as this I believe would require more than just Dufferin’s waste to make it efficient. That being said it would be a decision requiring many different parties to be in agreement before traction would be achieved.
01:57:44 KG: Testing water. Who pays for that???
A: I don’t know at this time who this cost would rest with, but guess that The Grand River Conservation Authority may take the lead on this.