The Echo sent the following questions to all candidates running for a seat at the council table in Dysart et al.
1. Provide an introduction to yourself. (This could be about how you came to the area your hobbies and interests family life education accomplishments.)
2. What is the most important issue facing Dysart et al today? As a council member how would you address that issue?
3. Are there services or facilities you would like to see in Dysart et al that don’t already exist? If elected how would you go about making them a reality?
4. Explain how climate change is impacting Dysart et al and what council can do to help mitigate its effects.
5. The chamber of commerce and local businesses have raised concerns that there are not enough young adults and young families choosing to live in the Highlands. This has led to shortages in some fields (skilled trades for example) and fewer children and youth in the community. What can council do to attract and retain young people?
The ballots will be going out in the mail this week. Election day is Oct. 22. For more information on voting contact the municipal office.
Next week we will feature the Q&A from Highlands East candidates.
1. My husband and I grew up in Harcourt went to school in Haliburton and our three children have done the same. I am a full time resident successful business owner waterfront and rural property owner in Dysart et al. My priority is to represent and raise the profile of Ward 3 area seasonal cottagers full-time residents and local businesses. I have been a lifelong volunteer in the Highlands most notably a recipient of 25 year pin from the provincial government for my involvement with the Wilberforce Agricultural Society. I was also involved with the Harcourt Canada Day celebrations and the Harcourt Centennial Celebrations. I am committed to local business development not just for employment but also to provide our young people with skills and opportunity. Through my business I have been very fortunate to have mentored many young people as they prepare for life. As past chairperson of the Algonquin Gateway Business Association for 5 years and owner of a successful tourism business South Algonquin Trails since 1999 I understand the challenges and advantages of running a business in our area.
2. One of the important issues facing Dysart et al today is affordable housing and retaining and attracting the young people in our area. I believe that with a few slight wording changes in our bylaws there is a possibility to create affordable housing. Addressing the issue would be to identify which bylaws they are and how they could be more effective in what we want to achieve which would also create economic development.
Short term rentals are another issue facing Dysart and I believe that educating the owners and the renters should be the number one priority as a way to address everyone’s concerns not create more bylaws.
3. We need to keep on extending our cell and internet services to cover all of Dysart et al.
Dysart just built a brand new Harcourt Community Center that seats 150 people. I would really like to see the community center utilized to its fullest potential. Our area attracts many people who retire here some with amazing skill sets that could be very beneficial to help make our community vibrant. Creating a sense of community with events and bringing in other organizations that invite people to our area also helps add to our economy and can then enhance economic development.
4. Climate change is a global problem but things can be done at a local level to prepare for such changes and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Outdoor adventure businesses in the Haliburton Highlands that rely on the climate to create income see firsthand on how the climate change impacts them. Even one day can cost a business owner thousands of dollars because of the weather conditions.
Identifying risks and then assessing those risks on what is felt to be the most important like buildings flooding hydro roads health and the natural environment.
5. I believe bringing the trades back into the high school curriculum would be a great start.
We could also retain existing students by better connecting them to the community. Find out what their interests are and connect them with local mentors that are willing to share their knowledge and contacts.
Encourage young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses or be part of a local business’s succession planning.