The Minden Times sent the following five questions to the candidates for Minden Hills council.
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 Minden Hills today? As a council member how would you address that issue?
3. Local housing advocates say less than 13 per cent of housing stock in Minden Hills is rental. They raise concern that not enough rental housing is available for the “missing middle” renters (those who would not qualify for social housing but cannot afford much of what is on the market). What can be done to create more rental units for those who do not qualify for social housing?
4. Minden Hills is working on a downtown revitalization plan for the village of Minden. What should the township be doing to attract more investment and visitors to Minden’s downtown core?
5. The township recently entered into an agreement where it will pay up to $10 million for an upgrade of the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Minden Hills Community Centre. Is this the right project for the community? What should have been done differently?
Here are the responses from the candidates for mayor and for Ward 2. Next week we will publish the answers from Wards 1 3 and councillor at large. Make sure to attend the all-candidates meeting Thursday Sept. 27 to hear from all the candidates. Election day is Oct. 22.
Jarrett Campbell – Candidate Mayor of Minden Hills
1. My name is Jarrett Campbell and I have lived in Minden my entire life. My wife of 19 years and I have three teenage children and I own and operate a small trucking/storage business. I like to play hockey in the winter and golf in the summer – but my favourite pastime is spending quality time with my family and friends. I am honest and hard working and I believe we together can make Minden better – but most of all inclusive of everyone.
2. I believe there are many issues which need to be addressed. I believe the current infrastructure of our town needs to be on the top of the list. When the taxpayers have to come together to cut the lawn at the cemetery we have a huge problem. Our river is another concern because if we are going to promote it we need to maintain it. This means trash cans should be emptied regularly lawn and tall grass up the shoreline should be kept cut gardens weeded dead trees and brush should be removed the path way should be kept swept and free of any droppings or debris daily and the public washrooms should be maintained and kept up – also daily. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
3. The creation of secondary dwelling units can offer housing for young adult family members just starting out in the workforce or aging family members who still need their independence but not necessarily the upkeep of their own house. Secondary dwelling units would also offer a small income when rented out to offset the cost of owning a home. This would create more available housing in the area and therefore the township would not have to build and maintain lower cost rental units. Of course building permits would need to be issued. These units would need to comply with all health and safety and property codes would need to be met. I think some of our zoning and bylaws need to be changed to help accommodate different ideas for our dwellings.
4. The red tape in which small businesses are having to push through – is not helping but seems petty and discouraging for anyone trying to make a go here in our town. Any safety issues I understand need to be addressed beforehand but things like automatic doors and the adjustment of existing fixtures should be given a timeline to be installed so not to interfere with the opening of the business. Issues like parking in the downtown area should not be the businesses’ responsibility as they cannot create more parking spaces. There are either spots for parking or there are not. I feel the river is the gateway to our downtown and we need to make it so.
5. I do agree that our community center does need some attention. However the way this project has been handled so far is unacceptable. $10 million from one bidder that was approved in nine days by a council that is at the end of its term – not knowing who will be at that table starting the next term. This act in itself is completely irresponsible. The questions I have are; How does council accept one tender without having any other tenders for price comparison? What are we getting for $10 million? How many local residents would get employment opportunity from this project? (Keeping tax money local). Going forward I believe that council should be responsible to dig further and not just accept one bid on any job in question. Also when putting out tenders we need to ensure that there will be local employment granted with any out of town contracting.
Brent Devolin – Candidate Mayor of Minden Hills
1. My family moved to the region in 1969 and I attended public and high school in Haliburton. Post secondary education commenced at Trent University and culminated with an Economics Degree. I am married with 3 children currently all in their 20’s. I am an active skier boater camper cyclist and enjoy almost all outdoor activities. Community involvement includes being past president of the Rotary Club of Minden former Director of Haliburton County Snowmobile Association Church Board member 40 years of political engagement and many other community-based initiatives. I have had the good fortune to have worked over 30 years in the Forestry Construction and Retail sectors of the Haliburton and Muskoka area.
As Mayor and Warden the last 4 years has seen successful negotiation of 2 collective agreements Emergency Management Plan completion Public Housing initiatives in Minden new Firehall build and Economic Development initiatives.
2. The issues that are most important for Municipal governments today are numerous including Housing Internet & Connectivity Labour Force Development & Alignment Health Care Environmental Protection Asset Management and Investment to name a few. Asset management with a long-term plan and strategy is the foundation of any Municipal government’s ability to deliver the required services to the ratepayers. Minden Hills is growing at 8% (more than double the provincial average) but the assessment growth under MPAC’s formula is not keeping pace. Some government funding models that are based upon the permanent resident population are fundamentally flawed and do not adequately support regions with a high percentage of seasonal residents. The present term of council has taken a bold move in an election year to invest in our assets and build a sustainable path for the municipality. This action was taken so that future councils may not be burdened with many years of double digit increases to fulfill our responsibilities.
3. To address the “missing middle” several policies can be deployed. Because of the new County Official Plan municipalities can use Community Improvement Plans specialized zoning creation and other incentives to create monetary and non-monetary incentives for builders and developers to fill the gaps. Local government can also begin a strategy to leverage funds from the National Housing Strategy initiatives and the Federal Investment Bank. Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation (a joint City and County initiative) has been very successful in leveraging the public housing starts in our community. This type of approach for the non-socially assisted housing could be used to great success in this regard. Municipalities should also lobby for changes in the Ontario Building Code that would make it easier to build smaller houses (i.e. Tiny house initiatives) in our rural municipality. These all would help to begin to fill the housing gap in Minden Hills.
4. The present term of council with its downtown revitalization planning and economic development task force have begun the foundational part of the downtown metamorphosis. During these initiatives several conclusions were reached. First that a BIA representing the interests of these downtown stakeholders needs to be re-established. Secondly that the need existed to hire an Economic Development person to champion the findings and initiatives that flow from these groups. Thirdly Minden Hills has procured the third property to complete the ownership of the whole block where the old firehall was located. This investment will serve as an anchor with a large downtown public space that will be developed to complement the businesses in the downtown area and give a larger permanent venue for farmers markets allowing small sized business exposure and retailing space and a multi-season venue for events like Music by the Gull.
5. In 2014 an engineering analysis was completed that illustrated the sad shape of the S.G. Nesbitt Community Centre. Its minimum option was a $2 ½ million band aid. We are blessed with a facility that had good bones and was potentially a candidate for a refurb to put in shape to last an additional 40 years. In 2015 the 1st Task force was created to study the best community centres rebuilds in Ontario that could serve a model for renewal. The consideration of new vs rebuild was considered and the findings were that it would be approx. $6-8 million for a refurb and $10-12 million for a new build. Quality refurbs like the Ennismore Arena were indistinguishable from a new build and that was a great relief. The next consideration was the refrigeration system both from energy efficiency and risk mitigation (due to ammonia volumes) and analysis of other centres showed that an ice plant with state of the art ice bank would be the preferred option. The second task force was then struck with the assembled community technical expertise and community stakeholders. During the 1st and 2nd task force meetings the members heard loud and clear form the public that an expansion to the facility that would give expanded capabilities for those interested in an active life style was desired. The analysis between a multi-sport component and a pool were considered but the multi-sport option was half the money to build and required one quarter of the staff to manage. The building task force was unanimous in its support to renew the arena and include a multi-sport facility. The cost of the arena component was about $6 ½ million and about $3 million for the multi-sport component. It was felt that this renewal would rebirth this important community hub in a contemporary form to serve the community for the next 40 years as well as the present facility has since the 1970s.
Wayne Hancock – Candidate Mayor of Minden Hills
1. I live in Prince Albert presently and I am building a retirement home on our lake in Irondale. My family and I own more than five pieces of property including the Gas Station at Irondale and several larger parcels. I have been the Director of Public Works for many years with different municipalities and I know the municipal system well.
I enjoy the outdoors and I am an avid fisherman both winter and summer.
I also enjoy all outdoor sports and love hockey.
I hope this provides some background to who I am.
2. I would simply say it is over taxing of the taxpayers and the wastage of our tax dollars on projects without designs and single bids and the lack of proper programming in all areas specifically in waste. The Scotch Line Landfill is a good example of wasted money no waste management strategy and an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The most recent approval of hiring a new company which the Township had problems with a few years ago is questionable. What are we doing and why would your proper tender not be ready. Why would Council approve this.
3. This is a bigger issue than just in our Township. The Province and Federal Government have to play a part. Without subsidized programs funding at the local level is impossible. I believe we need to revisit our discussions with our new provincial government and seek out funding any opportunities.
4. Some have suggested that a Community Improvement Plan is the right way to revitalize downtown Minden. This is using our taxpayers’ dollars to provide grants toward improvements on private property. I have suggested that if we are introducing a CIP then it should be Township wide. I have also suggested that we must relook the official plan the zoning and streamline our process. We are presently discouraging development by the heavy costs and hurdles that someone must go through to get to construction. Streamlining is the first step. The second step is to look to our marketing staff at different methods to bring people to our Town and community. i.e Marketing must look to an audience that is worldwide not just Haliburton. We must look to where the interests lie whether it be condo residential retirement residential diverse commercial to light industry.
We should not say no but rather how do we make it work. It is a different philosophy but it will encourage what we need.
5. The project is much needed but the procurement process was wrong. This was a single bid with no comparables. It is a design build contract and at this time no one seems to know what we are building. If we are to safeguard our tax dollars we must ensure we are getting competitive bids. In this case we really don’t know what we are buying.
My position is and will continue to be that the Council should have referred this matter back to staff and asked them to revise the RFP. A tender or RFP of this dollar amount must have several bidders.
Richard Bradley – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. The most important roles in my life are my family life as a husband father grandfather son and brother. My family first spent many summers visiting the Minden area before purchasing land and building in 1954. We moved to Minden from Toronto in 2001 because we wanted to raise our family here. In my work I am required to negotiate and interpret contract language as well as various legislation; a transferable skill to the work of a councilor. I have served on the Minden Cemetery Committee participated in the successful campaign to save the childcare centre from closure helped lead the effort to save the Minden Service Ontario location when it was slated for closure and in April of this year I asked our new Premier Doug Ford to assist Minden in applying pressure to the Federal Government to change the mandate of the Trent/Severn Waterway to make flood mitigation the primary purpose while ensuring that the system remains navigable through the boating season becomes secondary. The Premier did give me his word that he would help Minden achieve that goal. I intend to hold him to his word. I have stood up for Minden I will continue to stand up for Minden and as your councilor I will stand up for you. In Ward 1 you have two votes and I am asking you for one of those votes on October 22.
2. Flooding!!! Minden can’t become known as the town that floods. If this becomes our reputation people may stop considering Minden as a place to buy property or even visit. The banks may not want to provide mortgages and insurance rates may rise. As I stated above we need to secure mandate change for the Trent/Severn waterway to make flood mitigation the primary focus of the system and navigable water levels secondary. While we are a part of the feeder system for the Trent/Severn waterway which means the river is part of a managed water system we are also affected by the Orillia Power Generation Dam. This means that one system is controlling water for the Trent; the other system is adjusting the flow and levels based on when it is most lucrative to generate electricity. As a result our river that is controlled by two different systems is not always deep enough for our liking. We need to find a balance with both systems so our managed waterway remains controlled and navigable so that whatever your pleasure you are going to be able to pursue it and still be able to get back to the dock. Another water related issue is the Municipal water system and its rates. The users of the system must pay for the system by law; however this has resulted in some residents paying more for their water than they do their property taxes. I believe a full review of the system needs to be done to keep the costs as reasonable as possible while keeping the water safe and abiding by all of the provincial regulations.
3. I believe that affordable housing is the most important key to poverty reduction and rental housing is a problem a problem we are not going to be able to address on our own. We are going to need the help of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing the Federal Government as well as the County of Haliburton to step up and provide much of the funding. During the Provincial election our MPP Laurie Scott asserted that for 15 years our riding has not been adequately funded by the previous government and now it’s time for the new government to correct it. At the federal level we are going to have to work with our MP Jamie Schmale to help us achieve the goal. Our job as a municipal council is to provide the facts work with the local advocacy groups apply for and lobby to secure the funding we need to increase the number of affordable rental units in Minden and the county. We also need to assist in the process by providing land and funding as we are able and have done recently with the Pinegrove Place development.
4. For many years Minden has been in transition with highway 35 seeing increased business development continuing while the downtown area has not. There have been some changes of course with some businesses opening and subsequently moving to other places and unfortunately some of them closing down. The Beer Store after a trial run moved to the highway and in the fullness of time I expect to see the LCBO follow suit. While the change in location of the Beer Store from downtown might not have been seen as a good news story at the time seeing the Boshkung Brewing Company take over the space has been a positive result. While some types of businesses may seek the high traffic opportunities of the highway others like our newest eatery prefer to locate closer to the parking and other amenities that the downtown area of town provides. I think we need to continue to encourage businesses to establish themselves in both the Minden downtown area as well as the Highway 35 corridor as I do not see it as a one versus the other scenario; more successful businesses are good for Minden regardless of their address.
5. The S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and the attached Minden Hills Community Centre are very important to the community and they both need work as most will agree. As we have seen in Haliburton and other communities many arenas have been operated beyond their best before dates and have required significant upgrades to the ice chilling systems as well as the physical plant of the buildings. Sometimes those facilities have been allowed to deteriorate into crisis situations that included unscheduled closings and entire seasons without an ice rink. Thankfully in Minden we have not yet reached that situation. The required commitment of approximately $6.5 million was pretty much established as required while the additional $3.5 million of enhancements were not and much to the chagrin of many there is no attached pool. The project was approved by council at the last possible minute which was in fact within their powers to do but I have heard from many that they are not happy with when it was done and the fact that there was only one bidder. Could the decision have been delayed should the project have been re-tendered what was the rush before an election why not include a pool with the enhancements? These are all valid concerns that I have heard from around town. The new council is going to have to make their own tough decisions regarding this project and others that are ongoing to best fulfill their responsibilities to the taxpayers of Minden Hills and the needs and wants of the entire community.
Clayton Cameron – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. I have lived on the Scotch Line Road for 32 years. I have 28 years of Public Works experience 16 of which were in Minden Hills responsible for roads landfill water/sewer parks and recreation and cemeteries. I also have 22 years on local council 19 years on Somerville Township (now part of City of Kawartha Lakes) and 3 years of which were on Minden Hills council from 2004 to 2006. I have a university degree in science from Guelph University graduated in 1976. I am now retired and am confident that my experience and knowledge would be an asset at the council table.
2. I think the most important issue facing Minden Hills is the status of the private septic systems in the township. If we lose our waterfront properties to pollution we have nothing left. There is a way to set up an inspection program to identify polluting properties and have them cleaned up. We need the right plan implemented in the right way to ensure the continued use of our lakes.
3. Housing has always been the responsibility of the upper tier (County) and the Province. This is not the time for the Townships to be expanding their mandate and getting involved in housing.
4. Downtown revitalization is an uphill battle. Council needs to be aware of the possible uses for the downtown and how changes and upgrades can be accommodated to allow the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive and grow. There have been some recent upgrades on the main street that are a benefit to the whole community.
5. To the best of my knowledge the arena upgrade has been approved and a contract awarded. There was considerable effort expended to come up with a proposal to move forward. It will be difficult to stop the process at this late date. There may be some savings to be had on the project to reduce the cost. To keep people coming to the area you must offer some kind of service. Hopefully once visitors have seen the area they will come back again. It was unfortunate that council approved the project just before the lame duck status took effect. It raises suspicions about the process.
Bob Carter – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. My name is Bob Carter and I am running for council in Ward 1 of Minden Hills.
In 2013 my wife Nell Thomas and I moved to Minden from our farm outside Guelph. We wanted to return to the land of lakes rocks and trees where Nell could devote her energy to rural family medicine and we could live in a small town community. Minden Hills has been a perfect fit for our lifestyle and passions.
I contribute to the community in several ways.
As a HHHS volunteer driver I am privileged to chauffeur clients to often distant medical appointments and have learned about the local history geography and lives of the people gaining an appreciation for the unique challenges experienced by many residents.
I am active in and now serve as President of the Lake Kashagawigamog Organization.
Challenges on the lake led me to engage with Minden Hills and Dysart councils.
To work on local needs I joined the Minden Hills Planning and Development Committee and the Housing Task Force.
Through these endeavors I am now passionate about what I see and hear from others are the biggest needs in our community.
I studied Computer Science and Business Administration first at Concordia University and then at McGill. Over several decades I have worked in various executive roles in a number of different industries but mostly I ran Information Technology and Engineering Departments. I have extensive experience working with teams of people with different skills to develop cost effective strategies to solve complicated problems. I have done this locally and internationally. I have learned that listening to people‘s needs and understanding their problems are key to achieving success. I understand the importance of trust (that people know you will do what you say you will do) and I always strive to balance the needs of individuals with the common good.
I am running for council because this is the community where my family lives and where we will grow old and there is work to be done here to optimize our future. I have the time energy skills ideas and commitment to do the job.
My key goals are:
Revitalizing the economy of our town.
Protecting the lakes that are the lifeblood of our community.
Developing appropriate and critically needed housing.
Establishing responsible taxation and spending.
Improving infrastructure and availability of services.
Ensuring transparent government.
In our spare time you can find us hiking snowshoeing or boating with our two dogs enjoying this wonderful countryside.
2. I believe that the single most important issue is the lack of appropriate housing in the township. The need extends across seniors families and singles. As a volunteer driver for HHHS I meet many seniors who are isolated in their rural homes and wish they could live closer to other people services and shopping. Many businesses find it difficult to attract workers to the area because there is not suitable housing accommodation. We have long waiting lists for assisted housing in the township.
Question 3 is also about housing so I will address it further there.
In my mind housing is the most important issue but we cannot look at it in isolation. Transportation is closely linked to housing. People need transportation to get to their doctors the grocery stores their work places etc. Therefore we must incorporate transportation when we are planning and building housing.
Housing and transportation are key factors in the economic development of our town. To have a vibrant community and to service the needs of residents and visitors we need places to live and means to travel around.
I applaud the work that many have done in developing plans for economic development transportation community improvement etc. but now is the time for council to bring these efforts together so that we have coordinated development.
I will also work to ensure that our town plan and our bylaws support these efforts.
3. As I stated in question 2 we have a shortage of almost all types of housing (expensive lakefront cottages being the exception). The problem is particularly acute here but it exists in many areas of the province. That fact is important because developers & builders are not motivated to come to Minden when they have potential projects much closer to their homes.
I believe that we are going to have to get started on our own. The Housing Task Force identified what we need. Now we must build it.
One of the key areas to any project is financial resources. I have done substantial research into Community Bonds. Community Bonds are like conventional bonds but they always have a social or environmental return in addition to a financial return. Community Bonds are used to support local projects that benefit the community. Many projects including housing projects in Peterborough Guelph Toronto and across Canada have been developed with Community Bonds. They give people a chance to invest in their own communities and promote local economic development.
Community Bonds are an excellent way for us to finance the development of mixed housing for residents of all ages and economic ability. Many individuals in the community have already asked me how they can help and this will be a key area of focus for me.
4. The first thing we need is an overall plan of what we want to accomplish over the next ten years. We have many initiatives that need to be coordinated. Visitors will come to a vibrant community that offers parkland shops restaurants cafés services etc. Investors will invest where there is a market and a potential for return.
We need a town plan bylaws and staff that spell out where we are going and that make it easy for investors to understand what they need to do. We need to have workers who will work in the businesses. And we need to ensure that we develop with visitors in mind but with a priority to the needs of the permanent residents.
I think we also need to focus on and learn from our existing business owners and entrepreneurs. They have the experience and know what works in our community and we should encourage and help them to grow their businesses and start new ones.
I believe the town is in the process of hiring somebody to lead these efforts. That is an excellent start as we need to promote the township and all it has to offer to visitors and investors.
5. I know that many good people worked long hours on this project. A community centre and a recreational/exercise facility are important assets to the township. I did not see all the surveys and studies but I believe that there is a need for this type of facility.
When you have this type of facility ongoing maintenance and upgrades are necessary. We must ensure that this facility will not fall behind resulting in another major investment.
I do not have all the facts but I strongly believe that having a single bid on a project of this magnitude is a problem. I realize that there are special circumstances but whenever you only have one bidder that is a “red flag” that there is something wrong with your process. On a project of this magnitude I would have re-opened the bidding to get more bids. I realize this would be disappointing to many and a frustrating delay but we must be prudent with our expenditures.
Jennifer Hughey – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. Born in Peterborough raised in Minden I spent 15 years in the GTA/Durham before returning to the Highlands three years ago. I’m 36 years old and have two not-so-little girls eight and five (going on 16) attending Archie Stouffer Elementary – the same school I went to when I was little.
I graduated from Hal High with honours and headed to the big smoke to complete a journalism honours degree at Ryerson University. Living in Toronto for a decade was an experience to be sure working for Rogers Media before moving back in 2015. I took the editor role at The Highlander for nearly a year and then started my own media business where I now work from my home.
I was recently appointed to the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) Task Force am currently a member of the township’s Events Planning Committee and sit on the Culinary Tourism Task Force at the county level. I am passionate about the Minden Housing Task Force am a Friend of the Haliburton County Public Library director an ASES volunteer and a photographer/committee member of the Minden Terry Fox Run. I believe my community involvement speaks for itself and I really enjoy doing it.
2. There are a few important issues facing Minden Hills today and will continue to into the four-year-term. But the most important issue that I feel very strongly about is how we promote the municipality’s heritage and the dynamic of our vibrant small town economy that continues to attract new ventures and support existing business owners while ensuring that residents have a high quality of life and access to our natural environment.
This is part of why I applied to be on the CIP Task Force. We need to bring people into the downtown encourage business owners to invest in Minden – as we know most are already – as it’s really trying to thrive and succeeding now in so many areas.
However when you add to that very little access to public transportation and the soon-to-be extreme lack of senior accommodation options in town or close to it – you begin to see it’s not just one issue. As a council member I would want to review these issues and discuss what may or may not be working how we can evaluate other examples of municipalities experiencing these same issues; discuss and learn from one another through partnering on best practices. AND how we can include the community in the process.
3. This issue affected our family directly upon moving back to the area. As a family of four with a pet our choices were extremely limited and it was luck that landed us a place for the first two years. There are many suggested solutions and if any of them could come to fruition we would gain from it. There are properties which could be used to clear and build rental housing to accommodate the missing middle. Or even be seen as investment opportunities for existing business owners to expand potentially. With properties similar in size that would accommodate a structure like the Newcastle Street apartment building already available – we wouldn’t have to wait to discuss and begin.
We know there are options like tiny homes houses made of shipping containers and senior campuses that have been presented to our community only a few short months ago. These options are not foreign to Minden Hills if we look at Hunter Creek Estates or The Wood. People are successfully living in tiny homes already and it’s not a shock that they accommodate well. One of these campus-style residences – with access to downtown within walking distance or scooter distance or a cost-effective transit option from the campus to downtown would greatly benefit our municipality.
4. I believe in focusing on improving community through planning for future opportunities. Things like an innovation hub for social entrepreneurs that would attract and retain young professionals. A revitalization and continued support for the DBIA with a greater emphasis on downtown events that bring people to the main street core and what it will offer business or property owners in the intended radius.
Access to grants and loans for those interested in improving the façade of their building or those who know their store’s heritage and want to preserve that history by investing in the CIP program to help do so. New ideas and fresh thinking that will promote and sustain the downtown is integral moving forward.
With that I also feel strongly about the missing welcome to Minden for patrons and visitors – all we have is a sign directing people into the “business section”. We need revitalization that promotes our local arts and culture. What about a vibrant mural like the one on the side of Boshkung Social or the former mural from the Organic Times? Using that talent that has become known to our little town and create a sign that directs people into the beautiful Merry Minden. Projecting our downtown as something not to be missed will allow for more economic stability as we bring tourism onto Bobcaygeon to disperse more effectively into our business section.
5. It’s a great project for any community to revitalize their current assets or build on what already is successful in the township. As a journalist however there were many questions where the answers should have been a bit more forthcoming to the public.
For example there were a LOT of different companies who were sent the RPF and only one offered to do the project? Why did the other 17 reject the offer? Why is it so expensive compared to other projects done in neighbouring communities we keep reading about? My goal would be to recommend and support council re-open this issue to examine this issue to ensure it is the best route for residents. Why didn’t we consult Haliburton directly to determine what they paid to have their ice surface upgraded? Ultimately what should have been done differently is committee and council should have taken more time to decide.
Rob Luke – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. I moved to the Highlands in 1963 with my parents and we created and ran Luke’s Marina (now Kushog Lake Marine). After the business was sold we relocated to Minden and I worked at Minto Marine as a mechanic; at the same time I started as a volunteer ambulance attendant with the Minden service. After 2 years as a volunteer acquiring my accreditation I then worked as a full-time Paramedic for 2 years. In a few years I became the Manager/Supervisor for the Minden ambulance service and when the Minden and Haliburton services amalgamated I became the manager for Haliburton County Emergency Services. During that time I worked closely with Minden council and have a clear understanding of the dynamics of the municipal process funding and budgeting. At an opportune moment I transferred to Lindsay Paramedics and after a few years became the Manager of Lindsay Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls until the service closed in 2003. I have worked in a variety of places since then doing a variety of jobs allowing me to meet many wonderful people. Minden is a wonderful community and I enjoy living here with my wife and our family.
2.There are many issues that are important to a lot of people depending on their situation and needs. One of those items is affordable housing both to develop and to rent. We need a municipal initiative that would attract developers to create housing developments; and to identify areas where this could take place.
3. Developments geared to accommodate people that want to get into their first home; and for people that need decent rental units that currently are not available. We need to get rid of the red tape. This is a deterrent to any developer that tries to address the rental or housing problem. We need to be able to streamline and expedite the paperwork/application process so we can promote this type of development now. Rental accommodation is a basic need not a want. We need a plan that would assist any developer to work with local groups to put together a long term plan that would provide the type of units that are most versatile.
4. I believe a CIP was being considered for the downtown area for revitalization and we must consider a plan for more than just the downtown core. Our downtown goes through ups and downs and from personal experience survival on the main street is dependent upon tourism; and that can ebb and flow depending on the economy and time of year. Revitalization isn’t just about making it look nice it needs to be a destination; give people a reason to come. There are business owners currently putting in great effort and money to try and make this happen and I applaud them. However a broader plan is required to bring investment dollars back into our area we need more businesses. We have an industrial area with no services and most people don’t know it is there (see if you can find it).
5. I believe the plans were done with good intentions but I disagree with starting the project with only one bidder. We need to look at Minden as a business; expansion (more businesses) maintenance (of our existing features and attractions) storefront appearance (how do we look and present ourselves).
One of the most important aspects of business is getting more than one quote for a project. If you get more than one and one pulls out you are not left without options. Not shopping around and checking out all options and possible innovations is simply not wise. Look at what other communities have and if you like it ask them who their developer was. There are many ways in which to get bids on a project and I don’t think this council explored them all.
Dwight Thomas – Candidate Councillor Ward 1
1. My name is Mike Grozelle my family had a farm on Davis Lake Rd. for close to 100 years. I have lived in my present home for 19 years in what was Lutterworth Township. I am a class A mechanic car and truck. I sat on the executive of the Royal Canadian Legion for six years. I was a volunteer firefighter captain and training officer. I have owned and operated my own construction company for 18 years. I have experience in recycle plastics and am an equipment operator with my own excavator. I am married to a wonderful woman named Jenn. We have three great children a son in law daughter in law and five wonderful grandchildren.
2. I don’t see one big problem I see a lot of small issues that need to be dealt with such as spending $10 million on an Arena but can’t spend $10000 to install hydro in our dump or install a set of scales. We need to ensure that our Parks Dept. has funding for graveyards and boat ramp maintenance and park equipment. The Roads Dept. has the funds it requires. Water Sewer Social Services Fire Dept. etc.
The current council wants to bring more people to the area without any consideration for our infrastructure. We need to help not hinder small businesses trying to open in our area. We need to promote the fact we are open for business have up to date infrastructure and the people who want to work.
3. I understand it is more difficult for the average working class person to get ahead. And even more difficult to qualify for a large mortgage but I don’t feel that most people want to rent I think they rent out of necessity. Paying rent only helps the person who owns the house. I would be in favour of looking at opening another Hunter Creek Estates for example where ownership would give people a sense of pride and affordable Housing and not be a continuous drain on taxpayers.
4. Downtown revitalization? Does that include the work we need to do to the bridge not likely. What about the old fire hall? What about the flooding? Let’s spend more money just to have the water wash it down the river. Let’s get these things in order before we spend more money. Let’s get our priorities straight. No new business wants to start under water.
5. The contract for the arena should never have been awarded with only one tender! It should have been sent back out for more tenders. I was led to believe that a few years ago $8 million would have replaced the arena now we are spending $10 million to repair what should be replaced. I understand this is the second time this building has been repaired.
By the time we pay off the $10 million the arena will be ready to tear down. We need to get our priorities straight.
Thanks for your support. Every vote counts.
Pam Sayne – Candidate Councillor Ward 2
1. I’ve lived in Moore Falls since 1998. I still have a seasonal cottage on Black Lake. Leaving teaching consulting and management I started a business to make a living locally. I know our community through environmental concerns and volunteerism. My step-son was a young boy when we moved here from Toronto. Now gainfully employed he lives in Algonquin Highlands with his wife and two children. Wow how time flies!
Serving as councillor for these four years has been challenging eye-opening and rewarding. This included working on the Association of Municipalities Ontario Housing Taskforce initiating (with community members) the Climate Change Action Committee provincial lobbying attending conferences (sometimes at my own expense) forwarding municipal concerns working on issues raised by residents and more. Committed to lifelong learning I have a post graduate degree in Educational Administration and a Doctorate in Adult Education. Education is not only about what we learn but how we are able to use what we learn. I enjoy working for my community.
Before serving on council I volunteered on the Minden Library and Timbersport Committees the YWCA Board Haliburton County Home Builders Association Board and as the Black Lake POA Co-Lake Steward. I also served on provincial and national boards and international advisory committees.
As councillor my understanding of transparency accountability and community involvement is more deeply understood. Community members know it when they see it and know it when it is not there.
2. I will again request an external organizational review. Reviews are conducted by an external independent expert on municipal governance and law human resources and organizational structure. A review would contribute to efficiencies and transparent governance. This is necessary to ensure the best use of municipal resources. A reviewer would gather input from councillors staff and municipal volunteers consider people’s roles and their perspectives and consider municipal services and operational responsibilities. A review can lead to better communications more transparency clearer roles and responsibilities.
Sometimes you can not see the forest for the trees. Out of respect for struggling tax payers we must be cost effective while providing services and maintaining infrastructure. An organizational review is a common tool for assessment. Minden’s organizational review is overdue.
By 2025 Ontario municipalities will need another $4.9 billion to maintain infrastructure based on all present provincial and federal funding continuing. Working with the Association of Municipalities Ontario to diversify income options we may avoid the estimated average 8% annual residential tax increase. Long term projections specific for Minden Hills have not been presented. This is of extreme concern to me along with the estimated 3% per year added to taxes for the Arena development which does not include general overall increases in operations. This is the biggest and long-term concern for our municipality and for me as your councillor. I would also like a Finance Committee including community members re-instated under the next council. This could be part of the organizational review considerations.
3. I supported the formation of and continue to work with the Minden Hills Housing Task Force. It is an uphill challenge by dedicated volunteers to create options and incentives for reasonably priced housing including rentals. The municipality needs to support the options they present in the future as they consult with local builders people looking for future downsizing within the community and more.
Minden Hills has allocated land near the arena for additional housing to the KLH Housing Corporation. This is an important contribution. It is not a fix for our ability to provide cost effective housing options for a diverse population and changing needs. It does not respond to solving the “missing middle” housing required. The Task Force is searching for home-grown solutions to serve broader and changing housing needs in our community.
We need local solutions to support our local builders and provide reasonably priced housing for our community members. I intend to continue working with the Minden Hills Housing Task Force to create more rental units – and housing options – that are accessible and affordable.
I bring to this endeavor a background in co-operative housing and work with several housing related organizations. Also I would like to continue working with AMO and lobby provincial and federal governments for the support we need and to inform the developing National Housing Policy.
4. Zoning considerations bylaws and approval processes with expected estimated costs need to be easier to interpret for local businesses taking initiative and for prospective new ventures. We need to listen when business tells us what works and what doesn’t for their success in our town planning and find solutions. Many local businesses met and provided input for improving our village. Some suggestions included: attracting more visitors to the downtown core with informative way-finding signage including along Highway 35; and concurrently slow traffic on Highway 35 as other communities have done from 70 to 60 kilometres per hour added benches and more. Thanks to recent funding we will be carrying out many of these suggestions soon.
There is a reported shortage of workers for local businesses. There are many reasons for this to be discussed. Council can focus on housing and transportation that is accessible for potential employees in the area.
The farmers’ and artisans’ markets Music on the Gull Minden Pride and Make it Minden activities library and the cultural centre to name a few examples along with our engaged store front businesses and eateries contribute to the vibrancy of our downtown community.
5. This project grew as a result of emergency building repairs that were required many years ago before this council’s term. The structural and other concerns still are not completed. Now we are in “urgent” mode.
I think the extension of this project from repairs to a major renovation should have gone to a referendum in the community. This is important due to the increased property tax this represents. It is also easier to fundraise if you know the community strongly supports the initiative. It would have been better to have a public call for people on this planning task force instead of rushing appointments due to the perceived urgency at the end of our term.
We should coordinate such large projects with the rest of Haliburton County because we cannot sustain this with our population base alone. And if “we” build it how can “they” come without transportation? Transportation should be a higher priority.
At the time of this writing council has not approved the contract agreement so there may remain an option to defer final decision to the 2018-2022 council.
Russ Duhaime – Candidate Councillor Ward 3
1. I bring a wealth of volunteer experience that proves I have the sort of energy and enthusiasm to promote progress in our community.
Since moving to Gelert 30 years ago I have been involved with many community organizations. I have committed countless volunteer hours promoting a healthy and active lifestyle and involving myself with a variety of community groups.
One of the cornerstones of a vibrant community is the availability of recreational opportunities. To encourage this I have coached hockey baseball soccer whitewater kayaking track and curling.
With Whitewater Ontario I worked with a team of volunteers to secure grants to refurbish the building and grounds at the Minden Whitewater Preserve. I also served on the sports committee that prepared the Preserve for the Pan Am games.
Additionally I volunteered for almost 10 years with the Ontario Curling Association as the zone representative for junior curling. This involved arranging scheduling and officiating at as many as six tournaments each season. Extending the curling season into the summer I was involved in the organization and coaching at three very successful curling camps which were held at the Minden arena.
My community involvement has also included working with the Minden BIA close to twenty years ago part of which involved co-ordinating the very first season of Music by the Gull. I served on the board of directors for CHACE I also volunteered on the Gelert Hall board.
I am also very familiar with the workings of Municipal Governments. My previous career as a journalist has made me very familiar with the world of municipal politics. I worked as a news reporter and editor for almost 10 years. In this role I reported on five to ten council meetings each month.
Most recently I retired from work as an educational assistant at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. With this new freedom I will be able to devote my full attention to my role on council.
As a councillor I will always be looking for ways to remove obstacles standing in the way of positive growth. This applies to everything from housing to recreation to internet service to roads and to waste management.
2. I don’t feel that any one issue is the most important. Councillors need to be able to look at each issue in front of them and act on it as though it is the most important. Each issue we face is important to the people of Minden Hills.
My goal is to begin laying down the framework for a community which people of all ages are proud to call their home. In order to do that we need things like reliable internet service affordable housing and enhanced community facilities in all corners of the municipality. We need to become aggressive in this pursuit and that demands the sort of energy that I can bring to the table.
3. We need to encourage rental development by establishing appropriate goals identifying desirable regions within the municipality and then begin minimizing obstacles that stand in the way of those goals. Development will happen if it’s economically viable. It’s our responsibility to do what we can to help make that possible.
4. I’m encouraged by the tasteful improvements that have occurred in the village over the past several years. I’m optimistic that things are on the right course. Council’s role in this is to facilitate growth while ensuring that infrastructure is not overtaxed.
Keep in mind that commercial development is important throughout the municipality. The viability of businesses in Gelert Lochlin and Irondale for example is also important to the economy of Minden Hills.
5. I am concerned that a project of this magnitude was approved at the 11th hour with just one bid. However I’m not privy to all the discussions that led up to this decision so it’s not fair to criticize.
Having said that it’s time to look toward the completion of this community asset on time and on budget.
Jean Neville – Candidate Councillor Ward 3
1. I was born in Haliburton then our family moved westerly by stages and ended up in Northern B.C. where I spent part of my youth. Due to my mother’s health we moved back east first to Bracebridge area and then to Lochlin. I attended the one room 8 grade school SS#12 Snowdon and 4 of my 5 secondary school years at Haliburton High. I trained as a Medical Laboratory Technologist at Civic hospital in Peterborough where I remained for 6 years moving back to Lochlin area in 1974. Because of my profession there was an opportunity to establish a testing Laboratory at an existing licence in this area. I worked in this field for over 40 years. We farmed in Snowdon and raised 3 sons all of whom live and work in the county and are raising a third generation. I have always been very active in community life and events as well as farming. I was a founding member of the Haliburton County Farmers’ Association and currently president of that as well as Vet Services. I have been a board member of the Lochlin Community centre for over 30 years and the council member of Irondale Community Centre for 8 years. I attend support and work at events that fund raise for these centres. Until I was elected these halls did not receive any municipal funding and were threatened with closure. Other committees I work on include : CSD Events Festival of the August Moon Harvest Haliburton Minden Cat Angels Communities in Bloom Doors Open Hike Haliburton and Terry Fox volunteer and a member of Minden Horticultural Society.
2/3. A top priority would be affordable housing. I would advocate for by-laws to be reviewed regarding minimum size of dwellings as well as construction of tiny homes and garden suites for people wishing to add rental spaces to their homes. There also is a by-law preventing dwellings having 2 complete kitchens that should also be revisited allowing basement and accessory buildings having rental capabilities. These should always be considered with safety and separate entrances as a must.
Since this is also part of question 3 I would also like to advocate environmental priorities. I am an avid crusader for eliminating waste and deferring / composting all organics from our landfills. Reducing and eliminating plastics especially single use water bottles. This also goes hand in hand with naturalizing our shorelines and minimizing harmful pollutants into our water. Mandated septic inspections as well as restricting the number of occupants in shore front dwellings. This doesn't just include rental units but should also include owners that open their residences to several generations of relatives/ coworkers and friends during the year.
4. The municipal council should entertain new and innovative suggestions from the residents and business owners. There are lots of in-place by-laws that need to be revisited to enable and not restrict creative ideas. Encourage interaction with existing businesses to strengthen their investments and collaborations on what they want to see happen.
5. The S.G. Nesbitt facility does need upgrading with attention paid to the amenities we lack and our population demographic needs. This project is still in its embryonic stage so input from the public is important. We need to keep in mind affordability maintenance costs green building practices and use. If we proceed with a project nobody can afford to use or feel is necessary that is not being fiscally responsible.
John Teljeur – Candidate Councillor at Large
1. I have lived in Haliburton County for 40+ years. I currently live in Gelert with my wife Sonja and 8 year old daughter Sarah. I have had a very successful sales and management career mostly in the Tourism industry working for major hotel brands and with thousands of corporate and government clients. The most rewarding part of my life has been the last 8 years since our daughter was born. Almost losing her three times in her first couple years of life taught me the preciousness and precariousness of life. She is the reason I dedicated the rest of my life to community service in an attempt to pay off a debt of her being with us by whatever miracle or being it took to make it so. Since then our family grows vegetables annually that we donate to food banks/community kitchens. I got involved with the food bank effort in Haliburton County and spent two years on the board of the Ontario Association of Food Banks. A few years ago I co-founded Heat Bank Haliburton County and the Central Food Network – organizations that assist hundreds of households who struggle with the decisions of heating or eating that no one should have to. I have also volunteered my time to write grants and fund raise on behalf of local organizations that to date has resulted in nearly $400000 to build county food hubs and provide heat and food to those in need. In 2016 I purchased the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships and moved them to Haliburton County because I believe events like these build community and promote our community.
2. The most important issue facing Minden Hills is the need for council to be more accountable. Why do we have so many RFP’s on major projects that are bid on by one tender? Why would we agree to invest over $10 million on an arena project that does not reflect the needs of the greater community and that is over budget with no guaranteed source of funding and has not had a feasibility study? How is it possible that Minden has had the highest average tax increase in Haliburton County over the past four years? There are also concerns about accountability on Scotch Line landfill and related environmental impacts. Why have we lost so many good staff and have such a difficulty attracting new ones?
Yes the business of running a municipality is challenging for many reasons but make no mistake it is a business. As a business it has a bottom line; it is accountable to its customers and supportive of its staff. It makes good decisions with good information and invests smartly into the community to address the issues of today but also has an eye on tomorrow. As a councilor I am committed to pushing for council meetings to take place in evenings or to be streamed online so people can attend/view proceedings. I believe that council should hold annual town halls where the public can gather to get an update on how the “business” is performing and discuss issues/get feedback on those issues that are of concern to our customers.
3. The lack of rental stock is related to the overall lack of available housing inventory. In particular there are few options in the downtown core where future growth needs to happen. This lack of inventory in town is problematic for those that want/need to move closer to town services and healthcare and for those that lack transportation options. Increasing the downtown population density would make future projects (i.e. rural transportation) more feasible while assisting our local businesses. As part of my plan I would propose the sourcing and rezoning of a property to develop a tiny homes park. Tiny homes offer new home buyers those that have limited income and those that are seeking a simple lifestyle options versus high priced homes or rentals.
We cannot continue to rely on project initiatives from the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Group. I don’t believe they are invested in proactively finding solutions in Haliburton County. We need to continue to look at attracting and incentivizing developers to create projects that fit our community needs. With the passing of Bill 68 municipalities have more creative license to develop new sources of income rather than defaulting to taxation to raise revenues. With this in mind and barring success in the previously mentioned options – Minden Hills could set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). The trust would focus on funding specific areas of need (geared to income seniors etc). In essence Minden Hills would have the opportunity to invest in itself and control its own destiny to find solutions.
4. The first step is to work with the local businesses to determine whether a BIA or business association is the right approach. We need a unified voice and partner. My plan outlines a number of ideas that would drive interest and most importantly people to the downtown core.
Establishing a downtown park/green space at the site of the former Pritchard house capable of hosting music/theatrical and special events.
Converting the former fire hall into a seasonal indoor exhibit space to increase capacity and the type of events that can take place.
Pursue funding (e.g. Ontario Trillium Foundation) to build a splash pad that would attract families and visitors to town. It should be noted that over 30 communities have successfully applied to get between $55000 and $150000 from OTF in the past five years for splash pads.
Work with current and potential stakeholders to develop and find funding for improvements to the fairgrounds. Events at the fairgrounds drive visitors to the area and town.
Develop a Minden Hills Event Funding program that would support (though investment and/or in kind contributions) those events (current or proposed) that provide a solid plan demonstrating contributions to our community or economy.
5. In 2014 Greer Galloway Engineering after a full review of the Arena estimated the cost to fix it to be $2.4 million with an estimated lifespan of 20+ years. The new council instead decided to create an arena task force that did not consider suggestions (like a small pool) that were high on the list of a community survey. These other elements would be a nice compliment to an arena that would appeal to our aging population and the need to attract more families into our community.
This task force held a total of twelve reported meetings and took the entire four years of the council mandate before proposing a facility that could cost the taxpayers over $10 million ($1600 per man woman and child in Minden Hills) plus financing costs. This figure was based on ONE tender (that was over budget) NO feasibility study NO secure source of funding and with little or no consideration of other community interests that would make this facility a true “community centre”. Despite all these shortcomings council pushed through the project before it became “lame duck” rather than allowing the next council who will ultimately be responsible for the plan a chance to review and recommend on its merits.
An updated arena with a pool (that is reflective of our population demographics and needs) along with a fitness centre flexible meeting/event space potential commercial space/rental opportunities would give our community a REAL community centre that would be an asset to Minden Hills.
Ron Nesbitt – Candidate Councillor at Large
1. Hello I am Ron Nesbitt born in Haliburton. Married to my wonderful wife for 51 years. We have two kids 10 grand kids and 6 great grand kids. I am a seventh dan black belt in Shorin-Ryer karate and National Director for all of Canada. I am retired from Ford of Canada St. Thomas Ont. 31 years. I am a Mason and a Shriner. I was chairman for United Way of Greater London Ont.. We moved back to Minden in 2000. I am involved in many things with our beautiful town. I have been on the Terry Fox Committee for 13 years. Worked and still support the food bank. Minden Hills is one of the greatest and most giving places I’ve ever lived. I am always here to help where I can.
2. I think affordable housing and environmental issues. With affordable housing we need to be looking at phase #2 at the arena. Plus a place by itself for tiny houses. Maybe turning big homes into two apartments etc. Maybe have more meeting to get ideas from the people of the area. We need to keep our lakes and rivers clean and get the thousands of seagulls removed as they cause a lot of damage to our water with all of their droppings. Not an easy task but could be done.
3. I think I touched on this in question 2.
4. More signage off Hwy 35. Have a downtown rental area with washrooms. A hub of sorts where tourists and residents could park and walk and shop. Get rid of eyesores like the old theatre and they could get info on library cultural centre etc.
5. With the arena in disrepair we got together with a task force and we have some good people on this group. The ice plant was falling apart and was out dated. Need to update lights for energy efficiency. Need to improve accessibility safety and fire suppression system. Need new and better dressing rooms. Move the CSD offices to the front of building. Replace masonry walls roof brine piping better seating bigger ice pad. Repair flashing and caulking HRV unit ceiling insulation blanket manual transfer switch seating and dashing boards flooring and finishings. Upgrade kitchen completely as it was in real bad shape and would not have passed safety and food inspection. The ten million dollars is less as we the town gets back all taxes on the ten million.