In my blog the other day in which I shared my voting choices for the upcoming Collingwood municipal election here:
I left one spot open for my final councillor vote. I challenged Dale West, Betty Donaher, Bob Madegan and Jim Gosnell to send me some information on themselves and I would publish a blog to promote them.
I had no illusions that Dale West would indulge me in this exercise, even though I actually stated he had my default vote. As expected no response from Dale. But half an hour after I posted the blog post Betty contacted me through Facebook with her email address and then sent me a blurb on herself. I did not hear from Jim Gosnell although Jamie Berman did comment on my last blog about what a stand-up guy he is.
Now we get to Bob Madigan. By all accounts he is a good candidate. I included Bob in my email questions that I sent to each of the non imcumbant candidates, then posted in this space. He was sent those questions in the form of emails to the email address that he posted on the town website I received no responses. I was also given his mobile number and I texted Bob around 5 weeks ago. Again no response. Bob did finally reach out to me on Tuesday morning via text and asked me to visit him at his coffee shop. Alas for Bob all I needed was an email blurb and then if I liked what I saw would have tracked him down for a chat at the all candidates meeting.
So I am voting for Betty Donaher. We had the following email question and answer session. I have edited her answers somewhat, but you can get the gist of what she is all about:
Q. Why did you leave it until the last minute to declare?
A. I had been thinking about running for Council since before the summer started. I am self employed owning and operating rituals medical & day spa. I have 4 self employed associates who I tend to micromanage more then I need to. Letting go is hard but I have come to the conclusion that they are capable of managing the business when I am not there. This being said I still was not sure if I could handle the extra work load. After talking it over with them, my son and daughter in law I felt I could count on all of them to pitch in more at work while I pursued a council position. When Keith Hull backed out and the Mike Edwards decided to run again I knew that it was important for me to follow my instincts and run. I have been watching council meeting after work on Mondays and have been disillusioned by the people running Collingwood.
Q. What will you bring to the council table that others will not?
A. I have vision and creativity. I am an environmentalist, and I am concerned about the urban sprawl that this council is allowing.
Q. . Give me some ideas that will enhance economic development in Collingwood?
A. We should be finishing subdivisions before allowing more to start. The Official Plan states that we should be managing the wetlands but this council has approved a 200 unit subdivision to be started behind Silvercreek and has approved a road that goes from Silvercreek to the area without the owners in the areas input. Similar to Rick Lloyds bed and breakfast fiasco. There is a whole lot of people in Silver Creek and the Forest who pay a lot in taxes and had no input into the decision. I have watched how the community has come forward in 3 instances and council has proceeded with their plans without citizen’s concerns being taking into consideration. I sent emails to the past two councils regarding how Collingwood’s websites needed updating. Both the Town of Collingwood and the Chamber of Commerce websites were outdated. I ask why, after we spent 2 mil on the Hurontario development, the spit development and the Fram development were not shown. How could we sell the waterfront development or bring tourist to Collingwood when our pictures and information was so dated. Neither council answered me or updated the sites. I also wrote letters regarding Pawplar dog park asking for a light to be put on the Water Station and a street light to be installed on Poplar adjacent to the park so we could see after 4:30 Remember the construction was being done on the rink dome. I also want to question why we took out a ball diamond ( which has to be constructed elsewhere) to put in a rink when the one behind the curling club was built with a substructure that could have held walls and a roof. We could have put a new outdoor rink at the Museum or at Centennial Pool Park.
The Old library was built in 1989 I believe. Who’s limited vision did not see Collingwood growing and not think to make the substructure able to hold a 2nd floor. This is what I mean about vision. To see past the actions of today and how they will affect the future. I have checked out some of the subsidized housing in the area. Some of the problems are not the rent, it is the baseboard heaters. Their hydro bills are almost 1/2 the cost of their rent. As to the owners building on Hurontario Street fixing up their upper levels for apartments, if you were paying 13,000 a year in taxes would you want to increase them because you improved your building to allow renters. What if they don’t pay? How do you get them out?
I think Collingwood has to bring in box stores. However, I think we need to make sure they are ones that will not close due to online sales as is Future Shop or Best Buy. If we bring them in we need to look at one not both. Costco should be approached as well. We have very high end stores in the downtown and most of the locals are minimum wage. We need stores that locals can afford to shop in. I try to buy everything in Collingwood and support my fellow business people. We also need to encourage shopping in Canada and Canadian products. There are busloads of people heading to the US every fall to shop and most seniors that go to the states for the winter do all their clothes shopping there. We also have two businesses in my industry that tell clients that if they pay cash they don’t have to pay G.S.T. Small business are finding it hard just to stay open and advertising in this area is expensive. Billboards directing tourists into Collingwood will bring in revenue. Tourists come here to be entertained. I have had clients whose husbands were suppose to golf but it was raining too hard to go out on the course. They asked me what they could do. Shop? No Art Galleries? No they ended up going bowling.
Q. Name one thing that you would like to change about the way Collingwood has been governed in the past?
A. I would change the way council micromanages the departments. I also think that even in camera meetings should be taped and archived. This way another Sprung problem will not happen. Collingwood has been and still is an old boy’s club. It is not what you know it is who you know and how popular you are. Taxpayers should know how there taxes are being used.
Q. Why should you get my last councillor vote?
A. I should get your vote because I deserve it. I am a smart and very vocal person. I have vision and I listen to what the people of Collingwood want and need. I have always said , if you want a job in Collingwood you have to create it. I do not push my own ideas on individuals and will admit when I am wrong or make a mistake. I have always pushed people to grow and invest in themselves. That being said, I have mostly worked as a volunteer and helped people in need.