Responses for Candidates for Ward 5 – Athol


RSVPs

With the aim of increasing voter turnout in the upcoming municipal election, candidates for Mayor and Ward Councilor in Prince Edward County are being invited to share their thoughts on a wide range of issues once a week.

Responses from candidates for Ward 5 – Athol are here:

Respondents

Invitations
Candidates for Ward 5 – Athol (1 office) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Sam BRANDENHORST
Tom HARRISON
Robert ROGERS
Elis ZIEGLER

Responses to Invitation 5

Candidates received Invitation 5 on September 20, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by September 26, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on September 28, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following:

“Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to [the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s] Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57.”

Strongly agree.

2. Please explain your rating.

I believe developing these Strategic Initiatives would be an important step forward for PEC. When the Sir John A. Statue issue was being discussed many individuals said, whether the statue stayed up or down, we need to better educate ourselves. I believed it needed to come down and educate ourselves and our future generations. We need to learn more; we need to do better. I feel like putting through these initiatives would be positive change.

3. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following statements:

“The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

“The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Disagree.

“The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

4. For any one of your ratings above, please describe your analysis of the different costs and benefits that lead to your conclusion (max. 500 words).

My rating for 3 b. I feel like it is an interesting idea to routinely disclose more information to the public. Especially, if there is particular information that many members of the public are asking for already. Why not eliminate a step? I’m all for having more knowledgeable communication. I feel like I would be able to have more productive and informative talks with my constituents. However, I do think Council will need to think about what information should be regularly released and which should still be requested.


Tom Harrison

1. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following:

“Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to [the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s] Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57.”

Agree.

2. Please explain your rating.

There are several additional TRC calls to action that touch on municipalities. The ones listed and the additional calls to action should all be addressed by Council. A strategic priority is one policy option, but may not be the most effective. There should be more practical, concrete steps to put at least some of the large number of calls into action. For many, like training, we don’t need a strategic priority to just do it as an ongoing best practice.

3. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following statements:

“The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Disagree.

“The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Disagree.

“The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Disagree.

4. For any one of your ratings above, please describe your analysis of the different costs and benefits that lead to your conclusion (max. 500 words).

[Statement A] The benefits of transparency and accountability generally outweigh costs. It’s hard to imagine that publicizing a record of MFIPPA requests would be costly, but I would need more information here. There might be overriding individual interests to protect though. Requesters, might be seeking information for personal reasons. Citizens seeking this information from the municipality might not necessarily want their request, which I can imagine touching on private, personal or other non-public details, disclosed in an open register.

It might be more appropriate to consider disclosing a summary of requests, which excludes personal or identifying information of requesters, and is made available annually. Such an annual summary disclosure could be modelled on the approaches now used by professional regulatory bodies, or Ombuds across the country. It would also be helpful to look at the practices listed elsewhere, and to ask them about their experience, what worked, what didn’t, and any costs or other pitfalls.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers
1. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following:

“Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to [the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s] Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57.”

Neither disagree or agree.

2. Please explain your rating.

I feel our Indigenous People should set the framework for reconciliation as it pertains to the municipality, not the United Nations.

3. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following statements:

“The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

“The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

“The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

4. For any one of your ratings above, please describe your analysis of the different costs and benefits that lead to your conclusion (max. 500 words).

[B] On June 23,2008, council adopted a routine disclosure policy and fee schedule to deal with these issues. I am not aware of its current status.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler
1. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following:

“Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to [the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s] Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57.”

Strongly agree.

2. Please explain your rating.

The Government of Canada, all levels of government and settlers have so much more concrete work to do, and beyond the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, now seven years old. County Council can start with a Reconciliation Plan which outlines how Councillors and Staff will integrate local Indigenous rights and principles in its work, including understanding the history and culture of the Rotinonhsyonni (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy and its settlement here, as well as policy to work in concert with the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, respecting the Two Row Wampum agreement with non-Rotinonhsyonni (Haudenosaunee) peoples. This plan should include expectations for Councillors, Staff, funded organizations and vendors.

3. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following statements:

“The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

“The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

“The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefits.”
Neither disagree or agree.

4. For any one of your ratings above, please describe your analysis of the different costs and benefits that lead to your conclusion (max. 500 words).

[A] It would seem there are two issues here. One is the ability for residents to get information about County performance in a timely manner, and the other is the cost of maintaining a register. I am all for full public disclosure about information requests on principle outside of individual County staff personnel files and others deemed confidential by legal interpretation. As to the cost/benefit analysis of creating a public register, County Staff would have to provide an accurate report of the financial costs of providing that information, and interpretation by County legal representation before I drew a conclusion.


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Responses to Invitation 4

Candidates received Invitation 4 on September 14, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by September 19, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on September 20, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please identify and describe the general nature of any conflict of pecuniary interest – real or apparent, direct or indirect – that you would foresee needing to declare, given the sort of conflicts that have been disclosed by your predecessors in 2020-2022. [We later clarified the reference to 2020-2022 here. As the preamble re: “Pecuniary Conflicts of Interest” notes, these three years are the ones reported in the County’s online Annual Registries of members’ disclosoure of conflicts of interest.]

The young farmers agriculture grant would have been a conflict of interest. If there was an art grant for theatre companies in the area, that would be a conflict of interest.

2A & 3. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.” Please elaborate.

Agree.

I believe that a code of Conduct would be a positive. If you are doing everything right and informing others of biases, than a code of Conduct would not be an issue.

2B & 4. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.” Please elaborate.

Agree.

Like my answer for 3, I believe a code of Conduct would still be positive. For it to include direct family makes sense. We are individuals put in a position of power and influence and should act with integrity.

5. In the voter’s own words, please identify the most difficult-to-answer question that you’ve been asked in your campaign.

My most difficult question is: “do you actually believe you can make a difference?”

6. Please explain why this question was the most difficult-to-answer.

I think this is a hard to answer question because it feels like individuals have lost their hope in municipal politics. I understand I am one voice in a room but I do believe I can make change. Even if making positive change is just not making negative. I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could make a positive impact on my community.

7. On October 21, 2020, Council voted unanimously to deny a rezoning application from Picton Terminals to bring in container and cruise ships. If presented with a similar vote today, how would you vote (deny or approve)? Why?

Based on all the information I had available to me, I would agree with councils decision to deny the cruise ships.

From what I have researched, I agree that the influx of cruise ships would just want to go to the already swollen areas of tourism. I agree with the reports that indicated that they wouldn’t bring in a large amount of income compared to the amount of strain they would add to infrastructure and our quality of life.


Tom Harrison

1. Please identify and describe the general nature of any conflict of pecuniary interest – real or apparent, direct or indirect – that you would foresee needing to declare, given the sort of conflicts that have been disclosed by your predecessors in 2020-2022. [We later clarified the reference to 2020-2022 here. As the preamble re: “Pecuniary Conflicts of Interest” notes, these three years are the ones reported in the County’s online Annual Registries of members’ disclosoure of conflicts of interest.]

For the purposes of this question I’d accept what appears to be a legal interpretation and opinion contained in the lengthy preamble, but which merits further scrutiny and explanation. This question might inaccurately suggest to some that undeclared ‘conflicts’ are a more significant and common problem for PEC Council than might be the case. It’s an important & legitimate subject, but to my knowledge we don’t appear to have an unusual number of conflicts issues, undeclared conflicts, or many that might potentially be disqualifying, even if they’re outside the current rules.

I don’t anticipate any conflicts of interest. I don’t have full knowledge of what conflicts others have declared in the past, so don’t know what this question refers to. I’d examine each future situation on its own merits, and where necessary seek advice, especially from the local Integrity Commissioner, about any matter that could be an issue.

2A & 3. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.” Please elaborate.

Neither disagree or agree.

Agree in principle with the idea that the County should look at requiring disclosure of non-pecuniary conflicts, and those involving family members. The premise of the question requires more context before I’d agree completely with this in the form it is currently posed. As I challenge a premise, on the chart the only category that fits is neither agree or disagree.

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube’s recommendations are too vague and require further analysis. The question at the heart is whether any ‘conflict’, as defined in policy, law, or both, is disqualifying. Immediate personal pecuniary interests are rightly taken to be inherently disqualifying. However, there are a diversity of additional interests outside the limited scope of the current definition of ‘conflict’ that might be included, some of which might or might not rise to the level of a disqualifying interest.

Similarly, the issue of non-pecuniary interests extending to a range of extended family members, which might include a raft of direct and indirect matters, is also potentially overly broad. Consequently, the specifics of adopting such a change would need to be examined closely to ensure it is workable and ultimately, in the public interest. I’d support putting this question to the current PEC Integrity Commissioner for options and recommendations to Council.

2B & 4. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.” Please elaborate.

Neither disagree or agree.

[As above]

5. In the voter’s own words, please identify the most difficult-to-answer question that you’ve been asked in your campaign.

Why would I even bother to vote when it’s not going to change anything?

6. Please explain why this question was the most difficult-to-answer.

It’s a hard question because it reflects an understandable frustration with our current political process and some of its leaders. The frustration is one that I share to some extent. It’s also one reason I chose to become a first-time political candidate for PEC Council in my home ward of Athol. My goal is to give people choice by presenting a positive, constructive and honest campaign, to move beyond platitudes, and rhetoric, and to propose practical solutions on focused priorities, that are a big part of our shared challenges here in the County.

I’m committed to public service, I’ve worked for years to try to help improve our community. In PEC this includes advocating for youth and children, fundraising to support our public library and assisting to protect our cultural heritage. I’ve also spent years working in government policy, and in teaching. I’ve seen first-hand how people’s contributions can benefit and enrich their communities.

Unfortunately, we have far too many public figures seeking to divide people with partisanship and rhetoric. What we need instead are people working together to develop real public policy solutions. For the voter who asked this difficult question, and for far too many others though, negative sentiments and frustration at political process has led to voter apathy. It will take some effort to convince them otherwise, and to increase voter and civil engagement more generally. But I know from experience that our community cares, that many make a positive difference, and I’d like the chance to do this constructively as the next Councilor for Athol ward.

7. On October 21, 2020, Council voted unanimously to deny a rezoning application from Picton Terminals to bring in container and cruise ships. If presented with a similar vote today, how would you vote (deny or approve)? Why?

The only details I know about this issue are what I remember from press reports. At the time it seemed like a reasonable decision. To be fair though, I would need more context to fully appreciate and assess that past decision-making process. All Councilors are obliged to keep an open mind with respect to any questions or public issues that might come before Council, or risk appearing prejudiced towards anyone appearing before our town council. As the Councilor for Athol ward, there’d have to be a real and specific situation, with appropriate background, costs, benefits and risks, along with updated context and options, to weigh all considerations thoroughly before I would finally decide one way or another on a similar future question.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers
1. Please identify and describe the general nature of any conflict of pecuniary interest – real or apparent, direct or indirect – that you would foresee needing to declare, given the sort of conflicts that have been disclosed by your predecessors in 2020-2022. [We later clarified the reference to 2020-2022 here. As the preamble re: “Pecuniary Conflicts of Interest” notes, these three years are the ones reported in the County’s online Annual Registries of members’ disclosoure of conflicts of interest.]

I do not foresee any, that said 4 years is a long time. I have told the members of the Prince Edward Rod & Gun Club, and the Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture that if elected, I will be stepping down as President and vice-chair.

2A & 3. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.” Please elaborate.

Strongly agree.

As special interest groups continue to push their agendas and try to steer the narrative it is even more important to have full transparency of council.

2B & 4. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.” Please elaborate.

Strongly agree.

I would have thought that this would have been done without saying but maybe not. So, it should be updated for clarity. My only fear is that by making it too liberal that it could be used to avoid voting on a controversial/hot button matter.

5. In the voter’s own words, please identify the most difficult-to-answer question that you’ve been asked in your campaign.

“When is the county going to fix my road?”

6. Please explain why this question was the most difficult-to-answer.

Because I have no access to that information.

7. On October 21, 2020, Council voted unanimously to deny a rezoning application from Picton Terminals to bring in container and cruise ships. If presented with a similar vote today, how would you vote (deny or approve)? Why?

I wasn’t following the matter, so I cannot say how I would have voted or try to second guess council’s decision. What I can say is, if elected, I will be, open, fair and unbiased with all matters before me and council and vote for what is best for the county as a whole.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler
1. Please identify and describe the general nature of any conflict of pecuniary interest – real or apparent, direct or indirect – that you would foresee needing to declare, given the sort of conflicts that have been disclosed by your predecessors in 2020-2022. [We later clarified the reference to 2020-2022 here. As the preamble re: “Pecuniary Conflicts of Interest” notes, these three years are the ones reported in the County’s online Annual Registries of members’ disclosoure of conflicts of interest.]

I can’t foresee any conflict of pecuniary interest such as those declared on Council at this time. I have a home-based business, do not own or manage an STA, and neither do my family members. I do not have financial interest in any County businesses or STA’s, commercial rental or residential tenancy properties.

2A & 3. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.” Please elaborate.

Strongly agree.

It is my position that any elected official or staff of government should disclose perceived conflict of interest of any kind to ensure true accountability and transparency. That information should be shared appropriately so as not to breach confidentiality of other people who are part of that disclosure.

2B & 4. Please indicate your agreement with the following statement: “The County should adopt a Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.” Please elaborate.

Strongly agree.

As above, it is my position that any elected official or staff of government should disclose perceived conflict of interest of any kind to ensure true accountability and transparency through an appropriate process that keeps confidential the information of people not directly identified in pecuniary/non-pecuniary conflict of interest.

5. In the voter’s own words, please identify the most difficult-to-answer question that you’ve been asked in your campaign.

I have not been given an answer difficult to answer. I will either have a position on the subject, or explain how I would get more information to be well-informed on a given issue.

6. Please explain why this question was the most difficult-to-answer.

[N/A]

7. On October 21, 2020, Council voted unanimously to deny a rezoning application from Picton Terminals to bring in container and cruise ships. If presented with a similar vote today, how would you vote (deny or approve)? Why?

I would vote against a rezoning application from Picton Terminals so long as environmental and economic data, as well as resident feedback continues to show the same information – that it’s a bad decision to allow it.


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Responses to Invitation 3

Candidates received Invitation 3 on September 7, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by September 12, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on September 14, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following strategic initiatives:

Strategic Initiative Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
By-law and policy review
Downtown revitalization
Healthcare initiatives
Municipal Accommodation Tax
PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Short-Term Accommodations
Tourism management
Understanding Growth and Water/wastewater infrastructure

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

Short-Term Accommodations
I have not been the most impressed with County Council’s management with STA’s. I believe they did not jump on the opportunity fast enough to enforce stronger and more strategic forms of management. I believe STA’s can be positive when they are a secondary property to help pay off cottage or expenses on one’s primary residence. However, when one individual or cooperation is able to own 4+ homes and they are strictly doing it as a financial venture, this is not conducive to PEC. It takes homes away from families who want to grow and contribute here. Yes, tourism is a large part of our economy and yes, STA’s have a time and a place but not when entire villages and streets and being bought and rent, creating ghost towns in the winter. They are also a large component affecting the affordable housing situation. We need to find balance again.

Downtown Revitalization
The Downtown Revitalization I have to say for the most part is being followed. County Council has fulfilled majority of the promises they made to the various Downtown Districts (not just Picton). Our parks are clean and inviting, since COVID there has been activities not just for tourist, but for locals and youth. More farmer’s markets have allowed an opportunity for small business to extended to new cliental. Support of Pop ups at shops and some (hoping to be more) street festivals have breathed life into our community again. I would love to continue this work. I believe a large part of PEC are these small elements that when added up make a large impact on our mental well-being and over all economy. It creates a lasting feeling that PEC is not just a two month tourist town but has a beating heart that is powered all year long.

3. Please outline one County-wide strategic initiative that is missing from the above and should be adopted by Council.

Young Professionals
I believe that the County is missing a Young Professional Strategy. One that focuses on the retention of young professionals (doctors for example) and young families. It could be as simple as hiring an individual who’s job it is to help new residents make PEC their successful home. They can help introduce them to others in the area. Help them find hobbies and groups to participate in and hopefully help them figure out how to adjust to the County Lifestyle and appreciate all we have to offer. We want and need more younger people to stay.


Tom Harrison

1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following strategic initiatives:

Strategic Initiative Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
By-law and policy review
Downtown revitalization
Healthcare initiatives
Municipal Accommodation Tax
PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Short-Term Accommodations
Tourism management
Understanding Growth and Water/wastewater infrastructure

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Housing is a priority of my campaign that covers both the issue of Short-Term Accommodations (STAs) and the PEC Affordable Housing Corporation.  The Corporation is making a good start in building affordable homes, but needs more support.  Council needs to ensure it lobbies effectively for support from the Federal Housing fund, and the Ontario government. Where possible the County should seek to speed up the approvals processes for these projects. The Corporation also needs to build a wide range of housing, and to collaborate in partnerships with the private and non-profit sector to construct more rental units, Rent-Geared-to-Income homes, and co-operative housing.

Short-Term Accommodations
Part of the reason there is a lack of housing in the County has been the proliferation of STAs. Locally this part of the housing challenge is causing great difficulty for many who now can’t afford a place to live. The exploding number of STA accommodations adversely impact anyone who rents, businesses trying to find homes for workers, and inflates the market for those seeking to buy their first homes. Hopefully enforcement of the new STA restrictions will cap the numbers of these types of units, and increase the rental supply in Prince Edward County. But Council needs to be vigilant to address this challenge, to make sure enforcement is working as intended. Addressing the STA issue to get it under better control is one significant way to address the overall issue of Housing in PEC.

3. Please outline one County-wide strategic initiative that is missing from the above and should be adopted by Council.

Youth
A strategy to better support Youth across PEC is one of my campaign priorities.  We need to provide more opportunities for children, youth and young adults for success in the County. I’ve chaired the ROC for the last few years, and one thing that would help would be stable municipal funding for this organization, that now relies on donations and other grants for most of its operations. There should also be a long-term permanent plan developed to establish a purpose-built Youth Centre, perhaps on the re-vitalized fairgrounds with provincial and municipal assistance. Municipal programs for children and youth should be expanded, including a County sponsored daycare, summer camps, and support for other programs that can engage all of the young people, in my own ward of Athol, but also right across the County. Council should develop its Youth strategy and adopt it as a priority going forward.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers
1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following strategic initiatives:

Strategic Initiative Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
By-law and policy review
Downtown revitalization
Healthcare initiatives
Municipal Accommodation Tax
PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Short-Term Accommodations
Tourism management
Understanding Growth and Water/wastewater infrastructure

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
The Housing corp. Is a good start and we know we have a serious labor shortage. People, especially young people, cannot afford long-term rental accommodations, even if they find them. To address labour shortages and support local businesses we must have affordable housing. I would like to see them work closer with developers and reduce property taxes on long-term rental units and raise the maximum building height from 5 to 10 stories in site specific areas to double long-term rental stocks without doubling their footprint.

Understanding Growth and Water/wastewater infrastructure
This is a big and complex issue that only effects 28% of our population so I will break it down into 2 parts.

Water: We need to go back to the City of Belleville for a fairer deal and one that works for us both.

Wastewater: 72% of county resident’s use septic systems or holding tanks that require regular pump outs. At present this septage is not being taken at the county’s treatment plants so it is trucked to other municipalities for treatment or spread un-treated. If this policy were changed and everyone in the county used these plants, the cost, maintenance, and operations of them could be paid out of general tax revenues. It would stop un-treated septage from being spread and give more farms access to treated bio-solids.

3. Please outline one County-wide strategic initiative that is missing from the above and should be adopted by Council.

Infrastructure Renewal
Since 2014 we have been under funding our roads and infrastructure by $10 million a year, and now that many have passed their best before date, we must have a long-range plan that works. This is about more than just County Road 49.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler

1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following strategic initiatives:

Strategic Initiative Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
By-law and policy review
Downtown revitalization
Healthcare initiatives
Municipal Accommodation Tax
PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Short-Term Accommodations
Tourism management
Understanding Growth and Water/wastewater infrastructure

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

PEC Affordable Housing Corp. & Short-Term Accommodations
I am less than satisfied with both housing initiatives and short-term accommodations, which I see are two sides of the same coin. Given that rental rates have increased as much as 50% in two years, and 41% of property owners in Athol do not have their primary residence there, we are most definitely in a housing crisis. This will only change through aggressive County policy which increases commercial accommodation, further reduce short residential short term accommodation and increase affordable new rental housing options.

3. Please outline one County-wide strategic initiative that is missing from the above and should be adopted by Council.

Economic Development Leadership
Council should endorse economic development leadership to spur the development of non-tourism related County-owned business which will hire resident employees. This could be achieved through leveraging funds from provincial and federal levels of government, regional economic development bodies, and THRIVE Prince Edward County. The County needs to actively support four season County employers to ensure our economic and social capital grows and remains here.


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Responses to Invitation 2

Candidates received Invitation 2 on August 31, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by September 6, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on September 7, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please identify two internal and one external committee or board listed above whose areas of municipal responsibility would showcase your skills and interests in municipal government.

The internal committees I feel like my skill set would be reflect would be: Agricultural Advisory Committee and Public Library Board. If those two are taken, I would also be very interested in the Police Services Board and Community and Economic Development Commission. The external committee I would have the pleasure of joining would be Hasting and Prince Edward Board of Health. I would just like to note, it would be a great honour to serve on any of these committees and no matter which one I get the pleasure to join.

  1. Agricultural Advisory Committee
  2. Public Library Board
  3. Hasting and Prince Edward Board of Health

2. For these three committees or boards, please highlight your skills and experience (work, volunteer, life) in those areas of municipal responsibility.
3. For these three committees or boards, please describe the impact you’d hope to make in those areas of municipal responsibility.

Agricultural Advisory Committee
I have lived and worked on a dairy farm for 21 out of the 27 years of my life. I have worked for a small blueberry patch another summer and for 6 months now, had the pleasure of working at a winery. I participated in 4-H for 5 years and was apart of Junior Farmers of Ontario for 7 years.

Impact: To say I understand Prince Edward County agriculture is an understatement. I live and breathe it. It comes natural to me and I want Prince Edward agriculture to thrive and to continue to be a backbone to our community. I would like to continue to see our farm land protected and respected. I would also like to continue to work with Tourism in PEC to help tourist understand the importance of farm machinery and sharing the roads with them.

Public Library Board
I love our library system here. They are doing fantastic work. I have been an active volunteer at the library. I have fundraised for them and I have had the honour to share some of my theatre expertise in a workshop program for youth in the County. My children are currently participating in 1000 books before kindergarten and my niece developed a love for coding and robots through summer programs.

Impact: I know and actively participate in the wonderful programs our library system offers and would love to help them flourish more than they already do. I would help them to continue to expand their programs and reach. I would also use my influence to help educate the public on all the amazing opportunities the library has to offer. Library’s can change lives. Library’s help educate youth and adults and provide a safe space for all. I couldn’t imagine our community without them.

Hasting and Prince Edward Board of Health
Health Care is a TOP priority for me. Having a background studying Biology at Queen’s University, I have an understanding of the health field and their mission to provide care for all. Some of my closest friends are nurses and health care providers in Hastings Prince Edward and I hear first hand accounts of their struggles. I hear about their burn outs, their pain, their struggles with staffing but most of all their love for their patients. I hear of parents struggling to find a family doctor for their families. I could have lost my own life recently if it was not for our emergency departments and that just fuels me to do more for them.

Impact: I would love to be a voice for healthcare workers and for others in the area. I would problem solve and collaborate with others to try and make our healthcare system one of the strongest in the province. I am passionate about doctor recruitment and retention. I’m interested in the idea of hiring more nurse practitioners to help balance the load of patients and an aging community. Most of all, I want to listen and support our health care providers and ask them how we could better support them. They are the ones that know, we just have to listen.

4. How would you account for these rates of voter turnout in the County in recent municipal elections?

If you look at the PEC voter turn out we are right at par with the rest of Ontario. We actually sit in the higher percentages of Ontario, with very few municipalities actually breaking a 60% turn out. Low voter turner out is not just a PEC; this is an Ontario and most likely a Canada issue. I believe people who aren’t voting just aren’t interested in municipal politics. I don’t think they understand the amount of impact it has on our everyday life.

5. Please relate an occasion when you (nearly) decided not to vote in an election.

In the last Federal and Provincial election I was not excited to vote. I felt both times I was choosing between party leaders thinking: which one is the lesser evil. Even in a tough voting situation I still believe it is important to vote.

6. How would you propose to work with other candidates to increase voter turnout in the County in the upcoming municipal election?

I am one of the youngest candidates running and I’m hoping to stir up interest and passion among young adults. I want to campaign on multiple platforms and medians and be readily available to talk, text or email.


Tom Harrison

1. Please identify two internal and one external committee or board listed above whose areas of municipal responsibility would showcase your skills and interests in municipal government.

  1. Public Library Board
  2. Audit Committee
  3. Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation

2. For these three committees or boards, please highlight your skills and experience (work, volunteer, life) in those areas of municipal responsibility.
3. For these three committees or boards, please describe the impact you’d hope to make in those areas of municipal responsibility.

Public Library Board
One of my first campaign priorities is to emphasize the importance of children and youth. I want to maximize opportunities for them to succeed in Prince Edward. Our library system is one of the keys to making things possible for young people. This is why the Public Library Board is an excellent complement to my background. This includes my role as a teacher, as Chair of the Recreation Outreach Centre (the ‘ROC’), and my volunteer work to support and raise money for Prince Edward Libraries.

Impact: I will work to make library services more accessible, across PEC, directly and through online resources. As long-time volunteer, I will support fundraising efforts to ensure the Library continues to give to a wide range of opportunities for our youth, children and their families. I’m committed to making sure the current Main Branch expansion is completed, and to seeking enhancements to current services and availability generally. We have a very dynamic Library at present, with numerous programs to support our children and youth. I’m committed to making it even better!

Audit Committee
Another campaign priority I’ve highlighted is good governance. We must continue to employ best practices, in the transparent and accountable management of public funds. Having a background in public administration (MPA), being employed in the public sector, including briefly in municipal government, I’ve also had past responsibility to oversee multi-million budgets in my work with the Ontario government.

Impact: As the PEC Councilor for Athol, I will make a positive and informed contribution to the audit committee. This includes holding the line on taxes, effectively targeting expenditures. I will also seek new opportunities for savings, for example in working collaboratively with other local towns and cities or the Association of Municipalities (AMO) on things like procurement. I think we should also seek new revenues, through advocacy for better allocation of provincial and federal resources, for infrastructure generally, and around Sandbanks Park in particular.

Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation
Housing is one of my campaign priorities. My experience in this area includes time as a property manager in ‘Rent-Geared-To-Income’ (RGI) apartments, dealing with public housing, and to address landlord tenant issues. Our current housing crisis needs a more rounded public response, to include both the provincial and federal governments. As a former public servant, I have experience negotiating arrangements with other levels of government, which will be needed to help fix this problem. As current member and Vice-Chair of the Prince Edward Historical Advisory Committee (PEHAC), I’ve already been involved in local decisions related to affordable housing development in PEC, so have a good sense of the challenges ahead.

Impact: On the issue of housing, people need a place to call home. Places to live are now too expensive to rent or buy for most across Canada, and in much of the world. This is why I’ve made developing our municipal policy to better support housing a priority. We need to support our housing corporation, and innovate new approaches beyond, including reaching out to work collaboratively to address this global problem, with other levels of government with the private and non-profit sectors. We should increase our support to the Housing Corporation, giving them the tools they need to increase supply, and also to advocate for changes, to density restrictions and other bylaw enhancements, that will encourage building more houses and apartments so people can have a home for their families.

Housing is one of my campaign priorities. My experience in this area includes time as a property manager in ‘Rent-Geared-To-Income’ (RGI) apartments, dealing with public housing, and to address landlord tenant issues. Our current housing crisis needs a more rounded public response, to include both the provincial and federal governments. As a former public servant, I have experience negotiating arrangements with other levels of government, which will be needed to help fix this problem. As current member and Vice-Chair of the Prince Edward Historical Advisory Committee (PEHAC), I’ve already been involved in local decisions related to affordable housing development in PEC, so have a good sense of the challenges ahead.

4. How would you account for these rates of voter turnout in the County in recent municipal elections?

Civic engagement in multiple sectors, churches, voluntary associations, and even bowling leagues, has been declining for decades across North America. This phenomena pre-dates the internet, but online media and communication, may have also contributed more recently to peoples’ lack of involvement in the community. Local declines in election participation probably reflect these more general trends. Though local government is the one that affects most people most directly, it also tends to lack to partisan excitement, so that may have decreased attention and participation as well.

5. Please relate an occasion when you (nearly) decided not to vote in an election.

I’ve participated in every election in which I was eligible to vote, save one provincial contest, when an unexpected personal matter prevented me from getting to the polls in time.

6. How would you propose to work with other candidates to increase voter turnout in the County in the upcoming municipal election?

I’m listening to people, hoping to raise constructive ideas and focusing on the strengths everyone running for office in Athol brings to the table. I’ve reached out to the other candidates, wished them luck in their campaigns, and in engaging in our civil dialogue, about the issues that are important to our whole community. I’m looking forward to talking, individually and at things like all-candidates meetings, about the challenges we face, and how in the election, and beyond, we can address them together.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers

1. Please identify two internal and one external committee or board listed above whose areas of municipal responsibility would showcase your skills and interests in municipal government.

  1. Agricultural Advisory Committee
  2. Heritage Advisory Committee
  3. Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation

2. For these three committees or boards, please highlight your skills and experience (work, volunteer, life) in those areas of municipal responsibility.

Owned and operated my farm for 39 years, a lifelong interest and study of Canadian history and architecture.

3. For these three committees or boards, please describe the impact you’d hope to make in those areas of municipal responsibility.

I am well suited to be a voice for the farming community on Council. I would like to help to retain our history and community ‘feel’ that is so much a part of the County. I would like to work with the Housing Corporation to address the problems the community is facing with attainable housing.

4. How would you account for these rates of voter turnout in the County in recent municipal elections?

That was my biggest disappointment in the 2018 election, even more so than coming in 2nd place. Of the 1,653 eligible voters, 964 did not engage with the issues or the process. I would suggest that voter apathy and frustration with local government is the main reason for low voter turnout.

5. Please relate an occasion when you (nearly) decided not to vote in an election.

When I did not like or trust any of the candidates. “Trying to pick the best of the worst.”

6. How would you propose to work with other candidates to increase voter turnout in the County in the upcoming municipal election?

Encourage opportunities to expand candidates to get the best possible slate. Provide good government with excellent public engagement and communications. In the past election I attempted to analyse voter turnout however all election voting data was sealed and unavailable.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler
1. Please identify two internal and one external committee or board listed above whose areas of municipal responsibility would showcase your skills and interests in municipal government.

  1. Audit Committee
  2. Community & Economic Development Commission
  3. Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Social Services Committee

2. For these three committees or boards, please highlight your skills and experience (work, volunteer, life) in those areas of municipal responsibility.

Audit Committee
I have professional experience reviewing financial and program effectiveness of publicly funded organizations both as a manager of those funds and from the grant-giving side.

Community & Economic Development Commission
I am self-employed in The County, and led the establishment of the Picton Town Hall Farmers’ Market. I have also previously created social enterprise programs in rural and semi-rural communities, so feel qualified to make contributions to this committee.

Prince Edward Lennox & Addington Social Services Committee
My thirty years of experience working in income security and poverty law would make me an ideal candidate to contribute effectively on this committee. I have actively taken an interest in housing and social service issues at the municipal level including the Housing Corporation, and support of LGBT and marginalized youth.

My County municipal experience includes:

  • Treasurer, South Marysburgh Recreation Board: 2019 to Present.
  • Chair, Picton Town Hall Board: 2019 to 2021.
  • Secretary, PEC Affordable Housing Corporation: 2019 to 2020.

In addition, I have thirty years experience managing and developing programs that benefit communities with public funds. Those programs include income security, food security, social enterprise, and health systems. I have experience both as program manager and from a grant-giving perspective. I have sat on system planning tables which have reviewed community wellness from an ecological view toward coordinating and improving services to those who need them.

3. For these three committees or boards, please describe the impact you’d hope to make in those areas of municipal responsibility.

As Councillor, my management experience in finance, small business ownership, and social services will help me to enhance our community. And generally, my presence and input will increase the diversity of perspective on Council, bringing fresh outlook and ideas to more fully represent the Athol and all of our County communities.

4. How would you account for these rates of voter turnout in the County in recent municipal elections?

Voter turn-outs have been disappointingly low in Ontario and across the country. On a ward-to-ward basis here in PEC, there can be different levels of voter turn-outs which are sometimes driven by a specific issue. In addition, the current voter list in Athol includes 41% of property owners who do not live in The County at all. If that number has been increasing in all wards, this alone would contribute to low voter turn-out.

5. Please relate an occasion when you (nearly) decided not to vote in an election.

I have always voted. Always.

6. How would you propose to work with other candidates to increase voter turnout in the County in the upcoming municipal election?

I am an active participant in Represent PEC, to encourage candidates to run, provide greater civic education, share knowledge about the election process — all as I have done in past federal and provincial elections. I am committed to working to encourage higher voter engagement and turn-out.


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Responses to Invitation 1

With the aim of increasing voter turnout in the upcoming municipal election, candidates for Mayor and Ward Councilor in Prince Edward County are being invited to share their thoughts on a wide range of issues once a week.

Candidates received Invitation 1 on August 24, 2022 and were asked to share their thoughts by August 29, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on August 31, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. How long have you resided in the County?

Hi I’m Sam Branderhorst and I hope to be your next Athol Ward Councillor. I have lived in PEC for 24 years. I lived in Kingston for 3 years while attending Queen’s University. For 23 of the 24 years, I called PEC my home, I lived and currently am living in Athol Ward.

1b. (Additional question for candidates for Ward Councilor only): How long have you resided in the Ward in which you are running to be Councilor?

See above.

2. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the current term of Council (Fall 2018 – present).

None.

3. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the previous term of Council (Fall 2014 – Fall 2018).

None.

4. Please identify your membership or volunteering in a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization associated with the County during the current term of Council (November 2018 – present).

In 2016, I co-founded a not-for-profit theatre group, Shatterbox Theatre. I love teaching, coaching and working with different members of the PEC and surrounding community to bring excellent and accessible theatre to the County. We want to showcase local talent in a safe and open space with a goal to create dialogue. Shatterbox has worked with PEC Library’s to do a monologue series for youth during covid and has also helped with a number of fundraising events.

5. How do you understand talk of tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County?

I understand there is tension between “old” and “new” residents. However, I believe that every opinion and voice deserve a chance to be heard. We can learn something from everyone’s journeys and experiences. We all bring something unique to the table. I believe in strong and healthy conversations that are honest and respectful. It doesn’t matter who you are, I’m here for you.

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements:

6a. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s agenda. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

6b. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s decisions. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

7. Please identify any role you see yourself in addressing any tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County.

I don’t believe there is any specific role I would play when addressing tension between “old” and “new” county. I am here to represent everyone in Athol Ward and PEC on a whole. I will do so with patience, compassion and equality for all.


Tom Harrison

1. How long have you resided in the County?

I’ve lived in the County for 18 years, moving here full-time in 2012. I chose to run as a first-time political candidate in the 2022 municipal election in my home ward of Athol, where I’ve resided on our farm just outside Cherry Valley for the past 9 years.

1b. (Additional question for candidates for Ward Councilor only): How long have you resided in the Ward in which you are running to be Councilor?

See above.

2. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the current term of Council (Fall 2018 – present).

Since 2020 I’ve served as a municipal appointee to the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC), where I currently serve as Vice-Chair, to provide advice to Council. As part of the work on this Committee, in 2021 I was appointed to the Boardwalk subcommittee, to work with the municipality and stakeholders, like the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, to get input on Picton Harbour development.

3. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the previous term of Council (Fall 2014 – Fall 2018).

I was not involved with any municipal committee before 2018.

4. Please identify your membership or volunteering in a not-for-profit, non-governmental oganization associated with the County during the current term of Council (November 2018 – present).

I currently Chair the ‘ROC’, Prince Edward’s Youth Centre, and have been on the Board since 2017. I am also a member and volunteer with our local Historical Association and with County FM 99.3. I am a strong supporter of Prince Edward Libraries, where I regularly volunteer to support their fundraising efforts. In addition, I’m currently a public member of PFAC, the South Shore Joint Initiative, and the Regent Theatre.

5. How do you understand talk of tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County?

What constitutes ‘old’ or ‘new’ in the County depends on who you ask. I think whatever ‘tension’ exists is better thought of as a range of responses to all the challenges posed by the nature and pace of change that we are all dealing with in PEC. This challenge is an important issue that is usually acknowledged and often affects Council’s decisions.

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements:

6a. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s agenda. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

6b. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s decisions. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

7. Please identify any role you see yourself in addressing any tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County.

It’s the Councilor’s job to fairly represent the interests of the people in their Ward, and of everyone across the County, subject to the overall public interest.

In my view, whatever their differences, most are invested in the success of our community. Everyone shares a desire to keep PEC a good place for our families, friends and neighbours to live and work. We can’t stop change, but we can manage it more effectively to better serve our community.

A good Councilor will strike the balance to address these kinds of changes. To save the good of what has come before, weighing it reasonably against the risk and benefits of future change. The best public representatives do this collaboratively, by representing the diverse perspectives of residents, but also work with others on Council, businesses and other bodies like different levels of government.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers

1. How long have you resided in the County?

49 years.

1b. (Additional question for candidates for Ward Councilor only): How long have you resided in the Ward in which you are running to be Councilor?

39 years.

2. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the current term of Council (Fall 2018 – present).

Agricultural Advisory Committee, Chair for the last 2 years.

3. Please identify your membership on Council, committee, commission, board, or other body associated with the municipal government in the County during the previous term of Council (Fall 2014 – Fall 2018).

None.

4. Please identify your membership or volunteering in a not-for-profit, non-governmental oganization associated with the County during the current term of Council (November 2018 – present).

President of the Prince Edward Rod & Gun Club. 2nd Vice-Chair of Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture (PEFA).

5. How do you understand talk of tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County?

It’s always been like that. It’s no different now than when I came here at 19 (the “Who is your Dad?” question). I think it’s the same in all small communities. Most people don’t like change, it’s natural. But once they get to know and trust new comers, it’s all good.

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements:

6a. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s agenda. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

6b. Tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County influences Council’s decisions. [Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree]

7. Please identify any role you see yourself in addressing any tension between “old” and “new” residents in the County.

I believe I have a foot in both camps. I came here as a newcomer, and became accepted and treated as a local for years. As far as council goes, it should not matter who or what is before it. Everyone MUST be treated equally, fairly and respectfully. Their decision MUST be based on , what is best for the community as a whole with the information that is before them.


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