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 were 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 8

Candidates received Invitation 8 on October 5, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by October 17, 2022. Candidates who wanted their responses to be published before advance voting started were to forward them by October 12, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook beginning October 13, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please share how you would enhance Council’s approach to public engagement.

I like the idea of “have your say”. The largest thing I would like to do as a Councillor is to actively participate in my community. I want to be someone people know they can reach and will be there to hear their problems and work with them to find solutions. I would like to pop by businesses and check in, maybe have a time once a week people know I’m around and can stop by and say hi and talk to someone in person (I always find that better). I feel like if I open myself up to the community hopefully, they respond with openness as well and we can better connect and communicate.

I think communicating with the public and listening to them is the largest part of councillor and the most important.

2. Please share why you’re running and why voters should support you in the municipal election.

I grew up here in Athol Ward, I went to Athol-South Marysbourgh School, it’s my home. I got to actively participate in my community and enjoy everything that it had to offer. I continue to live and work on a dairy farm with my husband and two young kids, here in Athol Ward. Prince Edward County is my home; I loved growing up here. I want PEC to be the most welcoming and inclusive community that it can be.

I wanted to run for Council this term because Prince Edward County is changing and growing and I want to be a part of that process. I want to embrace new changes that benefit the year-round economy but protect the many wonderful things about the County that makes us so unique. Our natural landscapes, agriculture and quiet, friendly way of life. The things that made PEC so enticing for many to visit and want to move to. I don’t want to forget our roots. I really want my children to grow up in a community that they are proud to call their home and I will work incredible hard to do so.

A few things I’m passionate about:

  • Health care
  • Protecting the land and water
  • Infrastructure
  • Economic and environmental sustainability
  • Fostering a sense of belonging
  • People in the PEC community!

I’m committed to having good honest conversations with our community members. I want to learn and grow. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to listen and talk with you to find them. I’m hoping you will trust me with your thoughts and feelings and know that I’m someone you can count on. I’m running for you. I believe in respectful communication where no one is left out; everyone is heard and gets a chance to speak.

How do we make sure the County is moving in a direction that is feasible and prosperous for all who live and play here? This is the question that I am committed to answering through thoughtful collaboration and meaningful conversations. I’m here for the long haul and most importantly, here for you.


Tom Harrison

1. Please share how you would enhance Council’s approach to public engagement.

Council can do a few things to increase engagement. In addition to things like “have your say”, for example, regular town hall meetings with the Mayor and other officials, in Picton, but also in-person in places like Cherry Valley would be welcome. Better and more consistent outreach through media and particularly social media might also help. I think Council should continue with online and streamed meetings, which provide access to many who might not otherwise engage in-person. There may be other opportunities to increase online participation that ought to be explored. I’d also like to see an examination of our youth sporting and recreational leagues, as part of an overall “Youth” strategic priority, to see if the County can better support these organized activities that bring together people of all ages and backgrounds.

Some of the responsibility for keeping our community informed and engaged in local politics also falls on individuals. People with skills and interest need to be encouraged to be more involved in all of our community activities and programs. Council should also continue to encourage local citizens to organize around issues of common concern, like in Athol where a couple of groups have formed to protect our South Shore. These groups let people have a collective voice to be heard better at Shire Hall, and reinforces personal connection and communication between neighbours who unite to achieve a common goal.

Unfortunately, the negativity that pervades media and many online platforms, and often targets public officials, discourages many from more constructive engagement in public. This is not particular to the County, or even to our times, and is part of a trend that has seen community engagement falling for the last generation. Individual Council members can combat this “apathy” by working to inform, engage and connect with as many individuals and groups as possible.

2. Please share why you’re running and why voters should support you in the municipal election.

I’m a teacher and a lawyer who lives on our farm near Cherry Valley, with the skills and experience to effectively represent Athol (Ward 5). This includes focus on the 5 priorities of my campaign: youth, heritage, housing, green Initiatives and good governance, as well as concerns like access to doctors, roads, and tourism management, that I’ve heard while knocking on doors during the campaign.

I’ve worked directly with County youth on the Board of the Youth Centre (the ‘ROC’) since 2017. I want to advance ‘Youth’ as a strategic priority for our new Council, that would see stable funding for our youth organizations and an expansion of programs, to give every young person the opportunity to succeed. One longer term goal would be to seek funding for a re-vitalized fairgrounds, that would also see a purpose-built Youth Centre, to include amenities like a new daycare centre and beds for a Youth Hostel.

As the municipal appointee on the County’s Heritage Advisory Committee, and as Vice-Chair for the last year, we have to do a better job of protecting our heritage. This includes preserving the best of what’s come before, but balancing it with the need to embrace inevitable future change. One important best practice here would be to develop a consultation protocol that would see as wide a diverse range of the public as possible be involved in deciding cultural and landscape heritage issues.

I’d also like to see better supports for the work of our environmental advisory, and to citizens, businesses and farmers across the County as part of a new set of green initiatives. This would include re-formulating the farmer’s municipal tax credit, examining and expanding other incentives for people to better protect the environment, and working with our municipal and other government partners to co-ordinate support for the County. I’ve personally planted several thousand trees on my farm, and gotten a tax credit, but it’s things like this that could also be readily expanded.

The housing crisis has adversely affected so many, but especially young people. The short-term solution to this challenge is to increase supply. We need to support the work of our Housing corporation in building affordable housing. From my own time working in community housing, I think we can also develop more innovative and creative approaches, that would include collaborations with the non-profit and private sector, on building alternatives like rent-geared-to-income and co-operative housing.

Last, I’d like to see a more effective Council, that institutes streamlined procedures to proactively address many of the issues our community faces. As a governance and policy lawyer and as a teacher who has worked in a wide range of diverse settings to educate, I will be an effective Council member, who has the background to collaboratively work within Shire Hall to advance the interests of Athol, and of the whole County.

I hope you will consider voting for me starting on October 15 (advance), online and on Election Day, on October 24th!


Bob Rogers

1. Please share how you would enhance Council’s approach to public engagement.

Because of the provincial elections and privacy acts the only people that can review the election data are the province or the clerk after the close of the polls, so data like age, sex, owner, seasonal can only be analyzed by them and without that data we are just guessing as to who, what or why voter turnout is so low. I don’t have much faith in the “have your say” web-site. It seems to be the same hundred people over and over again, most using it as their personal platform for their agenda. Some councillors are having some success on Facebook, and I might look at that but there is a cost involved, the same with town halls that would be great for big ticket items. I will look at all options if elected but to start I suggest just picking up the phone, 9 to 9 Monday to Saturday or emailing me anytime. I will respond.

2. Please share why you’re running and why voters should support you in the municipal election.

I was born and raised in Oakville, and I am of United Empire Loyalist (UEL) decent.

I moved to Picton in 1973. I have lived and worked my entire adult life in the County as a mechanic, a service manager, and a farmer. I know what it takes to live, work, raise a family and keep them here. My kids still live, & work, in the County. I have owned my farm for 39 years.

Since amalgamation, with the provincial downloads and new provincial legislation, the municipality has become financially unsustainable. We cannot continue doing things the way we used to. We must change, modernize, and innovate to stay viable and to maintain our quality of life, history, and culture.

We have a serious labour shortage. People, especially young people, cannot afford long term rental accommodations, if they can find them. To address labour shortages and support our businesses we must have affordable housing. I will work on Council to work closer with developers, 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.

Since 2014 we have been under funding our roads and infrastructure by $10 million a year, and now that many of our roads have passed their best before date, we must come up with a long-range plan that works. Before entering new ventures and new expenditures, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this project more important than safe roads and sustainable infrastructure.”

In Ontario only 5% of our land mass is arable land. We are losing 319 acres a day, every day, to urban sprawl. I will be a strong advocate for halting non-agricultural development on prime farmland.

Another threat to agriculture and our environment is Invasive Species, which costs the agricultural community alone 2.2 billion a year in Canada, that is not counting their impact on fish and wildlife or the forest industry. We need a 5-year plan for the eradication of wild parsnip and a 10-year plan for the control of buckthorn.

Local government needs to be more transparent, especially at budget time. The budget process is the most important function of Council. It needs careful pre-budget planning at the council level, and a patient, thoughtful process that involves public input. In addition, Council needs to consult with local business on major construction projects, especially on timing for road work.

We need to recognize the work of our citizens in the past regarding the size of council. Both the question on the ballot in 2010, and the Citizen’s Assembly process clearly called for a reduction in the size of council. A smaller council is necessary to increase the efficiency of government and decision making and depending on the model chosen, voter equity. Money saved could be dedicated to attracting more candidates for the 2026 election.

I would be proud to represent Athol on Council and would commit to open and respectful relationships with all County residents and businesses.


Elis Ziegler

1. Please share how you would enhance Council’s approach to public engagement.

Engagement is always a difficult challenge as residents try to understand municipal decision-making processes and legislative requirements for items on Council agendas. Residents don’t always have the time or energy to delve into topics they are interested in. Public engagement needs to be a multi-pronged approach to maximize engagement of County residents. Currently, this includes the County communications, surveys and some Councillors actively trying to inform their constituents via social media. As a Councillor Candidate, I commit to having monthly town hall meetings on topical issues both to educate and inform. I will continue to use social media to reach out to residents, particularly new ones, for engagement through volunteer activities as well as provide feedback on County issues. I will support a stronger communication plan which includes social media, and increased recruitment for and input into the 19 County Boards and Committees, which can help with engagement, communication, and the expertise The County can use.

2. Please share why you’re running and why voters should support you in the municipal election.

Thank you for this voter engagement process responding to some very important questions for County residents. My reasons for running are the same as my campaign last term, which is to be part of decision-making that truly benefits The County for the long term. As a manager of public funds for 30 thirty years, and non-profit Board Member working for rural and vulnerable residents, I saw the difference good policy makes on housing, economic development and more. With that background, I bring strong governance and analytical skills. My demonstrated performance in County committees including Chair of the Picton Town Hall Board of Management and lead on its Farmers Market, Treasurer of South Marysburgh Recreation Board and Secretary of PEC Affordable Housing Corporation, and talking to those stakeholders, I have learned about the diverse needs of The County I can bring to my role. I am not one or two issue candidate – I have had the privilege of learning, in-depth of the County’s needs. As a self-employed beekeeper and educator, I am keenly aware of the effects of humans on the environment, habitat and the food we eat. I make community engagement my permanent lens.

As a Councillor, my goal is to work with the expertise at the Council table, the CAO and Staff, the subject matter resident experts, County’s advisory committees and boards to collect the best information we for the best decisions – financially, socially, environmentally, economically. As a Councillor, I will implement monthly town halls to engage residents about issues important to them. I will seek out resident subject matter experts. I will work with the CAO to build the capacity of County Staff to present us with the best information. I will support our advisory committees to be able to provide the most robust recommendations to Council. When Athol residents vote for me, they do so knowing they will have a fully engaged Councillor passionate to represent them with balance and accountability.


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Accountability & transparency

Three Invitations asked candidates to rate six proposals to enhance Council’s accountability and transparency:

We have categorized candidates’ ratings of these proposals [Not in favour | Neither | In favour] below. Candidates were also asked to explain their ratings and we encourage everyone to consider their ratings alongside their explanations.

 

Table 1. Candidates’ ratings of proposals to enhance Council’s accountability and transparency.
Sam BRANDENHORST
Proposition Not in favour
Neither
In favour
1. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.
2. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.
3. A public register of requests for County records.
4. The routine disclosure of County records.
5. The active dissemination of County records.
6. A Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.
Tom HARRISON
Proposition Not in favour
Neither
In favour
1. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.
2. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.
3. A public register of requests for County records.
4. The routine disclosure of County records.
5. The active dissemination of County records.
6. A Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.
Bob ROGERS
Proposition Not in favour
Neither
In favour
1. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.
2. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.
3. A public register of requests for County records.
4. The routine disclosure of County records.
5. The active dissemination of County records.
6. A Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.
Elis ZIEGLER
Proposition Not in favour
Neither
In favour
1. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses non-pecuniary conflicts of interests.
2. A Council Code of Conduct that addresses the pecuniary conflicts of interests of a family member who is not a parent, spouse or child.
3. A public register of requests for County records.
4. The routine disclosure of County records.
5. The active dissemination of County records.
6. A Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.

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Responses to Invitation 7

Candidates received Invitation 7 on October 3, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by October 11, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on October 12, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. For any one of [the nine themes covered in the 2022 VitalSigns Report], please outline a course of action that Council should consider to reinforce successes and/or address challenges identified in the 2022 VitalSigns Report.

Quality education.
I believe to reinforce the work our teachers and eas are doing in the school we need to encourage opportunities from our community to keep offering a wide variety of programs for kids to learn and grow from. If this is dance work shops, school theatre productions, music programs, sports, intellectual clubs (such as chess or student government). I would love to see these opportunities brought to the schools to help learning happen in creative ways. I would love to work more closely with school board trustees and figure out how we can fill in these gaps. Quality education can be so much more than just a letter grade but the moments children find out their passions and become more well-rounded human beings.

2. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following proposal: “Council should adopt a Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.”

Agree.

3. Please explain your rating.

If this would help the community feel there is more transparency in government by all means. I would own every vote I make, I don’t see a reason to hide from my decisions.

4. Please share examples of how you’ve been trying to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion. What have been the biggest changes in your thinking? How are you applying what you’ve learned in your work in the County?

What I have been doing the most is trying to talk one on one with individuals who come from marginalized communities. I want to hear their stories, I want to listen and learn how I can do better and I want to be corrected on my privilege. I would love to take more professional classes and seminars to expand that knowledge and to keep learning. I can always do better.

The biggest changes to my thinking has been understanding the white, hetero lens that has been applied to history, literature, art and media. That sometimes we think we are “helping” but not actually asking what these individuals need, thus we are just assuming and creating answers to complex problems and keeping the white, heteronormative narrative going. What I have learned is to step back and listen and let others lead.

I am applying this to my work with the County by trying to create safe spaces where everyone is welcomed and appreciated. No matter who or where they come from. Everyone deserves a chance to speak and be heard. I just want everyone to know they are important and I appreciate everyone who trust me with their thoughts and feelings.


Tom Harrison

1. For any one of [the nine themes covered in the 2022 VitalSigns Report], please outline a course of action that Council should consider to reinforce successes and/or address challenges identified in the 2022 VitalSigns Report.

Sustainable community.
Council needs to develop a strategic plan to holistically address these items, assign resources, critical dates and to determine assessment metrics. For the first, “sustainable community” we need a “Youth” strategy that would address challenges and provide opportunities for children, youth and young adults. This includes stable funding our local youth centre, and enhanced resources to support programs and services for all stakeholders providing supports in this area. One future goal would be a purpose-built Youth Centre, on the grounds of a future re-vitalized fairgrounds, that would include amenities like a childcare centre and potentially capacity for a youth hostel.

Additional items to sustain our community would see a renewed and enhanced commitment to green initiatives, additional support for housing, including working with the non-profit and private sector on innovative solutions, seeking to operationalize the recommendations of our business community, and to create an effective governance body that has the facility to respond quickly and effectively to municipal issues.

2. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following proposal: “Council should adopt a Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.”

Agree.

3. Please explain your rating.

There are too many motions, and other pro forma procedures at Council meetings now. We don’t want to further complicate matters by seeking recorded votes for everything, e.g., for all of the many motions to receive presentations and deputations. All substantive matters should be recorded, and could easily be done so electronically with readily available software, in a fashion that would speed things up.

4. Please share examples of how you’ve been trying to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion. What have been the biggest changes in your thinking? How are you applying what you’ve learned in your work in the County?

I’ve spent most of the last decade teaching cultural competence, equity, diversity and inclusiveness in a mandatory course for young and new lawyers at Queen’s University. My teaching built on my work for much of the last couple of decades advocating on behalf of groups and individuals seeking equity within our broad system of social justice, as a social worker, teacher and a lawyer. I continue to seek ways to advance my own understanding in this area. For example, I recently successfully completed the University of Alberta certificate course on “Indigenous Canada”.

The biggest changes have come about as the result of recognition of rights, and the increased centring of the narratives of a wide range of diversities of those who have not always been fully included in our social structures and institutions. Over this time, my appreciation of intersectionality, and the very wide range of diversities has expanded, as I’ve directly contributed to the social and legal discussions that have advanced these rights, and sought to create a more just society. As the Council representative from Athol I will filter all of Council’s activities through a lens that fully supports equity, diversity and inclusiveness.


Bob Rogers

Candidate photo of Bob Rogers
1. For any one of [the nine themes covered in the 2022 VitalSigns Report], please outline a course of action that Council should consider to reinforce successes and/or address challenges identified in the 2022 VitalSigns Report.

Environment.

“Tree Management and Preservation Policy, Dec. 21,2020.

“The purpose of this Tree Management and Preservation Policy is to conserve, maintain and increase the Tree Canopy of Prince Edward County.

“The Municipality recognizes the importance that Trees hold in enhancing the quality of life of its residents and recognizes the positive natural benefits of trees. Trees beautify the landscape, reduce the impact of extremes in weather, provide habitat for wildlife, add value to property, and contribute to a healthy environment.

“The Municipality acknowledges that trees play an important role in both sequestering carbon and in helping mitigate the effects of climate change.”

It is nice to finally have this policy, even if it will take many, many years to see its results. I feel this is the right place to start if our community really cares about the environment and climate change.

All along County Rd. 11 our mature Maples have come to the end of their life cycles and the Elms and Ash trees have been decimated by invasive insects, disease and plants. The entire community, led by Council must ack now to make meaningful change.

I also feel we need an Invasive Species and Plant Management Strategy in place.

2. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following proposal: “Council should adopt a Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.”

Strongly disagree.

3. Please explain your rating.

By requiring a recorded vote on housekeeping issues such as approval of agendas and miniates etc. it would only disrupt the flow and prolong meeting with no upside. The new By-Law allows for anyone to call a recorded vote and they are less important now because any member of council can bring a failed motion back on the floor after the required time.

4. Please share examples of how you’ve been trying to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion. What have been the biggest changes in your thinking? How are you applying what you’ve learned in your work in the County?

I’m not sure how to answer this question but I’ll try.

I was raised in a Loving middle class family of 4 kids. My Dad worked full time, my mom, part time once we were all in school. We were never flush with money, and we were taught if you wanted something you worked for it. One thing we were never taught was Hatred or Racism.

I was lucky to go to schools with such a diverse group of kids, no one seemed out of place or cared. I feel we are all part of one race, the “Human” race, and there is a place in our community for everyone.

I believe in the 10 commandments and have tried to live my life by them. They are my moral compass and that people’s action are the only thing that really matters, nothing else.

The 3-things mankind must address are, Greed, Power, and Hatred if we are ever to have Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

My takeaway is, I thought most people looked at things like I do, that I’m just normal. I see now that I was wrong and in fact because of my upbringing, my family, friends, and community, I have been truly Blessed.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler
1. For any one of [the nine themes covered in the 2022 VitalSigns Report], please outline a course of action that Council should consider to reinforce successes and/or address challenges identified in the 2022 VitalSigns Report.

Sustainable community.
The theme of Sustainable Community has encompassed population growth and inclusivity in the Vital Signs report, but is perhaps the theme with the most significant long term impact. In the coming term, Council should develop clearer data and policy for the needs of County residents, including the migration of families out of Prince Edward County, the needs of families with children, people with disabilities, BIPOC people, and gap analysis for childcare and youth services, as well as employment opportunities for youth in rural areas with transit challenges. Sustainability data that will help Council also includes more detailed data about all types of County industries, businesses, housing stock, and services. A clearer picture of County demographics should steer our decisions on spending, priorities and advocacy to other levels of government.

2. Please rate your level of agreement (Strongly disagree | Disagree | Neither disagree or agree | Agree | Strongly agree) with the following proposal: “Council should adopt a Procedure By-law that requires that all members’ votes on motions be recorded.”

Strongly agree.

3. Please explain your rating.

All Councillors should be able to stand behind their vote each and every time. That is part of the responsibility of people in that role. I would support the amendment to the Procedural By-Law requiring recorded votes for all motions and supporting the use of electronic means to aid County staff in automating that process.

4. Please share examples of how you’ve been trying to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion. What have been the biggest changes in your thinking? How are you applying what you’ve learned in your work in the County?

I am always trying to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion. Having said that, I have been a DEI trainer for County staff as part of a team of subject matter experts, and led a staff working group to update organization policies for more than one employer. The biggest changes in my thinking is that listening to, and acting from, the voices of under-represented and marginalized groups is key, and having people from those groups actively participate in decision-making that affects them is key. I have applied those learnings to all of my work in The County, including my appointments to the Affordable Housing Corporation, Picton Town Hall Board of Management and South Marysburgh Recreation, as well as my own workplace policies and business collaborations and donations. Further, as members of more than one under-represented group, I have lots to offer toward continued work toward inclusion.


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Responses to Invitation 6

Candidates received Invitation 6 on September 23, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by October 3, 2022. Candidate responses were published here and on Facebook on October 5, 2022.

Respondents

Sam Branderhorst

1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following service categories:

Service category Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
General government
Protection services
Transportation services
Environmental services
Health services
Social and family services
Social housing
Recreation and cultural services
Planning and development services

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

Transportation services
I was dissatisfied with the budget when seeing our transportation service section. Roads are what connects our community and yet there is so much room for our County to improve. The County upgraded and repaired a lot of our roads during amalgamation however many of our roads need to be re-done. This is a primary concern for residents in my ward and I’m sure for many others in PEC. I understand that I can’t take just take a large amount of money from one area and move it to another but I hope that if we trim the fat in every category, we can hopefully find the funds to help put roads forward, or at least start.

General government
General Government is our section of the budget that I would like to focus in on. This is the area I would like to spend more time really understanding and seeing where that money is going. Since we do not get the actually breakdown of each specific area, it’s hard to say if this area makes sense or if it’s getting too much. I understand the bulk of this budget is going to supplies and wages, those are two things that have gotten very expense over the last two years. Supplies and resources have drastically increased and people need more money to live. I would love to cut any unnecessary expenses if I can find them but I will need access to all the information.


Tom Harrison

1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following service categories:

Service category Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
General government
Protection services
Transportation services
Environmental services
Health services
Social and family services
Social housing
Recreation and cultural services
Planning and development services

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

General government
There should be an expanded waiver and reduction program on municipal fees. This fee waiver program would benefit low-income residents who need help with general fees like garbage, fire and other common permits.

The reduction program should apply to prefer local residents on some services like boat launches – which work well to charge visitors to the County for the use of local services, but disadvantage many who have relied on these amenities for years. All municipal fees should be reviewed on a go-forward basis to make sure they adhere to the principle that fees ought to reflect the service or product being provided.

Unfortunately, all too often general government fees are viewed as just another source of revenue, and imposed with little context on how they are adversely affecting the local community.

Transportation services
One success in the last couple of years was the introduction of a public transit option for PEC residents. However, the benefits of this program remain uneven, with it largely leaving out Athol ward.

The bus was even planned to come down to the Sandbanks Park twice a day this past summer – but would not loop back through Cherry Valley, or otherwise provide services to our south end community. I’ve raised this issue with the County since I think there should be the ability for local Athol residents to access this service, even on a limited or on-demand basis, so they have the option of getting to town to do common tasks like banking and grocery shopping.


Bob Rogers

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

Service category Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
General government
Protection services
Transportation services
Environmental services
Health services
Social and family services
Social housing
Recreation and cultural services
Planning and development services

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

It’s hard to compare these places with the limited information provided and nothing about the number of Km of roads they have, or their water/wastewater infrastructure needs or capacity. That said, we are in the middle of the group, both in population and finance’s which would seem normal.

We also know, we should always strive to do better.

General government
I would like to point out that both Norfolk and West Nipissing have a council of 8 plus a mayor.

Transportation services
Our roads are in bad shape and must be a priority.


Elis Ziegler

Candidate photo of Elis Ziegler
1. Please rate your overall satisfaction with each of the following service categories:

Service category Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Neither Satisfied Very satisfied
General government
Protection services
Transportation services
Environmental services
Health services
Social and family services
Social housing
Recreation and cultural services
Planning and development services

2. Please explain two of your ratings.

Despite the information provided for this question, I can not say with certainty how I am satisfied with the way in which revenue for these services are collected. It would seem that baseline fundamental costs like protection and transportation as two examples would come from property tax revenue, and planning service fees are dependent on development files which would necessitate a cost per basis. I don’t feel this is enough of a question, or enough data to form an opinion on how effective revenue generation is in these segments. As a Councillor, it would be my responsibility to ensure I have all the information and resident input to review collection methods for various municipal services.


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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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