Responses from Candidates for Ward 9 – South Marysburgh


RSVPs

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

Responses from candidates for Ward 9 – South Marysburgh are here:

Respondents

Invitations
Candidates for Ward 9 – South Marysburgh (1 office) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
John HIRSCH
Ryan KREUTZWISER

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

John Hirsch

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.

I am not familiar enough with the legal ramifications of dealing with the Doctrine of Discovery as suggested above – but to the extent this can be legally pursued, let’s do it. It is important for Council to put its words into action, so taking a strong initiative to effectively implement these calls to action is imperative.

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.”
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).

For both (b) and (c) I can’t imagine why the County would not want to comply with the provisions recommended by AMCTO – this is simply required transparency. With respect to (c), I believe we already automatically actively disseminate the records recommended by AMCTO


Ryan Kreutzwiser

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 governments of Ontario (in 2019) and Canada (in 2021) legislated the adoption of the UN Declaration on indigenous rights and many Ontario municipalities have also done so. While acknowledging that municipalities have no authority regarding indigenous rights (they are not the Crown), the Association of Municipalities Ontario recognizes 6 Calls to Action relevant to municipalities and offers resources in support of municipal action (see AMO “Resources on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (RTC) Calls to Action” 2021).

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).

It is difficult to offer a meaningful response to Q3 in the absence of knowing how many such requests are made every year and the nature of those requests. Some currently undisclosed information might be actively disseminated on the County website (to reduce the need for FOI requests) and some kinds of information might be suitable for routine disclosure (following an inquiry, no formal FOI request necessary) but County policies for both active dissemination and routine disclosure should only be adopted after very careful consideration of privacy and cost implications.


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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 21, 2022.

Respondents

John Hirsch

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 only possibility for me would be some proposal that directly affects my property. The was the conflict I declared earlier this year when a proposal to close the road allowance behind my property came up. It was potentially beneficial to me so I had to declare the conflict.

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 agree with the Ombudsman that non-pecuniary conflicts should be included in our Code of Conduct. However, I find that both he and the City of Kingston have not done a good job of defining exactly what that means. As long as we come up with a clear, understandable definition, I am all in favour.

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.

As the Ombudsman said, the current range of relations is too narrow and should be expanded. The example of brothers or sisters stands out as obvious.

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

Why do taxes have to keep going up?

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

It is difficult because everyone has different priorities as to what they think Council should be doing. And most people are truly unaware of the enormous range of services the County is required to provide as a single tier municipality. I usually suggest that people go on the County website, click the box for residents, then all services. This brings up many boxes detailing all the things we do. So the simple question is – which one of these do you not want to do? Pretty difficult to answer because all are functions we are required to do. The other part of the answer is that over the last 4 years, partly thanks to the pandemic, and partly due to changes in our economy, our staff are actually performing more functions with only tax increases in the vicinity of inflation.

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?

That would be a resounding DENY. Nothing has changed in terms of Picton Terminals’ operation. They continue to show a serious disregard for regulations, breaking noise bylaws on a regular basis, for example. They are operating a de facto quarry but under a loophole, don’t require a licence. Nor do they pay the normal fees. The thought of them operating a container port and cruise ship hub given their track record is not something I would want to contemplate.


Ryan Kreutzwiser

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.]

Part-owner of a resort (Comprised of two restaurants, a brewery, special events venue, and accommodation, including STAs).

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.

The question becomes how to apply this. One issue I perceive is that a councillor has an association with an advocacy group and presumably should recuse themselves from any decisions related.

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.

It’s appropriate to broaden the definition of family. For example, direct in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren. However, I think we need to limit it at these family members.

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

I haven’t had any policy questions that I would consider difficult to answer.

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

See above.

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 don’t think cruise ship tourism is the kind of tourism the County needs or wants. Pulses of visitors can be stressful on businesses and attractions, and the benefits of these short-term visitors are relatively small compared to tourists who use local accommodation and stay longer and visit the County.


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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

John Hirsch

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.

Healthcare initiatives
While we have finally adopted a professional approach to physician recruitment, I think we waited far too long. The problem has been evident for quite some time. Furthermore, beyond recruitment for the vacancies in our 23 doctor and 4 NP quotas, we need to really get serious about lobbying the Province to change the system – allow walk-in clinics, change the ratio in favour of more NPs, fewer doctors, and other innovative ways to provide services to the many folks who don’t have them now.

PEC Affordable Housing Corp.
Similarly, we got off to a slow start but since bringing the operation in-house and with the brilliant work of ED Charles Dowdall, units have been approved and much more is in the pipeline. Charles understands well Council’s priority for affordable housing.

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

Site alteration bylaw
The county is one of very few municipalities that does not have a site alteration bylaw. That means that right now a developer can buy a piece of land, clear cut the trees off it, and then file a planning application without having to abide by our tree management policy. Likewise, a landowner can strip all the topsoil off their land and sell it. A site alteration bylaw would put sensible controls in place to prevent such environmental problems.

Inclusionary zoning bylaw
We currently have few tools to require developers to include an amount of affordable housing in their subdivision plans. They typically make pious statements that they will consider it, but we have little power to make it happen.

If we enacted an inclusionary zoning bylaw we could legally require a certain percentage of new construction to be affordable. I hope we can accomplish this in the next term.


Ryan Kreutzwiser

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.

Municipal Accommodation Tax
What can be a sensible/appropriate tax, in some municipalities, requiring tourists to contribute to tourism marketing and management, I believe that it isn’t appropriate in the County. The County differs enormously from larger urban centres, like Toronto, Kingston, and even Belleville. Our accommodation sector relies on small scale accommodators, B&B, and individual providers (AKA AirBNB’s). Whereas larger urban centres have larger accommodators (hotels/large resorts/chain hotels) dominating the landscape. Auditing, collection, and enforcement of the MAT tax becomes incrementally more costly for a municipality such as ours. With half the tax going to Destination Marketing and the other half to support infrastructure, the numbers don’t add up, I see it as a zero-sum game in the best of times, we have created another bureaucracy within the municipality that will eat up all the supposed benefits (i.e., revenue) that was meant to go to infrastructure (i.e., roads). To summarize, I believe that if the municipality had not got involved in the first place that there would be more money for the essentials (i.e., roads) that are beneficial to all taxpayers.

Tourism Management
I believe that the tourism business operators (i.e., the small businesses) are the best positioned to decide when to market and when to manage their own business operations. The County got way too involved in tourism promotion and is now having to back-track and transition to tourism management (some might say the County is now in Tourism Mitigation mode). I believe that the County needs to remove itself from the tourism realm (they should have never been involved) and leave it to the individual businesses to promote and manage their own interests. Having said that I do not want the municipality to detrimentally impact the progress that the tourism sector has accomplished over the last couple of decades.

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

Agriculture/Agri-Tourism
Agriculture is noticeably absent from the list of initiatives, despite some attention in the new Official Plan. Agriculture has been dominant to the cultural heritage and rural character of the County and continues to be important economically. Is there sufficient recognition of this in decisions that Council has made and will make? Given the constraints facing this industry (e.g., challenges in scaling up operations, conflicts with rural residential development), what can Council do to be more supportive? Has Council adequately understood the role of agri-tourism? I believe agriculture and agri-tourism needs to be a strategic priority/initaive moving forward…as well as the small businesses that dominate this landscape and contribute to the charm and heritage of the County.


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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

John Hirsch

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.

It is hard to choose only these as all committees and boards are important.

  1. Environmental Advisory Committee
  2. Planning Committee
  3. Quinte Conservation Executive Board

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.

Environmental Advisory Committee
I was one of the instigators to get this committee going after a 10 year hiatus. My volunteer experience over many years (most recently with the South Shore Joint Initiative, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and County Coalition for Safe and Affordable Green Energy positioned me to be knowledgeable in all the environmental issues facing the County. In all these organizations, advocacy is a main focus and I bring all that experience to the EAC. My research, analytical and conciliation skills have proven invaluable over the last 4 years as the EAC has effectively provided advice to council, especially with regard to planning applications and climate change.

Impact: Given the upcoming priorities for the EAC – comprehensive zoning bylaw review, more major planning applications, site alteration bylaw, etc., I expect to bring my past experience and knowledge to bear so that quality advice can be provided to all of Council – protecting our sensitive natural heritage features from over-development.

Planning Committee
This is a key function of Council and not well understood by newcomers to Council – probably the steepest learning curve. My skills at research and analysis have proven invaluable navigating the Planning Act, Official Plan, comprehensive zoning bylaw, etc. as the Committee holds residents’ future in their hands.

Impact: Now that I am quite comfortable with the planning legislation, I expect to be of assistance in designing the site alteration bylaw and complete application bylaw which are currently being worked on by staff. As well, many outstanding large development projects in the County will require careful review and consideration.

Quinte Conservation Executive Board
I have been a Board member for 8 years (the first 4 as a private citizen. QCA plays a big role in a regulatory sense governing what landowners can and cannot do in the floodplain and with their shoreline. I have learned a lot through the huge flood seasons of 2017 and 2019. Again here research and analytical skills are crucial as is the ability to communicate and negotiate with board members from all the different QCA municipalities.

Impact: As a senior board member now, I am on the appeals committee and I would expect to continue to uphold the application of good conservation principles when hearing appeals. I also expect to help promote shoreline management planning at QCA – a major issue arising from climate change.

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

The county’s voting turnout is roughly on a par with the rest of the province and is, of course disappointing given that municipal government is the level closet to people’s lives. I think many non-voters don’t believe those running have talked about or explained key issues in a clear and definitive fashion. I try to do that as evidenced by the platform pages on my website.

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

Has never happened.

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

More multi-ward candidate debates or meetings would be desirable. There is already one scheduled for South Marysburgh and Athol, as well as Hallowell. All candidates can encourage participation in their literature, Facebook posts and websites as well.


Ryan Kreutzwiser

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. Community & Economic Development Commission
  2. Environmental Advisory Committee
  3. Quinte Conservation Executive Board

2. For these three committees or boards, please highlight your skills and experience (work, volunteer, life) in those areas of municipal responsibility.
I have both educational and professional qualifications in environmental science, as well entrepreneurial and small business expertise:

  • University of Guelph graduate (1998 B.Sc. Environmental Science).
  • Centre of Geographic Sciences (2000 Geographic Information Systems & Remote Sensing).
  • I have 10 years of environmental consulting experience including 6 years working remotely while a resident of the County.
  • I have 15 years of entrepreneurial experience in culinary/hospitality/tourism in the County (including ties to local agriculture/value-added agriculture).

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

In a nutshell:

  • I will strive to maximize employment opportunities for all age demographics.
  • I will strive to reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship, and small business.
  • I will work to protect the environment, culture, and heritage of Prince Edward County without sacrificing what makes the County a great place to live.

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

In a word “Apathy”. I think municipal governance is an afterthought for most citizens who prioritize federal, and provincial governance and elections, however, I do believe municipal decisions impact us immensely, and I believe that voter turnout will increase in this upcoming election because of consequential decisions this current council has made. The quote from Thomas Jefferson comes to mind “The government you elect is the government you deserve.”

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

I have always voted in Canada, I believe it’s a fundamental responsibility to vote. Even living abroad, in the United States early in my professional career I voted in the federal election. I know of some people recently who have questioned whether or not to vote in certain elections because they did not like any of the candidates running.

I have 2 thoughts on this:

  • If you decide not to vote, you have little right to question the decisions elected officials have made on your behalf; and
  • You always have the best choice of bad alternatives, and that “bad alternatives” should invigorate individuals to be more involved in, and influence the priorities and direction of the government and candidates.

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

As an aspiring councillor, I feel that door knocking is the way all candidates can try to move the needle on municipal voter turnout. In addition, I would encourage all candidates to be present and accessible at public events (e.g., fall fairs, all-candidate meetings, etc.) to interact with the public and answer questions on their platforms and their vision of the future for the county.


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Responses to Invitation 1

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

John Hirsch

1. How long have you resided in the County?

8 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?

0. I reside in Hallowell but run in South Marysburgh due to all my volunteer activity regarding the South Shore.

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).

Council, Nominating committee, Environmental Advisory committee, Heritage Advisory committee, Audit committee, Quinte Conservation Board, South Marysburgh Recreation Board, South Marysburgh Management committee, and Visit the County Destination Marketing and Management Board.

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).

Quinte Conservation Board member 2015-2018.

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).

South Shore Joint Initiative, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County.

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

I don’t hear talk of tension at all. It seems those who believe this is an issue are mostly Facebook posters.

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 will continue to listen to and represent the interests of all residents of the County. That is the role of a Councillor.


Ryan Kreutzwiser

1. How long have you resided in the County?

20 Years (2002).

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?

My personal residence is in North Marysburgh, however my family has owned the Black River Cheese Factory property since 2017.

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).

NA.

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).

NA.

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).

NA.

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

I don’t really see the length of time living in the County as an issue. I believe that any “tension” that may exist has more to do with the values and mindset of the individual(s).

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.

The length of time a County resident has been here can’t be changed but mindsets can be. I think that all residents, regardless how long they’ve lived here, deserve to be listened to by council, and that all council members should be easily accessible to them. I believe that when any “tension” arises that a dialogue is the most important step to take and as a councilor; I will facilitate this dialogue for county residents.


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