Owen Sound Election 2018

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Here are the questions asked of all 21 of the Owen Sound candidates, including the Bluewater District School Board trustee candidates, in the upcoming municipal election prior to the All Candidates Come-and-Go we hosted at the Ginger Press  on Wednesday October 10. Questions were focused on arts, culture and community. We received answers from...

Steve Hencze
Please share any relevant employment or volunteer experience you have in the arts and culture sector.

Prior to moving to Owen Sound I had an art gallery in Dundas. Moving here I’ve sat as a committee member GBFS for 3 years, sat on the Art and Cultural board 2 years, Northern Lights 6 years, was Blinky for 5 years. I have helped with financial support for Rocking the Food Bank; have put on concerts within Owen Sound. I have many friends who are famous musicians and attend many social events with them thus expanding my networking abilities
What concrete actions would you recommend/support for improving the atmosphere and aesthetic of the downtown?

We need a niche core with a new city board created, but only have musicians, artists, craftspeople put their talent at work and start reinjecting funky culture downtown. My god, the summerfolk office should be on the main street. All current council and past have done is try to reinvent the wheel. Niche core like Elora and I can’t believe this crazy parking issue has been debated 4 decades. How embarrassing. MAKE IT FREE NOW. And get rid of that crazy vacant rent rebate. And put way more pressure of these absent landlords to clean up their buildings
What specific actions do you recommend for preventing another situation such as that with the Tom Thomson Gallery?

To be honest I’m not up to date on the full disclosure of what truly happened all I keep hearing is it’s complex situation. I don’t want to say when I have not researched it enough. I will say that the art gallery should include more diversity of local art. When I go in there to me it looks dated. We can do better
Where do you feel Owen Sound’s greatest opportunities lie for promoting our arts, community and cultural assets?

More events on a large scale like summerfolk, Salmon Spectacular. Every window store front between 2nd and 3rd should be wrapped showing all our amazing talent here. Owen Sound where you want to go to be creative!! Again niche we are not tourism on a level that can support more businesses in Owen Sound. Collingwood has a 100 million dollar resort. We are nowhere near that. Let’s stop saying we are and focus on what we are known for. I moved here because of summerfolk
What is a City councillor or school board trustee’s role in protecting, promoting and growing healthy communities?

I would be reaching out to other areas that are reinventing themselves, keeping a transparent dialog with every citizen of our community. I deal with lots of large investments companies with deep pockets. On council I want to invite them up, share ideas, get their interest. I am a fantastic promoter. I love Owen Sound. I love the people. I want us to stop underselling ourselves. My core beliefs are all of us need to be heard, respected, and not judged. I want to debunk rumors within city hall. I want to stop the snails pace of new growth. I think my success in an area that I have never come to shows my determination. I want to support housing diversity, getting land rezoned to allow all types of housing in one area. Income and class segregation is wrong. By not allowing people in you are saying out of site out of mind. I want more support and better organized drug clinics and homeless shelters. I think if we work with those people in crisis, a better outcome will happen. And I want bus service deemed essential. What an insult to be who rely on public transportation. People are saying long waits, long rides and limited routes.


 

Carol Merton

1. Please share any relevant employment or volunteer experience you have in the arts and culture sector.
I recently authored and published two children’s Christmas-themed storybooks which have been sold in local bookstores. I have been a volunteer in adult community choirs and previously a parent volunteer with two children in the Georgian Bay Children’s Choir and the Sheila Milne School of Dance.

2. What concrete actions would you recommend/support for improving the atmosphere and aesthetic of the downtown Owen Sound community?
Let’s celebrate the downtown as a distinct neighbourhood, a mixed community to gather together for living, learning, shopping and dining. I believe in establishing Community Action Groups such as “Friends of Downtown” to develop and implement concrete ideas, themes and branding for the downtown. In addition, drawing on the ideas of other communities we need to creatively develop streetscapes similar to the San Antonio River Walk and the Nakusp BC Waterfront Walk.

3. What specific actions do you recommend for preventing another situation such as that with the Tom Thomson Gallery, where drastic cuts have had to be made?
The role and responsibility of City Council is oversight and ensuring that best practices for strong governance are consistently followed. This includes accountability of all committees and bodies, regular financial monitoring, staff evaluation and reporting of status and variances. This business practice and auditing ensures that any matters of concern can be dealt with in a timely and effective manner.

4. Where do you feel Owen Sound’s greatest opportunities lie for promoting our arts, community and cultural assets?
I believe our greatest opportunities lie in our strategic partnerships and both the formal and informal networks we have with other organizations and groups in the community and beyond. In addition, we can expand and draw on partnerships with artisan groups, Georgian College, travel and tourism bodies and our indigenous community to promote and support our heritage, arts, community and cultural assets to celebrate and grow events.

5. In your own words, what is a City councillor or school board trustee's role in protecting, promoting and growing healthy communities?
City councillors and the council are first and foremost stewards of city resources. As stewards they are responsible for ensuring they Owen Sound is a healthy community where all the social determinants of health are present, nurtured and developed. I support a “health in every policy” framework and approach to the decision making and future direction of our city.

Bill Twaddle

My work experience includes 30 years as a journalist, writer and editor, and 16 years as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce. My volunteer experience has been in the social service sector, including Big Brothers, and in supporting my children’s activities, primarily swimming and equestrian competition.

The future of the downtown lies is in creating an environment that draws more people downtown. The River Precinct project which has been in the works for at least eight years is one very positive step. Reinvigorating the Community Improvement Plan to encourage property owners to create more or improve the quality of residential space downtown would be a significant step towards this goal.

The Tom is a priceless asset for Owen Sound. It must be preserved. The Gallery has a long standing reputation for financial responsibility. A short-term failure cannot be ignored, and must be dealt with, but it should not inn the long-term detract from the cultural professionalism and growth that has been the hallmark for most of its history. The Gallery must continue to move forward, but with a new sense of fiscal responsibility and oversight.

The city has a long and respected history of creating and presenting cultural events. The most viable, successful and attractive of these events are those which are organized by private business, or by independent volunteer organizations. The city’s responsibility should be to support and encourage these events and perhaps to seed new events.

Owen Sound’s natural environment, especially the escarpment and the waterfront, go a long way to promoting a healthy, liveable community. Planning and development policies MUST incorporate preservation of and access to these natural assets by encouraging active transportation trail networks; safe bike lanes and walking routes; the development of venues that bring people to the waterfront, and an overall sense of community pride. City Council must look farther into the future and create policies and plans that will create opportunities for lifestyle growth on into the future.

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