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.

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