Municipal election “Town Hall” forum

NEW: updated with direct links to each candidate’s responses

The Current invites readers to use the question form below to ask questions of one or more candidates in the Madawaska Valley municipal election.

If you prefer, submit your question by email to madvalleycurrent@gmail.com (with the subject line Forum Question) and we will post it for you. In addition to questions, you can also pass on points of view relevant to issues in this election.

Your question or comment will be forwarded to the candidate(s) to whom it is directed, who will be able to reply online. The answers appear underneath the question. 

To read a specific candidate’s responses to questions asked to date, click on the candidate’s name below:

Mayoral candidates:

Candidates for council:

The Current will moderate the questions and answers. In keeping with our normal practice, please provide your full (genuine) name and email address. We reserve the right to decline to publish comments without this or if the content is offensive.

 

139 Comments

  1. Margy Krafchik & James Wilson

    As a long time seasonal resident, and now full-time resident of Madawaska Valley, we were extremely disappointed in the Town Hall forum held at the Legion, and, yes, kicking ourselves for not standing up to ask questions.
    We can only chalk up the reason why to shock. Shock at what we were hearing (and didn’t hear).
    First, we felt disrespected when Councillor Peplinski did not show up (for a second time), as we had a question for him. Of the remaining candidates we felt disappointed over their lack of vision how they seemed to get trapped in the “me” rather than “us” and what they can do to enhance the community.
    Case in point; The fitness centre, which in our view is a necessity, especially in an aging community. Yet all the mayor could do was play the blame game; not enough memberships or grants. We would have loved to hear from other candidates about how they would tackle/fix this issue.
    Every year we pay a considerable amount in taxes, for which we dug our own well, recently replaced our septic, plow our own road and take our garbage 10km to the dump. We are not alone yet no candidate seemed able to move beyond the status quo.
    Upon hearing that the average age is higher and the income is well below the provincial average, we urge councillors to think outside the box.
    We also wanted to ask — and wondering why the Current did not — why Mayor Love and Councillor Maika have not been responding to any of the resident questions to the current’s on-line blog.
    We have cast our ballots in the hope that change will come.
    Margy Krafchik & James Wilson

    • Carl Bromwich

      To Margy and James,
      I won’t cover much in your post here other than the Fitness Centre as I gave my platform at the all candidates introduction where I stated that the Path Forward Strategic Plan is my main focus for the next 4 years and this can be downloaded off our Madawaska Valley website for your perusal.
      Regarding the Fitness Centre, we received a two year grant from Trillium 3 years ago that enabled us to start what became a highly successful and professional centre for all ages run by a spectacular fitness Instructor, Rhea Sabatine. This was initiated by our Community Coordinator who was praised by many neighbouring Townships and Provincial counterparts for engaging with the School Board to hammer out an agreement that many thought was unique and the way of the future for schools that were empty at night and virtually empty.
      Unfortunately we lost this employee during the last year of the Fitness Centres operation and basically no work was done to make it a sustainable initiative after the completion of the grant subsidy.
      Other connections with financing bodies such as Health Ministries and Sports Ministries were not made and we basically ran out money to continue without involving the tax base for funding.
      On an optimistic note, we now have a new Community Coordinator in place, Stephanie Plebon who is looking into options for moving forward with getting the Centre back into action.
      This will take quite a lot of work as once you close the doors on an initiative it is twice as hard to get them open again.
      I am optimistic that with a new Council coming in we may see a fresh start and a “ made in Madawaska Valley” solution to what I call one of the most valuable assets we have here for all age groups that not only offers a sport facility, a fitness facility but a Health facility that makes our quality of life much better in our beautiful corner of the world!

  2. Kristin Marchand

    Besides wanting to sell off our natural resources to collect tax dollars and short term employment, what are you planning for economic development that will encourage our young people to stay and work in our fantastic community. (Let’s not “pave paradise to put in a parking lot.)

    I am referring to supporting large real estate developments in the area–not that this support is a bad thing–but what else is “in the works” for economic development.

    • Mark Willmer

      Good morning Kristin. Before answering your question I must state that you preface it with an assumption that does not represent my viewpoint. I do believe however that development in our community is absolutely necessary. As you indicate we live in a beautiful paradise, something that I believe must be protected. This is accomplished by proper planning: planning that protects and respects our natural environment. A greater population allows for the creation of more stores and services, creating more opportunities for young people to establish businesses and services within the community. As a councillor I will strive to bring in environmentally friendly businesses and residential developments which will allow the community to grow attract young families and yes increase our tax base, something that will benefit all of us. This can be done in a well balanced manner that also allows for the preservation of our townships natural beauty.

    • Carl Bromwich

      In reply to Kristin Marchand,
      I understand you are referring to selling off our Natural Resources as supporting large developments. Of course we support developments within our Township as it is a sign of a growing economy, larger tax base, expanding a community that will require more services, which in turn attracts more entrepreneurs and young folks looking for a future.
      Economic Development is not a one step initiative. It is a long term initiative which includes recreation programs, tourist programs, events and services that aren’t considered core services yet must be subsidized by hard earned tax dollars spent with careful consideration by our Council that will attract more people to the area.
      In turn some of these people stay longer than a weekend or month but consider living here.
      That is what a land development demonstrates the success of our economic development policies.
      Our work is just started. We have to increase our efforts in the above areas to support our arts and culture and initiatives like our fitness centre which has been closed now. Only a vibrant and inviting township will survive in this day and age and we must follow our Path Forward Strategic Plan I displayed the other night to make this happen!

    • David Shulist

      Ms. Marchand, great question. The answer to this question is found within the people of Madawaska Valley. It is the people who have all the answers and solutions to economic development. You and your husband Jean are a good example of economic development. You have created your own business and this is the best economics a community can have. It creates jobs and growth. Entrepreneurship is the key driving force for growth. Entrepreneurship is what brought my wife and I back to the Valley after living in other communities such as Ottawa, Vancouver Island, Northern Manitoba, Haley Station, and Renfrew. We saw a opportunity to start a business in our home community. I started a dock and raft company ( Rainbow Rafts) in Wilno, now found in Combermere and still going very strong. We started a Drywall, Painting and Window fashion business called Roc-On which is still alive and well after 30 years in business. We see in Combermere where two sister have come back home to open an restaurant called Heartwood. Neil and Sarah Wright moving to the area to start a coffee business where they use the word” Madawaska” which helps our branding. This is our present and future economic development. The local government needs to promote and encourage entrepreneurship. Welcoming new people to the area, encourage people to come back who have left and take ownership of their own destiny. Our municipalities job, is to promote this initiative. Madawaska Valley is open for business and everyone can be part of this growth. To all the folks out there, come and discover the Madawaska Valley. Come for a visit and stay for a life time. You are invited and you are welcome to stay.

  3. Wendy Wolak

    Are you in favour of a ward system of municipal government?

    As a seasonal resident, I do not believe there is fair balance or fair representation of the property owners with this existing ‘at-large system’. The concerns of the townspeople of Barry’s Bay are not necessarily shared with the residents from the east side nor the west side of 62. It makes more sense to me that there is someone who is representing me and understands my concerns and resides within the area. Otherwise, if the concern expressed, is unrelatable, then will I be treated fairly?

    As mentioned earlier by another seasonal voter, we pay much in taxes and little to show for it. How can we move forward and improve this sense of disconnect and accountability?

    • Mark Willmer

      Thank you for this question Wendy. I am not in favour of a ward system as I believe in a small community it can create division. The at large model creates a system where all councillors are working towards the same goals and making decisions that are conducive to the entire municipality. That being said the at large system can be flawed particularly if you have members of council that show favoritism to certain parts of the municipality or just represent special interests.
      It is very important when it comes to election day that voters choose candidates who have chosen to represent the entire municipality and can look at the big picture. I live in the Madawaska Valley and will represent the Madawaska Valley.

      • Wendy Wolak

        Thank you, Mark, for your response. But I would like to point out that division already exists-Seasonals vs. Non-Seasonals, Locals vs. Outsiders. As an example, I have heard complaints how some seasonal residents are unfairly charged higher for services rendered by some businesses. Is this something Council can control so that there is a fair and equitable treatment for all?

      • Mark Willmer

        Yes Wendy, I agree there are divisions within the township, however, I firmly think with some positive thinking and actions over time many of these can be overcome. Having differences rather than divisions within the community is what makes us strong and vibrant, Strong community associations (Recreation Committees) are an example of how communities can be different while retaining their identity but still work together in one united Madawaska Valley. I believe that everyone should be represented equally, however that does not mean that we all have the same level of service ( I do not have garbage or recycling, snow plowing or road maintenance) yet I knew that upon purchasing our property. Perhaps a good example is school taxes; we all pay whether we have children in school or not but this is part of being a part of a community.
        In response to your example, I would avoid any businesses that are gouging seasonal residents. There are many reputable businesses in our community that will go out of their way to serve you. Make sure you get several quotes and stay away from those that would take advantage of you.
        Again I believe that we have a strong community partly due to our diversity. This diversity includes the many seasonal residents who represent a large portion of our tax base. All should be represented fairly and I will do my utmost to do so.

    • Elser Lee Archer

      Hello Wendy,
      I have worked in ward constituencies in Toronto’s GTA for a cabinet minister, worked for a Toronto city councillor in a ward system and worked in Madawaska Valley as a councillor in this at-large system. We are a small community under 5,000 most of the year and double that with seasonal residents.

      Last week council dealt with a shoreline road allowance issue for adjacent property owners. One resident lived here year round and the other 2 months out of the year. This issue was bumped down council’s path since 2008 with previous owners. In order to resolve this issue I personally had to do my homework on the issue. As a practicing Chartered Mediator in Canada and a Registered Social Worker I’ve learned to become a good listener. Listening to all the parties and identifying shared interests helps to tear down silos and make decisions that address the best interests of those involved. There are cost effective approaches to issues that we we can employ on many fronts that compliment the At-Large system. When needed ie. 2017 flood or 2006 Tornado we demonstrated in the current system that the best decisions can be made. Recently Kaminiskeg lake front owners in a neighboring mumicipality wanted to join us because they thought it would be value added. My point is that some issues are strictly waterfront, some are not and some focus common concerns for all property owners. Council is responsible for a family of owners who deserve fair and equitable treatment not equal. A balanced approach to meet the overall needs of a family of residents.

    • Elser Lee Archer

      Wendy I personally have water on my property and live in the rural section of Madawaska Valley. I have an office in Barry’s Bay and I am self/ employed continuing to do some of my mefiation work across Ontario. My local clients live across the Valley. Believe me I can relate to community concerns on many levels.

      Best,

    • Andrey Kaminski

      The ward system was created during amalgamation in 2001. It served a purpose. I believe the people should be quiried. A possible referendum to determine the wishes of the people is warranted. Presently we have representation from Barrys Bay, Combermere and Wilno. I would like to believe all the candidates will represent the people as a whole, not just for the location of their preferred residence.
      As a member of Council we must address the concerns of all the people not just a select few. I strongly support fairness for all and using our tax dollars wisely.

    • David Shulist

      Wendy Wolak, a very good question which has been discussed many times around election time. Ward system or at-large system? I feel that there is no need for a ward system at this time. If you have people from each corner of the municipality putting in their name in the hat, then people have a choice with the “at-large system”. Today, we have candidates that come from different parts of the Township and are ready to govern. We have candidates from the Barry’s Bay, Combermere, Wilno, Halfway and Paugh Lake areas running to represent everyone. We are covered in the centre, east, west, north and south side. Looking at each candidates political experience, they are more than qualified to govern our Township. In the future, we need to encourage more people across the Madawaska Valley to put their name in so we will never have to worry about a ward system. Just my thoughts.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Hi Wendy,
      Regarding a ward system versus an at large system of voting, I have always stated that the ward system is a more democratic system than an open “run for the roses” type of campaign.
      The reason for that is for many years in our little corner of the world it seemed that Council was made up of a majority from one area out of the 3 that Councillors were supposed to represent.
      This could be called “ the old boys club” and was common throughout Rural Ontario, not to mention here.
      Now that we are experiencing a retirement influx from urban centres there is more of a demand by new arrivals to demand better representation by their Councillors.
      With the slate of candidates at this election which are spread over all 3 amalgamated Townships I think we have a much fairer representation and a ward system almost exists within this slate.
      Let’s see how the next 4 years unfold and possibly revisit the ward system after the new Council on October 23 takes over.

  4. Helen Schmidt

    In 2013, 2017, and 2018 the upper water level of Kamaniskeg lake was exceeded by the OPG water management team . The upper water levels resulting in flooding . The flooding resulting in property damage to Kamaniskeg Lake, and the Madawaska River property owners. During this time Bark lake was never lowered to its minimum level.
    We are summer residents on the Madawaska River. The financial consequences and property loss because of the flooding is huge. High water plus large wakes from the boats are undermining the Madawaska Township shorelines.
    Yes, I know it’s a system. A system managed by the OPG that is not working for the the property owners on Kamaniskeg Lake and the Madawaska River.

    What influence does the Madawaska Township Council have on the Ontario Power Generation/ Ministry of Natural Resources water management plan?

    • Andrey Kaminski

      The municipality must engage discussions with OPG and the MNR to ensure all our concerns are recognized and potential issues are recitified.
      During the flooding in 2013 all communications from both agencies identified they were operating within their acceptable limits.
      Modelling was developed as a tool for the Municipality to utilize, however it did not prevent the damage as the flooding occurred.
      Possibly the municipality can attend the meetings and participate with our views/opinions so our properties are not subject to further damages.And hopefully both OPG and the MNR will provide acceptable solutions when they decide to raise the water levels of Kamaniskeg Lake and Madawaska River

    • Mark Willmer

      Thank you for this question Helen. We live on Kamaniskeg Lake so I understand the importance and frustration with this situation. I believe that the water level limits, both high and low, must be strictly adhered to. In exceptional cases when this is not possible, it is of utmost importance that the municipality is consulted before any action occurs.
      It is necessary that the municipality, OPG and MNR all work together when critical levels are being reached. Communication must be open and ongoing. If elected to council I would do my best to ensure that the municipality is included, and our residents are well represented, in all discussions regarding the OPG/MNR water management plan.

    • Elser Lee Archer

      Good Morning Helen – My basement was 85% flooded for a significant period of time during the 2017 flooding incident and we had a sump pump running vigorously so I can personally relate.

      The Township does have some influence and some expertise. During the flooding incidents their is a regional leadership team for the municipalities to access involving OPG, MOE, Paramefics, Ministry of Mumicipal Affairs and regional municipalities. The regional municipal lead was in Hortin Township where our current CAO, Sue Kmart, hails from. Therefore Sue has a great deal of expertise and experience liaising with Paramedics, OPG, MOE and Ministry of Municipal Affairs on this matter. Last year MPP John Yaksbuski also organized a meeting with key players in Madawaska Valley and I also attended a larger scale meeting with some members of staff and some members of council and Key players in Horton Towndhip where we were able to ask critical questions about why and how etc and express concerns and get some answers. Internally our emergency preparedness team did daily calls with the key organizations mentioned. Some best practices have been developed. Pointing fingers during the crisis doesn’t help people in emergency need; however, best practices and post crisis evaluation is critical after a flooding incident. This helps us going forward.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Hi Helen,
      Regarding the Township and OPG relationship on water levels on Kamaniskeg and other waterways, we have input with the Ontario Government and it’s ministries such as Municipal Affairs and MNR, but have no direct policy oversight or management of their programs. During the latest flood event, residents first approached our Municipality for answers and help with some serious concerns about property damage and life threatening situations.
      We as a Municipality reached out and helped to repair properties under threat and used what resources we had to protect our residents and their properties.
      Once the battle was over we then approached MNR and Municipal Affairs with what damage was done and how much it cost the township to ensure the safety of our township residents.
      The Municipal Affairs branch of the Ontario Government then conducted many public meetings to try and answer questions and concerns about OPGs practices.
      To sum this up, I can say that we do not have any direct control over water level management but we do try and keep an open door policy with OPG and MNR regarding their operations to advise and voice concerns from our residents.
      In the end it is still an upper tier governments operation that affects us as a lower tier government.

    • Carl Bromwich

      To Pat Scott re: Priority in the Township.
      I have answered this in a previous inquiry from Wilmer Matthews and I will cut and paste my reply as follows:
      “I would suggest that there are two immediate priorities. The first and foremost is to re-staff our present office with key personnel that will develop new initiatives to get our township “back on track” as it was over a year ago when we were designated the number one destination in Renfrew County. Of course that designation was mostly due to the very active events throughout all 4 seasons of our year and the focal point of our Arts and Culture at the Railway Station.
      The number 2 priority goes hand in hand with number 1 and that is the implementation of our strategic plan developed by input from the community and is called “ The Path Forward”. This dovetails nicely with the full compliment of professional staff as it is a blueprint for success much like our earlier Economic Development Strategy that was used so wisely to create the above success as THE destination of Renfrew County.
      We have the plan and now we need the Council and staff to implement it. This is what I bring to the table as immediate priorities.”

    • Mark Willmer

      There are a number of pressing issues Pat, however I believe the most important one is restoring leadership and and effective governance to the municipality. I believe for the last four years council has spent a large amount of time spinning its wheels. It is time to get things moving again and allow staff to do the jobs they were hired to do.
      I bring an immense amount of municipal experience to the council table, gained from being both as an employee who reported directly to council and as a former councillor for twenty one years. I believe I have the tools and ability to bring a positive, professional culture back to MV council. I am skilled at problem solving and team building and work constructively with others. It is important that council and staff work together to serve our township in an efficient and professional manner.
      Some of the best and strongest councils that I have worked on over the years were the ones where members had the most divergent opinions, however there was always a respect for all opinions, and at the end of the day a well thought out constructive solution would be achieved. This requires leadership, the ability to problem solve and team build in an honest and professional manner. These are all attributes that I will bring to the table.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      Answer to Patt’s question

      We live in a naturally beautiful area that is home to generations of full time and part time residents. That being said the truth is that we need more tourism and I believe the key to that may very well be creating a more festive year round atmosphere. We used to have a fall fair but it seems to have fallen by the wayside and I don’t understand why….we have a park and a town square it really wouldn’t take much effort to bring in a small rides company for the kids and have local farmers bring in some livestock for a petting zoo. Who doesn’t like roasted corn on the cob..candy floss and ice cream? Why not give a ribbon to the farmer with the largest pumpkin? These efforts aren’t expensive and they create a sense of community which encourages cottagers to come back up for the weekend and create a little buzz in areas like Bancroft. If elected I will attend area Chamber of Commerce meetings and brainstorm with folks there to get things like this done.

      The Southside Shuffle blues and jazz festival is in its 20th year in Mississauga south and attracts over 50,000 people in one weekend..they started with 2 bands and 400 people. I have been in touch with its founding director Chuck Jackson and he would be willing to work with us to have a small scale version of it in Barrys bay in July. We have a legion in town and through my investigation with friends in the business in Toronto have been told that is all you need for a small town two night YukYuks comedy festival….great way to fight the midwinter blahs. On that note we need to promote the fact that we have pristine snowmobile trails here that are second to none….we simply have to get the word out. Any one of our fine resorts here could easily set up a tasting weekend with a wine or scotch company (I know for a fact that these weekends are hugely successful at Deerhurst Inn).

      I don’t think any one would argue with Madawaska valley maple syrup festival in the spring….least of all the aforementioned resorts. Folks this isn’t rocket science and none of these ideas cost a lot of money…we have many artists in the area in other words very creative people who just need to know that the mayor and council are open to any and all ideas. A friend approached me the other day and reminded me that Webers single location on Highway 11 in Orillia pulls in 2 million in sales during cottage season…..surely we could encourage them to open a spot on Highway 62..we certainly have the room. I am not saying we have to do everything on this list but after all these years lets do SOMETHING.

    • David Shulist

      Ms. Scott, after speaking to a lot of ratepayers on my campaign trail, I hear that taxes, water rates in Barry’s Bay and roads are the main concerns. Most people feel that in order to resolve these issues, we need to grow. In order for this to happen we need to attract more people to invest in our community which will help with their main concerns. We need to promote ourselves more to attract people to our area to increase our tax base. We need to work on our slogan “ Come for a visit and stay for a life time”. We need to focus on our uniqueness and our unique communities within the Madawaska Valley. We need to promote Combermere as the playground of the Madawaska River and the home of the famous Madonna House. Promoting Barry’s Bay as the gateway to Algonquin Park, as a College Town ( Our Lady Seat of Wisdom), as the centre of commerce and our hospital. Keep promoting Wilno as the home of Canada’s First Kashubian Community dating back to 1858 and Canada’s First Polish Community dating back to 1864. Promoting the Madawaska Valley as the place to be when it comes to recreation, fun and excitement, where we can showcase our local music, arts, festivals, museums, parks, lakes etc. All this will help us grow and hopefully attract professionals like doctors which we need. Growth is what will keep us moving forward. If elected, I will bring my 20 years of volunteering experience where I helped build a heritage park and museum in Wilno, a multicultural hockey tournament in Barry’s Bay. I will also bring my experience as a past Mayor to the table where I can help our beautiful Madawaska Valley in this promotion.

    • Elser Lee Archer

      Thanks for this question…,The first priority from my perspective is Servant Leadership. Bringing respectfull communication back to the council chambers, using Roberts Rules and our own procedural bylaws to maintain order and decorum thereby saving tax payers $$$ reducing the need for integrity Commissioners and others to investigate council’s behaviour.

      The second priority is economic development, which creates jobs. We need to keep our young people here and sustain healthy business year round (not just) May to October. Utilizing our Economic Development plan and Strategic plan, allowing staff to do their job optimally and collaborating with the community and optimizing (economic development, recreation and infrastructure) grants…..This is what we can build on.

      Finally council must adhere to its existing policies and bylaws, then create new policies as needed by respectfully listening to the whole community and having respectful debate and discussion. This is how we act as professional —-public servants—- this leads to good decisions in the best interests of the community At-Large.

    • Mark Willmer

      Nels I am sorry but I have no idea why your property taxes would increase substantially this year. I would suggest that you go into the municipal office to get an explanation and clarification from staff.

    • Carl Bromwich

      To Mr. Boehme,
      During our budget wrap up this summer Council stated that there would be some increases in taxes for some homeowners while others would see a slight decrease.
      MPAC is the assessment agency that gauges your homes value and that is the agency that you should contact if you feel your being overtaxed.
      Their website is as follows and there is a “ reconsideration” procedure you can follow to apply for a re-assessment.

      https://www.mpac.ca/PropertyTypes/PropertyAssessmentProcedures/AssessmentProcedureRequestReconsiderationProcess#3

      In summing up the Township has only increased taxes to basically match the GDP so that we can stay within a gradual taxation model that doesn’t fluctuate greatly and allows the Township to plan in an orderly fashion.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Mr. Boehme – There has been an adjustment for residents who are Separate School Board Payors. Please call Janice Zilney at the Township and she will provide further clarification. The county portion of the tax bill has gone down and the Township portion is only 1.8% increase at the cost of living.

      Best,

  5. The Current

    Madawaska Valley currently uses the Standing Committee form of municipal governance. In the belief that it can be more effective and less time-consuming, some municipalities have adopted the Committee-of-the-Whole model. What would be your preference, and why?

    • Mark Willmer

      I have worked on council in both systems and they can both work well. Personally though I prefer the Committee of the Whole model as it can be less time consuming and is also more efficient. The Committee of the Whole system allows all councillors to be involved in all issues right from the start, whereas with Standing Committees several council members are excluded from voting on certain discussion areas until the issue comes to the council chamber. With a small council it is best to have everyone involved through the entire decision making process. This approach allows for greater unity on council and a better understanding by council of the issues facing them.

    • David Shulist

      I do not like the Committee-of-the-Whole. I prefer to see the Chair and Vice Chair drive the agenda of the committee they are assigned. I believe that the Councillors who have been put in charge of their committee, will take ownership of that committee and do a better job of bringing good recommendations to council. Their focus on their committee assignment will bring a more solid report to council. People do a better job when they take ownership. If there are questions about the committee report, then you will find more discuss about the matter at a council meetings. With a Committee-of-the-Whole, you will find very little discussion and it is just rubber stamped. I also believe that the Mayor must be at all Committee meetings to add to the discussion, but not to get involved in driving the agenda.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      Standing Committees have been used by Madawaska Valley Council since amalgamation in 2001.
      I believe it is a benefit as other opinions are presented during discussions. It is a way to brainstorm and gather information.
      As a Committee of a Whole, the Council is expected to make immediate decisions or request further information which may take longer. The decision making should not be hasty. The meeting timeframes will be longer and i do not believe it will make the process any smoother.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Regarding Standing Committees versus Committees of the Whole. Having worked inside both systems for my last two terms, I would say that the Standing Committees is the way to go. It limits the number of Councillors involved so that a Recommendation from that Committee to Regular Council of the Whole can be debated, discussed and possibly modified to be adopted with a majority in the public forum so that the people can actually see how that recommendation came about. With Committees of the Whole, once a Recommendation is brought about to proceed to Regular Council Meetings, it just gets rubbed stamped with no further discussion, usually depriving the public from any meaningful debate. Not very Democratic in my opinion!

  6. Pat Scott

    In response to Carl. I would be happy to discuss the request I made about water and sewer and info on who I spoke to and when. Feel free to contact me anytime.

    But the big question still remains – businesses want to be on main corridors. What is the existing policy on requests from businesses who wish to connect? What willingness is there. Are there incentives for businesses. Businesses are not likely in subdivisions. What about ratepayers, for example on Needham St who want to connect, as there are unserviced lots there? If we are not forward thinking we can’t expand our tax base and get much needed tax dollars to keep up. We need to capitalize on the opportunities brought to us with a robust market and this puts us in a growth spurt. How do we tackle a need for growth?

    • Andrey Kaminski

      Expansion may be possible if we look at extisting properties that have the potential which already have water and sewer.
      And as well they do not necessarily need water and sewer. An approved septic and well would suffice.
      Knowing the type of business would help to determine site location.

      As long as the staff are prepared ,they should know the proper steps/process to follow in order to develop a potential property. The County of Renfrew also assists the Twp with reviews to determine correct Zoning

  7. Pat Scott

    Thanks for your reply. If we look at the village boundaries where water and sewer end we have no place really for new businesses to go to that has municipal services. Some types of business require a municipal supply. We need new businesses in order to grow and create jobs and keep younger people and their families in the area, otherwise we will be a community of seniors (not that it is bad to be seniors but we need the younger workers and businesses to make it possible to shop locally). How would you envision the commercial expansion could happen in the village if we don’t have some plan for the water and sewer expansion? I know that I tried to get information for a client about costs to hook into the system and it was an unsatisfactory run around. This is not the way we attract new business. This is now more important than ever as we are in a state of growth. Thoughts on this please

    • David Shulist

      Thank you for your concern Ms. Scott. As far as the water and sewer situation is concern, it is very simple. If any business hocks up to a system that is communal (Barry’s Bay Water and Waste Water) or an individual ( well and septic) like many businesses throughout the Madawaska Valley, you pay. As a small business owner myself, no one paid for my system and any business in Barry’s Bay paid their own way. This is fair and it should stay that way. Nothing is free, someone always has to pay when you give things away. Most businesses know that when they come into an area, that they have to pay and do not want to be a burden to the community they are moving to. This question should probably be referred to the residents and businesses in Barry’s Bay who are the owners of this system. Ask them if they want to pay for the cost of any expansion to their system. Having said all this, I believe the township who oversees the running of this facility, should take time to help potential businesses with finding the cost for them to hock up to the system if it happens to be at the end of a line. As a council, we need to promote our area as a great place to invest and help them as much as possible with the process.

  8. Anne Bonnah

    The Action Plan in The Path Forward (township strategic plan) included a recommendation to take steps that would address the existing gap in affordable housing stock for seniors. What suggestions do all the candidates have to accomplish this?

    • Carl Bromwich

      A very good question Anne,
      Our Strategic Plan was developed by the residents of our Township through public meetings and was basically their “ wish list” for the future of our Madawaska Valley. One recurring issue that is all the more pertinent today as it was 4 years ago is the limited affordable housing for our senior population.
      It is a problem with every rural township in Ontario. More and more seniors are looking for affordable housing and it falls on the Municipality to try and supply that demand. In a large urban centre it is very easy to take on Community Housing and run low rental accommodation. For a rural municipality of our size it is very difficult to get involved in a Community Housing Strategy as tax dollars are very limited. I have personally seen the private sector stepping in and providing an answer and in addition to private development helping out we now start to see our Planning Act beginning to address this shortfall. Every new home being built will be allowed to build a rental unit within it to help support the homeowners costs to maintain that home. I have also witnessed subdivision discussions where low cost housing for seniors will be included in their plans. This may not completely answer your question in the short term but I see hope for a greater supply of affordable housing in the near future.

    • Mark Willmer

      This is a good question and one that needs addressing. While I was working on the Age Friendly Community Report, it became clear, as the strategic plan indicates, that this is an area of considerable concern. The feeling overall is that the entire housing market for seniors is lacking, whether it be affordable housing or condo types of developments for those who are downsizing. Many people are concerned that they will have to leave our community to find appropriate housing.
      There is no easy fix to this problem however I feel that since the demand is there we should be actively seeking developers of this type of housing and letting them know about the opportunities that exist for them in Madawaska Valley. Council needs to be more proactive and develop a campaign that specifically targets these developers. As part of this process we need to more actively engage Renfrew County’s Economic Development Department. Moving forward with a positive approach will go a long way to initiating action on this issue.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      Affordable housing isnt just about the cost, it is also about the quality of life. Possibly creating a committee to research what other areas are doing. Available funding from outside the area. Gathering numbers of potential users would be a start in the right direction

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Affordable housing is key for seniors aging in place as well as young adults. Seniors have shared with me over the last 4 years that their fixed incomes for 2 people can be $2,000.00/month and sometimes 60% less for individuals. If they are unable to maintain their homes at present, they see leaving the Valley as their current option if they are not ready for long term care or cannot afford what’s available.
      http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page16444.aspx
      Above is a link to more provincial information on 2nd family self contained units. Benefits:
      – Allow homeowners to earn additional income to help meet the cost of home ownership
      – Support changing demographics by providing more housing options for extended families or elderly parents, or for a live-in caregiver
      – Help create mixed-income communities, which support local businesses and local labour markets
      – Make more efficient use of existing infrastructure, including public transit where it exists or is planned
      – Make more efficient use of the existing housing stock
      – Create jobs in the construction/renovation industry
      – Assist municipalities in meeting their goals regarding affordable housing, intensification and density targets, and climate change mitigation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
      This measure can provide more housing for extended family or elderly parents. Others would prefer more supportive housing such as the model in Eganville or Town House development Units.

  9. I’m concerned about the responses to Pat Scott’s question about attracting business to the township. People are talking about expanding the water and sewage system, yet offering tax incentives to attract new business. Barry’s Bay residents are already paying unreasonable rates for water. Will the cost of expansion be also loaded onto residents of the village? Or are candidates willing to brave the opposition of rural residents and spread the costs of expansion over the entire tax base?

    • Carl Bromwich

      Hi Bernadine,
      A hot topic for sure and well worth digging into it! First off we all know what a ruckus was caused when the last Council tried to spread the cost of water across rural residents outside of Barry’s Bay . Rural residents of which I am one are responsible for their own water and septic services and the cost of drilling a well not to mention septic maintenance runs into tens of thousands of dollars and we sure wouldn’t expect the Townspeople of Barry’s Bay to help pay for that. My feelings on newly developed homes in Barry’s Bay that don’t have water and sewer but will need it such as a new subdivision should not have a huge development charge attached to the sale of each property to support the cost of extending water and sewer services. This should be part of the operation costs associated with a township that embraces development. The reasoning behind this is that once water and sewer are hooked up they are now a customer of our water and waste system under a metered system and as you stated pay a large amount of money for that service on an ongoing basis. More usage by more homeowners should translate into a less expensive water and sewer rate. On a positive note here, each and every piece of property sold builds up a larger tax base which adds valuable dollars to our overall prosperity and should translate into keeping tax increases for the whole township at a reasonable rate.
      Now, about tax rebates or tax assistance for new businesses. This is a big city initiative and would be warranted in a p,ace like Toronto where the Provincial Government has no problem handing out huge tax incentives to have large companies locate there. “Amazon”being a good example. However, in a small rural township we must treat every single business owner equally and if we ever offered one single new business an incentive it would set a precedent for all for many years to come.
      In the end however whatever the majority of residents want then Council should listen.

      • Pat Scott

        Thanks for your reply. If we look at the village boundaries where water and sewer end we have no place really for new businesses to go to that has municipal services. Some types of business require a municipal supply. We need new businesses in order to grow and create jobs and keep younger people and their families in the area, otherwise we will be a community of seniors (not that it is bad to be seniors but we need the younger workers and businesses to make it possible to shop locally). How would you envision the commercial expansion could happen in the village if we don’t have some plan for the water and sewer expansion? I know that I tried to get information for a client about costs to hook into the system and it was an unsatisfactory run around. This is not the way we attract new business. This is now more important than ever as we are in a state of growth. Thoughts on this please

      • Carl Bromwich

        This is a question back to Pat Scott regarding her inquiry into costs of hooking up to water services. It would be interesting to find out who the inquiry was made to and when and if there was any answer at all. All I know for sure is that if there is a requirement for additional water services which of course would be proposed by a new subdivision application, then water services would be expanded to service it. I also know that we have had planning applications for businesses that looked outside our water services area so they could supply their own water and septic systems so they wouldn’t be saddled with the high costs of township water. OCWA is our contractor that oversees all matters related to water and waste and would be involved in any development planning that required additional services. This contractor is part of our Committee of Water and Waste chaired by Shelley Maika and any inquiries would go through that committee.

    • Mark Willmer

      If we are to attract new development we need a well thought out expansion plan in place in order to provide the services that will be required. New development is not going to occur overnight but we need to be “build ready” when suitable development opportunities arise.
      In order to pay for the services we need to be looking for funding from other levels of government (not easy but we should be rattling their doors) and using development charges to help fund these services. Development charges are paid by the developer and are used to cover infrastructure expansion including water and sewer. These charges are commonly used by other municipalities within Renfrew County and are one of the few dedicated sources for this type of development. It will take time to build up the required funds but we do have to start somewhere. Putting a well thought out plan in place provides a good starting point.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Bernadine,
      Many town residents are concerned about the cost of water. Recently we gave a small rebate on water bills. I have learned a great deal co-chairing water and waste water. During that time I learned that the Township Septage could potentially generate income with a tipping fee from Septic companies in the surrounding area. The issue is whether the provincial government would mandate use of a septage vs spreading waste on farms. Thus the cost for pumping your septic in rural communities would be born by the private customer. The cost town water users would still remain a separate issue. Development beyond the borders of existing water lines would involve an extension of the system and provide opportunities for businesses between existing lines and potentially new waterlines to developers an opportunity to opt in. Exploring the pros and cons of this approach would be something for the new council to consider. Infrastructure funding could also contribute to this process.

  10. Pat Scott

    I have a question for all the councilors and mayoral candidates. We all are aware that the municipality has to do more with a shrinking budget. How do you envision that we can attract development to increase our tax base and save us from big tax hikes? What could be some suggestions you would make at the table? Have concessions ever been considered, especially to attract new businesses? I believe part of our limitation is the cost of extending water and sewer line as we have almost hit a dead end on in town commercial development. What are your thoughts?

    • Andrey Kaminski

      The tax dollar has certainly been spread thin over the many years since Madawaska Valley’s creation. We must maintain our services while trying to keep taxes low. With inflation and rising costs of running a business we as Council must try to find the most viable solution to bring in additional businesses. Our water and sewer infastructure has limitations as it currently exists. To expand it will entice potentail business which will add to our great area. Changes are taking place all around us and we need to address our needs accordingly. A good business owner knows we need to spend money to make money. If we can entice those businesses in by offering tax incentives, we must explore those options. We want Madawaska Valley to be the best that it can be.

    • Carl Bromwich

      As I have stated previously, Tourism and Recreation draws people to our Township and some decide to move here permanently which builds a stronger tax base and in some instances those folks also start new businesses. Recreation and Tourism go hand in hand with Economic Development. This has been proven many times over since I took office almost 5 1/2 years ago.
      More land development within our Barry’s Bay town limits will require additional water and sewer development if there is a requirement. We removed development charges last as an incentive to build here. That was the first step. There is no magic bullet that will attract economic development, just hard work, providing a welcoming township with recreational and tourist events. The Railway Station was the centre for tourists and events that included the arts and culture of our area. It must be restored to that level with our new Council and the strategic plan, The Path Forward must be implemented. That should get us back on track! (Pardon the pun)

    • Mark Willmer

      Attracting new clean business is very important. We need growth to increase our tax base and to create jobs to retain and bring young families into the area. This is easier said than done, however I believe we need to start by promoting ourself and our assets in a better manner, creating an atmosphere that shows people that we are open for business. We have a lot to offer, let’s let others know.
      Secondly we need to carefully plan our growth, and actively pursue the type of businesses that we would like to see in the area, and thirdly, perhaps offer limited tax incentives to encourage new businesses to locate here. The temporary loss of tax revenue would be more than made up in the future by our increased tax base.
      For growth to happen we will be required to expand our infrastructure; this is a very expensive process and needs to be planned with considerable care and foresight in order that any expansion serves us best in the short and long term. We do not want to overbuild but instead build what is necessary and allow for planned expansion when required.
      Funding sources are difficult to uncover but need to be aggressively sought to help with these considerable costs. One of the prime sources in many municipalities for this type of funding is development charges. These are charges to the developer that are designed to cover the increased costs that the municipality will incur due to the development. Unfortunately MV Council eliminated these charges believing it to be an incentive for growth. I feel this was a short sighted decision and one that does not necessarily encourage growth. I think this position needs to be rethought by the next council as funding for future expansion will be required and this is one of the only dedicated funding sources municipalities have of covering these costs.
      We have so many assets and so much to promote in the MV. I believe in our future and think with hard work careful planning the future can be a bright one for our township.

    • David Shulist

      Great question Ms Scott. I believe that we need to keep promoting our area as a great tourist destination and a great place to live. Our slogan tells the whole story of our promotion “ Come for a visit and stay for a life time” Many people have visited our area and have settled here because they fell in love with our beautiful area. As you know it takes money to promote, and where does this money comes from is from the tax base. If we are going to continue to promote, we need to spend money to make money in this case to increase our tax base. I would like to see a MV Business Association created to help the Twp with ideas in this promotion. They are at the pulse of this issue and they can help. As far as the extension of the water and sewer line in concerned, this is up to the users of the system. It is not free to expand, so do the users want to spend the money to expand and hope to attract more users, so it will help their cost in the future. Nothing is free and all decision are all about investing for the future. The question is, do we want to invest in our future. As you know, I believe in promoting MV locally, nationally and internationals and I have done this as a volunteer. It is easier as a citizen compared to spending tax payers money as a councillor, so your questions are sometimes hard to answer. I hope that I have answered them to your satisfaction. I will do my best to keep the Madawaska Valley healthy and strong.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Thanks for your question Pat. Bonusing is something that we are NOT able to do. That is outlined in the in Section 106 of Ontario Municipal Act. There are 4 Ontario cases that set precedence….including Vincorp Financial Ltd. v. The Corporation of the County of Oxford (2014) ONSC 2580 released April 30, 2014.

      The judicial consideration prior to Vincorp establishes several principles applicable to the interpretation of the anti-bonusing provision. Stated briefly these are:
      “The anti-bonusing provision restricts municipal powers, therefore must be construed narrowly so as not to unduly detract from municipal powers; all municipal contracts confer an advantage or benefit of some kind; the anti-bonusing provision should be construed as only prohibiting the granting of “obvious undue advantages” Identifying a breach in this anti-bonusing provision and determining “obvious undue advantage” or favor is the issue. Very subjective matter.

      I believe that developing collaborative partnerships with a corporate partner in a clean industry utilizing something like a Red Grant – Rural Economic Development Grant is a good start. Residents need to understand there is no quick fix in job creation. While campaigning a resident said to me, “If you build it, they will come”. A good start is building on what’s been effective. A multi-pronged long term vision laid out in our Strategic plan complements local interests in both job creation, programs for children, youth, adults and tourists. In 2015 Madawaska Valley had 13,000 visits and, recorded their presence at the Railway Station.

      Calabogie has had over 19,000 visit their blues festival over a 3 day period. We were getting close to that number with simple events. Please see the tourism impact model when you click below. Our neighbors in Renfrew – Paul Murphy owner of Calabogie Peaks has shared, ” it has taken a decade of hard work to improve the (Calabogie) Peaks’ …. He also stressed that more needs to be done to improve the financial health of the Peaks and other local businesses, and to encourage other businesses to come to the community, while recognizing that additional growth won’t happen until there’s more to do in Calabogie. Likewise creating “things to do” for our residents will definitely attract others and have spin-off benefits to help existing business stronger. The BIA understands this concept well!
      Please click HERE for a link to the Tourism Impact Model.

  11. I’m a seasonal resident of Barry’s Bay and very happy to spend some of my time in this beautiful region. I’m also a visual artist and have participated in a number of group exhibitions at the station gallery including a solo show in 2016. Knowing that there was an art gallery in Barry’s Bay was an important incentive in my coming here; I have met many other artists and local people through my connection with the station gallery.
    Alas, it’s a shame it’s gone. The last time I dropped in the now so-called info or tourist centre, it was depressing to see a handful of people heads buried in their devices, there only to check their mail.
    I’m paying a huge amount of money in taxes without reaping hardly any benefits. I have no town water, sewage, or garbage collection. The one thing that I once felt somewhat justified paying my taxes for is now gone. I will vote for the next mayor and council member whose vision of the township includes the arts and the local gallery.

    • Mark Willmer

      Thank you for this question Joseph. I believe the train station is an important asset of the township. It served a wonderful role as an active visitor centre/cultural centre. In the interests of not clogging this forum I ask you to read my response to Linda Shulist which is located further down this feed.

    • Doug DeLaMatter

      Joseph, your thoughts echo many residents of the area, both seasonal and permanent. Just two years ago, the Station had a knowledgeable and dynamic manager employed by the township. In just 5 years, she increased the number of visitors from ~ 1000 (2004) to ~ 11,000 (2009). In 2014 there were just under 10,000 visits (available OVTA numbers). A good number were tourists, but many were also local people attending shows, classes, and other group activities. The Station was a dynamic centre for creative activities that served the community as much as travellers.
      All of this for about $10.00/yr. per 100,000 assessment.

      Unfortunately, she is no longer employed by the Twp.

      This winter, Madawaska Valley Culture and Heritage Society, a non-profit corp., offered to run the Station and all of the activities in the Station Park for about 2/3 of the budget assigned in each of the previous 2 years. Council chose to withhold that necessary funding, and chose to run the Station staffed only by Summer Students.

      I hope that a new Council will recognize that whether or not support for the Arts, Heritage and Culture appeals to them and their neighbours, we need to offer activities that appeal to people who don’t live here yet… Activities that will attract new skilled people to the area, to support our aging residents who have made the township their home, and to share their skills (and tax revenues) with the community.

      For 124 years, the Train Station in its various roles, has been a window on our community and way of life. In 2017, that window was broken. As with any window, it was easy to break and will be much harder to fix. We all hope that the new Council will decide to repair the damage to the programming and to our reputation as a forward-looking community. When they make that decision, they will find a groundswell of support among permanent and seasonal residents.
      Plans are already afoot by the MV Culture and Heritage Society to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first train arriving in Barry’s Bay on the Labour Day weekend in 2019. Let us hope that by then, we have a Station and an active Creative Centre program that we can show off with pride to the visitors who will attend.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      The Railway Station is one of many discussions that MV Council must have. Decide what is best for us as a municipality. We need to use the station to its full ability. The arts are important. Council needs to be fiscally accountable and responsible for every tax dollar. If we can find a way to make positive changes , im open to ideas.

    • Carl Bromwich

      My vision all along has been to make the Railway Station the focal point of Arts and History and Culture for our area. We did achieve that at one time but due to unfortunate events we lost valuable staff and incentives to keep it functions at such a high level. My main intent for the upcoming Council is to try and convince them to once again make our Township THE destination in Renfrew County!!

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      I am currently Vice Chair of our wonderful Madawaska Valley Public Library that partnered with the Railway station to provide multiple children’s programs. Currently the library doesn’t have the space for art classes and various other community clubs that were housed in the station. Restoration of this iconic building according to heritage standards is critical to maintaining it’s presence. Secondly, it provided something for our residents to do and enjoy.

      I was a former member of the Madawaska Valley Arts Council (2009/2010). Volunteers from age 30-90 years worked together on that executive and our Town Curator, Anya was able to work on writing proposals to secure funding that we all had input in. Many volunteers worked together on great fundraisers like the “Welch” dinner and other events that raised $$$ to fuel the railway station activities along with sponsors. In turn it offered fun events for adults. Someone asked me recently if we would sell a hardware tool in the Station and expect the Township to manage the retail end of that transaction. I responded of course not. I believe we can house exhibits that include taxidermy during hunting season, seniors exhibits, textile and wood creations and continue to encourage young artists within the schools as in the past while, housing legacy railway memorabilia and wonderful art that connects interested buyers to their work. Too often I’ve heard that the lack of amenities are a deterrent when recruiting doctors and a disappointment for local residents who want to see programs for their children that are not provided in the arena or Combermere community centre. I myself am an artist. My daughter had a piece displayed at the Station along with other students back in 2012. Her piece was recognized and placed in Pembroke’s Festival Hall where she won an award. This inspired part of her educational journey and she now works in advertising in a large corporation. If the “Group of Seven” artists were living here would we show their work with pride or shun them? Lets take pride in all of residents and encourage them to excel in their gifts and interests while —- cost effectively providing options for our residents !!!

  12. The Current

    Question re “Pot Shops”
    In our recent article about the new cannabis selling laws (click HERE to read that article) The Current reported that municipalities will have the option to opt out of permitting retail outlets within their boundaries. Potentially this issue will be one of the more taxing and controversial decisions the new council will have to make early in its term. For this reason, The Current believes that voters should be familiarized with each candidate’s views on this issue.
    Are you in favour of a “pot shop” located in Madawaska Valley or not? Please give reasons for your view.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Welcome to 21 st Century!
      As long as a small business operates under Provincial and Federal guidelines for the safety and respect for their customers then we should have no problem sanctioning a business that will create jobs, provide a service, specially for Medicinal users which hasn’t been provided up to now with the exception of questionable providers.

    • Mark Willmer

      As cannabis will be legal in Canada on October 17th and will be sold by several methods throughout the country it would not make sense to stop the sale in our municipality. If we were to deny sales in MV it would just mean that people would have to buy on line, or spend their dollars in another municipality. Let’s keep the revenue and add business to our community.

    • David Shulist

      I believe that as of now, we do not have any local business that is ready to sell cannabis. As of October 17 when cannabis is legal and a local business or businesses are qualified to sell the product under Ontario and Canadian rules, I have no problem with this. What is important to me is that they abide by the law.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Finance Minister Minister Vic Fedeli advised that April 1, 2019 all sales will be made through a retail store model. It will provide particulars of that model following a consultation period ——- It is unwise to give a response to an unknown model. There are many alcoholics in many communities and the government doesn’t provide enough services to keep the community safe from drunk driving, domestic violence and the psychological and emotional abuse that results from this addiction affecting families. The unidentified model is connected to resources to help keep the community safe —–Well worth exploring in terms of job creation, health benefits when we know there is an “underground model” with no community safety $$$$ —– I have never smoked “weed” and have certainly advised against it and it’s particular adverse impact on the teenage brain (as identified in studies). In 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. After reviewing 79 randomized trials, with 6,462 patients, researchers found evidence of moderate quality to suggest marijuana helps for chronic nerve pain, nausea due to chemotherapy, and spasticity due to MS—but that was it. My social work background and specific work at York University (student population of 52,000 I worked on modifying and implementing marijuana policy protocols on campus.

  13. Yvette Boudreau-Smith

    As front line tourism operators in the Valley, we are very concerned about the path that tourism promotion has taken recently. As individual business’s we can promote ourselves, but the township needs to market Madawaska Valley, promote our amazing area and support the whole community that relies on its year round income stream.
    Mark Wilmer…in your campaign you talk about growth and the need to promote Madawaska Valley. Four years ago you were, in part, responsible for the closing of the ski hill. Having been the “face” of the Hill, several constituents feel that you have received a lot of undeserved, negative backlash due to lack of, or misinformation regarding this situation. How do you respond to this?

    • Mark Willmer

      Thank you for this Yvette,
      Yes I have received considerable backlash on the hill closure and yes, I was the face of the hill; however, I was a minority owner in the operation. During my three years of managing the hill it became my life. I often spent 20+ hours a day there to ensure we could open the next day. The hill was my life and through it I became passionate about my new community and the people of the Madawaska Valley.
      Although it was not a complete surprise I was devastated the day the two majority owners in the operation informed me that they were not able or willing to continue to operate the facility. It really felt like my life had been taken away as Madawaska Mountain had truly become my passion; I loved the hill, and we were making great progress. I would have done anything to keep the hill going and I felt we were slowly but surely heading in the right direction. Once the hill was put on the market I was hopeful that a new buyer would be found quickly, one who would include me in their ownership group. Working with Gerry Belisle we came close several times but to no avail.
      I understand the value that people place upon the mountain and how they consider it to be “our hill” as I developed the same feelings during our ownership period.
      I feel very sorry for the volunteers, the students that spent their hard earned money to become certified instructors, the many new skiers that we introduced to the sport and the many families that enjoyed the hill.
      As you know from my election campaign, I believe in the Madawaska Valley and believe that tourism and the related tourism industries are our future. I believe the hill has a future although I no longer have any business connection to it.
      Let’s hope that a new owner is found soon and that we can all start enjoying this tremendous facility again.

    • Pat Scott

      The ski hill, since I came to the area in 1976, has gone thru many scenarios with The Municipality being amongst a list of owner/operators of the ski hill. Many of those previous situations failed completely. It is very,very short sighted of any rate payer who would choose to not vote for Mark because of a business decsion by someone else that was beyond his direct ability to control.

  14. Gary and Miriam Hedderson

    Your piece really hits the mark, Pat. The Railway Station and all that it was definitely should be a priority of the new council. I volunteered there for many years and still feel the tremendous loss to the community. It tended to be a gathering place. There was always something interesting going on – inside or outside. In addition to learning about the history of this area, we were all exposed to the artistic talent of the Valley – through art exhibits, workshops, music and dance performances or special events. Some met there to share their love of craft. Others came together to do restoration work on railway artifacts. It truly was a gem and as a volunteer at the desk, I was told many times that we should be very proud of it. Visitors said more than once that they would like to ‘live here’ just because of their Railway Station visit. When you have a ‘gathering place’ in the community, a place where learning is going on and there is a sharing of interests, the community is sstronger for it!

    Miriam Hedderson

  15. Sue Wade

    Everyone is talking about more, more building etc. I’m concerned we are headed to be the next Muskoka… if I wanted to live there I would have bought there. The homes that they want to build Chippawa will raise my taxes and force people to move. Why does anything have to chance? and if changes occur we must look at the long term affect on people and environment not bull doze for dollars …

    • Carl Bromwich

      Good topic as development begins to take hold in a township inevitably things appear to be changing fairly quickly and a “Muskoka Scenario” will be on everyone’s mind. Your very concern has been discussed at length many times at the street level and inside Council. I can categorically state that this is on everyone’s mind when we discuss Development.
      It is rather unfortunate that the Ontario Planning Act limits a municipality’s involvement in land development, yet we do have certain core values that we can apply on a case to case basis. I call it “ Controlled Development” and so far it has worked quite well.
      We are talking about development on or near our water and our Township has one theme that has been applied to any and all development so far. That is, no development will eliminate public access to a lake such as has happened in Muskoka, which includes “ gated communities”.
      Our residents have access to all the lakes and rivers in our Township and hopefully this will not be compromised in the future. Your concern about higher taxes is reasonable but on the other side of the argument one can see that a larger tax base brings in more revenue which should offset larger tax increases. MPAC is the assessment agency that controls the values of ones home of course and municipalities have no control over that provincial agency.
      All we can do as a township is to reflect the communities concerns in their decision making when it comes to developments and with the long range understanding that development handled carefully will bring in new jobs, new residents and more revenue for our overall good.

    • Mark Willmer

      Growth is very important for our future, and the future of the Madawaska Valley. However what is most important is that it is properly planned . Planned growth includes ensuring that our lakes, streams, forest and natural environment are protected. Some lakes are near capacity for development however there is plenty of room for development in other parts of our township.
      I see the need for a greater emphasis on planning in the municipality and possibly the need to have a staff member with a planning background to ensure that we proceed with any development in the correct manner.
      The township should be “open for business” and actively seeking new development that enhances the many assets that we already have in MV township.

    • David Shulist

      I hear you Miss Wade. We need to be careful in the way we grow our area, but we cannot stop growth. Without growth, we will not survive. You are a big part of our growth when you moved here and we appreciate you for being part of our community. Our Moto tells it all “ Come for a visit and stay for a life time”. The day we created this slogan, we have opened the door to growth and this is all good news. As a fifth generation Valley lad, I remember back in the 60’s and ‘70’s where the only industry was logging and lumbering. Thanks to people moving to the area, jobs were created in the construction and service sectors. I moved away for jobs and thanks to the growth of our area, I saw an opportunity to come back home with my wife and raise a family. I can proudly say that my wife and I are successful business people thanks to the growth of our area. Having said all this, I agree that we need to be careful how we develop our area and thanks to the great people running in this election, we will make sure that everything is managed properly. If I am elected and sitting at the council table, I will make sure that our Madawaska Valley ( our home) will stay beautiful and affordable for everyone.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Sue,
      I truly appreciate your concern that we do not become another Muskoka. We are said to be the last ‘bastion’ or location below Highway 60 that remains undeveloped. As current Chair of Economic Development and Property I first want to acknowledge the hard work put forward by our Manager of Planning and Manager of Operations as they meet with developers and individuals who seek to upgrade their homes and property. The planning department has worked hard to satisfy the regulatory requirements of our new Official Plan which is administered by the County of Renfrew. All developers first go to the County of Renfrew for approvals we are the lower tier.

      As a municipality we must balance the reality that 60% or more of our population is aging. Mark Wilmer worked with a community team to develop and age friendly strategy. Feedback was secured through surveys, individual/group meetings, focus groups and a steering committee. I will identify the threats specified in the strategy and then provide information on how we can potentially address these 6 threats:

      Please click HERE and then CLICK LINK to read my full answer including the six points.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      I have already noted in my previous message that we do not want to be the next Muskokas.
      I do believe in growth, however our area and the property owners must be able to sustain such growth. We cannot outprice ourselves which forces people to leave. Lets keep Madawaska Valley beautiful

    • The Current

      The three candidates who have not responded to requests for interviews are Love, Maika and Peplinski. Candidate Kaminski has agreed to an interview and arrangements are being made to conduct this.

  16. Linda Neuman

    I would really like to read the answers to these questions from ALL candidates. Not responding or getting your views out there to the community would indicate that you’re really not interested in reaching and serving all areas of the municipality only the ones you choose. Very troubling.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Our library is an active and successful community hub which has attracted both local and seasonal residents for many years and will continue to be a valuable asset for our Township for many years to come. It’s success is due to having great staff and volunteers who care deeply that this facility keeps up to date and work very hard to make sure all that visit have their needs met.
      The latest renovation opened it up so that there were more spacious areas and storage facilities and made visitors feel more comfortable with various displays that fuel the research oriented folks interests.
      The children’s area downstairs is exceptional and I can state first hand that when my grandchildren discovered that area it was difficult to get them to leave.
      We depend on Government grants and local tax dollars for expansion and upgrades and hopefully our new Provincial partners will invest more into making sure our library will not only just exist but expand to handle increased visitors that are coming now to our Township.

    • Mark Willmer

      The library is an important and integral part of our community. Although small it is very well laid out and the recent renovations have opened it up significantly. If funding was available it certainly would be nice to enlarge/enhance this facility, however to the best of my knowledge there are no funding sources presently available for this type of work. We should continue to explore funding opportunities and take advantage of any that do arrive.

    • David Shulist

      Thank you Mr. Houle for your interest in our public library. If there is any request from the public for expansion, relocating or building a new library then it would come to the council table for discussion and we would take care of this business. This public facility is very important to all of us and we need to make sure we never lose it. The discussion of any changes will have to be driven by the public.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Mr. Houle,
      I have had the honour being council liaison to the library and sitting as Vice Chair of the Madawaska Valley Public Library over the past 4 years. The library does have a strategic plan and the board will be updating it shortly, as it looks to the future. After exploring the cost of expanding the library in 2015 a renovation was the initial priority of the board to ensure that it was more user friendly for existing patrons in the current location. As result, it focused on programming and improving equipment and resources. Since the library is a separate legal entity it will propose options for the future in their upgraded strategic plan and continue to have discussions with council and collaborate with the community as part of that process.

      On May 12, 2016 I was asked by Council to comment on Ontario’s Draft Culture Strategy on behalf of the Township of Madawaska Valley. An excerpt, “Our business community and culture organizations like the library work in partnership with our Council and Township. The Library requires steady multi-year funding to grow its programs that serve both Madawaska Valley and the Township of Brudenell, Lyndock , Raglan. ” Click HERE to open another window and then click the link to read the full Culture Strategy document.
      Without consistent multi-year funding for rural libraries across Ontario our Library will be challenged to sustain the excellent services currently provided. Advocating for multi-year base funding is key…..to moving forward.

      Best,

  17. The Current

    The Current confirms that each candidate in this election receives at their registered email address every question directed at them as posted on the forum. In order to avoid further repetition of such questions, perhaps the candidates who are conspicuous by their absence would see fit to explain why they are denying voters the benefit of their views. The Current provides this Town Hall forum as a public service. It may interest readers to know that since we launched the forum on August 8 it has been viewed more than a thousand times.

  18. Linda Shulist

    Well said Pat Scott re: Station and the Arts Community. I would like to hear from the Candidates re: if elected I would ____________________________ to restore/promote the arts in our community and enhance the use of the Station building.
    I also think this page is a great way to hear where our candidates stand on all issues. Thanks for doing this.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Hi Linda,
      A great question and the restoration and promotion of Arts and Recreation has been paramount in my portfolio as Chair of Recreation Tourism and Culture. It is very unfortunate that for over a year now we have been lacking a Community Coordinator who would be the very person required to promote and oversee restoration of our Arts community intitiatives. The Railway Station of course is the centre of these initiatives and must be a priority in the new Council that will be voted in on October 22. Some hope in that direction should be announced shortly and a more positive dialogue can then be had.

    • Mark Willmer

      I believe it is very important to bring the train station back to life, not just as a visitor centre but as a vibrant thriving cultural centre. The imminent hiring of a recreation co-ordinator along with direction from the new council will be a good first step to achieving this. I would like to see visual arts exhibits along with a variety of programs and classes operating out of the facility.
      The train station along with the park around should be a cultural hub. This benefits everyone as we enjoy special events programs and displays, while the vibrancy of the area encourages tourists to stop and stay awhile.
      Just a note, while I was on council in Arnprior it was generally recognized throughout Renfrew County that the Barry’s Bay visitor centre was far and away the busiest and most successful one around. We need to appreciate and make use of the great assets like the Train Station that are part of our community.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      If elected we need to review the current building uses/budget. What are our needs for the future and discuss our options. The railway station is a positive service which many enjoy. Lets see what we can do with it.

  19. Kristin Marchand

    I wish all candidates would reply to the questions/comments. Not having easy access to all the candidates’ ideas and opinions seems to indicate that those who don’t engage in this forum don’t want my vote.

    • Mary Susan Smith

      I agree, Kris. Surely everyone running has a vested interest in making their views known to the community of voters. Failure to engage appears to suggest that they are not really all that interested in being elected.

      • Andrey Kaminski

        As noted i am interested and i care a great deal about our people and our area. I cannot answer for all the candidates. Transperancy has been a concern for many years and i want the people to know where i stand regarding their concerns.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Kristin,
      You asked me to share about how I have helped small businesses locally. In our Economic Development Strategy we had a tourism impact model very similar to this one: Click HERE and then please CLICK LINK to read the full document. Since the inception of the Barry’s Bay BIA – “Business in Action ” I have met with their Executive, as the Council Liaison and co-chaired Communities in Bloom Program with Debbie Marshall. As such I have consistently advocated for initiatives and events put forward. Tourism is important to our local economy because it profiles the community as a destination of choice and encourages visitor spending. It fosters something called “place making”: https://www.google.com/search?q=placemaking&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b
      Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being.
      1. In short I have advocated for BIA Initiatives with Council and as part of Budget discussions.
      2. I co-chair Communities in Bloom a collaborative Initiative involving the BIA and the Municipality. The importance of this is profiling our community across the province in 2016 & 2017 and in 2018 we were invited a)to promote our community nationally so as to draw tourists and generate spending in local businesses
      b)to distinguish this community as environmentally responsible, beautiful, rich in culture and heritage activities, as committed to sustaining quality infrastructure/, overflowing with volunteerism and a community spirit that has fiercely protected pristine landscapes over the years despite a tornado and a flood. Here is a link to our profile
      3. I have worked from 2009 to 2015 with local Not-for-Profits writing proposals that have secured over $200,000 in funding for individuals facing employment barriers and children and youth programs that collaborated with the Township.
      4. I have also worked with individuals and assisted them in writing and executing business plans that have resulted in earned income
      5. I have also worked with Loyalist College to offer interest based continuing education courses that have resulted in local job creation for instructors

      Best,

    • Andrey Kaminski

      Answering questions from the public demonstrates my interest in serving our people. The more people that review my comments/answers the better. As a candidate it shows i am interested and i care about Madawaska Valley

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      Hello Linda – Public Members on Standing Committees – This process was initiated over the last 4 years in Madawaska Valley to facilitate transparency and encourage ongoing public input on strategic priorities through recommendation and discussion. No Standing Committee of Council can decide anything, they can only recommend—- ultimately the elected Council will make policy decisions. All members of this type of committee would be required to sign off on the Code of Conduct that will (Under Bill 68) become mandatory for all municipalities as part of the Ontario Municipal Act. The key question for me is, “Did that process facilitate transparency” As a new council we will need to evaluate this.

  20. Nancy Checko

    A question to all candidates…
    The PJY Community Centre is showing its wear. This has great potential to be used year-round for trade shows; cultural, social and entertainment events; education and training sessions; and, of course, year-round athletics – we do see these uses now but in very limited numbers. Do you see upgrades, and possible expansion, to this facility as a priority for our township? What is your vision for making it more attractive and accessible to interested users?

    • Mark Willmer

      The PJY Community Centre is an important part of our community. Arenas are often the hub of a community and ours is no different as the PJY Community Centre plays a huge role in providing opportunities for recreation and cultural opportunities and events.
      My priority with this facility will be to ensure that it is properly maintained and that we attain funding to ensure all lifecycle and day to day repairs are funded properly. Maintaining and modernizing the facility and making necessary improvements over time is more important than expansion. We have an asset that must be preserved and maintained through proper care.
      The PYJ Community Centre in my estimation is under utilized and I feel we need to spend more time promoting it, both as a place where ice time is available at a reasonable rate and as a venue for various special events particularly during the non ice months.

    • David Shulist

      Mrs Checko, I am glad to hear that you see value in our Community Centre. Any upgrades and expansion would have to come from public input. What does the public want, is the question. What we have today, we have a facility that is only used in very limited numbers like you say. We need to get more input from the public. Most successful events are generated and driven by the public. We need more people to step up and create events. It is the public that creates and council supports. Eg/ The Opeongo Heritage Cup is driven by the public and supported by council. “ – “ Stone Fence Theatre plays, is driven by the public and promoted by the Township. As far as trade shows, this has to be driven by the businesses.

    • Carl Bromwich

      Our PJ&Y Community Centre is very important in the overall Recreation and Social events that take place in the Madawaska Valley Township.
      Well over 40 years old now and needs continuous support both in maintenance and promotion of events.
      We just had the roof painted which should ensure that deterioration is halted for some time now and we just replaced some very expensive ice making components that had reached their life span.
      The freezing mechanism under the ice has now reached its life span and needs replacing. By using a cost saving measure we have kept the ice mechanisms working for now, and must boast that we probably have the best ice surface in Ontario because of our knowledgeable staff and dedicated work ethic.
      Like almost every Rural Township in Ontario, Rink’s are costly and because recreation and tourism isn’t a “ core service” usually end up last in budget talks as priority.
      The huge question here is “ who will pay for these initiatives”?
      With a willing council and a majority of citizens who think that a Community Centre such as ours needs more $$$ invested into it then anything is possible.
      One more piece of the puzzle is a staff member who has access to grants, funding, event planning and promotions that would make this successful. We have been without that person for over a year. Hopefully that will change in the very near future.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      The PJY building has been serving our community and surrounding communities for many years. This is a great service which we need to use. There are a multitude of groups using this facility, however we need to review potential additional uses. If it sits empty we arent being proactive. We need to use it to its utmost capabilities.

      I hear many positive comments regarding this facility. If the demands warrant expansion then we as Council need to create a sustainable plan. Fees/operating budget and staffing need review to ensure efficiency. If there are any concerns lets deal with them. As we strive to maintain an affordable tax base we also must budget for the future.

    • Elser Lee Archer

      Hello Nancy,
      This year s capitol project for PJYC is roof repairs, last year was an energy efficiency audit. My hope is that implementing energy conservation measures will provide cost savings that can be applied to maintenance. We did apply for a significant grant in 2016 but unfortunately did not get it. I am thrilled that the Wilno Recreation Committee got funding (and couldn’t see government handing over significantly $$$ for two rinks in the same community). PJYC has significant problem with the brine system and this is a major maintenance issue.

      We need programs for year round and seasonal residents. We had a great dance program this year and ongoing hockey programs. I will personally continue pursuing educational programs and seek council support just as I’ve worked with Loyalist College on continuing education programs in Barry’s Bay and the 1 year Personal Support Program Offered in Combermere. Physical enhancements require a grant and planning which I am committed to should iBecome Mayor.

      Best,

  21. I have a big question for the entire new council. As a business owner myself I would like to see more People start business in the Township Of Madawaska Valley. Do the people running for council, that includes the mayor, support business development and growth In the township? I would also like to see a brochure that profiles all the businesses and that would be distributed within Renfrew County. I would be happy to work with any council member or mayor in the next council on this brochure project.

    • Mark Willmer

      Business development is very important to the future of the Madawaska Valley. I believe we need to work at finding ways to encourage small businesses to locate here. Our beautiful environment sells itself and allows for many opportunities particularly for eco friendly businesses, but we need to create a greater awareness and sell potential entrepreneurs on the opportunities that exist in MV.
      Ensuring that we have high speed internet throughout the township is extremely important as more and more people are interested in operating businesses out of their homes and in the MV we certainly can provide the perfect environment.
      I believe the MV has tremendous potential and we need to be actively pursuing business opportunities and encouraging businesses to consider our township. We need jobs to be created in order to retain young people in the community and provide opportunities for young families to relocate here.
      In addition it is important that we support our local businesses so that they can continue to provide the many services that we have in our community, new jobs and new families would certainly be a benefit and strengthen our business community.

      • Lynne Yantha

        Well said Mark. What do you see as other opportunities to enhance our community to make us more attractive to tourists and potential residents alike? By your experience, what (aside from high speed internet) are we missing? I would also like to see what ElserLee offers here.

      • Mark willmer

        Lynne in answer to your question I offer the following;
        I feel we need to attract more small businesses to create a market that is diverse and permits our existing stores and businesses to thrive. To do this MV Council needs to present a more positive image and be more pro active when it comes to attempting to attract new businesses and small light manufacturing companies to the area. We need to make better use of the economic development opportunities and services that are offered through Renfrew County.
        Additionally we need to better promote the many assets and services, such as the hospital and schools, library, recreation and cultural facilities that we have in our community. These are of key importance to attracting young families and individuals looking for employment and to companies looking for a place to locate. Lastly we must take care of the assets we have and maximize their use, making our community vibrant, interesting and place to spend time in and explore.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      As a member of this community I strongly support business development. I have helped local community members write business plans and helped to jump start their businesses.

      I own a small business in this community called Sage Diversity Management Counselling & Mediation which I started in the City and ported to this community in 2008 working between Toronto’s GTA, Ottawa and Windsor. I am living proof that you can live and Play in Madawaska Valley with your family, work remotely and travel as needed. If that’s true we can attract entrepreneurs and celebrate existing entrepreneurs and the unique businesses they bring to the valley. I have done individual and family counselling locally as well as my consulting and mediation. I have done work across the province and sometimes in the US. Point being we can bring entrepreneurs who practice their craft here or rely on the internet for efficient communication.

      We need to enhance our internet services. While on council I have advocated for this. Cultivating an environment for Business Development profiles our community in a positive way and has job creation spin-offs that benefit students and retirees. We need to promote year round tourism and other economic development projects to promote year round job creation. Our 2010 Economic Development Strategy strongly encouraged entrepreneurship and if you take time to read it you will see it is a blue print for moving forward. Before 2014 I sat on a community economic development committee with Alan Pepper, Doug DeLamatter , Sigrid Geddes, Ted Bialy and several others we did a visioning exercise to explore possibilities for business development. Moving forward in my opinion requires a collective effort from the community, council and staff at the municipality.

      Best,

      • Kristin Marchand

        Without breaching any client confidentiality, can you describe the ways in which you have helped small businesses or point to specific examples of where you have helped small businesses?

    • Carl Bromwich

      As Chair of Economic Development back in my last term for 1 1/2 years our committee implemented almost 85% of the Economic Development Strategy Plan that was written in 2010 and didn’t get any attention until I started in Council in 2013. The resulting implementation and successful grant achievements we garnered to enhance programs and develop a business friendly community set us on a path that saw MV Township attract developments which are in full swing today. Tim Hortons was one example of having an attractive township that made their move here not only exciting but provided many new jobs that didn’t exist. The establishment of the BIA was another positive creation that has added to our Townships success.
      High Speed wireless goes without saying that it is a necessary component in modern day business affairs and advertising in the form of films and brochures have exposed our beautiful area to many out of town and out of country visitors.
      The list goes on but as I’ve stated before now we need to start aggressively instituting our Path Forward Plan to continue the momentum we had a year ago. EcDev attracts business which creates jobs and in turn demands more Recreation Culture and Heritage initiatives to make it a “fun place” to live!

    • David Shulist

      Mr. Richards, as a Madawaska Valley small business owner myself, I fully support business development. I feel it is important to keep our business community healthy. In my campaign, I am proposing that all the businesses in the Madawaska Valley start a Madawaska Valley Business Association where all the businesses can work together with the Township to promote growth of new businesses and at the same time grow their own. In order for this to happen, we need your energy to make this happen. Maybe you can take a leadership role and get the ball rolling within the business community.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      So i believe there is already a “Business Directory” which was created a few years ago. Criag Kelley was involved with its creation I agree with you that Council needs to be proactive
      Business is what will sustain a viable Twp Growth should be according to what the area can offer Council should consider incentives for potential businesses to start up in MV
      Reducing taxes for a couple years, or giving a tax break.

    • AlgonquinEast.com maintains a business directory for the whole area from Algonquin Park to Eganville. The directory covers the whole area because there are services located outside MV township that township residents will want to access and also because we want people from outside MV township to make use of the directory. We would welcome support from MV Township to help with updating and promoting the directory.
      There was a Welcome Package developed several years ago; but it was never produced. This publication contained information of use to new residents. Much of the content would still be relevant today.

      • Andrey Kaminski

        Business directory
        Partnering with neighboring municipalities has been happening for many years. The cost is shared by all municipalities and of course they all benefit from it.

        A search of this document Hopefully it is on record at the municipal office. The competent staff at Madawaska Valley should be able to find it if in fact it was presented at one of the meetings.

  22. Linda Neuman

    I have a question for all candidates:
    What are your views on having members of the public on committees and giving them voting privileges on those committees even though they are not ‘elected’ by the public?

    • Mark Willmer

      I feel in some cases having members of the public on committees, particularly advisory committees can be helpful as it brings expertise from the community to the table. It is though important that the committee structure be established in a way that leaves all decision making to the elective representatives. This is usually accomplished by only having the elected representatives vote. Any public representation on advisory committees should be thoroughly vetted to ensure potential candidates are knowledgeable in the field that the committee serves and not just there to represent a certain interest group or push for a certain agenda..

    • Carl Bromwich

      I have publicly stated my position on non elected participants on committees with a vote since day one of this term. I was against it from the very start. My reasons are as follows. Why would someone who was not in the election race as a candidate be accepted as a member of a committee and granted a vote giving them the same power as an elected official?
      When asked to sign our Code of Conduct policy the public participants refused using the “Freedom of Speech” argument, yet elected officials basically had to in order to follow our Procedure Policy. Since that day of signing I have held that Code of Conduct Policy in high regard.
      There is an option for public participation and I personally have been on two of these Committees before taking public office. They are called Public Liason Committees and we’re actually promoted by Queens Park decades ago to deal with specific initiatives such as waste site closures or openings. Being a member of a Public Liason Committee does NOT give you a vote! The public input was considered to be the plan behind these committees and worked fairly well.
      I’ve said it before and will one more time, that if a person wants to be part of the governance of their Township with voting rights for 4 years, they should have put their name on the nomination platform and run a public campaign asking for votes to represent the electorate.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      My opinion on community committee members having the right to vote on issues is this: They are not elected officials but their opinions should be a priority for council.

    • David Shulist

      No, the only people that vote should be elected officials. It is great to see the public being engaged in the process of governing, but they should not have a vote. The public can add to the discussion and that is very positive because it can sometimes help council with decision making. If anyone wants to have the power to vote, please put your name on the ballot in the next election.

  23. Linda Neuman

    This is a question for Ernie Peplinskie:
    In 2014, Ernie, you were a member of the CAC. The group was of the opinion that council of the day was “untrustworthy”. (Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don’t have a problem with that). When you campaigned, you ran on the slogan’Restore the Trust’. Today, in 2018, you are again running on the slogan ‘Restore the Trust’.
    1. Does that mean that the council of the day, which you are an active councillor on, is untrustworthy?
    2. If you couldn’t restore trust during the last four years, will this time be any different?
    3. What steps do you plan on taking in the next four years, if you should be elected, to ‘restore that trust’.

  24. Wilmer Matthews

    To each of the incumbents : Love, Archer, Peplinski, Bromwich and Maika—What one thing have you learned from your time on Council that will make you better at your position if re-elected?

    To: Challengers: Willmer, Kaminski, & Shulist—What one strength would you like to bring to the Council table if elected?
    To: All candidates—What do you see as the top priority for the new Council?

    • Carl Bromwich

      “What one thing have I learned from my time on Council that will make me better at my position if re-elected?”

      I have served on Council now for 1 1/2 years of the last term and now a complete 4 years during the current term. I have chaired Recreation, Heritage and Culture. I have chaired Economic Development. I have chaired Fire and Protection. I have chaired the Lipusz Twinning Committee. I have chaired the Community Policing Advisory Committee. I have also Vice Chaired Emergency along with being a member of all Committees when we were Committee of the Whole during the last term. Throughout this time with the various duties and interactions with our staff who do the heavy lifting with policy and procedures I have learned one thing.
      Staff will bring their plans and initiatives to the table for approval or dismissal of Council. Our staff is our strength and if allowed to do what they are hired to do the Township will be a success and growth and improvements in our quality of life within the Madawaska Valley Township will be very evident. I know the strengths and weaknesses within our township and I know what needs to be done to succeed. This is what I bring to the table and if elected I will continue to promote this strategy at all costs.

      “What do I see as the top priority for the new Council?”

      I would suggest that there are two immediate priorities. The first and foremost is to re-staff our present office with key personnel that will develop new initiatives to get our township “back on track” as it was over a year ago when we were designated the number one destination in Renfrew County. Of course that designation was mostly due to the very active events throughout all 4 seasons of our year and the focal point of our Arts and Culture at the Railway Station.
      The number 2 priority goes hand in hand with number 1 and that is the implementation of our strategic plan developed by input from the community and is called “ The Path Forward”. This dovetails nicely with the full compliment of professional staff as it is a blueprint for success much like our earlier Economic Development Strategy that was used so wisely to create the above success as THE destination of Renfrew County.
      We have the plan and now we need the Council and staff to implement it. This is what I bring to the table as immediate priorities.

    • Mark Willmer

      If elected I will bring a wealth of municipal experience to the council table including 21 years as a member of council and 30 years as a municipal employee. My experience includes , strategic planning, property management, and various other roles in culture, recreation and special event planning. I have chaired all major council committees including planning, recreation, finance and public works.
      I will provide strong leadership and I work well as part of a team. I have the ability to get things done.

      The top priority of the new council should be to get the township moving again. I feel over the last four years progress has been hampered by infighting and bickering at council. Staff need to be empowered to do the jobs they are trained for and were hired to do, while council needs to get on with governing and implementing documents like the strategic plan.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      I am running for Mayor because I am interested in positive change and good growth which showcases our beautiful area so it can reach its full potential. I am tired of seeing business fail here that should be saving you tax dollars. Consensus building is my strength. Every idea no matter how “off the wall” is worthy for consideration by council. I believe in brainstorming and we are a small council with the time for imaginative ideas. I will have an open door policy while campaigning and after I am elected. We are not Muskoka and we do not want to make the mistakes they made for growth at the expense of our natural beauty.

      • Pat Scott

        Although I understand and embrace the need for preserving history and the stories that go with it, the train station is more than this……It is not more than a few years ago it was considered the premiere example of what the tourist information booth should be in the Valley. We were held up as an example across the county by OVTA. It also served as the hub of our art community here in the Bay and the offering of various art exhibits, artistic programming, farmer’s market, taste of the valley, artisan shows and so much more. This is the diamond of the Bay and the restoration of all of this needs to be a priority, – whether privately or with the full involvement of the municipality. It took a long time for Paul Nopper and the Station staff to implement and come up with all of the wonderful attractions, workshops, sponsored art exhibits etc. In a breath it is gone. We need to ensure that we preserve this building along with the culture that surrounds it. You personally do not have to love the arts or even like farm fresh produce to embrace what the Station does to enrich our area. There are dollars that port to businesses every time someone stops in the Bay, – absolutely every time. It is not just to use the washroom at the station. Tourism is the probably the single largest economic input into our area as far as the money left behind by our seasonal residents and the tourists that come to enjoy the beauty of the area. We have struggled for quite some time with the shortsightedness of the councils and I think that the station needs to be an election issue. Artists of all forms choose to come to this area to live, raise their families and work and it is because we have a vibrant artistic community that this is happening. I think that councillors forget that we need to attract families and workers, entrepreneurs, to the area in order to guarantee our survival. Although we are so very fortunate to have a hospital, we need activities, recreation, programs for children, sports etc to help people make the decision that this is a destination where they want to raise their families.

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