Editorial – What are their big ideas?

Nominations are closed and the slate of candidates are set. This fall, citizens of South Dundas will elect the next term of council comprised of one mayor, one deputy mayor, and three councillors. There are 13 people vying for the chairs around the council table and the next two months are important for determining who you will vote for.

Who the candidates are and why those candidates are running only fills in a piece of the overall picture for the next council for South Dundas. We want to know their big ideas.

South Dundas has made progress over the past decade but there are many issues that need big ideas for resolution. This municipality has a rapidly aging population according to Statistics Canada. Does this mean South Dundas pivots once-and-for-all to be a retirement community; or does rapid action need to be taken to help diversify the population? Either way, how do candidates propose to accomplish this?

Recreation is important as citizens need things to do in the community. Currently South Dundas is revising its recreation master plan – a process that has been contentious for what was left out of the draft plan, rather than what was included. In the past four years there was an application for funding to construct a indoor multi-sport facility in Iroquois – to which South Dundas was the only area municipality of this riding to be overlooked. For decades there have been calls from citizens for a community pool. These are facilities that neighbours with lower populations have. Why cannot we? What big ideas can candidates bring to move recreation forward?

South Dundas has a large infrastructure deficit. Roads and bridges cost a lot of money to maintain and repair. The backlog never ends. Additionally there are a lot of facilities to maintain. Are these facilities in the right places, and of the right size, for the population? What solutions are there to work towards reducing our infrastructure deficit?

The economy of rural communities has changed in the past 30 years. More emphasis has been on tourism to make up for manufacturing losses. As South Dundas loses one more large-scale employer by January 2023, what big ideas do candidates bring to fill in the voids and diversify our economy?

Attracting jobs and residents requires access to education. The fight to keep English-Public board schools in South Dundas five years ago saw ideas proposed but not fulfilled. It is unclear when the moratorium on school closures will lift. When it does, what big ideas will candidates bring to help save our schools yet again?

Our environment is changing. At the same time South Dundas continues to suffer from the effects of pests like the Emerald Ash Borer, which has devastated the tree canopy. That canopy has thinned due to long-unused agricultural lands returning to use. Is there a big idea out there from candidates of how to balance the agriculture needs for that industry with the need for an appropriate amount of tree canopy for all citizens?

These are examples of the big idea questions we want to ask. Yours may be different. Over the next seven weeks leading up to the October 24 municipal election, The Leader will put questions to South Dundas candidates in our “Question of the Week” feature. Please read along and see if candidates have any big ideas of their own.

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.