2022 Municipal Election – Question of the Week for September 14, 2022

SOUTH DUNDAS – This week, The Leader continues our weekly Question of the Week series in an effort to help inform readers about the candidates seeking election to South Dundas municipal council.

This week’s question delves into Family Matters: “In our view, recreation is an important family matter so we asked the following: Recreation is an important part of growing a vibrant community in South Dundas. It attracts people to visit and move here. If elected, what are your priorities for supporting existing recreation programming and responding to the recreation needs of South Dundas now and for the next several years?”

All local election candidates were given the questions with a deadline and were limited to approximately 175 words for their response. Only responses received by the deadline given to candidates are published. The Leader reserves the right to edit responses for journalistic-style and word count. Questions were determined by the editorial staff of the newspaper. This seven week series will continue up to the October 24 election. Responses are grouped by the elected office the candidates seek, and listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Mayoral candidates

Jason Broad

The township is currently reviewing an outsourced Recreation Plan. That plan does not meet the standard this community should expect. Community voices were not heard. Instead, I will listen to volunteer groups and other stakeholders so they have input into what should be a dynamic plan that meets the needs of all residents of South Dundas, regardless of age.I will encourage all members of council and staff to increase their interactions with our volunteer groups to help them increase their registration and the volunteer base. We will work alongside all the selfless volunteers to make their programs successful.

We will also improve our facilities by aggressively pursuing Provincial and Federal grant money, like I did when I helped bring a $45,000 grant from the Toronto Blue Jays to upgrade the Morrisburg baseball diamond in 2020.

I value recreation as one of the key components of a vibrant community. This is where I have made a difference in my time in South Dundas. And I will continue to.

Bill Ewing

We currently have a very active recreation program in South Dundas. This is due in part to our recreation department and the many silent numbers of volunteers that work unknown hours for the benefit of our youth and senior citizens If elected as your next Mayor, I would lead our Council to sit with appropriate stake holders to see what next steps could be taken from the RECREATION STUDY just presented to Council. We have to remember our volunteers as they are the backbone to many activities that happen in South Dundas.

As I have stated in the past, we have to work with all the volunteers as well as keeping all programs viable, as well as affordable, to all our residents.

Kirsten Gardner

Recreation is important to the health of our seniors, attracting and retaining families, doctor recruitment, strengthening our schools and assisting companies that have invested in South Dundas to attract new employees. We have not had a new multi-use facility in decades, while other communities have been able to get sponsorship and funding. This investment in our people will be one of my top priorities. I took on the challenge of working hard these past 4 years to clean up the backlog (water towers, rural infrastructure, landfills etc.) because we need to move forward together, and reach a point that we can include recreation projects instead of playing catchup.

Collaboration with existing recreation groups needs to be further strengthened. I will continue to work for new and dynamic programming and again give strong support to residents and staff who have ideas and work together for success. While I have been vocal about the direction of the Recreation Master plan, I have continued to work behind the scenes to make sure it has value to our community.

Deputy Mayoral candidates

Donald Lewis

Recreation is dear to my heart, having been in recreation for 29 years. I believe that South Dundas is a place not only to grow up in but to retire in, we have so much to offer for all ages and in all areas of South Dundas from play grounds, ball diamonds, arena, waterfront in Morrisburg and Iroquois, boat docks, walking paths, beaches, lawn bowling, soccer fields etc. Programming for many events can be costly. I think we can have more, if money is available through funding, for all ages. I never turn a deaf ear to any ideas that anyone may have that would or could fall in budget for fundraising. From 2018 to 2022 there was not a lot going on in recreation due to COVID, but if elected I will support existing programming and work with staff on new programming ideas for the next several years to come.

Marc St. Pierre

Strong recreational programs, well maintained facilities and a long-term plan are key in living a healthy lifestyle and promoting South Dundas as a place to live, work, and visit.

For me, Recreational Programs must continue to attract every age group whether through sports, arts or fitness and these programs should be offered throughout the Municipality such as the Matilda Park, the Dunbar Recreation building, the Iroquois and Morrisburg parks and on-line to name a few. Council needs to work with the community groups to ensure every opportunity is made available for everyone to participate at an affordable rate.

The next term of Council should prioritize and review the draft Master Recreational Plan and work with the community stakeholders in developing an updated plan that addresses the needs and wants of the South Dundas community.

As Deputy Mayor, securing funding opportunities offered by our Provincial and Federal Governments will be a priority as it’s extremely important in maintaining our existing facilities, replacing with new and improved facilities, and the continuation of the recreational programming.

Tammy Thom

Recreation is an integral part of a thriving community. It promotes health and wellness, along with a sense of belonging within our township, for current residents and newcomers alike.

As Deputy Mayor, I will work towards a long-term plan for our recreation facilities along with more support to our smaller centres. Recreation is important for all ages. Our population will benefit from activities such as indoor walking during the winter months, ‘yoga in the park’ type programs, continuing development of walking & cycling paths. These are examples that benefit everyone.

As we move to an online society, ensuring user-friendly access and program availability through the township is essential.

An important benefit of South Dundas’ vibrant recreational offerings is tourism. Tourism should be an important income to our economy. Tourism should not be the financial burden of the taxpayer. Working with community leaders and volunteers is critical to further develop the current festivals and events. Partnering with the township and local businesses for the benefit of our citizens and our economy is the best way to promote tourism.

Councillor Candidates

Michael Burton

I have fought hard to bring recreational programs to SD. Recreation comes in many forms. Most important to me is the healing factor they provide. Sports and recreation are great for mental health. As chair of the waterfront committee, I fought hard to keep the baseball diamonds in the park. Once achieved, I then worked hard, along with many, to ensure they were brought up to league standards.

I raised funds for the splash pad. I put in many hours to revitalize the beach which forms a significant part of our waterfront park.

The recreation report, if accepted, could prevent us from receiving funds because of the sentiment we’re not ready to move ahead. I will fight to ensure there are many activities. We need a rec centre, with activities and a pool for everyone. Such a centre should be built between Morrisburg and Iroquois. My main goal is fighting for the kids to have a skate park and a paint wall. I’ve done my research — such facilities help so many in numerous ways.

Trevor Riopelle

My main goal as a councillor would be to continue to support staff, ensure that the projects that have been started by this council will be completed.

I would also work on equal funding for all three villages within South Dundas in regards to recreation. I believe that Williamsburg should be part of our focus when it comes to recreation in the future.

I would listen to not only the people who live and work in the municipality, but also the tourists who are using the existing facilities. I would use this information to bring new ideas to the table and act on those ideas.

I’d like to really dive deep into the previous projects (splash pads, recreation centre, outdoor pool, etc.) that were proposed and see where they stand, and maybe shine a new light on them.

Furthermore, in my opinion the municipality and its staff have not only worked hard, but have succeeded in providing great recreation programs and facilities so far.

Tom Smyth

Having a variety of indoor and outdoor recreation activities for all age groups, in all four seasons, is important for the health and well-being of our residents. It is also crucial for the growth of the community, and attracting new residents.

I reviewed our Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and a couple things that stood out to me are the lack of effort to revive organized recreation activities at Haldane Park in Iroquois, and discouraging a swimming pool- whether indoor or outdoor. On the “Things you would like to see added” question on the Parks and Recreation survey, indoor swimming and programs was the number two answer.

Thirdly is the need to pursue an indoor multi-use sports/recreation field. This would be a wonderful addition to our area.

There have been many recreation projects completed in South Dundas. These projects wouldn’t have happened without a core group of volunteers and donors. And for that, I say a huge Thank You to all involved.

Cole Veinotte

Recreation has always been a big part of my life… From playing organized sports like minor hockey or Saturday soccer in Iroquois, to using the many outdoor rinks and ball diamonds throughout South Dundas.

Many people who think of recreation think of youth programs, but I believe recreation is important for all ages and athletic abilities. Our unpredictable Canadian winters can make it difficult for some to access quality recreation necessary for both our physical and mental health. I would like to be a part of finding solutions for future facilities and programs in South Dundas that can accommodate all ages and operate year-round with all manners of recreation such as team sports, swimming, exercising etc. While I realize these are long term projects, the next four years can provide a solid foundation in planning and fundraising to get these projects started. Recreation brings the community together. We meet new friends and catch up with old ones. It invites new members to the community who will put roots down and enjoy calling South Dundas “home”.

Danielle Ward

Recreation is an important component of any vibrant community. In South Dundas we recently spent $75,000 on a Recreation Master Plan. While some think the plan falls short, I think it’s a good start, and it would be a shame to disregard it after we’ve already spent so much time and money creating it.

Moving forward, I’d like to have the master plan updated annually. The recreation needs of our community will continually change, as the population grows and ages. Using an annual survey we can continue to gather information to update and improve the existing plan.

With regards to existing programming, we have many recreation groups that conduct well attended and developed programming in the community that could use our support. What I would suggest is the formation of a South Dundas Recreation Committee, formed from leaders in these existing community groups. The Committee would be tasked with the development of recommendations and amendments to the existing recreation master plan. This would put recreation back in the hands of the community.

Lloyd Wells

Recreation is an important part of community. I believe South Dundas is in good shape for recreation with something for all ages. As an elected official on the current council I supported a lot of recreation projects including upgrades to the Morrisburg and Iroquois beaches, repaving of the Morrisburg and Iroquois waterfront walking paths, an outdoor rink in Morrisburg updating playground equipment, and adding more equipment to our lending library. I’ve also supported the Lions Club for their proposed BMX and walking path, just to mention a few.

If elected, I will continue supporting existing recreation programs and work with our proposed Master Recreation Plan to make sure it benefits everything and everyone, including current and new residents. I would have staff apply for all grants pertaining to recreational needs for our community.

In conclusion, there are always a lot of wants and needs in any community and I will support any of them in the years to come as long as we can afford them and maintain them, without putting a burden on the taxpayers.

(Editor’s note: In last week’s featured question, Lloyd Wells’ educational background was accidentally omitted from his published response. The Leader regrets this production error. The omitted information is as follows: Wells has his Grade 12 education and is a certified carpenter, mason and welder.)

Jeff Welsh

I would like to see more things done in Iroquois like opening the existing splash pad, a skate park, talk to Williamsburg residents to see what we can do there to help keep the kids stay out of trouble but in saying that we also need the parents to help out in making sure that we can keep damage to a minimum.

I personally think that we need to look after the other towns in our township as well, not just Morrisburg.

Next week’s question…

Building South Dundas – candidates will be asked to address South Dundas’ infrastructure deficit.

See the September 21, 2022 issue of The Leader for the question and their answers.

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