Editor's note: MidlandToday has asked council candidates in Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township to provide a synopsis of why they are running for public office. Municipal elections take place Oct. 24.
The following response is from Bill Waters, who is running for council in Penetanguishene. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can find candidate profiles and other election news.
What is your name, what will be your age on election day, and who are your key immediate family members you rely on for support?
My name is Bill Waters. Forty-four years ago, I moved from Midland to Penetanguishene with my wife Gail (Lavigne) and our three daughters in order that they may attend École St. Joseph and ESPSS.
In 10 words or less, why is your municipality the best in the province?
Penetanguishene has a very unique beginning in that The British Military and The Drummond Island Settlers joined with the local Indigenous population to create a village overnight. An early beginning that can be expanded and showcased along the trails of our waterfront park.
What prompted you to run as a municipal leader?
I had always had a passion for our town and thought many times of being more involved. Since it requires a lot of time, I discussed with my wife and as she was aware of the time her Dad had given, we decided later in life would allow for a better commitment.
How much time and money should be allocated to upgrading the town dock? What is your stance on the town dock project?
The September 7th town dock meeting in the Council Chambers confirmed my opinion that “Not All Experts Live On The Other Side Of The Angels”. The citizens were upset and although maybe the “Dock” needs to be prettier, a major redesign is not needed.
The beloved arena and curling rink are at the end of life, and in various states of disrepair. Is it worth more to pour into their upkeep or invest in a new facility? What is your stance on the facilities?
We will soon be looking at the possibility of a new Sports Complex. Before this is finalized I would like to explore other similar structures, quiz the cost to operate. This is a major investment for only 4,357 households to pay for so you should know how much it will cost now and yearly to operate. If we can share services with surrounding municipalities the cost can be reduced. Also perhaps we can use a design that another town used in order to save on architect designs and plans. As a major build I believe that the contractor should be local if possible and compelled to use local trades.
You will be asked to join committees and other municipal representations. Which are you eager to become involved in?
I am looking forward to working with our new council and believe my Business experience and Direct people contact will allow me to serve our community on whichever committees our new Mayor chooses.
Voter apathy is always a concern, ranging between 25.7% to 42% of cast ballots across North Simcoe in the last municipal election. Knowing you could be elected without even half of possible voters turning out, what will you do to combat voter apathy so your municipality is best represented?
In the past voter turnout has been low. I want to bring back our local government to the people. I believe you should be able to briefly address council without having to ask permission. I would like to see a low cost Drive-In style radio broadcast system atop our water tower that would have students broadcast short messages on upcoming events ie: charity events, local news and more important upcoming Public Meetings. With better communication our citizens will have greater interest.
There are many prominent concerns ongoing in the region, from affordable housing to the opioid epidemic to short-term rentals as well as others. What is one concern that you think the majority of residents are not aware of?
Existing problems like the lack of affordable housing, low cost rentals and opioid addiction are all pretty much outside the direct control of local government. We can however lobby the federal and provincial agencies to help with these issues. Town Owned Property can also be made available at reduced costs to these agencies to help. In addition a higher Industrial and Commercial economy will create a larger tax base, more jobs and in return more wages to allow for a higher standard of living in Penetanguishene.
The province is planning for a population of 555,000 and 198,000 jobs by 2051. If now is the time to prepare for that influx, what will you proactively do as your part in the process?
(Did not answer)
Recidivism isn’t just on the police and courts. As a municipal leader and crafter of bylaws, what initiatives will you undertake to address crime in your care?
I believe town By-Laws should be in place and enforced with thought in mind. Consider as example a loud party in the centre of town and a similar loud party on a farm in Tay Point. Same violation but a similar enforcement is not needed. In most cases Less Government is More Government.
Infrastructure projects require taxpayer dollars. What infrastructure project does the municipality desperately need, and does it justify a tax increase from the ratepayers to have it done as soon as possible?
(Did not answer)
Times change. What is the most aged or obsolete bylaw in your municipality’s code?
(Did not answer)
Once you complete your four-year term, what is the legacy you want residents to best remember for your time in office?
When my fours years are up I hope that the citizens will invite me back for another.
Municipal election information for Penetanguishene is available on the elections page of the town website.
For Penetanguishene residents:
Visit voterlookup.ca, call 705-549-7453, or visit Townhall to be sure you are on the Voters List and that your information is correct. You will not receive a voter letter if your name does not appear on the voter list. In addition, any changes to your household (children who have moved away, tenants who have moved in or out, etc.) should be updated through voterlookup.ca which is maintained by MPAC.
Voter Letters which will include your voter ID and PIN are being sent by mail to homes during the last week of September to arrive to Voters on the list the first week of October. If you don't get a letter, call, visit or email Townhall to get one. You may need to attend in person to show ID.
Voting by phone or internet opens on Tuesday October 11, 2022 at 10:00 am and goes until Monday October 24, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. The voting website and phone number will be provided on the voter information letter.