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 Jill St.Amant, who is running for mayor of 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?
Jill St.Amant, 66 and I have the support of my husband Frank, our four adult children and their spouses, as well as my mother and my siblings.
In 10 words or less, why is your municipality the best in the province?
Beautiful accessible waterfront, rich history, welcoming and diverse community (French, English & Métis) with great services.
What prompted you to run as a municipal leader?
Giving back to this wonderful community, where my children were born, raised and now raising their children has always been a priority for me. Running and serving as mayor will be the most influential way I can support our town and its residents.
You will be asked to join committees and other municipal representations. Which are you eager to become involved in?
I have been on a number of committees including Recreation & Community services, Finance & Corporate Services, Penetanguishene Public Library Board, Community Well-being Committee, Age-friendly Study, Town Dock Secondary Plan Study, Arena and Recreation Centre Study, and I am eager to being involved in all the town has to offer, including Business Retention & Expansion and the Police Services Board.
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?
I have been reaching out via social media, joining different community groups and will continue to do so, as well as door-to-door canvasing. I am sharing information about the ease of online and phone voting and speaking of the importance of voting to have your voice heard. I am reminding the eligible voters, “You don't even have to leave home to make sure the people you want to see elected are supported with your vote.”
How much time and money should be allocated to upgrading the town dock? What is your stance on the town dock project?
That is yet to be determined. The town dock is a vital part of our community and has to be maintained to a safe standard at the very least. I believe we have to plan for the future and the long-term goals for the town dock project will be economically and esthetically beneficial for the majority of our residents.
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?
It is worth more to invest in a new facility, provided funding can be obtained. I would love to see a new multi-sports, multi-purpose, recreation complex that will provide our residents with a high standard of indoor recreation services and will promote active lifestyles for all ages.
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?
I believe our residents are well informed, but people may not realize the number of families and businesses that are affected by the lack of affordable housing.
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?
Our town is well prepared for the influx of people that are anticipated via the County of Simcoe Municipal Comprehensive Review with a total population growth of 4,050 and employment growth of 1,140 by 2051. The capacity of our sewage treatment plant and water system are more than sufficient to cover the new developments that have already been approved and anticipated. We are actively working and planning for the upcoming needs for the future.
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?
Although this may not tackle recidivism dealing with major crimes and drugs, should resources and manpower allow, I would like to see bylaw enforcement be more proactive as opposed to being reactive.
I want to continue to work on how information is shared with residents so more people are aware of the activities available at a reduced or no cost.( e.g. activities at the library and museum, free concerts) to help all members of our community to enjoy living here.
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?
Our roadways are the town’s largest asset and infrastructure dollars are required on an ongoing basis and are planned for over a 10-year period. Should the serviceability of the roadways come in question sooner than anticipated we would need to move the projects forward.
Council will need to determine whether moderate tax increases are required in order to maintain the level of service expected by our residents.
Times change. What is the most aged or obsolete bylaw in your municipality’s code?
Our bylaws all have an intended purpose and as they become outdated, they are replaced or repealed.
Once you complete your four-year term, what is the legacy you want residents to best remember for your time in office?
I was the mayor who was available and approachable and listened to all concerns in order to work towards fiscally responsible solutions and projects that would be beneficial to the majority of our community’s residents.