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 Sean Miskimins, who is running for deputy mayor in Tiny Township. 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 Sean Miskimins and on election day I will be 49 years young. I have the support of innumerable friends and family in my campaign to be Deputy Mayor.
In 10 words or less, why is your municipality the best in the province?
Tiny Township is a piece of heaven with crystal-clear water, white sand beaches, beautiful forests and trails, fertile agricultural lands and amazing people who put community first.
What prompted you to run as a municipal leader?
My experience includes creating and leading the Beach Rights movement in Tiny. Along with my over 25 years of senior executive business experience, I have the desire to do more. I learned of more and more issues facing Tiny as I’ve been speaking with residents. We need to bring this community together more than ever, and I am confident that this can be achieved for us all to live together in the best place on the planet.
Beach ownership doesn’t affect all residents, but is fiercely disputed by those who get involved. Before property owners took over their part of the shoreline, the municipality allowed seasonal cottagers to use the land, after signing the Indigenous treaty many years ago. Who owns Tiny beaches, and what is your stance on beach rights?
I think it’s much more complex than this. Each beach area is a little different and some areas are privately owned and need to be respected. The Township cannot get into litigation by trying to take away people’s private land. I would like to see the residents working together to come to agreements about use. If ownership is in question, then the Township needs to work or facilitate finding out where the ownership lies. Cawaja Beach is a great model of the residents and township working together (two-thirds resident-owned, one-third township-owned).
There is a difference between what is legally right and morally right, and the aggregate operations in Tiny appear to straddle that definition. What is your stance on aggregate operations in Tiny?
We need to preserve our water tables and aquifers to ensure we have clean water for all the generations that come after us. The operating permits are issued by the Provincial government and not the Municipal government, so our options are limited. I will work with the policy advisors at the Provincial level to make sure they understand the implications of continuing to increase the pit and permits to take water.
You will be asked to join committees and other municipal representations. Which are you eager to become involved in?
I am eager to join the Seniors Advisory Committee, Police Services Board Committee, Remuneration Committee, Affordable Housing Committee, Cultural Alliance Committee and the Short-Term Rental Committee.
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?
This is an issue and while I’m not surprised, given low turnout at both the Federal and Provincial levels as well, I think this speaks to candidates losing focus on being elected representative of the people. I have been going out to different areas in Tiny and knocking on doors to understand what’s important to the residents, as I need to best represent their collective voice at the table. I may be relatively new to politics, but I believe my number one job as an elected official is understanding the will of the people.
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?
These are all important issues that face our community, and we need to spend time tackling these at all levels of Government. One issue that’s not being discussed is the lack of primary care physicians in our area. Over 1 million people in Ontario are without a primary care physician. At the County level we need to engage in more partnerships to attract physicians and clinicians to our wonderful area to be able to support our permanent population that continues to grow.
The province is planning for a county-wide 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?
Tiny is not on the province's plan for growth which helps limit potential impacts. We need to ensure that as our permanent population continues to grow, we must work with our Economic Development Committees to balance our growth in commercial enterprises, so our communities can continue to work and live in North Simcoe and work on affordable housing strategies.
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?
This is an issue primarily controlled at the provincial level. Re-offenders are high but nowhere near the levels in the U.S. The best way of attacking this issue is to work with the Policy Directors for the Solicitor General to ensure that they create the programs whether inside correctional facilities or while in parole to help the offenders sustain gainful employment opportunities and show them a life outside of a correctional facility.
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?
We need to invest in our infrastructure. Tiny will soon be mandated to accrue (for the lifespan) for all our capital costs when we purchase new assets for the Township. This is going to be a change that we need to anticipate. I want to operate in a fiscally prudent manner and save for the future. We don’t want to go into our reserves and continue to operate in a fiscally responsible way, so we don’t have the need to increase taxes.
Times change. What is the most aged or obsolete bylaw in your municipality’s code?
The current Zoning By-Law needs updating, and I realize this process is well underway and likely to pass before the new Council takes office. I have concerns over the shoreline builds which seems to be a point of consternation with residents over what is being allowed to be done. I also want to ensure that it reflects our affordable housing crises by ensuring that we have provisions for multi-generational housing, secondary suites and severance of smaller parcels of land (currently only land mass greater than 51 acres may be severed).
Once you complete your four-year term, what is the legacy you want residents to best remember for your time in office?
I want to be remembered as the Deputy Mayor that listened to the residents and represented the concerns of the public fairly at both the Municipal level and County level.
Municipal election information for Tiny Township is available on the elections page of the town website.
For Tiny Township residents:
The Township of Tiny will be using the Vote-By-Mail method in the 2022 Municipal Election. This voting method has been used in the last four elections and has proven to be effective in meeting the needs of our permanent and seasonal electors, as well as meeting accessibility requirements.
Eligible electors in the Township of Tiny shall receive their vote-by-mail kit the week of September 26, 2022. The proposed last recommended date to return the completed kit by mail is October 13, 2022.
During regular business hours from Thursday, September 1, 2022, to October 23, 2022 (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and until 8:00 p.m. on October 24, 2022, eligible voters can register and make changes to their information on the Voters' List with the municipality.
Am I On The Voter's List is available on the Township's Election page at www.tiny.ca/voterlist.
If you are not currently on the Voters' List and are eligible to vote, please visit the municipal office during regular business hours with acceptable identification, or contact the Clerk's Department at 705-526-4204 ext 225 or 229.