Over a lengthy career as an educator, a union activist, and a volunteer, I have spent a great deal of time working on boards and committees.
I am familiar and comfortable with group dynamics, and have acquired the experience and skill set necessary to facilitate problem-solving and consensus-building within a group.
I previously have served two terms on council and have sat on most of the boards and committees that answer to council. I am very familiar with municipal government
I currently serve on the Fort Frances Library Board, the Fort Frances Community Clinic Board, the Fort Frances Community Housing Board, the Police Services Board, Friends of the Museum, and the Ontario Library Services-North Board.
My strengths include negotiation, fact-based decision-making, strategic and logical thinking, communication, consensus-building, public speaking, diplomacy, motivational skills, and advocacy.
Fort Frances is a community in transition–from a pulp and paper-based town hopefully to a community that has a broader economic base.
There are several issues the incoming council will need to deal with. Some are ongoing, such as dealing with infrastructure, asset management, and prudent budgeting, while others are unique to the rapidly-changing times that we live in.
Economic development is essential for the growth and stability of any community. The key to this is forming partnerships locally and regionally, and attracting professionals, entrepreneurs, and young people to our community.
Fort Frances needs to resolve the Point Park issues with local First Nations. They are our neighbours and would be natural partners in many economic projects.
As well, we need to work co-operatively and regionally with neighbouring municipalities. Good faith negotiations, along with clear and positive communication, are key to fostering co-operation and partnerships.
If we wish to attract people to our community, we must ensure that we have in place services that promote and enhance a superior quality of life.
We need to provide recreation, arts, culture, entertainment, museums, libraries, marinas, day care, public spaces, festivals, and more. These are among the first things people consider when moving to a new community.
The acquisition of the Resolute wood yard provides us with the opportunity to increase our tax base and, with proper planning, to provide recreational and economic opportunities.
We also need to ensure that the Resolute mill is not allowed to sit and decay but rather Resolute is encouraged to responsibly and safely dismantle it with proper environmental protocols in place.
Demographically, Fort Frances is an aging community. Senior issues are extremely important. An assisted-living facility is paramount but there also are serious issues at Rainycrest and with long-term care that need to be addressed.
As with all communities, we have increasing drug and mental health issues, including proliferation of drug paraphernalia in public spaces. Not all of these problems are solvable by municipal government, but municipal government can show leadership in dealing with them.
Partnership again is the key to positive solutions.
A sustainable future for our community starts with electing a mayor and council that have the desire, imagination, experience, and ability to work towards this.
We need a mayor and council with vision; that think strategically and make fact-based decisions.