We need to find a balance between the positive and negative impacts of tourism. The positives allow for planned events such as CALIPSO, Dickens’ Days and the HOLI Festival of Colours. Tourism promotes an increase in the diversity of shops, restaurants and boutiques which decorate our village, attracting friends and families to spend their time here, or even relocate to Port Stanley. The negatives arising as a result involve parking, which requires planning, coordination and enforcement. This is a live issue, which needs further investigation. Some ideas include discounted season passes for residents and even an electric shuttle service to reduce our carbon footprint. Extra tourism traffic increases environmental pollution via physical garbage, excess noise and vehicle smog. These are all factors which come at a cost. Continuation of resources such as paid parking will help clean the beach and village streets, maintain parking locations and boat launches, and support lifeguard services. The displacement of locals is a concern with the increase of short-term rentals. Building, fire and sewage inspections should be a requirement for these short-term rental properties. By-laws need to be established to protect the permanent residents of Port Stanley; perhaps a cap on licensed rentals could be established.Tom Marks - Candidate for Mayor
Port Stanley tourism has matured and been discovered by many. With so many appealing shops and restaurants it is no wonder Port Stanley has so many visitors. Our Blue Flag beach appeals to many; however this presents challenges including increased traffic congestion and lack of parking. Central Elgin is awaiting the findings of our traffic survey. The need for a permanent solution is real and must be addressed. I look forward to working with the new council to find a better compromise to solve traffic and parking issues. Listening and properly communicating with the public must be improved to appropriately address these issues.Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
I believe the success factors that will achieve the best results in the 6 topics are:
We live in a regional tourist destination and tourism provides definite economic benefits like tax revenue and employment opportunities, but can pose negatives in terms of traffic congestion, disruption to the resident population (Airbnb/Parking) and environmental impact. Growth of tourism in Port Stanley and along the Lake Erie shoreline is inevitable, although we have the opportunity to set some rules and standards. I believe that Council’s role is to maximize the benefit while working to minimize the stress and impact on residents. This requires more consultation with key stakeholders and ongoing discussion about the opportunities and challenges we face. We have seen what happens without proper engagement on issues like parking to the detriment of local businesses and residents.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Without a doubt tourism plays a very integral role in Port Stanely, as well as Central Elgin. Port Stanley, specifically, sees a considerable amount of tourism in the summer months. This generates revenues for the local businesses and jobs for the residents. This is not a new topic for council; however, the approach needs to be new. The approach to dealing with tourism must be balanced between what is best for residents and businesses with welcoming tourists to our community.
Central Elgin Council, in co-operation with administration, residents and businesses needs to plan how the tourism will grow and the best approaches to dealing with the growth.Colleen Row - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Tourism can have positive & negative impacts on communities. Positive, in the sense that people are interested in visiting and/or moving to the tourist area which helps support small businesses and can improve the potential for their year-round viability. And, thru user fees, those visitors can also help offset service costs that would otherwise be part of the tax levy, easing the burden on residents. On the negative side, increased traffic congestion, speeding, an increase in the number of short-term rentals and their corresponding issues and a potential perceived imbalance in attention to the tourist parts of the municipality can and has occurred. Despite the challenges, promoting tourism should continue, welcoming tourists should continue, and the tourists should respect the community they are visiting, keeping it clean and safe for all.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
Fees paid by tourists - like parking - generate income for Central Elgin that doesn’t come from taxes. With many household budgets stretched to their limits, charging visitors - and making sure it’s predominantly visitors and not locals who pay these fees - will be vital to controlling costs for our residents. But tourists arrive here with the same expectations of fairness and transparency that have mobilized our Central Elgin voters this election. They won’t choose to come here unless fees are simple to find, simple to pay, and simple to appreciate. They’re going to want to know what services they enjoy here that are made possible by those fees, and they deserve to know, just like you do. If we want to increase our tourism revenue, we’re going to have to step up our game in terms of making sure signs correctly reflect the policies and making sure the payment process is quick and easy.
For locals, a tourism-based economy can feel like a double-edged sword. Tourist towns can easily fall into the high-season/low-season predicament, which in turn creates times of high and low housing availability and high and low employment. If our council is committed to using this income stream to ease the property tax burden, we need to work with local businesses and community groups to keep a steady diet of theatre, festivals, arts, and athletics that will draw tourists to our community all year long.Sally Martyn - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
I am not running in Port Stanley, per se, but that community is integral to Central Elgin and what effects it, effects the whole municipality. My submission is intended to reflect that perspective and is not intended to be prescriptive, but to offer helpful suggestions.There is considerable inter-relation between and among the subjects upon which I have been asked to comment. The key integrating factors that will achieve the best results (maximum public benefit) in each subject area will be:
According to Statistics Canada, the greater London metropolitan area, which includes Central Elgin, St. Thomas and Southwold Township, is expected to increase in population by upwards of 130,000 people, or more, over the next 20 years. All of the considerations addressed here need to reflect the reality of what that means for our municipality.
The objective of policy must be to direct, as best we can, the changes that are coming in such a way as to maximize quality of life and environmental well-being.
For all regions, tourism is an important element that adds to the overall economic growth. We have numerous opportunities in our Municipality. From active to passive, water sports to hiking trails, golf courses to wineries, day tripping – theatres and museums and of course the beaches. Tourism dollars benefit all of our businesses and residents, and our area becomes a place people want to live, play and work – therefore adding to our tax base.
To support and develop we should:
Climate change is real and it needs to be taken seriously. We, for instance, need to continue to monitor and update our flood mapping to identify possible hazard areas to reduce risk. Rising lake levels, storm surges with uprush waves and heavy downpours are causing flooding. William Street needs an increase in storm water capacity where flooding regularly occurs. This issue needs to be addressed. A sand dune restoration plan should also be explored for the west beach to further address flooding issues. We need to retrofit our municipal buildings to reduce greenhouse gases with better lighting alternatives, possibly extending into solar alternatives. The new firehall was built being carbon neutral and net-zero energy, which allowed us to receive a grant and low-interest financing to construct. We need to explore the possibility of electric vehicles in our Works Department and study the possibility of a better utilization of company trucks to lower our carbon footprint. We can actively work with Kettle Creek Conservation Authority and the Kettle Creek School ECO Class to naturalize the Berm with tree and wildflower planting to increase shade and greenspace.Tom Marks - Candidate for Mayor
Central Elgin has a vibrant environmental committee. Our frequent and at times violent weather storms have convinced most of us that the climate has changed and needs to be addressed. The efforts of Elgin County Environmental Committee complement the efforts of our local tiers both working towards best management practices. Both of these groups are providing direction and advice on how we can mitigate and address the challenges ahead. I believe education is key to promote their objectives in order to fulfill the changes that are needed to protect our environment and our future. The climate changes that we have witnessed have a direct impact on our residents and we can’t ignore them. For example, street flooding after storms. Council needs to be proactive and follow advice from the experts of how to best address the impact of our climate and environment.Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
In Port Stanley and throughout Central Elgin we are faced with some of the highest fixed costs for water in Ontario. I believe our residents want to do what is best for the environment (like reducing water usage), but even if they reduce consumption they will pay more because of the rising fixed charges. This does not make sense. We know that reducing our footprint is important as is the need for green spaces like on the berm which I support. With a change in climate comes an increase in extreme weather events and Port Stanley has seen first-hand the destruction this can cause to our marina and boat owners. We need a long-term strategy to take into consideration all the components to reduce our vulnerabilities as well as plan for future costs.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Central Elgin developed and adopted an “Energy Conservation Demand Management Plan” on October 28, 2019. This plan covers the time span of 2019-2025. The current plan outlines the strategy as:
This is another instance where co-operation is key and there is opportunity to explore working with the private sector. This is a starting point as to the climate change issues that must be addressed.
The Municipality has a foundation that can be built on to implement a solid plan for climate change and environmental impact. It will take working together as a cohesive Council.Colleen Row - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
In 2019, Council declared a climate emergency to raise awareness of, and to urge the pursuit of, actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. In Nov 2021, the CE Environment Committee, of which I am Chair, submitted recommendations to Council for inclusion in the Official Plan to align with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), in the hopes that further inclusion of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures get incorporated into both the Elgin County and the Central Elgin Official Plans and that all policies, opportunities and actions be viewed through a climate change impact lens. CE planning staff and Council acknowledged these recommendations, so staff updated the Official Plan accordingly. Being sensitive to tree removal and following the County's Tree Commissioner guidelines, doing the right things on slopes to maintain the integrity & safety of the slopes, recycling, and shoreline/flood plain management in conjunction with the Conservation Authorities are examples of things important for long term environmental sustainability. The Front St slope rehabilitation project begins next year to help protect homes at both the top and the bottom of the hill as the weather and degrading trees & shrubs has put those homes at risk.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
Effects of the warming climate change and increased gas concentrations makes vulnerable our water temperature and levels, the reefs, and it effects the natural, social, and economic systems we depend on. Even our health can be at risk with hotter temperatures bringing about disease.Morgaine Halpin - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
Everyone wants a clean earth, but we all come to the table with a different toolbox for taking the issue on. Especially in such a farm-reliant community, we need to be mindful that we don’t develop overzealous environmental policies that create hardship. Our council can’t prescribe a one-size-fits-all environmental solution for the municipality. What we can do is facilitate our residents pursuing the environmental initiatives that work for their lifestyles, for example, by providing waste and recycling receptacles on streets, and ensuring that our policies don’t get in the way of stewardship initiatives like lawn alternatives and raising food at home.
We can also improve the environmental efforts from within the municipal administration. The new fire hall was paid for partly by grant money allotted because of its net-zero design, and the portion paid by ratepayers ended up being less than if we had built a conventional station. Major infrastructure changes like electric charge stations can be expensive upfront, but could become sources of revenue once installed, or as in the case of the station, can have lower long-term operational costs for ratepayers. I’d like to see our council pursue more grant opportunities as they arise in order to implement change without straining the budget.Sally Martyn - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
This is the greatest challenge facing Central Elgin. The council hired the Zubec firm to study the effects that climate change will have on the Lake Erie coast especially in Port Stanley. The study made mitigation measure suggestions to protect the village and helped us see what would likely happen as the lake levels rose. This has given us a blueprint on actions required. Central Elgin has been working hard this last term to reduce our environmental footprint. We have created an Environmental Committee made up of council members, staff and community experts to help direct actions we can take. We have installed 16 electric vehicle changing stations, we built the new Port Stanley fire hall to be a net zero carbon and net zero energy structure. It uses wood laminated timber, geothermal heating and solar panels to produce the electricity needed. We will gradually change part of our fleet to electrical vehicles. Reducing waste and introducing compost green bins are important as future initiatives as well as restoring or creating more Carolinian spaces to capture carbon.Norm Watson - Candidate for Ward 3 Councillor
We cannot change the world, but we can do our part, in our community, to improve our situation. Any positive initiatives or outcomes can influence others to make changes – we can be that ripple from a stone in a pond that can have a meaningful affect generations from now.
Rob McFarlan - Candidate for Ward 5 Councillor
We really have to focus on the betterment and wellness of the environment and Climate change. With the move to reduced use of fossil fuels and new electric equipment and vehicles we will move to a more healthy world. The provincial and federal governments have to work with us with funding as we cannot undertake the initiatives solely on the backs of our constituents.
Many people write about the main five amenities which hold the most value within a community. First in the list are schools and playgrounds; Port Stanley has the newly renovated Kettle Creek School and our parks throughout the village are second to none. Our Blue Flag Beach, since 2010, is equipped with lifeguards and an accessible mobile mat extending to the water, plus a beach wheelchair available while the lifeguards are on duty. The second amenity of interest is health services, in which we currently have two doctors, a pharmacy and a new dental clinic. Third is recreation and entertainment. Being a beach town is one of our primary recreational aspects. Our arena is top-notch and we also have a ball diamond, skate park and fantastic harbour walking vestibules. Private industries such as the theatre, golf course and marinas round out the possibilities. Working with developers, more walking trails and activities such as pickle ball courts are on the horizon. The reintroduction of beach volleyball nets is an item which can be easily addressed. The fourth amenity is transportation, which can be expanded upon. Our streetscape is adequate for vehicular traffic. A second access from the Kokomo Beach Club development may be required in the future. Another possible traffic loop would be one way south on William Street through McAsphalt and north towards the Legion. The fifth amenity is shopping, in which Port Stanley shines!! Perhaps we could explore the possibility of offering our local merchants incentives on parking passes.Tom Marks - Candidate for Mayor
Port Stanley is blessed to have many amenities and services. From our varied shops, playgrounds, parks and Legion, to name just a few, we have a lot to appreciate. It is important to maintain these as they contribute to our community and our residents in a positive manor. While we have a lot to offer to our residents the accessibility of these services needs improving. The property and land use planning needs to be carefully examined to ensure residents and tourists are able to access all we have to offer. Parking issues, as mentioned before, is something that needs to be addressed and we must find a better solution.Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
The demand for amenities and services of all sorts will increase in the years to come. We need to ensure our school continues to be a vibrant part of the Port Stanley community. We must also support the Bell Medical Centre, Kettle Creek Villa and continue to voice our concern to all levels of government over the availability of Long-Term care for our residents. Key businesses like our grocery and hardware stores, pharmacy, restaurants, fashion, general retail and health and wellness facilities are vitally important to our success, and they should be encouraged with competitive business tax rates as opposed to poorly considered and executed parking regulations.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Residents need to know what is available to them, how to access them and whether they are desired services. Costs of amenities and services also need to be known, understood, transparent and accurate. These amenities and services also need to be evaluated to make sure they are still viable, desired, and cost effective. This, too, needs to be shared with residents.
This is why I stated my commitment to regular blogging on my website so that residents can be kept informed in an easy-to-understand format. It should be easy to navigate finding information in your community.Colleen Row - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Central Elgin is a small municipality so the proximity to St Thomas and London provides residents with access to services beyond the municipality's financial and physical capabilities. The municipality needs the support and cooperation of the County to provide additional services such as long-term care & emergency services. Instituting public transportation would require teamwork with St Thomas and funding from the provincial government to be as cost effective as possible. Recycling, as a service, will be transitioning to 'producer responsible recycling' as mandated by the province starting in 2023 for CE. The intent of this change is to encourage manufacturers to reduce packaging by making them responsible for the pickup and processing of their own packaging waste. How CE may, or may not, participate in this transition at an operational level will be determined with ongoing conversations. For amenities, public space is for public use for all asset types and green space is critical for quality of life. The downtown core in any community is ideally best suited to retail & food outlets rather than services to be attractive for browsing & to encourage regular foot traffic by both locals and tourists for long term viability.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
Over the next 25 years, Elgin County expects to see its population over 74 increase at twice the rate of its youth population. That means we can expect our community to need an increase in senior-friendly athletic activities and social opportunities. Much of that growth will be in Port Stanley and Belmont, where the arenas provide ideal space for opportunities of this kind. Growth in other communities will not yet require programs at non-arena community centres this term, but as we receive updated projections, we’re going to need to keep an eye to that possibility as well, and plan spaces for future community centres in key growth areas like Norman, Lyndale, and Lynhurst.
In ward 2, I hear young families talking about another need for services: childcare. Workforce-aged families arriving here don’t always have the same family support for childcare that is enjoyed by families who have lived here for multiple generations, and the pandemic appears to have quashed the few options that existed. If we wish to see young parents engage in our workforce successfully, our new council will have to explore what factors dissuade daycare providers from our communities and look for ways to reduce the risk of providing this vital service.
Port Stanley is very fortunate to have so many services and amenities; doctors' office, dentists, a drug store, grocery store, liquor store, theatre, restaurants, fitness centres, art galleries, clothing stores and of course great beaches. It is important to support and maintain these amenities and as a council, we need to make sure they are supported and remain. More parking spaces are needed but this has proved a real challenge. Thoughts have been considered to establish a shuttle from parking areas to the downtown or to the beaches. The municipality is currently investigating such a location and system. The one thing we really need though is public transportation to St. Thomas and London. We have been working with the county and the city of St. Thomas to get this in place. This needs to be a key focus for the new council and must involve Provincial support.Norm Watson - Candidate for Ward 3 Councillor
Access to amenities and services is both physical and informational. Making it easier to acquire information to assist our residents and provide quick and timely responses to issues, should always be a business and political priority. Having an effective communication link eliminates a lot of stress and frustration. Ensuring that we have physically safe and barrier free access to our facilities and we consider making as much of our passive activities multi use and accessible
Rob McFarlan - Candidate for Ward 5 Councillor
As a municipality we should be providing the necessary avenues for any group/individual as their needs require. I believe we do have or should have committees in place to address these needs
4.CREATING AN ACTIVE COMMUNITY
I believe Port Stanley is a very active community, all ages included. Joggers, bikers, and walkers are welcomed on many of our roadways. When renewing our infrastructures, we try to widen our roads to promote their inclusion. From our youth to our seniors, we know that increased physical activity is vital to good health. Volleyball on the beach, pickle ball, golf and other activities need to be encouraged and accessible to keep people of all ages active and healthy.Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
Port Stanley, indeed, all of Central Elgin, ought to be promoted as a healthy community for all those who seek active lifestyles. We need to support active living and have unsurpassed natural resources to do so. This dimension of the community's personality ought to be top of mind in the strategic planning process. Will residential development be promoted that has high walking scores? Will our community centres continue to offer programs and services? Will festivals and other events be encouraged and supported? From trails and parks that are accessible to all residents, to enhancing our current community services, we have a tremendous opportunity to innovate going forward. I believe our waterfront is key to this success as is ensuring the designation of green space on the berm.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
By building on the PSVA Seniors Committee, this focuses on the aging population. The Committee outlined keys areas/goals that would be beneficial to assisting Seniors. They are housing, transportation, health care, recreation, and community life. Working with existing organizations will help implement needed services quicker and more accurately. This also reflects the needs of the community while being fiscally responsible. Research has been started, community members are engaged and the priority to create an active community is already identified. The momentum has started to support an active community; thus, through co-operation with various groups, we should be able to continue to find a solution.Colleen Row - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Over time, and together with the County and developers, more trails, parks, and bike paths are available in Central Elgin and the surrounding municipalities with room for extensions. Service clubs and individual organizations need recognition and commendations for their efforts to build parks, create green space, organize events that promote healthy living and advise on what the communities themselves can do to stay active. Green space is central to healthy living. In the next term of council, a review of the Recreation Master Plan will help guide future enhancements. And a review of the initial phase of the waterfront plan could begin. Proper prioritizing, third party funding, public engagement and regular communication are all important to making things work.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
Morgaine Halpin - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
An active council is the path to an active community. This election has been deeply engaged, and a key has been the experience of voters learning about candidates and candidates learning about voters. When candidates show up in public spaces, actively seeking out chances to meet neighbours and hear their concerns, when we knock at doors, schedule longer visits, and respond to questions on social media, we build a relationship of trust. Attending council meetings, or even rewatching them online, is a time investment. Speaking in front of a council and a camera can be even more fraught. People won’t rally around issues they care about and engage with the municipality unless they feel that their council genuinely wants to hear from them and meet their needs.
I want our council to immerse itself in the community. I want my neighbours to know what coffee shops their councillors are reading pre-meeting minutes at, and if we’re attending the farmer’s market on Friday night. I want you to feel that the council is easy to find and engage with, and that we want to be found and engaged with.
Sally Martyn - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
Central Elgin has a master recreation plan which has helped us set out the parks, trails and equipment that is needed. It will be updated in 2023. We have obviously made the harbour area fully walkable and the berm will continue the walkway all the way around the area as well as trails across it through naturalized areas. We are setting up other walking trails, both in Port and throughout the whole municipality, but we must add more and make the connections from one trail to the next. Bicycle lanes are very much needed in Port and we need to work with the County of Elgin as they control most of the main roadways in the community. I was very sorry to see that the county discontinued the Drop Bike rental bike program we had in Port. Pickle ball courts are still needed to help seniors remain active. Some of our parks have outdoor gym equipment and tracks to encourage fitness as well. This is an area the new council needs to work on.Norm Watson - Candidate for Ward 3 Councillor
A healthy lifestyle involves all ages having the opportunity to be active and engaged. It is not just our youth (although this is very important) that require avenues for interaction. An active community is vital to grow a sense of community. One of the major meeting places in Belmont and in most communities has always been the arena and our sporting fields. Families gather, friendships are made, skills are developed – physical, social, teamwork, leadership, work ethic, interpersonal relationships, etc. Our mental health is aided through group interaction and through a sense of pride in your community and feeling a part of something bigger helps. For all other age groups, having some planned and supported activities can only be a benefit.
A new school in our town would allow for after school activities to be developed. Using the gym for middle aged and seniors – such as volleyball, pickleball, badminton, indoor soccer, not to mention having meeting places in some classrooms for clubs – horticultural, card playing, music, and so much more. A school in town is a community meeting place and can be utilized in so many ways. Also developing some passive activities such as multi use trails and a dog park in town creates a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Rob McFarlan - Candidate for Ward 5 Councillor
Where possible and viable to expand our facilities and add new options such as more walking trails, fitness equipment, pickle ball etc. More north/south connectivity
We currently need to support our seniors so they can stay and thrive within our community. We could establish an age-friendly network to assist seniors. This network could promote resources and tools to support older adults to raise awareness of housing options for tax relief for seniors through MPAC. Increasing the age-friendliness of future parks, pathways and trails development is essential. We need to request that a certain percentage of development contains appropriate housing stock for older adults. We should pursue all financial assistance programs provincially to help offset the extra costs of these attainable housing units. A concept for the proliferation of support for seniors could be accomplished by bringing together a group of elected officials, municipal staff and others to convene and gain a better sense of the landscape of the seniors’ community to understand their core challenges and increase awareness. This group could establish communication strategies to better inform constituents, promote further activities and be a link to current available age-friendly resources. Affordable and reliable transportation is an issue for seniors, who do not have access to a vehicle, to access medical appointments, entertainment and shopping requirements to the St. Thomas and London areas. We need to explore avenues to provide intercommunity transportation and the options of communicating or organizing options such as volunteer shuttles and car-pooling.Tom Marks - Candidate for Mayor
I believe most of us would like to remain in or close to our communities as we grow older. Friends and family are important in our lives. Our provincial government works hard to keep our residents in their homes as long as possible. Health care is expensive and certainly under many pressures. As a funding partner, Elgin County supports Southwestern Public Health. We all benefit from the many services they provide; however, we all know the high cost of housing has put a burden on many seniors in Port Stanley. Housing availability is needed all over. Thankfully our federal government is committed to increasing the number of houses and apartments. Central Elgin is committed to assisting where we can.
Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
Port Stanley is facing a housing crisis due to rising costs and the lack of affordable housing. Our seniors are especially hard hit. As well as fighting to receive our share of long-term care beds we need to focus on keeping our seniors in the community by working to increase the availability of affordable housing, encouraging senior specific housing and partnering with other levels of government to help achieve this goal.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Planning for Seniors to age in place has different meaning to a lot of people. What individuals want can only be determined by talking to the individuals. Talking to Seniors about what their needs and wants are post-retirement and on is the key to providing the appropriate support. Central Elgin needs to actively seek out Senior’s needs and wants, from Seniors. Remembering that this is a fluid activity and not static, this means it is ongoing not a one time and then implement with no evaluation. Constant evaluation is the key to providing good, useful, sought-out support. I believe this is a priority as the population is aging and their needs are changing. Planning should be proactive, done in advance and with respect.
The Ontario Government issued the report, Living Longer, Living Well, this can be found on the PSVA website. This initiative studied Seniors and their quality of life and the fact that we, as a population are living longer. The report highlights “5 Principles for a Seniors Strategy”. These are access, equity, choice, value and quality. Building on this report and their findings there is opportunity to work, in co-operation with the province. Co-operation is key, not just at the Municipal level.
There are more seniors now than ever before with aging baby boomers. The province is attempting to address this in part by permitting additional residential units (ARU's) for intensification that may help the aging to stay close to home and family. Also, in Aug 2022, the provincial gov't made "...a re-commitment to build 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028 with 31,705 new and 28,648 upgraded beds now in development, with a total investment of nearly $5 billion over four years to hire the more than 27,000 new staff that will be needed to provide long-term care home residents an average of four hours of direct care per day by 2025." As well, the province made "...a commitment to explore partnering with municipalities to leverage surplus provincial lands & add incentives to build attainable housing that lowers costs for potential buyers and puts home ownership in reach for more families...", which could help finally solidify a long-term use for the old psych hospital. And, just recently, County Council has "...supported re-engaging the Elgin-St Thomas Age Friendly Network..." which takes a "...leadership role in planning to respond to the growing needs of older adults in our communities". These are steps in the right direction but more needs doing.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
Senior population growth is projected to increase 21% by 2046. One of our most important areas of increase must focus on our growing senior population ensuring closeness to amenities, services, health care, and more affordable living.Morgaine Halpin - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
A conversation that comes up again and again on doorsteps in ward 2 is the desire of aging farmers to live out their lives at their homes. We have people who live where they raised their kids, and even where they themselves were raised! These decades-long contributors to our community often hope to sever the house from the farm acreage, sell the farm, and settle into retirement with a nest egg that will cover daily needs and additional aging support down the road. But the Elgin County Land Division Committee frequently rejects applications of this kind. With a set of defined farm retirement attributes, we could distinguish property severances intended for selling bite-sized subdivision parcels from those intended to secure the futures of our aging population, and go to bat for them when their applications arise.Sally Martyn - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
This has become a critical issue. Assessments continue to rise as houses sell for more and more, making all properties more valuable which then leads to higher taxes as taxes are based on assessment. Central Elgin has frozen or lowered the mill rate often in the last few years, but taxes continue to climb due to the increasing values of properties. We have experienced many people moving in from large cities where they were able to realize large sums from selling their properties and then moving to Port or our other small quaint communities where prices for them are lower, but they make our house prices rise to high,er and higher levels. This is a real threat for our seniors to stay in their community. We have been working with developers to build a variety of houses, townhouses, row houses, condominiums and rental accommodations including apartment buildings. There is even a plan for a senior's rental apartment building where Extendicare stands once the new Extendicare building is constructed north of the current one. It was a goal of mine to created subsidized, affordable, seniors' and student housing in the former Psychiatric hospital buildings. It would be a great way to preserve these heritage structures and serve our community. Recently the province appears to recognize this great opportunity. I am hopeful once again. I am meeting with our MPP and Minister Clark next week.Norm Watson - Candidate for Ward 3 Councillor
As a society we are living longer, so supporting and developing programs that benefit a healthy, active lifestyle for our seniors benefits their mental and physical well-being. The pandemic shed a light on many issues in our long-term care facilities that will need to be examined further and support plans put into action to care for our seniors who have already given so much to our communities during their time.
Rob McFarlan - Candidate for Ward 5 Councillor
As we as a population age, there will be greater need to offer more options to address amenities for those who require them
Once again, this has to come from Provincial and Federal agencies as we cannot ask our own ratepayers to fund these expensive initiatives.6.GROWTH & RETAINING CHARACTER
We have adopted the Official Plan for the next ten years. The current physical boundaries for the expansion of Port Stanley are frozen at the limits. The future growth can only occur on the property by the water tower, an area by the golf course and the areas in the Harbour Secondary Plan. The retention of character can be effectively reached by implementing by-laws which can restrict the height of buildings and the amount of parking required for each building use. The retention of 70% greenspace for the harbour berm lands was a great accomplishment to retain the green character of this area. Successful communities pay attention to and advocate for aesthetics and natural functional areas. They control signs, they plant trees, and they protect scenic views, pollinator spaces and historical buildings. We need to encourage that new construction in the core of Port fits in with the existing community landscape. The recent string of movies that were filmed here promote the nostalgic character of Port. I have recently been questioned as to the need of the large “bully” signs placed in our parking lots. They are an eyesore when pointed out! We can set ourselves apart as a successful community. Experienced leadership for council matters. Communities that choose their future are always more successful than those that leave their future to chance.Tom Marks - Candidate for Mayor
Port Stanley has seen rapid growth in recent years. This trend is happening all over the province. Developers follow provincial government guideline and policies. If they meet the requirements council has a duty to grant applications. While the charm and character of buildings needs to be respected, not all residents agree. I believe dedicated owners should be admired for the preservation of our valued buildings. Where possible newbuilds should try to “fit in” the neighborhood.Andrew Sloan - Candidate for Mayor
We are all very proud of our community and for good reason. Much has changed since my Dad purchased a cottage in 1965. Continued growth in Port Stanley and Central Elgin is inevitable. Many people want to live, work and play in this community, as will many more in future. The character of the community will evolve with time and changing population dynamics. We need to honour our past and the key components that make Port Stanley unique through engagement and consultation with community members.Todd Noble - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
As Gary Kelly said, “You are either growing or declining, there is no in between.” Growth is needed and must be done with control and planning while maintaining the integrity of the small-town feel. It is important to maintain the quality of life, quaint attractiveness of the Village and all the characteristics and traits that attract the new residents and tourists to our community. Co-operation becomes essential with Council, staff and community in order to balance growth with a priority on maintaining our uniqueness that makes us so attractive.
A plan for growth and retaining character, in Port Stanley, may require adjustments, additions and more input. It is very important that deep thought, conversation and public input is gained along the entire process so that focus doesn’t get lost on the overall goals, which is to maintain our community.Colleen Row - Candidate for Deputy Mayor
Villages, towns, cities, grow because they are attractive and offer something that people are looking for whether that's outdoor activities, night life or tranquility. What is critical for communities is to retain that character of 'why people moved there in the first place' while at the same time not restricting more people to arrive because of that attraction, a delicate balance. Central Elgin's communities offer a variety of different characters, aesthetically and physically, along with the rural, agricultural character that is so especially important to human sustainability. Now that the Official Plan is nearing final approval, the next step is to unify the three zoning bylaws from amalgamation. Included in thi,s process is the creation of Urban Design Guidelines that could help coordinate a consistent design review process to promote & encourage thoughtful development in keeping with the neighbourhood character, without imposing stringent rules and regulations. Growth can be expensive so having Asset Management Plans now and developing a Finance Master Plan from that will be key to success as well.Mike Derrough - Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor
As a Central Elgin resident, I recognize the importance of spending wisely while balancing progress with tradition. With my education, experience, and knowledgebase, I am better able to understand the various facets of these industries and their immediate and long-term needs. Working together will ensure our Port Stanley heritage, entice tourists, and maintain the happiness of every community member.Morgaine Halpin - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
Working for the Office of Tourism in the 1666 village of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, I had the privilege to experience a community that took their historic character very seriously. And yet, they were a population nearly 90 000 strong - seven times our present size! A key piece in that puzzle was balancing a historic aesthetic with a positive attitude towards growth and change. After all, without such a bustling population, St-Jean wouldn’t have been able to support their charming rituals like the lunch-hour farmers market or the dancers, musicians, and acrobats that graced the downtown core. Port Stanley needs to grow with optimism for the commercial ventures that population density supports, coupled with respect for the cozy waterfront village aesthetic that our long-time residents love. Ideally, that will mean maintaining a historic old village centre, well-buffered by a perimeter of similarly sized single dwellings and shops and graduating to apartment buildings and larger commercial buildings at a farther remove.Sally Martyn - Candidate for Ward 2 Councillor
The growth in Port Stanley has been substantial in the last 5 years and Port is almost fully developed. There is no plan to encourage any new growth in Port in the Official Plan. The only small areas left for housing is on East Road just north of the water tower and the Marr farm behind the public school. Those plans of subdivision are well along. To keep the character of the community intact, that is as large as Port should grow. It is vital to preserve our farmland for the future sustainability of our country, so we need to stop urban sprawl. The Heritage Conservation District did not proceed but we did incorporate the design suggestions into our official plan as guidelines, not regulations and all plans to change or develop are encouraged to preserve the character the village. We can't force it on developers but can encourage them. Port has its own eclectic character that attracts both tourists and locals and it should be preserved. It's important to protect what we value but it takes the goodwill of developers as we can't mandate it without a formalized district. Our plan for development on the berm is basically an extension of Main Street with shops below and housing above and to look like the rest of Main Street in design and height. Almost all the rest is to remain public space.Norm Watson - Candidate for Ward 3 Councillor
We have wonderful communities that have developed with character, and we attract new residents because of that character. Consideration of our uniqueness must always be a priority. We must recognize our strengths and build upon them. Growth and character can coexist. Our residents chose to live here because of who we are and the lifestyle we represent. We can: