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  • Why are you running for re-election?
    The short answer is that I thoroughly enjoy being Ward 3's Local Councillor. Even through the challenges, I always look forward to talking with the residents of Ward 3, whether it's at a Town Hall or more informally, and helping them with their questions and concerns. I have learned so much about municipal governance through this past term, and I'm excited about continuing the work when I'm re-elected.
  • What do you consider the most pressing issues in Ward 3 right now?
    I think that depends on where you live in our ward. If you live in Downtown/Midtown, homelessness and downtown Ajax development might be main concerns. If you live down by the lake, it might be waterfront protection and flooding mitigation measures. If you live in north W3 by Kingston Road, pressing issues might be transit concerns and traffic congestion. As you can see, we live in a very big ward! Overall, I think the pressing issues in our ward are: traffic calming & community safety; homelessness & affordable housing; preserving the waterfront & protecting the headwaters of the Carruthers.
  • What have you done to keep taxes low?
    Just as the cost of running a household increases each year, the cost of maintaining service levels throughout the Town also increases each year. It is up to me and my Council colleagues to review the annual budgets line by line to ensure that we are making the most responsible choices and getting the most "bang for our taxpayer buck". Broadening the non-residential tax base was important to me and I was a member of Council during the biggest increase in the commercial tax base (likely the biggest increase in Ajax's history), with companies such as Amazon and Gordon Foods, that will lessen the load on the residential taxpayer. As well, these new companies also mean new jobs to Ajax. Further, I'll continue to look for non-tax revenue streams (such as naming rights, visitor parking and other service fees) and pursue any grant initiatives available to our Town.
  • What do you mean by "supporting responsible housing strategies?
    Ajax has defined boundaries and limited land space, so we cannot continue to grow "out", we need to now consider growing "up" with various types of housing choices - single family homes, but also apartments & condos, townhouses, etc.. Not only do these infill types of housing make the best use of limited land, they also provide options for new families, seniors, single residents, which isn't currently readily available in Ajax. I also believe that the Region's Built for Zero strategy to end homelessness means that we need to be open to considering innovative ideas to house the homeless. Ideas such as modular homes with centralized services, like in Oshawa and Beaverton is an example; could that work here in Ajax? I don't know, but I think we need to at least be open to the discussion.
  • If re-elected, what are some of your priorities for the upcoming term?
    I will continue to advocate for: - safer streets and communities by working with DRPS, Ajax Pickering Road Watch, and Town staff to encourage traffic calming measures, speeding enforcement and well-lit parks, paths and public spaces - keeping Ajax green and clean by supporting environmental initiatives like No Mow May, TRCA's Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP) and adding drinking fountains and refilling stations in parks that don't have them - celebrating the achievements of our fellow Ward 3 and Town-wide residents by the installation of an Ajax Wall of Fame as part of the Parks & Recreation Master Plan - enhanced services for our Seniors, such as a specialized shuttle service among the Town's 3 recreation centres
  • How do you plan to keep our communities safe?
    I've reached out to DRPS and invited them to regularly participate in our Ward 3 meetings to discuss relevant issues and answer questions about community safety. Also, measures such as improved pathway lighting and the installation of security cameras and emergency 'panic' buttons in some of the public parking lots and facilities are planned, as well as increased patrols by both private security and the police in the Downtown area and across the Town.
  • What are some ways you've been addressing the homeless situation in Ajax?
    I understand the increase in homelessness in Ajax is a concern and it's going to take some time to address this and find long term solutions. The Town is working with various service providers (Community Development Council Durham, Carea Community Health Centre, Christian Faith Outreach Centre/Doors of Compassion, Region of Durham to name a few) to reach out to homeless individuals and connect them to the services they need to hopefully get them into permanent housing. The Region publishes a Built For Zero report card providing various housing statistics and in June 2022 there were 15 people who moved into housing, and a total of 94 'move-ins' in 2022. As you can see, it's a very slow process. Also, the Town has created a Homelessness Task Force (initiated by me and Regional Councillor Joanne Dies) and the Mayor’s Gala has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into resources to address the issue. The Christian Faith Outreach Centre (CFOC) will be re-opening the highly successful Ajax Service Hub (this was previously operating out of the Ajax Community Centre). The CFOC is a one-stop location for services and support. We have also been working with private security and DRPS to increase patrols in the downtown area and across the Town, as well contacting the property owners where encampments are to engage their involvement.
  • Why did you run in the 2018 election?
    Service has always been a part of my life. When my children were small, my interest began in the classroom but migrated to volunteering on councils and committees, at the school, on the board and professionally. Through Durham Outlook, partnered with Feed the Need and Food Banks Canada, I currently volunteer with the Meal Box program at New Life Neighbourhood Centre and also with St. Vincent Palotti's Kitchen. I've always thought about running for office, and now that my children are adults, I'm grateful for the opportunity. Over the years, I've noticed that there's a reason why residents leave Ajax for shopping, entertainment and dining. Ajax just doesn't have the services that its residents want or need. I bring new ideas and new perspective with me, not more of the same. I believe that my experience more than qualifies me, but it's the opportunity to serve, to listen and to speak on behalf of the residents that is exciting to me.
  • Why did you believe that you were qualified as a candidate?
    Before being elected in 2018, I've was always an active member of the Ajax community and with my enthusiasm for helping others, I've gained experience serving on committees and boards focused on areas such as policy review, engagement, supervised alternative learning, and professional ethics. I have 29+ years in the banking, financial planning, and insurance industry. As part of the ethics committee for the professional membership of financial and insurance advisors, I was responsible for reviewing consumer complaints against advisors, interviewing the parties concerned, determining the facts and merits of the claim and negotiating the appropriate solutions among a panel of committee members. Now that I've served a term as Ward 3's Local Councillor, I've garnered so much more experience and have a much stronger understanding of municipal governance.
  • Could you give some examples of what you have negotiated?
    While I worked in the banking industry, I was responsible for negotiating the training and professional development contracts for over 500 employees, as well as being responsible for the training budget and employee resource centre. I was also responsible for a negotiation skills program during staff professional development seminars. As a member of the committee for DCDSB, I was part of a team that negotiated alternative learning methods for high school students at risk. This entailed working with school superintendents, principals, teachers, social services, community members and the students themselves, to create programs and environments that accentuated the students' strengths and allowed them to earn the credits needed to graduate high school.
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