Monday, October 11, 2010

Greatest Achievement & Biggest Disappointment

Below are my notes for the third prepared question at the Mayoral debate, hosted by the Fonthill Rotary Club on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at the Royal Canadian Legion.

Question 3)
In your term on Council, what do you consider to be:
a) your greatest achievement
b) your biggest disappointment or failure?

Working together with Council, Staff, the Community, Federal and Provincial reps, and Ministerial staff to Make Investments Happen for Pelham.

Over the decades, Pelham used to be "shut out" from grants while other cities and towns received millions of dollars.

Now, Pelham has become a leader! These $8.4 investments represent the second highest per person stimulus funding in Niagara.

For example:
• Thorold: 18,000 people: $1.8 M stimulus
• Lincoln: 21,000 people: $1.7 M
• Grimsby: 24,000 people: $5.4 M
• Pelham: 17,000 people: $8.4 M

How did we achieve that together?
First, we met frequently with Pelham's Federal and Provincial representatives and even before the stimulus investments. For example, Mr. Hudak assisted us and connected us with Ministry staff. We also received copies of the successful applications from other Towns and Cities so that we could imitate them.

Staff & Council met with Provincial Ministers (Smitherman & Bradley):
o When Minister Bradley met with staff and I in my office in December 2008, tt was the first time in Pelham's history that a Provincial Minister had ever visited Town Hall!
Staff and I met with Provincial Ministry staff
o Infrastructure, Energy, Hyrdo One; Agriculture
Council also obviously got engaged in process and we used their contacts
Council and I encouraged Town Staff to:
o Use a team approach for Pelham's applications.
I invited the Pelham Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and all businesses and residents to get involved and write letters of support for improvements.

The focus on working together may have looked easy to some, but it has resulted in what Minister Jim Bradley stated at groundbreaking for Pelham Fire Station #2 on Friday.
He said "this is yet another milestone in the transformation of Pelham."

Because we have achieved so much this term, I am disappointed that we couldn’t move ahead faster on issues with Town Property;

But as you know, THIS Council’s hands were tied by the previous Council when they gave control of the process to the Developers.

Good news is that we have managed to pay down $1.1 million of principal – while the previous Council only paid interest (no principal!);
Also the East Fonthill Secondary Plan should be complete in 2011.

Working together we have achieved great things.
We have turned years of wait into months of action.