Cheryl Fort’s Platform

Platform

Plan, Create and Prepare!

  1. Plan where we want to go! Put our money where our mouth is!
  2. Create a budget and stick to it!
  3. Prepare annually and a multi-year timeframe to organize applying for every grant and funding

My time on council has proven that I am hardworking, transparent, accountable and passionate about our town.

We need to plan to succeed and build it together.

….there is no place like Hornepayne…. As Mayor this is the direction I would like to lead council:

1. Lead council to create a manageable plan for our taxes, we need to make living in Hornepayne affordable for everyone. Most pressing issue is Out Migration: People are choosing to live elsewhere even though they work here, long-term residents are deciding to leave, and seniors having no choice but to leave for proper care or housing. This problem is solvable.  We need to lower our mill rate (tax rate) and bring our assessment values up!  Why is this important because it will allow people to invest in our community.  We need to set forth a plan of action by creating a “Housing/Taxes Task Force” to look at the complexities of this problem.  We could have this sub-committee established to look at three key factors:

  1. How can we lower our tax rate and increasing our housing assessment values, making the mill rate lower will attract businesses to come and invest!
  2. How can we make moving here attractive, are there incentives that we can look into.
  3. Why are people leaving: Find out what it would take to keep people here or to get them to move here.

We need to learn from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, lending institutions, and from community developers on how we can better invest in our community. We as citizens need to start investing in our community and you can do that by investing in your property.  We need to have a place that is beautiful to come home to, a place where we want to spend our time and we need to build it together.

  1. Add equipment to our water system to make it more efficient and continue working at upgrading our infrastructure.

Water is life!  We need to explore water meters!  This is important because it can give us measurables to help use better negotiate in the future with OCWA and when deciding on new systems or plants we can equip council to make informed decisions. By installing water meters, it is likely we will see a decrease in consumption.  This will create room for growth without increasing the cost.  Right now, if we add new homes to our water system, will OCWA charge us the same amount?  We pay in a fixed rate system, the total cost divided by the about of users.  That fixed cost is also dependent on the number of users and it will go up as we add new properties.  We need that growth room to be able to add users to the system. We need the measurements so that we can make better decisions in the future.

3. Lead us to be involved with our schools and connect with our youth. Creating a “boomerang strategy” where students go away for school but can return home to work if they choose. We have a student councillor position available and it would be a pleasure to have a young person sit at our table.

We need to listen to our children.  There is a generation now that has never know life with out computers and internet.  We are getting to the generation that has not known life without the connections of cell phone.  Children are using tablets at such a young age now, I am excited to see the things they will create in the future, as their mind set will be very different than our own.  We at council need their voice and need to hear this perspective, not only for the young person’s benefit but for our own. We need to listen to what the children would like to do because ultimately, they will build our future.  There are so many avenues and opportunities out in the world and now being connected globally we can really help the world from Hornepayne. A “Boomerang Strategy” is where we allow our children to go out into the world to discover, learn and prosper but if they choose there is a place here at home, if they want to return.  What are we looking for in life:  A place to live, play and BELONG!  We need to value our young people and help them fit in to our community.  The student councillor is a great place to start but do we need to do more?  This needs to be a two-way street.  We need to take our young people seriously and get involved with their lives. Maybe it is time that we, a council member or the Mayor, get involved at the school level on student council.  We need to value our children and what better way than to be proactive and go to where they are meeting.  We need to show our young people in a tangible way that we care.  We have to start thinking differently.  This is a partnership I would like to see happen.

  1. I will ensure an Economic Development Officer (EDO) is hired to implement the strategic plan and create strategies to protect and grow our business sector. The official plan and all regulated documents need to be either created or updated, this will open more grant and funding opportunities.

Since being on I have been diligent in working towards the hiring of an Economic Development Officer. It is imperative to growth and development of our community to have this position and have it filled.  We need to have our plans either updated or created. I want to focus on the community development plan.  This plan is essential to increasing value to our town because it is the picture of what we want our future community to look like.  It gives use the right areas to invest in first.  We need to know what infrastructure to add first to create the most value.  We need to figure out what part of our community to “renovate first” to best increase our community value. When we renovate our own homes, we know that certain areas of the home will bring more comfort to our daily living but also in resale value.  We need to find out what are the areas of a community, if “renovated” add the most ‘bang for our buck’.

5. Lastly, we need to decide about the nuclear waste project and move forward. As your Mayor I have faith that whatever the outcome of the community decision, with or without a repository, Hornepayne will have a prosperous future.

I will implement whatever the community decides.  We need to make some decisions for moving forward, we need to take proactive measures to demonstrate to our neighbouring communities and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) that we take the opinions of our citizens seriously and that we are ready to plan our own future.

Mayoral Candidate Interview Questions

1. Why are you running for Mayor? What skills and experience do you have that would make you the ideal candidate for Mayor?

Hornepayne needs change and I am it! I have the right mind set along with work experience to lead our community into the future. My 20 years of board experience and successfully participating in committees, and community volunteering have honed my leadership skills.

  • Trustee Armstrong Area District School Board
  • Accommodations Chairperson Hornepayne’s 75th Anniversary
  • Community Christmas Party coordinator for five years, and volunteered for 10 years or more
  • Board member and then Board Chair for Library Board
  • Chairperson for Canada’s 150th Committee
  • Chairperson for Hornepayne 90th Anniversary Committee
  • Youth Education Chairperson Royal Canadian Legion

3. What do you believe is Hornepayne’s biggest financial challenge, and how will this be addressed, if you are elected?

Our biggest financial challenge is improving our stuff! This stuff is our roads and our under-ground systems. We need to have a plan on how we are going to get this done. Although there is a matter of money but with no plan,  having no plan we are planning to fail. We need to take the little we do have and every year get a little bit done.  We are not dying Hornepayne.  Our town is strategically located to be a center point for industry, we are a link between Canada’s two Trans Canada Highways, direct access to the mainline rail, but further that we have gold in the ground, a forest that is sustainable and a tourism industry that can grow.

5. How do you think we can best build our tax base?

We need to build new houses and a business area. We need to get our assessments higher and our tax rate lower. Right now, if someone wanted to build a $300,000 home, the taxes would be over $13,000 a year plus the water bill?!? We are hindering people from settling here, we are actually driving them away. We can change that by working with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, learn how we can create better assessment values for our homes and our community as a whole.

7. In what ways can we improve on Economic Development?

We need to have ready made plans and documents for investors. We need to create packages for investment. Basically, we need to make the lure that best catches the fish. We currently don’t have any complete investment packages ready but we will be hiring an EDO to get us there and organize what we do have.

9. Not only does the town, as a whole, often disagree on some subjects, but the Town Council does as well. How would you lead the community and council to work for the good of Hornepayne?

Disagreement is an asset in good decision making. I would not hinder disagreements. All of council and citizens need to be able to voice their opinion and concerns in an environment that is safe. Although I might not agree with someone’s opinion, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn something from hearing it out. We have two ears and one mouth, we should take that as a sign to listen twice as long as we talk. In decision making, we should play “devil’s advocate”, especially if we are all in agreement, to assure that we are not missing something and to help fight against tunnel vision.

2. In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue for Hornepayne, and what do you plan to do about this issue?

Most pressing issue is Out Migration: People are choosing to live elsewhere even though they work here, long-term residents are deciding to leave, and seniors having no choice but to leave for proper care or housing. This problem is solvable.  I would have a “Housing/Taxes Task Force” established. It would look at three key factors:

1. How can we lower our tax rate and increasing our housing assessment values
2.  How can we make moving here attractive
3. Find out what it would take to keep people here or to get them to move here.

4. If elected, what 3 steps would you take to put our town in a better financial position? 

My three steps for a better financial position:

  1. Plan where we want to go! Put our money where our mouth is!
  2. Create a budget and stick to it!
  3. Prepare annually and a multi-year timeframe to organize applying for every grant and funding

Plan, Create, and Prepare!

6. In your opinion, what are we currently spending too much on and not enough on?

We need to spend on Economic Development and we are spending very little. Since being on council my first initiative has been to get an Economic Development Officer (EDO) hired and secure the FedNor grant.  We need to grow the socio-economic aspect of our community and we can’t do this with out investing in it. Our existing businesses need support and we need to get investors to build the businesses we don’t have. We are spending to much money on activities that do not fit our strategic plan. We need an implementation strategy to get the plan finished. If we are going to keep our spending where we want to go, we must link our resolutions to a strategic action point. We need every resolution or motion is seen through the lens as to how does this help us implement our strategic plan. Essentially, if you go on a road trip to a place you have never been before you don’t just look at the map once, you look several times. The strategic plan is the map, we need to be looking at it and making sure we are on the right route to implement the entire plan and get us to our Hornepayne of the future!

8. How do you plan to involve residents of Hornepayne in the decision making process?

Awesome question, because citizens need to have a voice in the decision making process. It would be my hope that we would have two Townhall meetings every year and the agenda would only be for the topics that are up for discussion, no more waiting hours to have your opinion heard. We would have need also to make the meeting space more inviting and welcoming to all members of the community. We need to have a meeting location that is accessible unlike the current council chambers. We also need to be streaming our meetings so that citizens can watch from the comfort of there own homes and get informed.

10. If you received a $1 million grant for the town to use as you wished, what would you use it for and why?

To really see how my mind would work here are the steps that I would follow to spending: look at the plans we have in place and see how we can within timelines get priority items accomplished. Are there opportunities to grow the money into more.  Community involvement is essential to the health, growth and wealth of our community, we need everyone to be proud and have active roles to see our community grow.

Contact Cheryl

15 + 15 =