Mono candidates share priorities at All Candidates Meeting

October 20, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

The final All Candidates Meeting for Mono councillors took place Monday (Oct. 17), ahead of the municipal election next Monday (Oct. 24) at the Monora Park Pavilion.

Moderated by Jack Tupling, the event saw all candidates in attendance: Incumbent Coun. Ralph Maktelow, incumbent Coun. Melinda Davie, Doug Thomson, Frank Flood, Marc Darby, Elaine Capes, Bradley Mayer-Harman, Robert John Lackey, and Shona Robbins.

Each one was given two minutes for opening remarks and 1.5 minutes for responses to each question asked. The public was given 1.5 minutes to ask a question of the panel and in closing each candidate was afforded a further 1.5 minutes to speak.

Attendee John Voight posed asked for input on if the candidates supported the expansion of Industrial lands in Mono to increase jobs and tax revenue, as industrial taxes are much higher than residential. Also looking at zoning changes to facilitate jobs and new commercial industrial land usage.

This rattled more than a few cages as most of the candidates expressed a desire to see Mono remain a rural-based community in their opening remarks.

Doug Thompson said he would support the idea but wondered where to put new lands considering he sees a lot of currently unused land already designated for industrial uses in Mono.

Shona Robbins agreed, while Bradley Mayer-Harman felt it was hard to place new land use in Mono, but that it had to be planned for before it was imposed on the town by upper-tier government, such as the County of Dufferin or the Province of Ontario. He suggested that Mono should be made an eco-tourist area, to maintain the status quo but still increase job opportunities.

Councillor Ralph Manketelow, seeking re-election, said land already exists along Highway 9 and 10 and that Mono’s strength was its land and environment, which needed to be maintained.

John Lackey, Melinda Davie and Marc Darby, felt the existing Strategic Plan and the aforementioned existing lands should be used to facilitate the solution before considering expansion. While Elaine Capes expressed a like for the ideal live ,work, play scenario, but asked, “what type of jobs do we want in Mono?”

She would not support the question but rather felt people should be encouraged to start boutique and work-from-home opportunities, which would require better internet for Mono and provide environmentally friendly jobs rather than industrial ones.

Brian Scott, who had experienced this question first hand, at the end of his driveway, asked what candidates would do about homelessness in Mono? He said no money was forthcoming from existing budgets, including Dufferin County and the problem was spreading.

First to respond, Elaine Capes said the county had support in place for the problem, but money needs to be invested in affordable housing, where the waiting list is currently four to seven years.

In the end, most candidates supported advocating for public awareness and upper-tier involvement.

Coun. Manktelow said Mono needs to push for help as the problem usually involves more complex issues like mental health or addiction issues. Though a generalization, this is often the case and complicates solutions.

Meanwhile, a question about long-term care facilities brought forth numerous suggestions.

Shona Robbins felt the residents should be asked for their input and if they preferred to remain in their homes, then services to allow that needed to be supplied before considering long term.

Other candidates said they felt advocacy to the upper-tier government was the answer and allowing a second dwelling on existing properties would facilitate the care required.

More assisted living services were suggested while increasing existing services before building a facility also came up.

Resident, Lewis Baker, suggested holding one council meeting a month in the area of Mono south of Hickory Road, as those residents felt ignored by council in his opinion and to make all meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. thus eliminating the current 9:00 a.m. meeting start.

Most candidates said they would support the idea provided there were no technical complications. However many did not expect to see a positive result. There would indeed be a complication. Setting up the ability to broadcast the meeting live, would be very costly.

On a question of allowing a second dwelling to be erected on an existing lot, most candidates supported the idea, as it would allow for aging in place and meeting the provincial density increases, without new subdivisions being built. However, the question did arise of what to do if the property was eventually sold, thus allowing for an influx of air B&B’s because of the second dwelling.

Bradley Mayer Harman got a good laugh when he said he supported the idea, but with his mother, a separate home would definitely be required!

The topic of safety on Airport Road brought forth a multitude of ideas ranging from the simplistic to the dangerous.

In general, more enforcement was the answer most offered with strong commendation for the existing efforts of Mayor John Creelman. Unfortunately, the candidates were uninformed about existing laws in Ontario concerning Photo Radar. It is illegal in Ontario and has been for some years now.

On the subject of paving gravel roads in Mono, all candidates were against the idea. It was stated that the majority of Mono residents were in favour of their gravel roads and Coun. Manktelow stated that after paving Coun. Manktelow lives near the road on 7th Line and witnessed the increase first hand.

Gravel is smoke friendly to the environment, according to Shona Robbins, though that point can be argued as those roads are treated with calcium for dust, which has been known to create ground water issues, as seen at Cardinal Woods wells.

Some candidates referred the matter to budget, as paving requires approximately $1,000,000 per kilometre to accomplish and paving Mono would require over $170,000,000 according to the last pre-pandemic estimate.

Currently Mono Public Works uses a figure of 500 cars per day before they consider paving a road.

The final question concerned personal safety, for a resident concerned about hunters illegally on her property.

The general consensus was to notify the OPP or the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). An incident was shared of a woman sitting on her porch and having a bullet shatter her front window. Unless the perpetrator is caught red-handed, neither the OPP nor the MNR can do very much. Several candidates said most hunters respect private property and the law, and are likely not to trespass without permission. The probable culprits, in this case, would be illegal hunters, not caring about where they were or who might be endangered.

A suggestion was to not walk on your property during hunting season, but this would not protect one from illegal hunters or trespassers.

Following the close of questions, all candidates thanked the organizers, Concerned Citizens of Mono, for holding the meeting, the audience and urged everyone to vote come Monday (Oct. 24).

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