Accomplishments

Focused and Dynamic Leadership

In 2018, I was elected as a brand new Mayor alongside a whole new Council.  What united us was a fresh vision for North Grenville and some bold objectives.  

Since becoming Mayor, I have worked tirelessly to bring focused leadership, an innovative approach as well as a can-do attitude to the challenges and opportunities North Grenville faces.  

As Mayor, I successfully worked with Council to:  

1. keep property tax rate increases well below two percent (reversing the previous approach of automatic 2 percent increases); Tax rate increases since 2018 have been: 1.5 in 2019, 1.0 in 2020, 0 percent in 2021, and 0.75 in 2022

2. I have secured key investments from other levels of government for crucial infrastructure, including CR 43    

3. increased quality of life through more road safety measures as well as strong partnerships with community organizations

4. expanded recreational options in North Grenville for seniors, youth and everyone in between  

5.improved client services at the Municipality for businesses and residents

If re-elected, I will continue with my collaborative and innovative approach to addressing the many priorities of our community. 

WHAT WE’VE DONE :

1.     COUNTY ROAD 43

A 37 million dollar investment in CR 43:  In July 2020, four levels of government (Municipal, Counties, Province of Ontario and the United Counties) finally came together after 10 years to make crucial road safety improvements in CR 44. 

From the minute I got elected in 2018, I made it my mission to get the necessary funding so that what has become a dangerous and congested CR 43 can finally become North Grenville’s spacious boulevard.

By 2025,  you will see a brand new four lane bridge over Kemptville Creek, an expanded roadway, safe pedestrian crossings, multi-use pathways on both sides of the road, lighting and trees.  

More info:  https://www.northgrenville.ca/news/1841-county-road-43-widening-will-spark-regional-growth

We also tackled over 100 km of rural and urban roads since 2018, including rebuilds, culverts, and rehabilitation (asphalt and gravel overlays). 

2.     BETTER HOUSING PLAN

A month after I was elected, I immediately convened the Mayor’s Taskforce on Affordable Housing to figure out why some people were struggling so much to find housing, particularly seniors and youth.  

Hearing from a variety of experts and stakeholders, Council adopted a plan in 2020 to overhaul North Grenville’s planning framework so that : 

– the Municipality would foster more housing diversity (through more townhomes, semi detached homes, and multi-residential rental units); 

–  remove the red tape to building secondary suites (basement/granny suites); and 

– identify partners who could build affordable homes.  

In 2022, Habitat for Humanity announced it would build 15 affordable townhomes on a small, centrally located parcel of land that Council had surplused for this reason.

More info:  https://ngtimes.ca/habitat-for-humanity-launches-affordable-housing-development/

We have also worked with private developers to designate affordable rental units in four multi-residential buildings under construction on CR 43, and stipulate the construction of some secondary (basement/granny suites) in new homes throughout the Municipality. 

Further, I successfully advocated for a 1.2 million investment in Kemptville’s aging former Courthouse so that it could be converted by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville into 9 rent geared to income rental units.  

More info: https://www.northgrenville.ca/news/1840-affordable-housing-units-developed-in-north-grenville

3.     MORE PARKS AND RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES 

As a growing community, expanding our parks and recreational options is crucial to the quality of life of kids, seniors, and everyone in between.  Alongside the current Council, I have embraced every opportunity to increase recreational opportunities in North Grenville.  

Further, in 2021, with support from the Municipality’s Health, Wellness and Fitness Advisory Committee, North Grenville boldly entered – for the first time-  a national competition to be named Canada’s Most Active Community – and we won

Thanks to the incredible effort and commitment from so many organizations and individuals in the community, the Municipality won the national title in 2021 and a $100,000 Grand Prize along with it.

In 2022, we won the provincial title as Ontario’s Most Active Community and a $7500 prize. 

These funds are being used to upgrade aging play and recreational equipment in four of North Grenville’s rural hamlets (Oxford Station. Burritt’s Rapids, Oxford Mills and Bishop’s Mills). We are also exploring the establishment of a lending library for outdoor recreational equipment. 

Since this Council’s election in 2018, we also: 

1. partnered to establish an all ages toboggan Hill in Ferguson Forest in cooperation with the FFC, and provided  a community grant to expand the very popular disc golf course;

2. improved our trails network at Kemptville Campus;

3. partnered with community leaders to bring skating back to the Kemptville Creek – something that hadn’t been done in 30 years!  

4. are making major improvements to Kemptville’s Riverside Park – including establishing an outdoor ice rink, splash pad, multi-use pathway and four season change rooms;

5. partnered with two local businesses to rebuild the BMX pump track at Riverside Park which is wellutilized by youth; 

6. are in the process/ or have established two new neighbourhood parks in Glen Gables subdivision and Tempo subdivision;  

7. put in a new dock at Curry Park, and secured grants for other two other docks;

8. completed a feasibility study for an indoor aquatics facility (To read the report, click here)

4.     SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES

In 2020, the world stopped as the COVID 19 pandemic shut down most local non-essential businesses. It was an extremely unpredictable, financially stressful and disruptive time for all of our community members, but particularly business owners. 

 In the spring 2020, Council immediately worked with municipal staff to: 

1. defer some capital investments in order to establish an innovative business adaptation fund for pandemic related upgrades to assist businesses in staying open; 

2. partner with the Chamber of Commerce and Old Town BIA so they could hire core staff and better serve their members during COVID and beyond;

3. worked with a local family health team and the Kemptville District Hospital to open North Grenville’s own COVID assessment and vaccination centre so community members and business leaders could stay close to home. Without the leadership of Dr. Suzanne Rutherford and the partnership with the Municipality of North Grenville and the KDH, we would not have had a COVID assessment and vaccination centre in our community.

5.     BETTER INTERNET

The pandemic quickly revealed how underserved communities like ours are when it comes to reliable, high speed rural broadband.  Within months of the pandemic in April 2020, I joined other leaders across eastern Ontario to publicly advocate for urgently needed improved rural broadband investments in eastern Ontario.   

I wrote op-eds, did several regional media interviews,  and met with relevant federal and provincial Ministers and their officials on multiple occasion.   See my Ottawa Citizen op-ed here.

While progress doesn’t happen overnight, Rogers, Bell and ExploreNet are all getting ready or are in the process of bringing fibre to the home to rural parts of North Grenville. 

We also have also formally challenged Industry Canada’s data which suggests that parts of North Grenville currently have better broadband (minimum of 50/10) than is in fact the case. We are also ensuring that new roads include the underground infrastructure to run the fiber so that when Internet Service Providers are looking to expand, digging up roads and starting from scratch isn’t necessary.  

6.     ACCESS TO FAMILY DOCTORS

We are nothing without our health! 

North Grenville has seen doctor shortages in years past and worked hard to attract new physicians to the area. With a surge in doctor shortages again in the last year, Council been working closely with local primary care clinics, the Kemptville District Hospital and the Government of Ontario to increase our capacity to attract and retain new doctors. 

In 2022, Council: 

–  established a working group of family health clinics here in North Grenville to strategize together;

–  met with the past and new provincial Ministers of Health to alert them to our concerns;

–  we have financially supported KDH with a 900k investment over 10 years in its quest to bring a CT scanner to the hospital – a key diagnostic tool that will helps to attract ER doctors and other physicans. 

To make a CT scanner a reality at our hospital sooner vs later, I worked very closely with KDH and Minister Steve Clark to appeal for matching dollars (in the amount of 900k) from the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville’s hospital capital funding program.  

While the KDH funding request didn’t get granted right away, we persisted over nearly two years and were successful in convincing Counties colleagues in June 2022 to make the investment of $900,000.  This means a $2 million commitment is already in place for this crucial diagnostic tool!  

More info: https://www.recorder.ca/news/kemptville-hospital-gets-900000-toward-ct-scanner

7.     PUTTING NORTH GRENVILLE ON THE MAP!

A brilliant blend of rural and urban, North Grenville is flanked by two very large and publicly managed forests. To the south, there is Limerick Forest and to the north, its Ferguson Forest. We are also blessed with Kemptville Campus’ own 18 acre sugar bush right in the middle of our community!

We also have the South Branch of the Rideau River running through much of the Municipality (also known as the Kemptville Creek). This has proven to be a kayaking’ paradise owing to the low number of high speed boat traffic and the absence of larger watercraft!

Even before the pandemic began, I and my Council colleagues were keen to put North Grenville on the map! This is what we have done so far:

–        In 2020, we introduced the Kemptville Promenade – a downtown event series which includes street closures, live music, choral performances, artisans, and a variety of other local food vendors;

–        The Municipality hired one of Ontario’s leading tourism developers to establish a 10 year tourism strategy, and we hired a seasoned professional to serve as North Grenville’s first ever tourism coordinator;

–        In partnership with key community groups and our local BIA, North Grenville hosted its first ever Buskerfest in May 2022, and is piloting the downtown Sunday Outdoor Piano Summer Concert series on Sundays;

–        In September 2022, North Grenville will be hosting North America’s largest outdoor Agricultural Fair and Rural Expo, the International Plowing Match. from Sept 20 – 24th ; this is an extraordinary opportunity for North Grenville and the biggest event North Grenville will have hosted in its 230 year history! A minimum of between 60,000 – 80,000 people are expected over five days.

More info: https://www.explorenorthgrenville.ca/ipm