Q). What is the biggest challenge for Saugeen Shores around development?
Kristan Shrider: I believe that one of the biggest challenges that we face is to keep growth and development at a manageable rate. We need to ensure that our services and assets are able to keep up with the rate of development. Council and staff need ensure that our asset management program is on target for not only our current needs but also for the future demands that growth and development will require. The approach to municipal management must adapt with the growth and development that Saugeen Shores is experiencing. Financial responsibility or responsible spending is not always the lowest cost when it comes to municipal assets. The overall operating costs and life cycle of an asset needs to be a factor along with the upfront capital cost. Growth and development increases usage on our infrastructure and other municipal assets, which increases the maintenance and potentially reduces life cycles. As long as we plan accordingly and are aware of the impact growth and development has on our assets, we will be able to build and maintain an asset management plan that will allow us to plan for the future demands that our assets must meet.
Mike Myatt: Saugeen Shores is the fastest growing community in Bruce County and with our population projected to grow to close to 18,000 over the next 10 years this brings increased pressures being placed on our Infrastructure. While Development Charges will help offset some costs associated with new roads, bridges, water and sewer installations, and soft service costs relating to parks, recreation and culture initiatives, there will be demands placed upon our residents for the balance of costs. Your next Council needs to be cognizant of rising costs associated with new growth and it will be Council’s responsibility to direct staff to explore every possible source of infrastructure and partnership funding to assist with offsetting new development costs. As I campaign door to door, I have heard residents call for keeping our administrative costs in check while still maintaining a level of service that is acceptable for all levels of income. We need to strike a balance between wants and needs and recognize that while new development will lead to increased assessment, your Council and staff have a responsibility to keep our costs in line with revenues being generated.
Q): Do you support the proposed Innovation Centre for Southampton?
Kristan Shrider: I certainly support the Innovation Centre in Southampton and look forward to the partnerships that are being developed through the process. I believe that Bruce Power and the County of Bruce has taken the necessary preliminary steps to start this process and Saugeen Shores should be proud to have Southampton selected as a preferred site. Part of the process involves public consultation and approval process. They are taking these steps and attempting to keep the public informed of the process. I believe that when the conceptual design is presented this fall more conversations will occur with regards to the exact location and impact this facility will make at the suggest site.
Mike Myatt: Yes I support bringing the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute to Southampton. This will be a wonderful addition to Saugeen Shores and while bringing 30-40 new jobs to our community is a real benefit, there are other spinoffs that will be created. New jobs created increases our need for additional housing and new housing brings new assessment that contributes towards offsetting our increasing infrastructure costs. Bringing new positions in to our community creates economic spinoffs for local business and just as important is the scope of services to be offered at this International Centre of Excellence. As stated by Bruce County Warden Paul Eagleson, “The Institute will include a Skilled Trades and Training Secretariat, consisting of industry leaders who will be responsible for coordinating and increasing employment in the skilled trades to support building a strong, sustainable regional force”. This is just one of the many focus areas of the Institute and I encourage our residents to Google Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute/Saugeen Shores for further information.
Q) Where do you stand on preserving Hwy. 21 corridor as green space vs. development?
Kristan Shrider: I believe this will depend on the location of the parcel of land. There are sections of the highway that run through Saugeen Township, Port Elgin and Southampton that are unique and would have factors that should be considered when the topic of development is proposed. When any development occurs, whether it is along the highway or off the highway, greenspace or parkland dedication must be adhered to. This can come on the form of an actual park, a linear park or trail or a cash donation toward a parks reserve. Proposal for development must follow a process and the zoning of those parcels of land will demonstrate the intended purpose and dictate the process forward to rezoning or change of use for that particular parcel of land.
Mike Myatt: I am assuming this question relates to lands south of McNabb Street to South Street along Highway 21 between Port Elgin and Southampton. Let’s address the west side of Highway 21 first. These lands are owned by the Town of Saugeen Shore and while costly to landscape provides an opportunity to create a Gateway in to Southampton. Perhaps community partners/sponsors can be found to resurrect this project that was proposed over 20 years ago. The east side of highway 21 is another matter. These lands have a broad range of zoning including Agricultural, Light Industrial, Highway Commercial and R1 for Subdivision Lands. As these lands change hands and as new development occurs, this will provide the opportunity for Council to review green space options under Site Plan Control. Having spent over 35 years in the Parks and Recreation sector, I have an appreciation for green space and beautification, and anything we can do to beautify our gateways should be considered.
Q) What changes, if any, would you want to see in the two downtown cores of P.E. and Southampton?
Kristan Shrider: Not focusing on physical changes, I would like to see the municipality, through the Economic Development/ Strategic Initiatives Department explore partnerships with business owners, the BIA’s and Chamber of Commerce Groups to ensure we are supporting our existing business owners and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. Some established businesses in Saugeen Shores are having trouble attracting employees, retaining employees and struggle to keep hours of operation consistent. I believe that the municipality could be a resource and a partner to assist in coordinating possible solutions for the struggles that some of the existing business owners are facing. When the topic of Economic Development is mentioned, far too often people relate it to attracting new businesses only and the support of the existing businesses is forgotten about. The municipality must take an active role in supporting the existing business owners.
Mike Myatt: I would like our residents to think back 5 short years and reflect upon the look and feel of our Port Elgin Main Street and take a drive down this same corridor today and form your own opinion. What I see is lots of new trees, new street lighting, wonderful flower arrangements, benches, and in general, a more vibrant look. Congratulations BIA Management Board for your efforts and thank you Port Elgin Downtown Businesses for buying in to these improvements. While there is more we can do, we have come a long, long ways towards beautifying our downtown. In regards to Southampton Downtown, I believe that maintaining the character and small town atmosphere is imperative. Southampton Downtown is blessed with wide streets and vibrant shops and the addition of Friday night Music on High during summer months is a great addition. As Saugeen Shores moves towards being recognized as a bike friendly community, I feel that we must do more for our cyclists in terms of bike racks, safe routes and share our roads strategy. Very few vacant stores exist in both downtowns, and if I were to make one suggestion to our BIA’s when a store becomes vacant, I would recommend that steps be taken to present the empty windows in a manner that is more appealing to shoppers and visitors to our community.
Q) Do you support nuclear power?
Kristan Shrider: Yes. Absolutely. I do not work at Bruce Power nor does my wife, but nuclear power is one of the largest economic drivers for Saugeen Shores. A major attraction to Saugeen Shores is a business opportunity or employment. Bruce Power is an employer to many residents in Saugeen Shores and have established themselves as an incredible partner for projects and foundations in the area. Suppliers and trades for Bruce Power are relocating to the area and establishing businesses across Grey and Bruce County. Saugeen Shores is fortunate to be one of the popular venues for their relocation and I encourage these partnerships and development for the betterment of the municipality.
Mike Myatt: Yes. Nuclear Power is recognized as practical, inexpensive and clean (emission free) source of energy. Today’s nuclear energy production averages around 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year that would otherwise be caused by coal –fired generation. But let’s talk about Bruce Power. Bruce Power provides approximately 1/3 of the Province’s energy, but more importantly Bruce Power contributes to a very large degree towards our local economy. Some may suggest that Tourism may be #1 in terms of being the main economic driver for our community, but consider that close to 40% of Bruce Power’s 4,000 employees, live, play and shop in Saugeen Shores, and in addition to this number, over 1,000 contract workers contribute towards our economy. In February of 2018, Bruce Power was named as one of Canada’s top employers for young people for the 7th consecutive year. Yes, I support Nuclear Power. Note to Bruce Power…. Could you build us a new Pool?