Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Alyssa Blais.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I live downtown Cornwall, and as a mother of one and a stepmother of two, it is important to me to develop a sustainable, vibrant and healthy community for all of us to succeed. I am an avid scuba diver and feel strongly that the St. Lawrence River plays in important role in Cornwall’s leisure and recreation lifestyle.
I am currently employed as the Executive Director for The Agapè Centre. Prior to that, I was the Business Consultant at Cornwall Economic Development, and also owned my own business in South Glengarry growing organic vegetables and selling locally.
I am active in the volunteer community. I am member of the Cornwall Canadian Federation of University Women, Director of Aultsville Theatre, Board Member of The Seaway Valley Community Health Centre and a member of the Culture Plan Committee.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
We need to be working hard to make sure our city continues to develop and grow and local economic development needs to be our top priority. Our economic spending needs to start at home because every dollar we spend is a vote for how we want our city to be.
It is critical that we create sound awareness as to why shopping locally and supporting our local people will create a healthy economy, as well as, help our local businesses compete internationally. If we do not believe in our City, how will we attract newcomers? Supporting our city’s business community, hosting key events and business summits and developing “shop local” incentive programs will promote ongoing growth, investment and jobs.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
My vision for arts and culture is one where our arts community is instrumental in creating an economically and socially vibrant city. Cornwall needs to look at specific public art policies through which the City allocates one percent of development project budgets to public art as well as developing municipal policies on culture to describe its’ role in its development.
Cornwall does need an identifiable public place to become the hub for arts and culture in our community. This place would act as a centre for training, production and experience of all cultural activities. Whether it’s a new build or a retrofit of an existing facility needs careful analysis.
4 – Do you support freezing or lowering taxes? If so, where would the savings come from, and would you support reducing some services? If you do not support freezing or lowering taxes explain why.
Our social and economic wellbeing depends on the value we place on public services. If we were to lower or freeze taxes, what would this do to our public services and quality of life?
I am in agreement with a few of my colleagues in that cutting unnecessary spending is paramount to spending our taxpayer dollars and we need to be searching for ways to increase our revenue streams. However, with the increase in cost of living, electricity and the downloading that occurs from the province to the municipality limits our taxing resources.
More and more residents are continually asking to provide an ever expanding range of services such as affordable housing. If we were to cut taxes, it would not be economically possible for us to respond to these local needs.
5 – What has been the biggest accomplishment at City Hall over the past four years OR what has been the biggest issue of concern at City Hall over the past four years?
I feel that there were many accomplishments at City Hall. I would like to share three with you:
- The partnership and direct involvement between the bridge corporation, Mohawk Council of Awkesasne and the City of Cornwall to dismantle the high-level bridge and the successful construction of the North Channel Bridge.
- The 57 million dollar upgrade of the Cornwall Wastewater Treatment Plant which created the delisting of the St. Lawrence River as an “Area of Concern” and is also considered a green construction.
- Cornwall is becoming known as the epicentre for Distribution companies.
- 2010 Shoppers Drug Mart opened a new 550,000 square foot distribution centre.
- 2011 Target Canada opened a 1.4 millions square foot distribution centre
- 2013 Benson Group expanded its operations with 217,000 square feet
- Loblaw Companies Limited will be setting up shop in 2015