Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Heather Megill.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
My name is Heather Megill. I am 54 years old and the mother of two adult children. I am a teacher currently on leave serving as Union Vice President with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario – Upper Canada Local. I have lived in Cornwall for 24 years. I am active in the community through membership in Kiwanis and with Service Club Council, in my church, Trinity Anglican, through United Way and in the past in a variety of Community organizations. My experience as a teacher has given me connections with a wide range of students and families in the city and surrounding communities. I have a good understanding of the needs of Seniors and families in our community and would advocate for an expansion of services in Community housing and support initiatives.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
I believe that the Economic Development Department has done a good job of attracting new businesses to our city. I would, however, propose that we focus in on bringing middle income and environmentally sustainable industry to our city. In larger cities the time and stress involved in commuting has a very negative impact on individuals. Our location and slower pace of life are some of the wonderful aspects of life in Cornwall and would be marketable to a range of newer businesses. A more diversified tax base will lessen the tax burden on Small Business, which is backbone of the Canadian economy.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
I am a proponent of arts and culture. Arts and culture are the soul of any vibrant community. I would support an Arts and Culture centre but perhaps repurposing existing centres is more practical at this time. Expanding partnerships with St. Lawrence College and perhaps NavCentre might be useful in the short term.
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.
I am not in favour of freezing or lowering taxes, however, I support the building of our tax base through expansion of environmentally sustainable industries. Deep cuts to city services have left us with services that are barely sustainable. We have lost good entry level mangers to outlying municipalities as opportunities for personal and professional growth are not available here. A huge range of city services are impacted by this policy of freezing or lowering taxes. Community housing for families and Seniors is in need of expansion and wide scale improvement. Infrastructure needs to be replaced in a planned manner. It is less expensive to repair than to completely replace.
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?
The biggest accomplishments at City Hall over the past 5 years have been the work of the Economic Development Department of the city to attract large scale Logistical distribution centres to Cornwall. The next step will be to improve the industrial sector to provide greater opportunity for better paying jobs. Good urban planning has led to the attraction of more upscale service centres. Many citizens are choosing to remain in Cornwall to do the majority of their shopping. The future challenges include middle income industry and services for our aging population.