Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Denis Sabourin.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I offer 17 plus years of working for Parliamentarians at the House of Commons in Ottawa. 11 of those years as the executive assistant to the then Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh M.P. Bob Kilger. During those eleven years I was involved in a number of important files pertaining to infrastructure investment, job creation, economic development and advocacy for constituents to mention a few areas of responsibility. It gave a strong familiarization with many of the important issues that Cornwall City council has to deal with. I also served 15 years as a English Catholic School Board Trustee. I ‘m a paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada. A former national journalist and a community volunteer. I want to put my “common sense experience” to work for you.
2. In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small business?
I believe that there should be a greater emphasis on attracting small to medium size businesses. If there is a way that the city can offer initiatives to help these business, then we should be promoting it. There is also opportunities to assist start up companies, particularly those involved in green industry. Green industry is touted as the next industrial wave and Cornwall should certainly stake out a strong presence in this area.
3. What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
Arts and culture is an equal partner in the development of any successful community. Yes, a business plan should be put in place and acted on to give Cornwall a stronger presence in the Arts and Culture community. We are well situated to benefit from the Ottawa and Montreal market Arts and Culture community and as a result this will generate economic spinoff that will help in the development of our local Arts and Culture base.
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?
Last year Council in cooperation with administration developed a Strategic Plan which identifies priorities and action items. Ideally, the budget for the City should address, or at least make reference to, the priorities of the Plan. The City must properly fund the essential/mandatory programs and services they must provide (protection to persons/property, roads, water, sewer services, etc) and then the real task comes in addressing what to fund next and at what level. Infrastructure is also important; City has developed an asset management program which includes infrastructure with a schedule of what needs to be addressed when (life cycle of current infrastructure). While taxes have gone down over the past year, assessments have gone up. Politically when directing administration to develop a budget nothing above the inflation rate of the day would be well received.
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 accomplishment is the work underway at the Cornwall Water Treatment Plant. This is the largest infrastructure investment ever for the city.
The biggest disappointment is the way the Tank Farm situation at the Port of Cornwall has evolved.
Cornwall continues to grow in many ways and the next council will be challenged with continuing to steer Cornwall’s growth but must communicate with the citizens of the City their vision for their four year mandate and how they will attain those goals. That Is why I want to bring my experience with other senior levels of government to help define and achieve these goals.
Thank you for this opportunity to respond to these important questions.