Municipal Elections are taking place in October. As one of the main media outlets in the City of Cornwall, The Seeker is always eager to getting to know the candidates. As such, we send each candidate a questionnaire requesting for them to give their position on the most pressing issues near and dear to you, our readers. During the upcoming weeks, we will be publishing the answers from each candidate who choses to respond. Every candidate was sent 11 questions, penned by our own, Jason Setnyk. They can chose to answer as many as they want. We will post them online as they come in. Here are Carilyne Hebert’s Questions and Answers. Click on any question to reveal the answer.
1 – Please give us a brief biography / tell the readers about yourself.
I am the Executive Director of a local non-profit organization called the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area (SDC). The biggest initiative we have been working on is Vibrant Communities, Our Safety and Wellbeing Plan. This is our region’s poverty reduction strategy. Supporting vulnerable people, fighting for social justice, and helping individuals rise out of poverty has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I’m so grateful I get to do this at the SDC and during the last 8 years on City Council. I am a proud graduate of La Citadelle and St-Lawrence College.
2 – If you were on Council the previous term, tell us about your accomplishments during the past four years. If you were not on City Council this last term, please tell us why you are running and what you hope to accomplish.
Serving the City of Cornwall over the last 8 years has been my greatest privilege. Our community has come a long way and still has so much potential. I believe we have made immense progress in addressing climate change. From supporting changes to the way we operate waste management, proposing and initiating the Environment and Climate Change Committee, hiring a Sustainable programs Coordinator to moving towards food waste pick up by 2025 which will be taken to a co-digester to create fertilizer and fuel, I am confident that we are on the right path to becoming leaders in this sector.
3 – With rents skyrocketing, what can City Council in Cornwall do to prevent renovictions like those at Cumberland Gardens that have impacted many in our community?
The City has a role to play in lobbying and advocating for changes within the Landlord and Tenant Act. Changes that could allow us to create by-laws reinforcing our opposition to this happening in our community. We should also be fast tracking the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing and ensure that affordable housing is a priority for Cornwall. We have the opportunity to provide incentives to developers to build more affordable housing and work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity to ensure vulnerable people have a place to call home. Housing is a fundamental human right.
4 – In 2018, the City of Cornwall purchased the old Bank of Montreal building in our downtown for $450,000 as the future home of Cornwall’s Art Centre. In 2019, Council heard a report that renovations would cost an additional $4 to $6 million dollars. In addition to the fundraising already being done, will you support some public tax dollars going towards a Cornwall Art Centre, or should the municipality pause any additional financial support?
I have supported this project from day one and I will continue to support it if re-elected. Our community has been a great sports town. We have invested millions of dollars in facilities like the Benson Center and the Aquatic Center. These are amazing facilities used by thousands of families and residents. It is equally important that the families who share a passion for arts and culture also have an amazing facility to use. An Art Center will be a positive asset to our region, it will positively impact our downtown and enhance our community’s overall quality of life.
5 – Post-pandemic, what can Council do to improve Economic Development for the city and support existing businesses?
One critical issue our business community is faced with is recruitment. This was an issue pre-pandemic, but it has since taken a turn for the worse. There are hundreds of jobs available in our community, however when employers can’t recruit, they can’t do business. My fear is that they will leave our city. The focus has been resident attraction however with the current housing crisis, where will these new residents live? We need to invest in housing to support the influx of new residents coming to our city to fill the many job vacancies and opportunities.
6 – What are your thoughts on the McConnell Medical Clinic closure? Although health care is a provincial issue, is there anything Council can do to attract more doctors and nurses to our city?
The McConnell Medical Clinic closure is devastating to our community. Thousands of residents in our region do not have family doctors and rely on walk-in clinics for non-urgent care. This lack of care is sending more people to the Emergency room at a time when Hospitals in the region are struggling to handle urgent care and current caseload.
The city has 2 great programs; Medical Recruitment and Medical Scholarships. I believe in this current crisis they can be amended to expand the criteria. Simple changes could see more applications and in the long run, see more doctors in Cornwall.
7 – While climate change is a global issue, what can the City do locally to keep our neighborhoods cool and protect natural resources like the St. Lawrence River?
I believe we are on the right track with address climate change. Especially with plans for a food collection service, however, at the beginning of my time on council, we were decades behind climate action. Our landfill is nearing the end of its life and we must continue to find viable solutions to prolong its use. Its closure will cost millions and finding viable alternatives are not just an environmental choice, they are necessary. Focusing on waste reduction will not just reduce the impact on the climate but will save taxpayers a massive bill.
8 – Many City businesses are open on Sundays, and many events happen on Sundays. Do you support Sunday service for Cornwall Transit?
I have always been open to talking about Sunday bus service. The lack of service on Sunday can isolate many residents including vulnerable people. It can prevent individuals from finding work and from participating in community events and celebrations. The Transit Master Plan developed in 2017 does mention a Sunday bus service pilot to test the long-term feasibility. I would love to see this pilot happen in the next term of council.
9 – What can we do to improve social services in Cornwall? Examples include but are not limited to Cornwall Transit, childcare spaces, or LTR spaces.
Most of the social services provided to our residents are dedicated (and funded by) the provincial government. There are changes we could do like providing additional support to local organizations that have more flexibility in service delivery and continue to invest in social housing to address the housing crisis. However, we should be lobbying the province for policy and system changes which would significantly impact the lives of vulnerable people and reduce the level of poverty. This includes more money for transit, more funding for childcare spaces, etc. A community is only as strong as its most vulnerable resident.
10 – Do you support keeping tax increases to a bare minimum? If yes, where would the savings come from, and would you support reducing some services? If you do not support keeping tax increases to a minimum, explain your reasoning why.
The cost of running a municipality will continue to rise as the cost-of-living climbs. We are all personally feeling the increase and so is the municipality. If we wanted a zero percent tax increase, we would absolutely have to cut programs and services. We exist to provide services. I would never support service cuts for our residents. So many people rely on the services offered by our municipality especially when times are tough. I do support looking at creative ways to make additional revenue, but that will never be enough to keep taxes from increasing.
11 – How can candidates contact you? Please provide a phone number and/or email and/or one website (or one social media link).
I can be reached at 613-362-1191 or [email protected]