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 Ryan Martelle’s Questions and Answers. Click on any question to reveal the answer.
1 – Please give us a brief biography / tell the readers about yourself.
My Name is Ryan Martelle, I am a Cornwall native of 42 years, who raised 3 daughters here and intends to live here for the rest of my life. My educational background was in Industrial maintenance mechanics, receiving my diploma locally from St Lawrence college. For the last 13 years I have worked in the electrical wholesale industry both as a branch manager and currently as an account manager. My professional life has taught me a lot about, energy savings, new long-term technologies, completing projects below budget and accountability, that combined with my brutal honesty and reliability could really benefit the citizens of Cornwall if given the chance.
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.
As a lifelong resident of Cornwall who is very passionate about this City, I would truly like the opportunity to represent the residents for 4 years on council.
I ‘am a real, honest, confident, and humble person, not a politician. As such I will not be running a very elaborate campaign. With so many in our community having severe financial hardships, wasting money on tons of signs, flyers and fancy gatherings just doesn’t feel right.
If elected to city council, I promise to work tirelessly to represent the varying needs of our diverse citizens at the council table, work collaboratively with the next elected mayor, and my fellow council members. Over the next comings weeks, I will speak with as many people as possible and listen to their needs and concerns. The biggest asset I bring to the council table is my ability check my ego at the door, I don’t have to be right, but WE need to get this right!
The major problems facing Cornwall are well known and cannot be fixed overnight, we need more affordable housing stock and a real strategy to help individuals in our community, who are dealing with serious challenges, such as poverty, food insecurity, mental health issues, and addiction issues. The focus needs to be on providing a helping hand and not simply a handout, we need to address the cause and hopefully help more people live their best lives.
Cornwall, you have so many choices to make. Please make the choice to vote and help shape the council that will represent you for the next 4 years. I will be casting my votes for a couple council veterans and a few fresh new faces who I know will do great things if we give them a chance.
Since actions speak much louder than words and I want to see everyone on this community live their best life. If elected I will donate $10,000 of the salary yearly to a couple of amazing local not for profit groups who feed thousands of hungry people and one that does Big things for some very deserving kids in Cornwall.
I have never been prouder of our city we have so many amazing people in our community who work selflessly to help out others. We are becoming more diverse, but we need to fully embrace that and not discourage new neighbors. I don’t care where you came from or what brought you to our great city, but you are welcomed, loved and appreciated here by me and so many others in the community. We are far from perfect, there is so much more work to be done. We can only truly get better with actions not just words, I ask that one of those positive actions be casting your ballot on Oct 24, 2022, for me.
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?
Affordable housing is for sure the biggest issue facing our community it really is a crisis, which does not make us unique this is a province / nation wide concern for so many people. For many years we have enjoyed a high level of services coupled with a relatively affordable housing market, this has changed drastically in the last few years and thousands in our community must choose between paying rent, buying food or other household necessities. There is no simple fix for this but we as a city MUST do whatever we can to ensure renovictions and skyrocketing prices come to end while still ensuring we allow landlords and owners control over their properties. Now might be the time that we rethink our strategy on affordable housing, we should potentially look at purchasing and renovating more existing properties ahead of new affordable housing projects. We were blessed when our kids were young to be fortunate enough to live in Cornwall housing for a few years which helped us get ahead and eventually into homeownership, the waiting list was not 10 years back then! People can’t wait , kids can’t wait we need to do whatever we can now to help.
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?
100% I want to support the arts; they really are the soul of a city but with the current hardships so many in our community are facing it probably is not the right time to continue with this project. I am open to discussing different funding options, potential pay per use or business models which could offset the costs and ensure profitability. We need to be a fiscally responsible as possible now as the city is not exempt from rising inflation so now more than ever, we must weigh every decision and make every dollar count. We have a very vibrant and present art community right now without an art center, The art walks, cline house and all the Cornwall Art hive events to just name a few.
5 – Post-pandemic, what can Council do to improve Economic Development for the city and support existing businesses?
As many people have stated as a city, we need to remove some of the barriers, process and costs associated with doing business in our city. We need to support local as much as possible while still recognizing we need some large multinational companies to invest here and create more well-paying jobs. Cornwall is a great place to live and has so much to offer, we need continue to further promote our city as great place to live, work and play, we have so much to offer but our population number has remained essentially stagnant for 50 years. The Cornwall night market and other summer gatherings seemed very successful we should focus on community based small business opportunities and get out and support them. We can talk this to death but need locals to support local, whenever possible please support your neighbors, shop local. Not on Amazon!
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?
This is really a provincial issue, but it affects so many in our community on a very real level, without our health we have nothing. Over the years many local and out of town nurses have been trained locally at St Lawrence college, we really need to start when they are attending school to try and attract and retrain some of them in Cornwall. As a city we need to push the province and potentially federal government for any financial supports we could use to entice local people to stay here and attract talented people from elsewhere. Especially considering our aging population we need to explore all options which are available before this situation gets worse, while not the ideal scenario maybe we should focus resources on remote health care services and more virtual clinics if feasible.
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 am not a climate change expert, so I will keep it simple, we should expand tree planting initiatives, focus on energy savings / efficiencies in all forms, expand our composting program and do whatever the St Lawrence river institute suggests to help protect our biggest resource.
8 – Many City businesses are open on Sundays, and many events happen on Sundays. Do you support Sunday service for Cornwall Transit?
Yes, I would support Sunday service, potentially on a limited operations or on call service if ridership doesn’t justify full operations.
We should offer free shuttle service on city buses for community event days whenever possible, to help those in the community who use the service daily and promote new ridership. We need to fully explore Cornwall transit ridership, operating costs, and weigh whether a smaller or potentially more resource efficient fleet introduced.
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.
Very complicated and loaded questions, social services are so very important to most people but mean very different things depending on your current circumstance. Really impossible to answer here in such a short format, we Cornwall transit to be tweaked to better fit the needs of more individuals and our evolving community hopefully while providing some cost savings to the city ideally. Childcare spots are a real important issue for young families, especially single parent ones. We still seem to be a long way from affordable daycare as we need assistance from other levels of government for that but we as a city should really explore quickly opening up as many City run day care spots as possible.
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.
We should really try and keep taxes to a bare minimum as so many on our community are already struggling to keep up with escalating inflation which has caused insane increases on all necessities. I also recognize we as a city do not have an unlimited budget and ourselves are not exempt from the pressures of inflation. We should thoroughly audit all our services and need to have all options on the table, even the unpopular one of cutting/reducing some services. The is still a lot of potential for us to save many dollars on operating costs at City owned facilities though lighting upgrades, timers, daylight harvesting systems, and slightly raising/lowering of temps of air conditioned/heated spaces in City owned or managed buildings.
11 – How can candidates contact you? Please provide a phone number and/or email and/or one website (or one social media link).
Please feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss anything.
Or check me out on my personal Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ryan.martelle. Not a political page, so my apologies you might see that I love my Dogs, family, friends, my mom, Cornwall, I support Big brother Big sisters and like spending time with my little brother Justin.