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 Sarah Good’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 Sarah Good; I am a leader in the local non-profit sector, and mother to a young blended family. I have a long family history in this community, and after finishing my bachelor’s degree, I decided that Cornwall was where I wanted to grow my career and family. I am currently working in Human Resources for the Children’s Aid Society, and am Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity. I have a passion for helping people, working to improve our community, and supporting all things local.
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.
Coming in as a new candidate, I am full of ideas for how we can improve our community. I believe there is opportunity to make great changes, and work with community organizations to maximize social programming. I would like to ensure that all efforts are being made to maximize external funding and grants. I have three platform points that I will work towards enhancing in our city:
· Recreation & Placemaking
· Environmental Sustainability
· Affordable Living
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?
Nearly half of all renters in Cornwall spend more than a third of their income on rent, and there are currently over 500 families waiting on Cornwall’s affordable housing waitlist. We must accelerate the implementation of its Housing Revitalization Plan, and prepare to build several hundred more new affordable housing units across Cornwall and the United Counties over the next five years.
Although as a municipality we can’t directly stop the practice of renovictions, I believe there are programs and regulations we can put into place to disincentive it. We need to encourage existing landlords to keep their current affordable rentals, and create programs which will encourage homeowners to build secondary units. The City should approve construction of tiny homes, and encourage the conversion of vacant commercial/institutional spaces into residential units to meet the growing demand.
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 firstly want to commend the efforts of all the people who have worked tirelessly to fundraise for this project. I believe that it is crucial for our city to invest in the arts and ensure its accessibility for all residents. From what I understand, the most recent projection from January 2022 was $7.3 million, of that, it seems the city would be responsible for approximately one quarter, as the federal and provincial government would cover roughly 73% through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). Given the significant offset of this cost, I believe that this would be a worthy endeavour.
5 – Post-pandemic, what can Council do to improve Economic Development for the city and support existing businesses?
Our community is very fortunate to have a strong base of loyal customers, who went out of their way over the course of the pandemic to buy local. The City should continue to partner with local businesses to support campaigns that encourage people to shop local and encourage events that bring people into the core.
Cornwall is a vibrant and lively city! I would like to add more picnic tables Downtown and in Le Village, facilitate restaurants using street parking for outdoor summer patios, and approve temporary road closures to encourage more events like Art Walk, the Cornwall Night Market, and Beyond 21’s Food Fest that draw large crowds.
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 closure of the McConnell Medical Clinic was a huge loss to our community. We need to do more to encourage doctors and nurse practitioners to open their offices in Cornwall. There is an existing grant program to attract doctors, but it hasn’t been updated in a long time. I think we need to update that program to include anyone who is qualified to practice medicine in Canada, and broaden the program to include nurses and nurse practitioners.
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?
When the city declared a climate emergency in December 2021, it set Cornwall on a new path. We must commit to planting more native trees and shrubs, which will have a cooling effect on our neighbourhoods, will work to keep our air clean, will physically keep our shores intact with their deep roots, and will improve our overall mental health. With this climate declaration, I want the City to be a climate leader and meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets. I want to grow the clean economy; attract green businesses that create good jobs and create programs that will help the residents of Cornwall lower their own carbon emissions.
8 – Many City businesses are open on Sundays, and many events happen on Sundays. Do you support Sunday service for Cornwall Transit?
Absolutely, yes. Many people in our community rely on public transit to get around. We should be doing everything reasonably we can as a city to provide consistent and reliable service when people need it and reduce the barriers to access. We should coordinate better with the region’s large employers to make sure our transit system is convenient and affordable for working families. I also believe that providing students with bus passes will help keep younger people connected to our city and will enhance our economy as more people will be out spending money.
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.
Working in the social service sector I’ve directly seen the kind of positive impact effective social services can have in supporting those in need. I support investments in our transit system, childcare providers, long-term retirement spaces, mental health services, affordable housing, etc. By investing in these areas, we can concretely improve affordability and access. I will vote to invest in recreation infrastructure and programs for all residents, which eliminate user fees wherever possible. That means, for example, keeping outdoor swims free and adding more hours. The revenues generated from these user fees are quite small, but can be a real barrier for children and low-income families.
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.
I believe it is important that we keep our tax increases at a reasonable level. Naturally, with inflation, the cost of goods and services continue to rise. With that, we have to expect there to be some increases. I want to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely, and that we are getting maximum return for our investment. I also want to ensure that we are continually investing back into our community and working to bring high quality services to our residents.
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 by text or call at 613-662-6632, by email at [email protected], at my website www.sarahgood.ca, or on my facebook page @sarahgoodcornwall