Residents of West Carleton-March tell me they want better access to services, recreation and jobs closer to home.
Our children and youth lack access to age-appropriate, affordable and engaging activities close to where they live or go to school. While volunteer-run organized sports are a hallmark of our community, parents and youth tell me they want a wider range of recreation options in the villages and communities where they live. More program choices, extended hours and increased volunteer opportunities at local community centres, libraries, sports fields and schools will allow our children and youth to grow up active, resilient and involved.
Over this term of council we have seen a further erosion in core municipal services within the ward including the loss of local community-based policing and our rural public health nurse. We have many local assets to build upon, including the family health team in Carp, and more services could be added to reduce travel distances for residents.
Rural economic development has been a stated priority of the City since amalgamation in 2001 but admitted last year that no progress has been made on a strategy. Meanwhile farmers and small-scale producers must contend with by-laws and rules that are urban-focused while responding to increasingly unpredictable and severe weather patterns. Employers struggle to attract young employees because of too few transportation options. Lack of services and recreational opportunities mean fewer part-time jobs for local students and young adults.
In my first term as Councillor, in consultation with residents, farmers and employers, I will:
- Review the decisions to remove a local police presence and public health nurse from West Carleton-March with a view to reinstating them in the most appropriate and useful way.
- Identify recreational options that could be offered in our local community centres and work with city staff and local volunteers to make them available.
- Work with city staff to adapt by-laws and other regulations to ensure they better reflect rural realities and immediately begin work on a rural economic development strategy.