On Monday October 25th please consider casting a ballot for Jason Setnyk. I thank everyone who has already voted for me in the advance polls. This election has been an amazing learning experience, from the debates, to media interviews, and to going door to door. It is a lot of work and a lot of fun! I have visited close to 4000 houses, knocked on some doors, attended events, and talked to a thousand people, and I listened to what mattered to them. If and when I am elected, I am ready to work for the people of this City. I will bring vision, ideas, and a strategic plan to make Cornwall the best community it can possibly be.
My name is Jason Setnyk and I am running for City Council. I am a local school teacher and founder of the non profit fund-raising group Rock for Charity. I am very involved in education, philanthropy, and arts and culture. I am progressive, hardworking, and I believe in social justice, and I want to be your environmental voice at City Hall.
Municipalities only get $0.08 from every tax dollar collected in Canada. This is not fair! On City Council I will advocate the need for fair funding of our tax dollars. This is money that could be used to support better Public Transit, Public Housing, Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Richelieu Day Care, Hospital Beds, and other important social services. If enough municipalities across Canada have the political courage to speak up, we can fix this problem, and invest more tax dollars in our respective communities.
I have a plan for Cornwall City Transit that runs seven days a week. One way we could keep the operational cost at a reasonable price would be to use the model of the two community buses that cover large parts of Cornwall Monday through Saturday. With a few adjustments we could offer some transit on Sundays. Seven day a week transit will help grow ridership, keep our community green, and it will help low income workers, families, and seniors get around seven days a week!
I will work with groups interested in a second public dog park, or a skate park in the east end of Cornwall. I believe community involvement and fund raising is important. I want to work with interested parties to raise half the money for the initial cost of these projects. Projects like these are important for quality of life. Fund raising is a way to raise money for these project with out hitting the tax payer with the full cost of the bill. It also sends a clear message to council, that people in the community seriously support initiatives like these.
I also support an Arts and Community Centre. I don’t think it will cost nearly as much as the three pad arena, and it’s important to invest in the arts too. We need a balance between sports, arts, and other recreational and community based facilities. I will be a strong voice for arts and culture at City Hall.
I talked to Firefighters on Labour Day. Firefighters told me of a report that says we could benefit by having a satellite station in the North end of Cornwall. This can save lives and property. I support this measure.
I also support a measure as suggested by Dr. Baitz to have the city of Cornwall organize, build and (temporarily) finance a clinic for family practitioners. I think infrastructure is a better place to spend dollars to attract new doctors (versus some of the other means which have not been overwhelmingly successful).
In regards to infrastructure I think this upcoming council needs to take a serious look at our drainage systems and waste treatment facilities. After a recent rain storm, a lot of people are concerned about whether we have adequate systems or not. I think these are legitimate questions. Now we need to find clear answers. If there is a problem, it will have to be addressed.
I think Cornwall would benefit from a Trades School. I want to work on more partnerships with the college and local businesses to help train young people in the trades, such as plumbing. With baby boomers retiring, it’s important to train young people, because these are good paying jobs. I also want to work to rebuild relations with the University of Ottawa, and offer more classes here (a combination of in class work and online courses for electives – so students can get a full degree right here in Cornwall and still get the support and guidance of qualified University professors). Education will keep some of our young people here in Cornwall, and a skilled work force will attract new industries to the city, and this will help promote growth.
Developing our Water Front is key, we can all agree on that, it is prime real estate that can be taxed. But I want to work on a green plan for our Water Front. They are building green efficient houses in Quebec, and we can do the same here in Cornwall. Some of the counties are working on solar energy, and we can do the same here in Cornwall. I believe the development of our water front should have a balance of green space, green homes, and green industries. According to Kilger, there is a place on the old Domtar site where we could send energy to the grid. In the long term, selling energy to the grid will make the City money, money that can be spent to support infrastructure.
I will also advocate Municipal Composting, which will represent significant dollars saved by extending the life of our landfills. Other cities with Municipal Composting are extending the life of their landfills by up to 35%. We can do the same here in Cornwall. Finished compost as soil conditioner can be used in our municipal parks, and keep our parks green and beautiful.
As fuel prices go up, it will make sense to move towards more environmentally friendly and efficient municipal vehicles. I think we can also save tax dollars by using LED lights on City streets and efficient light bulbs in all municipal buildings.
I would also like to investigate the possibility of investing 1% of the interest generated by the Progress Fund back in to the Progress Fund itself. I never want to see the principle of the Progress Fund touched. The more the Progress Fund grows, the more interest we can generate from the Progress Fund, and the less money we will be taking out of Tax Payer’s pockets in the future.
I have had friends and family start businesses in Cornwall, and they have all faced red tape. We need to cut the red tape, and make it easier to do business in Cornwall. I would like to initiate a meeting with business leaders and find a pragmatic way to stream line the process and make it easier to do business here. BizPal would make generating a list of permits easier. Furthermore, we need to improve on customer service at City Hall. I read a report from Oshawa about this very same issue – customer service at City Hall. I think with a little critical thinking and common sense, we can apply a lot of what that report says and use many of those ideas here in Cornwall.
I also want to work to make sure all City contracts are given to local companies! I understand competition brings prices down, but I would support a measure that guarantees at least 60% of contracts are given to local companies, and a buy local/or buy Canada clause when it comes to buying materials.
We need to support buying locally, but we also need to advertise what our city has to offer, and draw people in from the highways, to come to our city and spend their money here. Developing the outskirts of our city to attract highway traffic is necessary, but I would support and work on a plan to have billboards strategically planned to advertise what the heart of our City has to offer.
We need a clear vision statement for the next 10, 20, and 30 years. We need to set benchmarks, and be accountable to those benchmarks. With clear objectives, and a good plan that includes development and growth we can invest properly in our City, and keep taxes in check.
I offer you substance, ideas, and a clear vision for our future. I will be your voice if you elect me. I will work with others, find pragmatic solutions, and advocate for issues that I truly believe in. On October 25th please choose Jason Setnyk for City Council.
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