Windsor·#WEvotes

Meet the people running for council in Leamington

19 people are running for council in Leamington. Here is a little bit about each one of them.

19 people running for 7 seats

(Ken Lund/Wikimedia Commons)

In Leamington, 19 people are running for 7 spots on council: 1 mayor, 1 deputy mayor and 5 councillors.

For the mayoral race, video-journalist Meg Roberts made 'player cards' for each candidate. She captured a photo of each candidate doing something familiar or fun to them, and asked them to answer three questions.

Reporter/editor Jonathan Pinto contacted candidates for the rest of council, asking them to submit a photo and respond to an email questionnaire.

Answers may have been edited for clarity or because they exceeded the character limit given.

Mayor | Deputy Mayor | Councillors​

Mayor

There are 3 people running for mayor.

Hilda MacDonald​​
Email | Facebook

What is your top priority if elected?
Making Leamington more attractive to move to and invest in. This involves raising the property standard bar in our uptown; making people feel safe from crime; getting ahead of the coming growth in the agricultural sector and related industries.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
The redesign of Danforth Avenue. I wish council had challenged the design of this street. It looked good on paper, but that isn't the case on pavement. We have handled many complaints about the bulb outs and the width of the road. Snow removal becomes complicated too.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
The musical offerings in our community are endless. Music Friday nights on the marina patio. Concerts at the amphitheater. Sunday afternoon with musicians at the park. Monday nights with local groups singing and playing in the marina gazebo. Concerts throughout the year too.

Bruce Medcalf
EmailFacebook | Twitter

What is your top priority if elected?
The tomato has got us to 2018. It is time to move to the next level and rebrand Leamington as the Florida of Canada. Paint the town in Florida colours to begin.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
The Mill street upgrades to improve tourism is a complete blunder. It is a one way street. Time and tax dollars should have gone into the Erie Street main artery. Poor strategic planning in my opinion.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
Favourite Activity: Festivals:  Italian, Portuguese, Lebanese, Cinco de Mayo, Caribana. Lets get them rolling.

John David Paterson
EmailFacebook | Twitter

What is your top priority if elected?
Building sewer line infrastructure from PCC plant to northern border of Leamington.  It will open up our industrial park, collect greenhouse effluent and protect our environment, allow for more housing that's affordable in our market, and provide the opportunity for many good paying jobs.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
There is no decision I would change. We have quadrupled new investment in Leamington, improved quality of life, expanded tourism, and raised the bar in our arts and culture offerings.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
Attending concerts at our new amphitheater, enjoying our waterfront development, and spending time in Point Pelee National Park.

Deputy Mayor

There are 2 people running for deputy mayor.

Dharmesh Patel
EmailFacebook | Twitter
(Dharmesh Patel)

Age: 40

Occupation: Hotel General Manager

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Successful business operator, chair of Windsor Region ORHMA Board and Past Chamber President, Board Member and BIA President. Outspoken and well known in the community as well as life-long resident and family man.   

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
High property taxes – we need to lower the taxes by overhauling our spending and increasing our tax base to allow residents to spend more in their community and reclaim our title as the #1 place to live in Canada!

Larry Joseph Verbeke​
Email
(Larry Joseph Verbeke)

Age: 60

Occupation: I am a semi-retired farmer and a Councillor for the Municipality of Leamington

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
With my 8 years of experience as councillor, I am confident for the position of Deputy Mayor. In addition to having close to 45 years of farming experience, I have also sat on numerous committees and provincial boards involving both urban and rural needs. 

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
The biggest issue would be working to keep taxes down as we strive to maintain our current services, such as sewage, drainage, & the development of industrial and residential land. The building of businesses, as well as infrastructure, are both required to keep our taxes down.

Councillors

There are 14 people running for 5 seats on council.

Bill Dunn
Email
(Bill Dunn)

Age: 57

Occupation: Superstore Leamington: Management

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Councillor 3.5 years, family run business 12 years, and volunteered many years in various organizations. Lifelong customer service and volunteerism gives me a passion and compassion to help people succeed. I listen, stand for the needs of our community and get things done.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
A vibrant, thriving, inviting, and safe uptown core. We need to think outside of the box to remedy uptown embracing what makes Leamington unique, as well as inclusive & accessible. Important to the economy, new business growth and a safe environment for residents and tourists.

Derek Friesen
EmailFacebook | Twitter
(Derek Friesen)

Age: 28

Occupation: Financial Advisor

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
My most relevant experience is serving as vice-chair of the Municipality's Committee of Adjustment and Provincial appointee to the Leamington Police Services Board. I also sit on the board of directors for the Leamington Arts Centre.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
The single biggest issue in Leamington is the cost of sewers. We've heard from residents on Pt. Pelee Dr. and Danforth Ave. that they can't afford their share of the cost for sewer construction. With decades of these projects still to come, we have to make it affordable.

Donald W. Haggith
Email
(Donald W. Haggith)

Age: 60

Occupation: Sole proprietor and owner of a small business

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Sole proprietor of a maintenance and repair business, taking on all areas of it, from finding the work, ordering parts, repairing, billing for work done, book keeping, some accounting, being accountable that the work is done right the first time to the customers satisfaction.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
There seems to be a lot of issues in Leamington, but the biggest is our downtown area. The condition we have left it in, especially with vacant stores, no good stores that appeal to the people here, or for people visiting us to shop, and see what we have to offer.

John Hammond
EmailFacebook
(John Hammond)

Age: 72

Occupation: Leamington Municipal Councillor

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
After retiring from 45 years of service with the Leamington Fire Dept and serving the last four years on council, I have been given the insight to our municipality that most don't see. I sit on numerous committees in my position as councillor including Bank Theatre.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
One of the area's biggest concerns is the rising costs for homeowners and businesses regarding sewer separation. With the cost of infrastructure work projected to go even higher and with approx. 50% of the project completed, we need to look for a means for further funding.

John Jacobs
Email | Facebook
(John Jacobs)

Age: (Did not answer)

Occupation: Retired, I have over 40 years business experience as co-owner/operator of Sun Parlour Emergency Services Inc., serving Essex County and Chatham-Kent, dealing with budgets, labour negotiations and local issues as well as provincial regulations and standards.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
My current council experience, I have brought to the role as councillor my business background, and the dedication to make sound responsible decisions, even those that are difficult and controversial and my ability to work within the
different levels of government.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
The improvements and expansion of the infrastructure will provide the opportunity for continued growth of industrial, commercial, and agricultural, bringing new skilled jobs. These skilled jobs will encourage our younger generation to continue to call Leamington "home." 

Trevor Jones
EmailFacebook
(Trevor Jones)

Age: 44

Occupation: Presently on leave of absence from the Ontario Provincial Police where I serve as a Uniform Patrol Sergeant for Essex County Detachment. While on leave, I have been serving as an executive for Mastronardi Produce / Sunset. 

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
As a professional police officer, agri-business executive and lifelong learner, I understand that economic growth, prosperity and innovation, is directly linked with community safety and service leadership. 

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
We must strengthen key public safety features and better collaborate with the community, service organizations and business leaders to create sustainable, well-paying jobs - particularly those in the emerging agricultural industry. 

Heather Latam
EmailFacebook
(Heather Latam)

Age: 43

Occupation: Teacher

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
The most extensive experience I have for being a councillor is that I have spent my entire life living and working in Leamington. This is where I have chosen to raise my family. My career has lead me on a journey utilizing my leadership, organizational and planning skills.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
If I had to chose one issue it would be Leamington's downtown. Our sidewalks are uneven, we have businesses that are only open a couple times a year and storefronts that are crumbling. Repairing this, and upgrading the sewer systems will take time, but it must happen. 

Marlon Ordonez​*
Candidate submitted profile after original publication date
Email
(Marlon Ordonez)

Age: 39

Occupation: Business owner

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I provide employment Latin-American seasonal workers and fully understand their language and culture. I will be able to serve as a link between them and our community which will allow me to significantly improve our labour relations in Leamington.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
Leamington hosts the largest population of seasonal workers in Ontario, generating many diverse issues dealing with immigration, social services, labour relations and social harmony and integration, all of which needs a great amount of attention and improvement in our community.

Oscar Ramirez
Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire

Brian Scott
Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter
(Brian Scott)

Age: 60

Occupation: Inside Sales - Electrical Wholesale Supply, Leamington and part time professional photographer

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Knowledge & experience graduating in business, human resources, & bookkeeping. By being a husband, father & grandfather, working 40 years & running a business for 30 years. Most importantly, knowledge gained listening to business & restaurant owners, & the citizens of Leamington.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
Increase tourism by increasing the quality & quantity of festivals/events in Leamington. Buskers, Ribfests, Uncommon Fests are examples of events held elsewhere. This would revitalize the downtown & bring tourism dollars to the Lakefront & the merchants along Point Pelee Drive.

Mark Simpson
Email
(Mark Simpson)

Age: 59

Occupation: Industrial Millwright Mechanic, Ford Motor Co. Canada

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
As an union representative for the skilled trades with Unifor, at Ford Motor Co. of Canada, I have relevant experience in hearing the day to day concerns of the people. There is not a 'one size' fits all solution to issues – I bring an innovative, realistic voice to council.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
Leamington is plagued by sporadic developments and improper planning/zoning. Proper examination of our town's five-year plan to encourage smart growth for our future.

Kyle Sousa
EmailFacebook
(Kyle Sousa)

Age: 28

Occupation: Currently employed at Legacy Auctions

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Lifelong resident, Master's of Political Science, and Foreign Trade Zone specialist, I am looking to bring my knowledge of government policy and tariff abatement to council. My youth paired with my resilient attitude will prove to assist our town as we grow into the future.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
Though our town faces many issues, the revitalization of our uptown core is paramount. Business owners need to have a better relationship with council in order to thrive. Fibre optic internet infrastructure as well as active bylaw enforcement is necessary for uptown development.

Paul Tiessen
Email | Facebook
(Paul Tiessen)

Age: 51

Occupation: Grain Farmer

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
This would be when I was 1 of 13 founding members and treasurer of Leamington Area Drip Irrigation Inc. where in 6 months we built a 37 km pipeline. This project improved my budgeting, negotiating and collaboration skills which would prove to be an asset on town council.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
If I had to choose one issue relevant to all areas of our municipality, it would be infrastructure with emphasis on road and drain maintenance. We will need to lobby upper levels of government for more infrastructure funding in order to keep taxes in check.

Tim Wilkinson
EmailFacebook
(Tim Wilkinson)

Age: 43

Occupation: Account Manager WFS Ltd. 

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
My most relevant experience is the past term serving on Leamington council & various boards & committees including Arts Council, Committee of Adjustment, Accessibility Committee, Property Standards & Joint Animal Control - and living & working in this community my whole life.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
There is no one single issue but many. Crime & uptown revitalization are big ones, as well as a sewer line to the north to help with the growth & betterment of our agricultural sector. Continuing to develop areas to promote tourism, like the waterfront, to help our local economy.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

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