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Issues

There are 3 key things that I believe are at the core of good representation and apply regardless of what issue if under discussion. Using these values is, for me, the way to approach matters brought before council.

  1. Smart, respectful use of tax dollars. This approach aims to stretch each tax dollar further and puts our hard-earned money to its best use. This helps minimize the need for taxes. I define "best use" as "spending that makes life as good as it can be for the most people possible". If council plans well we can find a balance between low price and quality services. I spend wisely in my own household and I aim to apply this "best bang for the buck" thinking to municipal budgeting.
  2. Respectful, collaborative approach to decisions. This permits the opinions of county residents and representatives of our towns, villages and communities to be truly welcomed and used as an important asset.
  3. Dealing with issues decisively. For me, that doesn’t mean quickly. Mistakes are part of the human condition, a council needs to take care that haste does not create waste. Decisions must be made based on sound research and evidence, that sometimes means time to explore options more fully and to decide if information provided is correct and sufficient.

Green Energy and Green Jobs

Each of us can accept some responsibility to do as much as possible to replace our fossil fuel use with green energy options. During my first 4-years as a Kings County Councillor I have advocated for 2 specific actions. Putting PACE in place (Property Assessed Clean Energy Bylaw) for our municipality to help property owners with low interest rates on up to $10,000 for installation of green energy systems in their home and/or to reduce residential energy use. I am also working with the Meadowview Community Development Association on a large solar project.


Sidewalks & Federal Infrastructure Program

Public infrastructure makes communities safe and can bring increased enjoyment to everyday life. Our federal government recently increased opportunities for matching funds for infrastructure projects. Council needs to make a full investigation of how this new program can be used to benefit all Kings County residents, particularly for active transportation projects. The budget for sidewalks is very small and is not being matched with federal funds except in our seven villages. This leaves too many residents without the sidewalks they deserve. The 2016-2020 council must address this shortcoming.


The Right to Know

Kings County Residents have the right to know what their elected representatives do on their behalf and why. During my first 4-years on council I have worked hard to limit "behind closed door" discussions by council. Council does have the right to move "in camera" but this right should not be used to hide debates or information from the public unnecessarily. 


Farms and Farmland

Nova Scotia currently has much less farmland than needed for farmers to ensure we have local food to eat. A higher interest in a "local diet" and the growing wine industry in Nova Scotia means that Kings County's great agricultural land is more needed than ever. I have a strong history of working hard to save farmland from developers in Weston, Greenwich, Canard, and Port Williams. I also have a strong history of raising funds for the Annapolis Valley Farmland Trust. I see the cause of farmland protection as one of the most important issues here in Kings County and beyond as we seek to become more resilient to climate change.


Full Review of Annual Budget

Kings County has held the line on the tax rate for several years. That's a very good thing! However, I believe a full review of expenditures could lead to decreases and/or wiser spending of the taxes residents currently pay.


Regional Services and Governance Study

The Now or Never report highlights the need for municipal government reform aimed at eliminating red tape. A regional governance study for the county and the three towns of Berwick, Kentville and Wolfville is overdue. While there is a clearly a will to complete this study there's also a fear of amalgamation. That seems to be a key stumbling block to moving forward. I believe we need to uncover the facts of the matter and make a decision once the facts are known. Residents of the county, and their representatives for our seven villages and twelve growth centres need to have an opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas on this topic. As well, the three towns in this county, Berwick, Kentville and Wolfville all have amazing strengths and provide so many services to county residents, we walk their streets, shop and eat in there, and use several key recreational facilities in the towns. A study of how we can work better together, how we can better share staff and other resources is long overdue!



Authorized by Pauline Raven
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