When first elected, I campaigned on it being "our time" to take our place and reach our full potential - I was elected on that mandate. In order for us to do this it became clear early on that we had to first restructure our house and backyard, while also changing a culture that has been entrenched for many decades. We had to learn to replace some old habits with new ones, starting with recognizing that our focus must be what is best for the community as a collective versus individual departments, silo's or groups.
By working together and restructuring our house to be more functional, now we can all take pride in the unprecedented social and economic growth that has taken place in our community as a result, while at the same time becoming one of the lowest cost producing municipalities in the region.
Cochrane looked a lot different in 2018 than it did eight years earlier.
The Recreation Board and Town have also begun planning to complete the trail system around the Lake by building a boardwalk and lockstone trails from the Giant Tiger Hill at Fourth Street, right through to Fifth Street. This will complete the modernization of the trails providing everyone some of the most scenic views around the lake day or night.
Track Record 2015 to 2018
One of The Most Actively Developing Communities in the Region
- Over $23 Million in Development this Term Alone, Putting Us Near The Top Comparably Per Capita In All Of Northern Ontario;
- Build State of the Art Seniors Complex – No Cost to Build Or Operate to the Town;
- Build State of the Art Pavilion – Costing About $10 Per Residential Property Per Year;
- Build Modern Boardwalk & Scenic Lookout Over Lake Commando; – No Cost To The Town;
- Build Region’s Most State of the Art Media Center, Box Seating and Digital Experience at the Tim Horton Events Centre – 90% Funded with no Additional Cost to Tax Payer;
- Expand Day Care to Include a Much Needed Modern State of the Art Infant Care Wing – Realizing over $800,000 in Funding;
- Build Modern and Most Unique Community Welcome Sign in The Region;
- Modernize Peninsula Bridge to be Maintenance Free & Handicap Accessible;
- Develop Polar Bear Habitat to be World’s Largest Natural Habitat for Polar Bears. By Doing so, Positioning the Facility as the One of the Most Unique Polar Bear Research Opportunities in the World also;
- Establishing Leading Edge Multi-Modal Rail Yard, Potentially Becoming the Next Economic Paradigm Shift in Cochrane;
- Build Modern Traffic Round-A-Bout – First of its Kind in Cochrane;
- Aggressively Rebuild and Repave Roads and Infrastructure – Including Genier Road, Lift Station, Fifth Street, Railway Street, Railway Tracks, and Cote Lane.
Driving Both Social & Economic Strength
- Maintain one of the Region’s Most Diversified and Stable Economies, Including Two Forestry Mills, The Largest Gold Mine in North America, Rail, Laboratory, Civil Construction; Air Service, Logging, Heavy Equipment, Camp Logistics, Wholesale Foods, Bottling and Retail;
- Nine Jobs Generated for Every Job Lost;
- Development of a Community Improvement Plan Designed to Provide Local Business Financing and Opportunity at Modernizing and building Commercial Strength;
- Establishing the Provinces Only Free Bike Share Program;
- Unprecedented Development of Lake Commando Providing A Multitude of Outdoor Recreational Opportunities;
- Pop-Up Pianos, Free Book Share, and World Class Modern Outdoor Stage Right on the Waterfront Promoting Community Arts and Culture;
- Preserving Social Importance of Forested Area Around Silver Queen, Louise, and Margaret Lakes;
- Re-establishing Cochrane as a Prime Evacuee Center for Flood Victims on James and Hudson’s Bay Coast;
- Establishing a Volunteer Recognition Program and Board Celebrating the Contributions of Those Selflessly Making Our Community A Socially Vibrant Place to Live;
- Erect Cochrane’s First Memorial Honouring the Victims and the First Responders of the Great Fires;
- Replacing the Peninsula Bridge and Officially Dedicating the monument to the Community’s Veterans and Active Military;
- Celebrating the Presence of our Forefathers in Dedicating a Laneway to M.J. Labelle;
- Dedicating a Scenic Piece of Memorial Park as Volunteers Way, to Recognize the Contributions and Importance of Volunteerism in the Community;
- Invest in Modernizing Sidewalks to be More Handicap Accessible;
- Continue Planning and Working With Province on Commitment to Build a Much Needed Truck By-Pass Within Next FIve Years.
Doing So Responsibly
- Change Our Thinking From Older, Conservative, Extreme Risk Avoidance, to Progressive, Strategic and Modern Financial Thinking, Utilizing Proven Financial Management Tools.
- 85% (Over $19 Million) of Development Paid for through Unparalleled Fundraising, Sponsorships, and Cash Savings.
- Remaining Amount Responsibly Financed at Interest Rates in the 2% range, and Spread Across Generations of Users as opposed to the Immediate User;
- Establish Modern and Innovative Debt Management Policy that caps Debt Burden to Below 10% of Budget, ensuring Cochrane’s debt will never be out of control – Currently, Debt Burden is at 8%;
- Creating About $1 Million in New Cash Flow Through the Innovative Debt Management Policy;
- Generating New Revenues Through Effectively Investing Town Cash balances.
- Effectively Divert $350,000 Per Year Proposed CDSSAB Cost Increase;
- Develop Innovative Recreation Program and Board Responsible for Generating Over $1 Million in 100% Paid For Recreation Investments, from the Same $10,000 Per Year Invested By the Town in Each Community Festival;
- Since 2012, This Innovative Arrangement and Modern Financial Thinking Has Seen The Town Leverage About $240,000 of Recreation Investment Into Over $3 Million In Direct and Indirect Economic Benefit;
- Through the New Thinking, Town Reserves Sit Between $4 and $5 Million, Some of the Highest Balances in Decades.
Evolved Progressive & Modern Thinking
- Going from Being Completely Risk Adverse, where Community Opportunities are Limited or even Non-Existent, to Taking Calculated, Manageable Risk Leading to A New Renaissance of Successful Community Opportunities;
- Developing a Wifi Dome Surrounding the Entire Community of Cochrane Proper, Providing Access to Wifi Anywhere indoors or out;
- Invested Into Developing Complete Fiber Optic Service in the Community, Providing Access to Modern, Information Technology Services and Strengthening Economic Opportunities;
- Lifting Access Controls on ATV’s and Snowmobiles Allowing Access to All Streets, Reinforcing and Marketing our Outdoor Experience Asset and Way of Life;
- Installing Cochrane’s First Electronic Cross Walks, Developing Cochrane’s First Dedicated Bike Lanes and Modernizing Walking Trails and Access Around Lake Commando;
- Implementing Modern Financial Tools and Management Strategies, Increasing Cashflow Available for Local Investment, While Keeping Property Taxes Some of the Most Responsible in the Region;
- Implementing Modern Social Programs Associated to Cochrane’s Newly Developed Waterfront, Providng A Variety of New Outdoor Social Experiences for Residents and tourists.
- Embracing the New, Modern Thinking and Evolving Our Community Affairs into the Next Generation of Our History.
First Term Track Record
- Equalized Salaries of Female Employees with their Male Counterparts;
- Instrumental In Extending Life of Major Employer & Forestry Plant;
- Unprecedented 24% Property Growth At Par with Larger Centers;
- Complete Rethink of Municipal Operations & Corporations Leading to:
- Some of the Most Responsible Property Taxes in the Region;
- Long Term Strategic Financial Planning;
- Modernizing Financial Affairs;
- Re-establish Provincial Financial Standing;
- Reduction of Administration Staff;
- Reduce & Stabilize Dangerously Escalating Policing Costs;
- Drive Re-instatement of Spring Bear Hunt;
- Position Long Term Future Growth With New 400 lot Sub-Division;
- Establish Stronger Community Participation In Regional Municipal Affairs;
- Bring Junior A Hockey To Cochrane