Election Q&A: Mulmur deputy mayors and councillors

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The Echo asked Mulmur Township candidates to answer the following three questions in 150 words or less. Here are their answers (in alphabetical order):

1. High speed internet access has been identified as a priority for economic prosperity. How would you advocate for broadband service in areas that are not covered by existing/ approved projects?

2. “Preserving rural character” could result in stagnation and stunt the community’s growth and development. How would you work to ensure Mulmur has a mix of housing, and affordability.

3. If elected, identify one motion you would bring to the council table.

Deputy mayor:


1. This question comes up frequently. Covid has accelerated the issue, though it’s been a need for a long time and one I personally share. One resident described the internet landscape as the wild west. I couldn’t agree more. Residents are scrambling to understand what company is delivering what service to whom, at what cost and by when? Depending on where you are situated, you might be on your own answering these questions, and the SWIFT text on the Dufferin site confirms this. We really need to be a squeaky wheel on this one. Regular and planned lobby discussions with provider representatives, and up to date information to residents regarding their shifting options would go a long way. This would also involve inviting feedback from residents on their successes and investigations. 

2. A balance of rural character and housing options can be achieved with very careful planning. Mulmur has allowed greater flexibility for families expanding on a single property. For net new proposals such as subdivisions, a municipality has the power to impact what will be built. Proposals arrive looking completed and our opportunity to alter that is underutilized. The recent public meeting for a subdivision was one opportunity to make clear to the developer that community needs are shifting and that they can do better. We must seize those occasions to get this message across and impact the outcomes while we can. I will keep pushing forgreater community engagement for two-way communications via our newsletter and committee participation so that any growth both reflects and allows what our residents need.

3. I had recent chat with a neighbour who expressed concern about losing agricultural representation at council. With an official plan and rural character being a priority for most residents, decisions do take that into account. However, that loss is being felt byMulmur residents. The agricultural presence was the norm. Mulmur’s growth in the last few decades has been in various demographics. To better recognize and celebrate our agricultural community, its founding families and history, and its importance to Mulmur and the economy of Ontario, I would propose that Mulmur form an agricultural committee with a goal of greater recognition and appreciation, and to consider hosting an agricultural forum for resident input and information sharing, to enhance our connection to Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance, and to consider drafting an ongoing section in our printed and online newsletters on issues both about and for our agricultural community.


1. I would advocate for broadband services in areas that are not covered by existing, approved projects by creating relationships with companies providing service to our community. We hope as a council that we can encourage these companies to extend their coverage to all of Mulmur because they understand, respect and want to help the citizens of Mulmur.

2. I think that we have made progress on affordable housing in Mulmur by allowing the residents of Mulmur the option of adding second family dwellings and/or granny flats to their existing residences. In addition, I will strive to ensure that the futureArmstrong subdivision in Mansfield will have a mix of affordable housing.

3. I think it is important to listen to the residents of Mulmur. In my previous time on the Mulmur council I have found that every council meeting brings up issues that the council might not be aware of. I would always strive to listen and follow the lead of my residents. That said, this past election has made me very aware of election signs in our area. Other municipalities have passed bylaws regarding election signs. I think it would be beneficial for Mulmur to pass a bylaw restricting signs to just residential properties.



1. Municipalities have little control over broadband connections. The higher tiered governments are working on this issue. I realize that it is a very slow process and many of us in rural areas are not happy with the speed of the improvements to our Internet. Mulmur is always at the table when these discussions occur at the county level to ensure that we are not ignored.

2. Our rural integrity will not stunt our development. Our new planning documents will ensure rural integrity is maintained while increasing housing, as mandated by the provincial government. A variety of housing is also in the plans for the next developmentin the Mansfield area. I have provided information to the office on ‘visitable housing’ to ensure that some of the new houses are built to suit the needs of older adults.

3. Communication to our residents is always very important. We have made great improvements to our communication process over these past four years, but it is predominantly through social media channels. I would like to ask that we investigate the cost to build community message boards at all the major super boxes in Mulmur, allowing the township and residents to post notices, and to ensure that those residents who are not in the email data base or on social media, can also be kept informed of the news in Mulmur. These costs would be included in the next draft budget.


1. If elected, I will work with council to continue to lobby service providers to focus expansion of Mulmur’s underserved areas by working in conjunction with SWIFT, a project designed to encourage service providers to expand broadband infrastructures in underserved rural areas through subsidization of the construction of open access high speed networks. To date, SWIFT projects have been completed, and are in service, for the following areas: Big Tree Circle, Mansfield, Mountainview, and Rosemont. The hamlets of Black Bank, Honeywood, Kilgorie, Pine River through to River Road, Terra Nova, Ruskview, Springwater Lakes, andWhitfield are areas in which installation is in progress.

2. In keeping with the preservation of Mulmur’s rural character, I will support the province’s changes in eliminating a charge for second dwellings on existing properties. Mulmur, in adopting these changes, should see a removal of barriers in providing more housing choice and affordability.

3. Having been appointed two months ago, during the October council meeting, I brought forth a motion regarding Primrose Elementary School experiencing drinking water and water supply issues due to an aging well and current school enrolment. Through this motion, Mulmur council requested the province of Ontario and the Upper Grand District School Board use all means available to expedite the process of addressing the drinking water issues and the installation of a new well. If elected, future motions will continue to focus on addressing the needs of the residents of Mulmur.


1. High speed internet has been an ongoing issue for most, if not all Mulmur residents. The rural broadband expansion by SWIFT is a step in the right direction. There will need to be further research done once this step is completed to determine what additional options are available.

2. I don’t believe preserving our rural character will result in stagnation or stunt the community’s growth and development if planning is done proactively and within the Official Plan. Like the Ontario Human Rights Commission states, “Good planning leads to healthy, inclusive communities.”

3. The verdict is still out on this one. There are a number of issues that need to be prioritized and addressed based on the needs of the community. Most of these items are currently being addressed. I am still speaking with residents gathering their thoughts to help prioritize.


1. The ability to access high-speed internet is an essential service requirement in attracting new residents, business, and overall development of the Township of Mulmur. As an individual who predominantly works from home, having access to high-speed internet is critical to my business.

And candidly, we are not there. Current initiatives are in place to service a portion of the area, but it is imperative that providers do not simply “cherry pick” areas, but rather provide access to all homes, even those that are rural or hard to access. I would like to create strategic partnerships to leverage a larger potential customer base and would promote the value of bringing such broadband service to the entire community.

2. Mulmur township is mandated by the province to hit particular community growth numbers. We must ensure this combines a mix of housing to support controlled growth and there are affordable housing options. Any new residential development shouldhave a mix of residential single detached, semi detached, and townhouse dwellings. Additionally, Mulmur must continue to investigate affordable housing opportunities that will help our seniors “age in place” in their homes.

3. If elected, I would like to bring to council a communication strategy that reflects the entire township. I would suggest new communication approaches to reach and provide an inclusive environment for decision making. For example, having minimum response requirements for surveys to ensure the voices of residents are being considered. Additionally, it is critical to ensure that input is coming from all areas of the township. For example, we need to hear the opinions and concerns from residents of Honeywood, Ruskview, and Terra Nova, in addition to other communities within the township as well. For this to happen, we may have to look at developing and enhancing ways in which to encourage participation of our community members.


1. This service should be provided affordably to all are residents in our community. I will strive to advocate all participating Internet service providers (ISP) to install new services in areas not covered by current installation schedule. In line with Canada’sconnectivity strategy that has been adopted by the government of Canada as of April 2022. I will also lobby for fair pricing and any federal government incentives which will keep costs in line with services.

2. Mulmur needs infrastructure to support any proposed growth for its residents. Infrastructure should be supported by research and development needs of our community and its residents. To ensure Mulmur has a mixture of housing and affordability.

3. I believe families are the heart and soul of our community. Without families none of us would be here today. To support growth and prosperity we need support from our schools, for our children to grow and prosper. The Primrose school circa 1994 we havein our community is out of water, overloaded, and undersized to support growth. I would advocate and propose a new school be built to support our communities future growth. Proposing our local government lobby the provincial government for funding to support this project. Furthermore a new school could also support a seniors’ centre and future expansion when required. This project could be supported by Ontario Seniors grant funding, which is a record $6 million for 22-2023.


Although his name will appear on the ballot, Mulmur candidate Barry Smith has decided to withdraw from the race due to serious health issues.

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