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Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce

Questions & Answers

Diane Ballantyne - County Council Ward 6

490 Garafraxa Street East, FergusDiane Ballantyne


I have lived in Wellington County for more than two decades. I chose to raise my three children in Centre Wellington because of its natural beauty, high quality services and sense of community. As a teacher for the past 20 years, my work and life are deeply rooted here.

My experience has made me passionate to build a better community for all.

In addition to my leadership as a Department Head at Centre Wellington District High School for the past decade, I am the co-creator of the innovative Social Justice program as CWDHS. I have embraced thinking globally while acting locally. Understanding the value of global citizenship, I have also led over 150 teenagers on international excursions to five continents. I have engaged our youth in connecting with our local business community, the Wellington Terrace and the Centre Wellington Food Bank. Youth-led projects have, and will continue to have, positive long term impacts on our growing community - fostering connectedness, compassion and collaboration.

I have held numerous leadership roles locally and provincially.As the Chair of the Wellington County Planning Table, I helped to bring the Ontario Early Learning Centres to both Fergus and Guelph. I have participated on numerous County and Community-based committees. I have been active in promoting political engagement for many years, co-organizing Provincial all-candidates meetings, introducing the Student Vote initiative to CWDHS as well as holding both local and provincial positions in the education sector. In 2012 I received the Provincial Human Rights Award for service and dedication in the struggle for equity and the promotion of human rights locally, nationally and/or internationally. 

I have a Business Management diploma from Sheridan College, a B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University, a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree from OISE/UT, as well as a History Specialist designation from the University of Western Ontario.

Platform - A New Perspective

I believe in Smart Growth.

We want a community where we can work (locally), play in ample green space and recreation facilities, and where we can raise healthy families.

To achieve this, we need to attract and grow new business that will give us a diversified tax base for increased revenue generation.

I believe in Transparent Government.

As your Councillor I will make sure that I am accessible. I will always listen, be clear as to where I stand, and work toward positive results for all.

I believe in the Strength of Community

I believe in local government that works with communities, not against them. I will empower the exceptional talent and generosity we have in our community to innovate and foster even greater exceptional resources.

Q. What actions or steps will I take to enhance business attraction programs and opportunities for the municipality to achieve goals in such areas as creating greater economic diversity and depth, enhancing business practices and promoting growth opportunities for existing businesses?

Knowing that a weak transportation system negatively affects our economic development and the quality of life for youth and seniors, I will advocate for the following:

Investment in a sustainable transportation system for our community. With vision, collaboration and dedication this IS possible (the recent Ontario Rural Institute Report lays out several viable models).  I will do everything I can to make it happen;

A Greener County. This will definitely attract the kind of corporate investment we want, knowing that economic development in the 21st Century demands sustainability and we demand environmental stewardship;

Accessible Communities. Whether it is services, transportation, or in your neighbourhoods, my job as your Councillor is to be out in the entire community (from Inverhaugh to Belwood) to make connections, innovate and work to weave a stronger fabric to help everyone thrive. Accessible communities are prosperous communities.

What will I do as your County Councillor?

I will listen to you. I will hold a community open house two times a year to touch base and build connections. I am also easily contacted via website (, Twitter @KDBallantyne or email:

I will collaborate with you. I have a long history of working with grassroots groups in this community. I will continue to do so and will be available to listen and support innovative ideas.

I will advocate our new perspective at the table. This means re-thinking how we work as a government and not just thinking about cutting taxes, but how we invest our dollars and time to build a healthy community.


Questions & Answers

Question submitted by Stephanie Lines-Toohill from The All Candidates' Meeting on September 25 to Ballantyne

As a full time teacher how will you find time to give the job the attention it requires?

Ballantyne, Diane: 
My work will not detract from my role as County Councillor. In fact it will enrich it.

One of the great things about Municipal politics is the opportunity for many perspectives to sit around the table. We are not held to party lines, nor does it benefit our County if the only voices present are business owners or retired persons. County Council is enriched by experience from varying backgrounds and professions, as representatives of the citizens of our communities.

I take my inspiration from the Deputy Mayor (and former Warden) of Orangeville. He is a long time Councillor, as well as being a teacher, for the very same Board I work for. He is proof that teaching and political leadership do work well together.

In concrete terms, I was a Department Head at Centre Wellington DHS for a decade. This demanded a great deal of my time and sharped my leadership and financial management skills. I stepped back from that role last spring. I was writing a large project for TVOntario. That has now wrapped up. My children are teenagers and are in varied stages of leaving the nest. Personally and professionally I am ready to dedicate my time, energies and passions to bring a new perspective to County council.

Question from Sandra Brown for Kelly Linton, Mary Lloyd, Fred Morris, Stephen Kitras, Walt Visser, Vinnie Green, Stephen O’Neill, Rob Black, Diane Ballantyne, David Gohn

What is your opinion on wind turbines?  For or Against?

Ballantyne, Diane: 
In principle I am very supportive of alternative energy solutions. We must move away from the petroleum-based energies that are polluting our environment.
Having said that, what I also value greatly is the voice of a community. Building strong community cohesiveness requires communication, collaboration and consensus-building.
What I have been disappointed in, with regards to the wind turbine issue in Belwood, is the Provincial Government's disregard for local Municipalities to have a say in development in our own backyard.
Had the community had the opportunity to have a voice on this topic the results may, or may not, have been different. But they would have better reflected the communities wishes.

Question from S. Brown for All Candidates, except School Board

Micro chip scanner for dogs.  Most dogs have micro chip identification and when I bought my dog licence learned Elora does not have a scanner – why not?

Ballantyne, Diane: No response yet.

Question from Jeremy Woods, President, Wellington Standard Condominium Corporation No.149 for All Candidates, except School Board

The unit owners and tenants of the Wellington Standard Condominium Corporation No. 149 (The Beckett Centre), at 820 Gartshore Street in Fergus would like to know the candidates’ views of the current Commercial Tax Rates and Classification.  In particular the possible creation of Commercial and/or Industrial Condominium Classifications.  We feel that we are being unfairly taxed – as an example, each of the 26 units are being taxed as if they are stand-alone buildings on their own lots, instead of one building, on one lot, broken into 26 units.  MPAC does allow for this in their assessments, and other municipalities in Ontario have created these additional classes.  By creating these classifications and reducing the overall tax base on these companies, may encourage more of these commercial condo buildings to be built.

Ballantyne, Diane: No response yet.

3 Question from Karen Hudson for any wishing to respond  (her 4th question was asked at the meeting on October 1st)

We have roads and bridges in poor repair.  Is there money to repair these, and is it really our money, or are we operating in a deficit?  Is there actually any plan?

Ballantyne, Diane: No response yet.

What can we do to have influence over the slow progress in the building of a new hospital?  Genuine influence.

Ballantyne, Diane: No response yet.

Why did the mayor agree to such an elaborate expansion of the Fergus library?  It needed work, but this is far beyond what is sensible.

Ballantyne, Diane: No response yet.

Questions (2) from Steven Wright, Wrighthaven Homes for Mayoral, Township and County Candidates

Nimby Syndrome: Not in My Backyard or "NIMBY" is a major concern for builders and developers who are faced with community opposition to important new developments including affordable housing, higher density housing mixed use developments and other housing options that provide choice for everyone. Do you agree that NIMBY needs to be addressed? If so by what methods will you address NIMBY attitudes in the community?

Ballantyne, Diane: 
I am in complete agreement with new development that includes what you have mentioned: affordable housing, higher density housing and mixed use developments. These are part of the principles of Smart Growth that make our community a far healthier, more connected and prosperous place to live.

With regards to NIMBY attitudes I believe that education is the key component. Far better opportunities for communication are needed. Citizens have concerns and they need to be addressed. They deserve to be heard. Resistance often stems from fear of the unknown. Full, open and honest discussions can go a very long way to alleviate NIMBYism. Open meetings to addresses concerns, and a Councillor that is an accessible presence, is necessary. 

Communication is a key part of my commitment to transparent government and accessible communities.

Places to grow legislation has increased pressures on planning departments to adhere to new rules and density requirements encouraging intensification in existing residential subdivisions and particularly downtown areas whereby often homes and buildings of heritage value exist. Quite often these older buildings are in jeopardy as a result of requests to demolish so as maximize density requirements when a developer submits new plans to develop these building consistent with the places to grow legislation. As a councillor do you feel you have the fortitude to resist pressures of the act and vote to deny the requests to demolish heritage resources?

Ballantyne, Diane: 
As a high school teacher I have developed deep wells of fortitude that I draw on each and every day in my work. 

As a HISTORY educator I am deeply supportive of the protection of our Heritage sites as invaluable, tangible evidence of our past as well as understanding the positive economic impact a rich heritage presence can provide.

I absolutely possess the fortitude, and the passion, to resist pressures as well as the skills needed to find a balance of increased density while protecting our heritage sites.

I look forward to working with you, Steve, to help educate County Council on the knowledge you possess in this area.


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