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Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce

Questions & Answers

Jean Innes - County Ward 5

56 Water Street, Elora


I came to Canada as a young journalist and ended up as executive editor of one of our major lifestyle magazines. Recognized as a trend-spotter, I was invited to join the creative team that dreamed up a groundbreaking destination shopping centre concept. All three home-focussed centres that we built were remarkably successful, merchants who joined us from nearby locations tripled their sales. The retail cluster concept is now universal.

My third career was as a provincial government special projects consultant, and it tweaked an interest in municipal service. Now, I’m proud to have served six years on Township of Centre Wellington Council and two terms as a Wellington County Councillor.

So much goes back to my journalism training: Knowing how to listen, and an ability to see the big picture helps me serve individual constituents and this very special community.

Political Experience

The experience needed at the County of Wellington has been honed through participation on the following committees and boards

Wellington County Committees 2006 to present

  • Social Services
  • Information, Heritage and Seniors
  • Roads
  • Planning and Land Division

Township of Centre Wellington Committees 2000 to 2006

  • Planning Committee
  • Economic Development
  • Cultural Affairs
  • Planning Advisory
  • Elora BIA Executive

Trustee or  Board Member (current and past)

  • Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
  • Family & Children's Services, Guelph and Wellington County
  • Guelph and Wellington Poverty Task Force
  • Grand River Conservation Authority
  • Community Resource Centre, North and Centre Wellington


As a County Councillor, I stand for controlling spending, planning with vision and working hard to support all the residents and businesses of Centre Wellington.


Questions & Answers

Question submitted by Michael Weinstein from The All Candidates' Meeting on September 25 to Innes and Watters

Why does the county continue to have its administrative head office outside of the county, in the city of Guelph?  Would you support spending more county administrative funds in the county instead of in a city that is not even part of the county?

Innes, Jean
The Wellington Place Concept plan, which County Council has approved, has two County Administration buildings on it.  This is where County Head Office belongs, on County lands, in the centre of the county.  It will make County Council far more accessible to the majority of county residents, those of us in Centre Wellington in particular.  Relocating from the current building at 74 Woolwich Street in Guelph will bring several hundred County jobs to Wellington Place.  I am sure that Guelph condo developers would be interested in buying the Woolwich Street building, which overlooks the river just along from the River Run Centre and next to the Old Quebec Street Mall, in what is becoming a condominium belt.  It would need re-zoning, but the old building is in a wonderful residential location.

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?

 Innes, Jean
I'll leave this question with the Township.

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.

 Innes, Jean
Has this been appealed to MPAC?

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?

Innes, Jean
This question applies to the township and the county.  We both have budgets set aside each year and 5-year build plans to guide the work that's taken on.  The condition of all our roads and bridges are monitored annually, and sometimes it is necessary to 'bump' one project to bring forward one on a later schedule that has become more urgent.  The Province recently downloaded the St. David bridge, which is on a provincial road, to the township as part of their cross-province "Connecting Link" download.  This goes beyond being unethical.  I don't know how the Township can pull funding out of a hat for this one.

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

Innes, Jean
And this is where we have to tread softly with the Province.  More than $90 million has been pledged by the Province for Groves Hospital capital work.  The local municipality is obligated to match that with a 10 percent contribution.  We're doing all we can to meet provincial partnership requirements.  The County helped with the purchase of land and has worked with Groves to build the access road.  The County has also pledged a further $5 million in funding to support the 10 percent and infrastructure requirements.  We are meeting all our obligations, the Province can have no complaints or reason to stall what is at the best of times a slow process.  We facilitate rather than influence.

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.

 Innes, Jean
This question is for the Mayor.

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?

Innes, Jean
Steven -- I was not aware that you had encountered NIMBY-ism.  In my experience, all your developments have fitted well, and have enhanced the local community.  I was at your recent ZERO home open house and had to fight enthusiastic crowds!  Congrats on that.  The County's Fergusson Place met no opposition and is a well-designed addition to that neighbourhood.  If we are talking about the need for demolition of existing buildings -- that's not NIMBY-ism, that's heritage preservation, which is something entirely different. 

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?

Innes, Jean
Heritage Centre Wellington, a volunteer group of local citizens who are dedicated to preserving our heritage buildings, reviews demolition permits and makes informed comment to the Township.  The Places to Grow legislation, in my view, threatens streetscapes as well as buildings.  The charm of old Elora is in it's large garden properties, Places to Grow threatens those gardens by encouraging infill buildings.  The old house might remain, but be 'crowded' or even hidden by another property that meets density requirements.  That is why residents of spectacular neighbourhoods in Fergus and Elora should be working together to get heritage designation for their area.  A heritage designation document describes and preserves streetscape features. 


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