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Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce

Steven VanLeeuwen - Ward 6

6375 Fifth Line, R.R. #4 FergusSteven VanLeeuwen 2014


As a resident of Wellington County my entire life I hold a very strong sense of home within this community. I am a husband as well as a father of 4 beautiful children and desire to help build this community for their benefit and future as well. I believe that the Lord has given us so many blessings here in Centre Wellington and I would like to see those blessings used for the benefit of the community and for His Glory.

I have gained leadership qualities through many varying experiences:

  • 3 years on the Education Committee of Maranatha Christian School and 6 years as Public Relations for 2 Christian Private Schools
  • Owner of Advanced Small Engines and Marine inc.  (15 years) and Owner of CartWorld inc.  (11 years). Both operating within Centre Wellington.
  • Currently sit on the Board of directors for Emmanuel Christian High School and Public Relations Chair.
  • As a member of Centre Wellington Council for the past 4 years I was also able to sit on the Economic Development Committee, Fergus BIA Board and various other committees.


Where from here?

Over the past four years Council has worked its way through a major reorganization of the Township staffing structure and I feel that the final touches of this are almost complete. A spin off of this restructuring is also the restructuring of the Economic Development Committee which I have been excited to have been part of. This new committee is made up of varying people from within the community and has taken on quite a new look and feel. I would like to continue to work with this committee as Council representative to encourage and assist local business growth.

As a local business owner I understand what it means to control your expenses and I do not see how this should differ from the Township expenses that need to be controlled on your behalf.

Local infrastructure will continue to be a concern for the coming years and I would like to continue to push for improvements as I have done over the past 4 years.

Municipal Council is a community service and should be viewed that way. It has been a pleasure to see how involved this community has been in different ways to benefit the community as a whole. I would say that this is one of the greatest assets within Centre Wellington. I hope to continue to work side by side with the community in the role as Councilor for ward 6.


Questions & Answers

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?

VanLeeuwen, Steven:
At this time the Township uses dog tags to track their licenced dogs and contracts out animal control to deal with dog tracking and return. This option could be requested from our supplier if the need is there. Further discussion would be warranted on this to determine if it is necessary for our residents in tracking their dogs or if the lack of this technology has not posed any issues in regards to the care of dogs in our 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.

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
I would be willing to discuss this type of taxation further and determine what is the reasoning for the rate set on the building you speak of. I would suggest that a request be made to Council to have this rate looked at. An official request could be made at the Township office and they will direct you through the proper channels.

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?

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
We assess our roads and bridges to ensure they are safe and usable. Some are falling behind and a few bridges have been closed. We repair as many roads and bridges as we can within the financial strain that we are under. The option to aggressively raise taxes to achieve more is not my first option. I believe we can manage what we have and still continue to progress at a reasonable rate. We do not loan money for roads and bridges but it comes from taxation each year. Some of the bigger projects like sewer systems and water towers are examples of when we loan money.

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

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
We must continue to encourage our upper tier governments to keep things rolling. This communication needs to be ongoing.

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.

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
I do not know why the Mayor decided such an expansion was necessary but it does put added responsibilities on the Townships shoulders. One major example is the parking strain in downtown as we continue to grow.

Question from Frederick Schuett, owner One Axe Pursuits for All Mayoral and Township Candidates

What will you do to support small businesses and signage for tourist attractions?

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
I believe that if a company comes with signage issues we are willing to work with them as a Township. The sign by-law was put in place a few years back and I had requested about a year ago that we open it for review based on complaints or complications from business owners. I was surprised to have not received many submissions from people on where to make adjustments. Our documents should be living documents and reviewed from time to time to ensure they are useful.

Question from Tammy Rutherford for Mayoral and Township Candidates

The Township Of Centre Wellington web page has a Termite Management Area map for both Fergus & Elora, dated May 2012.  There are more than 1300 properties within the boundaries, and there is no doubt the numbers are higher now.  The City of Guelph has a termite management program which was recently presented to the City Of Kitchener in light of the recent termite activity involving just 23 properties.  Do you think our township should adopt a termite management program to prevent the spread of termites?

VanLeeuwen, Steven:  No response yet.

2 Questions from Melanie Cooper, Mosaic Spa for Incumbent Township Councillors

Would you briefly provide us with what you consider to be your top three major achievements during this term of Council?

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
The number one issue was the success of our reorganization of the township employee structure. I believe I was a strong motivator of this action as it was one of the things that came out of our first meeting for councils vision moving forward. I also played a strong role in ensuring a leadership role from council versus a head bobbing role from consultants.

Restructuring Economic Development Committee is also something I pushed hard for and with help of staff successfully had Tourism and Economic Development committee's separated. Although they have similarities they also function very differently within the township. I look forward to the work this new committee continues with.

After much pushing I also was able to have added to council tracking sheet the task of staff to report back to council on how we tender our roads and bridges. This should help us determine if there are better ways to achieve financial savings with the replacement of our assets and not sacrifice quality.

What have you brought to council for approval, versus just voting on?

VanLeeuwen, Steven:  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?

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
I believe NIMBY can be an issue within a community. It is very important that council take a leadership role in investigating what is important and or also what is safe for their residents. This information needs to be relayed back to the community so that they understand the actions of their council and why their township develops in such a way.

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?

VanLeeuwen, Steven: 
I believe it is important to take a hard look at our heritage assets and determine each case based on its merits. I am always willing and able to stand alone in council and voice my opinion on a matter.


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