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Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce

Dean Workman - Ward 1

159 Geddes Street, EloraDean Workman

Biography

G'day , I'm Dean Workman, and I'm a new Canadian.

I first came to the area in 1996

I've had the privilege of being able to travel around the world a few times and really could live anywhere, however, I wisely chose to move with my wife and children to this area in 2005.

I have three wonderful quirky children all talented in their unique way, the two oldest are at CW and The youngest is still at Elora Public

I started my life in Canada working on a farm and I now live on a farm north of town just past the 10th side road where I have started growing hops along with the annual cash crops.

I am a locksmith by trade and my locksmith shop is just up the road on Geddes street near the L&M

I've done many things in my life and Locksmithing is just one facet of my skill-set.

I grew up in family business environment. I've swept the floors at my Mum’s hair dressing salon. I started my own little lawn cutting business when I was 9. By the time I was 14 we had a service station where I worked after school and weekends. As a kid I wanted to be a lawyer, but coming from a working class family it was more natural to enter a trade. I started an apprenticeship at 16 and completed it with honours. Working 12 hour days was how we built our business and survived.

That work ethic instilled in me at an early age has held me in good stead my entire life. I have always been willing to put in the time and effort needed to achieve the goal at hand. My father's military background drummed into me the importance of doing things correctly the FIRST TIME.

I've been in small business the majority of my working life. Although I did work at an accounting office as an undergrad accountant for a few years. I also was a youth Pastor of a Church for a while where I completed 5 years of part time training to receive my Diploma in ministry. (sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago).

Coming from the private sector I have a clear understanding that the cheque book has a finite source of funds and as such all funds need to be spent very, very, wisely.

I am a musician and played professionally for several bands mainly writing our own songs and trying to make it in a pre internet world. For me personally, I call playing music the sanity factor. It keeps me balanced. Since moving to the area I have taken up painting. My first course was taken at the Centre for the arts here in town. I'm still learning the skills but I LOVE IT. To me, the Arts are not an optional extra, they are a crucial part of the fabric that makes a community worth living in. They sustain a community through tough times and allow it to shine all the more when times are good.

It took me a few years of living here to become connected in the community. I've discovered the greatest connections happen when volunteering to help. I don't volunteer for everything as I am very conscious of the finite time we have on earth. I will volunteer where my skills will make the most difference, Riverfest is a good example of where I work well.

Platform

It's such a wonderful place and I am privileged to live here and be a part of the community. It is my nature to help people I decided to run for councillor after I was encouraged to do so. At times I think I was crazy for entering the race. What was I thinking????

The thing is, there is work to be done. There are glaringly obvious issues that continue to remain un attended and I want to do something about them. However, is what I think is important really important to the people of Ward 1?

I have set out to discover the voice of the community. Some of you here tonight will have seen me drop by to say g'day and ask you what you think about how things are being done and what you think needs to be done...

Below is a list: here is a quick summary.

Nearly everyone I have spoken to wants to know why the taxes are so high and where the money goes, particularly when the most basic of services, the ROADS, are in such a sad state of repair.

So far here's what some of you have said... (I've given the initial of most people's names to respect their privacy, however, these are REAL people with REAL concerns and a REAL voice.) This list will be added to.

  • Maryanne wants to know where all the money from the slots goes, it doesn't seem to be reaching the community.
  • Stephanie wants the old bridge in Salem to be saved and used for pedestrians so do her neighbours.
  • Ms B wants the guard rail at the end of the Traffic bridge in Salem re-installed, and for that matter there should be a pathway around that stretch of road, "it's not safe for the kids to get to school anymore".
  • Mr J wants more open communication with the township about what's going on and when.
  • Mr M wants to know why it takes so long for building permits to get passed and why they cost so much. He suggested that there is favouritism for some builders and not others.
  • Helen wants to know if a shopping centre apart from the downtown could come to Elora or Salem. She also wants to know if Elora can get a public pool.
  • Steve wants the township to encourage medium sized business to the area, NOT big business but medium sized business's that are not so easily sold of the U.S. and closed down. Medium business's where local people can work so that we are not just a commuter town.My thought... Perhaps the land opposite the cemetery could be rezoned from industrial and used to build a shopping centre and associated business? If we look toward a vision of the future, do we really want big industry right there in the natural growth corridor?
  • Dan wants to know if there can be more street lights in Salem
  • Nearly everyone in Salem wants to know why there taxes are so high and when their roads will be paved.
  • Mr J is selling his house because after years of self employment and after is pension fund took a hit in the markets, he can't afford to pay his property taxes...
  • Mr G is in the same boat as Mr J, retired without the luxury of a public sector pension. (not my words)
  • Mr J has to continually call the township to remind them to grade the road (which should actually be paved)
  • Mr M has to ring the township continually to remind them to put calcium on the road if it does get graded. "you have to close your windows to keep the dust out of your house, and kids cover their faces with their shirts whenever the school bus picks them up to stop from choking on the dust".
  • Ms S wants a BMX skateboard park so the kids of Elora can have a non team sport way of expressing themselves. They can be active in a healthy outdoor environment. Perhaps if it was a world class facility it could be used to draw tourism to the area by holding youth oriented events.

What I'd like to do is be wise with your hard earned taxes. Sure we need to fix the roads, but let's plus that.... let's make our township safer for our children while we do it... What is the number one mode of independent transport for children? The bicycle... If we think ahead with a vision of the future, we can repair the roads and make our township a greener, safer, environmentally friendlier place by incorporating dedicated bicycle lanes into our roads which are in a desperate state of disrepair. It's no longer just a road issue it is a safety issue for not just our children it is a safety issue for our aging community as well. A lady in a motorised wheel chair was recently trying to negotiate her way down Moir Street. The only way she could get to her destination was to zig-zag her way over and around the pot-holes as she bumped and bounced her way home. This my friends should not be the case in OUR town.

Business, I agree with Stephen (above), we need to encourage more Medium sized business to set up shop in Elora. Where and how do we do this without negatively affecting the charm of the downtown core? Should we continue our expansion towards Fergus via Aboyne? Are there other options available? Yes there are.

There are many issues that need immediate attention.

Common sense should be the rule of thumb applied to making things happen for the overall benefit of everyone.

I believe as councillor I can make a positive contribution to balance of fiscal and social responsibilities in the wonderful community that is our home.

 

Questions & Answers

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?

Workman, Dean:  No response yet.

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?

Workman, Dean:  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?

Workman, Dean:  No response yet.

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?

Workman, Dean:  No response yet.

 

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