In the weeks leading up to this year’s municipal election, Huntsville Doppler will be posting a commentary from each of the local candidates. The order of appearance is completely random. To read commentary from other candidates, click here.
Meet Nancy Alcock, candidate for Town and District councils
As I write this article on Thanksgiving weekend I find myself reflecting and giving thanks for all we have in this community. We are surrounded by unparalleled beauty with breathtaking woodlands, lakes and rivers and an inclusive community I feel blessed to call my home.
For the past month, I have been knocking on doors throughout our town and have had some spirited conversations about issues we all care about. What has been confirmed for me is how much we have in common with respect to what our priorities should be for our next Council.
I ran into an acquaintance, and he asked “What do you feel you’ve accomplished in this term of Council?” I responded by referring to Council’s accomplishments … He stopped me… and asked again “what have you accomplished?” He wanted me to speak to and account for my actions over the past 4 years. As a collaborative politician, it’s hard to separate my activities from those of Council and highlight only my contributions; however, I do think it’s essential if you are considering voting for me, so this is what I said:
Clearly, I’ve heard the single most important issue is the preservation of our hospital as an acute care site with capacity for emergency and surgical services, maintaining vigilance on the capital planning process and ensuring that the final recommendations for rebuilding or renovation are affordable for our community. We must also continue to speak up about the inadequate funding for medium sized hospitals. This is why I unequivocally supported our council’s motion requesting the Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare Board (MAHC) make a strong public statement in support of the two-site acute care hospital model, which they eventually did. As well, to ensure the future Fairvern build was secure, I, along with my fellow Huntsville District Councillors, lobbied forcefully to get $10 million from the District for the new Fairvern development. While there were many groups and individuals who played an instrumental role in this appeal, I also worked diligently to convince our District colleagues this was critically important for Huntsville.
I heard concerns about the lack of affordable housing in our community and the need to support our burgeoning seniors’ population; young people seeking shelter or those who find themselves homeless; and workers, who we so desperately rely on, to find a place to live.
Since my first day on Council, a priority for me has been to provide more affordable housing in Huntsville. As a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Attainable Housing, we have developed a new strategy for creating more affordable and alternative housing. Using my background in planning and knowledge of effective housing strategies, we have set a new standard and strong expectations for the provision of a range of new housing. I’m convinced that in the next term we will continue to make progress and new housing will be built. I am proud that my expertise has helped in some way to making sure this becomes a reality.
In response to the concern regarding the rapid growth throughout our municipality, I have actively participated on the Official Plan (OP) review committee, and Chaired official public meetings. Strengthening our OP is essential as it is the primary tool we use to respond to concerns raised by members of our community about unsustainable growth. It is through the OP we can protect our natural resources, address the impact of climate change and deal with the delicate balance and management of growth in our community.
As a firm believer in the importance of active transportation as key to contributing to general public health, I, along with our Mayor, successfully advocated on behalf of our town to get the District to release funds for our Hunter’s Bay trail extension project, which was the final piece in our part of the hugely successful TransCanada trail.
As a strong supporter of growing our local food economy, I worked with our municipal staff to support the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op (MNGFC) to submit a request for funding to the provincial government to build a commercial kitchen, which I’m happy to say will be opening in the new store next month.
When there was a motion at District Council to do a composition review of our council I was one of the councillors who supported this process as I thought we needed to start to look at our governance model before the next municipal election.
Finally, I’m proud to be part of a council that continually supports local arts and culture, sports events, sports clubs and multi-faceted tourism initiatives.
It is for all of these reasons that I love living in this community and am grateful for the privilege of serving as your member of Council. That is why I’m asking for your support once again.
If you would like more information about my platform, please visit my website: nancyalcock.com
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