Closer eye on finance, health care strategy among priorities for Ward 1’s Lesslie

Jane Lesslie

Tell us a little about yourself

My Dad was career Royal Canadian Navy so we moved around a bit but his last posting was Kingston. When I think of my happiest place growing up it was the County where we came every summer. I moved to the County after retiring four years ago and while my family is scattered about Ontario, the County is a magnet for them. I love the calm and the friendliness. Even in the middle of Covid I was able to meet people volunteering at the County Food Depot. I never did manage to lift the 80-pound bags of carrots – a goal for the gym. Luckily my dog Ginger only clocks in at 8 ½ pounds. And there’s nothing like taking her for walks at night and seeing stars not neon.

Most of my work life was in finance analyzing government economies around the world – national, regional and municipal. After more than two decades I decided that it wasn’t just a numbers game but how countries stacked up on their environmental, social and governance risks and strengths that led to sustainable societies. This prompted me to apply for the Environmental Advisory Committee to Council.

Why Are You Running

Working as Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) made me aware of the urgent decisions the County faces as we confront climate change. The potential financial, economic, health and social costs that can hit us. I am well prepared to tackle this emergency.

Going door to door on a local issue I re-learned the most important thing you can do is listen. People need to be heard and public officials need to be responsive and accountable.

We have a $68 million dollar budget and face enormous capital projects such as the $100 million budget for infrastructure in Wellington. We can’t afford a replay of the decision making that left us with the Picton Wastewater Treatment plant and its legacy of high water rates.

Priorities

Fourteen councillors going over our budget line by line is a great illustration of not seeing the forest for the trees. We need a small finance subcommittee of Council to dig deeper, get more perspective and make sure our money is well spent.

Climate Change and other environmental impacts are looming threats for a County with 800 km of shoreline and a tourism industry reliant on it, where 25 per cent of the economy is agriculture, where we are naturally drought prone, where we have amazing but fragile environmental assets and where we have a large older population who will feel the health impacts most acutely.

We need a primary health care strategy . We’re in competition with other communities and we simply have to be among healthcare workers’ top choices.

We need more affordable housing. We need to attract new businesses to the County offering year-round jobs and year-round demand for our existing businesses; and to diversify our tax base. Why not foster the green businesses of tomorrow? We also need a closer working relationship with school trustees to help our high school students succeed and prepare for those jobs that our businesses are struggling to fill. I know this is a long list. That’s why I will treat my role as Councillor as a full-time job. You can find more information at my website www.janelesslie.ca