MacNaughton still striving for more inclusive, affordable and sustainable community

Councillor Kate MacNaughton. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

I’ve been a Councillor for four years now. I live and raise my teenager here in Picton. Chances are, if you live in or near town, we’ve bumped into each other on Main, at the grocery store, on the trail, or at Macaulay.

I keep a list of successes for when my courage wavers or during contentious times—retaining Picton Town Hall, the creation of the Environmental Advisory Committee, protection for some renters from redevelopment, refocusing the STA program to a residents program, advocacy for residents’ access at our beaches and many, many more. It’s my reminder that one person can have an impact. We all can. It’s been my honour to do so these last four years.

In 2018, I ran for many reasons: the housing crisis, the need for more diverse representation, youth engagement, the looming impacts of climate change, protection of rural land, and protection of community spaces so important to our sense of belonging. I also wanted a government that was capable, collaborative, and honest, and would prioritize long term vision over short term votes. The catalyst though? I ran so my daughter would see at least one or two women on Council.

The same issues remain close to my heart in 2022. We’ve seen progress—much that relates to a more efficient, capable Shire Hall—but there’s work to do. I have more goals than I can list in 500 words: further support for lower income ratepayers; further protection for tenants and rural lands; more inclusive government, and more. Above all though, housing and affordability are critical for a complete, livable community; and protecting our environment is critical for its own sake but for our’s too. It also offers fiscal benefits long term.

These issues are connected. They’re the weft of the fabric that sustains our community and we’ll need an aggressive approach to mend it. At our inauguration, Mohawk Elder David Jock told us our responsibility as leaders was to protect and preserve the land, water and creatures all around for the future: everything is connected and we are temporary stewards only. ‘Everything is connected’ and it all needs caring for. I will carry that with me always.

I now have knowledge and experience to share—an ever growing understanding of the tools available and how to use them. Today, based on my record as a voice for those less represented, as an advocate for residents, and as a driver for positive change, I’m confident that I have more to contribute. I feel it is my responsibility to help share those experiences with new councillors and help them hit the ground running as Councillor Maynard did for several of us in 2019.

This term, I will employ a more comprehensive communications plan to help foster connection between residents and Shire Hall. Transparency is part of our job and each councillor can help shine that light. I will always continue to seek better tools for council, staff and community members to work together—better tools lead to better discussions and ultimately to better decisions.

There are many reasons I wish to return but the biggest reason ultimately—hopefully shared by all candidates—is that basic desire to be of service, to put my skills and effort to work for my neighbours. For me, that means working toward a more inclusive, affordable and sustainable community. These are not buzzwords to me. I mean what I say and I’m willing to work at it.