Sustainable Wellbeing through Economic Development
My psychology studies and the lessons I learned while recruiting gave me a clear understanding of what contributes to wellbeing, and I want to ensure that these contributors are built into Meaford’s future so that all of us can enjoy living here to the fullest.
Sustainability is the ability to meet our needs today without undermining the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Further, sustainability is more than the environment. We need sustainable finances, social programs, energy, building materials, etc. It is wrong for us to better our lives by knowingly consuming resources in a way that deprives future generations of opportunities to live good lives, too. Our society is doing a poor job of functioning sustainably and it is our responsibility to change our community to be more sustainable and set the example of what can be possible for others.
Economic Development is the key to moving towards sustainable wellbeing. An economy is the system in which people exchange goods and services, and all our interactions within the community are a form of participation in the economy. Cost is always a barrier, so we must begin incentivizing businesses and organizations that hold wellbeing and sustainability as core values rather than those with prominent shareholders. We need to create new possibilities for what a small-town economy can be and foster opportunities for individuals who want to build responsible and sustainable businesses.
My Priorities for Meaford are to:
• Establish wellbeing and sustainability as success metrics when measuring the efficiency of municipal spending: how much does each dollar spent contribute to metrics?
• Drive economic development to give opportunities to community-responsible businesses while ensuring we have an infrastructure foundation to build up from
• Lower Meaford’s average age by ensuring young adults have the opportunity and supports needed to build their lives here
• Ensure that the official plan and bylaw revisions make it clear that proposals must align with our standards
• Represent the public’s interest with transparency and accountability
• Utilize contemporary technology to improve process efficiency
• Open doors for members of our community who want to get involved and take action
• Close the divide between rural and urban areas
• Partner with neighbouring communities and the county to reduce redundant programs and collaborate on new possibilities
Community Involvement and Experience
Municipality of meaford:
- Meaford Municipal Economic Development Advisory Committee
- Official Plan Review Community Connector
Meaford Rotary Club:
- Youth Committee member and representative to Georgian Bay Youth Roots
- Rotary District’s Rotary Learning Institute technology administrator
- Website and Facebook page contributor
- Participant in all Meaford Rotary meetings, events and activities
Community and Group participation:
- Ecological Farmers’ Association of Ontario (EFAO)
- National Farmers’ Union (NFU)
- Imagine Meaford
- Save Georgian Bay
- Transitions Meaford
- Institute of Southern Georgian Bay
- Scouter in 1st Owen Sound group
- Co-lead the security team at the annual Scout Brigade of Fort George camp in Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Co-lead Scouts Canada’s Support, Risk, and Safety team for the contingent going to the World Jamboree in South Korea in 2023
- Scouter-at-large in 5th Meadowvale group
- Scouts Canada Board of Governors Nominating Committee (previous)
- Twice elected as Central Escarpment Council’s Youth Voting Representative (previous)
- Master of Economic Development, UWaterloo (in progress)
- Sp. Certificate in Sustainability and Behaviour Change, UCalifornia
- HBSc. in Psychology, UofT
- Métis Nation of Ontario: Consultations Coordinator (part time contract)
- Top Quality Recruitment: Client Development Associate
- Apricot Tree Café: Server
- Star Security: Team Leader
My family has been visiting Meaford for 40 years, and thankfully my Nana moved here shortly before I was born because this gave me the pleasure of regularly visiting as I grew up. I always looked forward to coming up here because I loved the natural beauty, the farms and orchards, general town atmosphere, and interconnected way of life. I have fond memories of warming my hands by fire barrels on Sykes during the unveiling of the Christmas windows, playing on the wooden ship at Fred Raper Park, rooting through the kids toy chest at the Backstreet Café, or getting my first black eye by tripping and falling on the old wood and iron seats in the Hall before a Charlie Brown production.
At 24 I chose to leave Mississauga for Meaford because of this connection, and because I realized that a town like Meaford offers more for the foundational drivers of wellbeing than the city does. We all know how incredible Meaford is. Given my passion for sustainability, I knew that I wanted to learn how to run a family homestead, and so we moved into an historic property in Annan with the goal of learning how to bring it back to be a functioning small farm. This journey has further developed my understanding of what a sustainable lifestyle is and the hard work that is required to do it. Further, I have developed an understanding of agricultural living, which I had never been exposed to before. Since moving in, we have learned how to raise laying and broiler chickens, care for cattle, and next season we will take on vegetable and fruit gardening.
Now that I’ve lived here for a few years and have had time to learn about the community’s challenges, I am driven to use my perspective as the youngest candidate for council to become increasingly involved in guiding Meaford along a path of lasting good development. I sit on the Municipality’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and believe that economic development is the key to establishing a healthy future for Meaford. To strengthen my skills in this area, I am now working on a Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) at UWaterloo to follow up on my Honours BSc in Psychology from UofT and certificate in Sustainability and Behaviour Change from UCalifornia. These studies will help me bring new ideas to Meaford’s local economy.
In addition, I worked in recruiting / headhunting for 4 years and specialized in businesses in small towns. This gave me a thorough understanding of the issues these businesses face with finding labour. Having developed business relationships with people in all levels of seniority within companies of all sizes, I learned about the impacts one’s career has on their life and their sense of meaning, purpose, and connection to their community and help them find better opportunities. By combining this experience with my psychology background I have been able to develop a well-rounded understanding of the value of living in a small town and doing meaningful work. This summer I began working on economic development and community engagement initiatives with the Métis Nation of Ontario’s Lands, Resources, and Consultations branch. This has put me at the front line of some major development projects where I have learned about the path to reconciliation, the Crown’s duty to consult, how to analyze the impact of development proposals, and maintain relationships with proponents.
I am looking forward to using my unique perspective and skillset to represent our community’s vision for a great future in Meaford.