Former NDP Candidate Goes for Second Term on City Council

Colleen Purdon - Owen Sound Council Candidate

Colleen Purdon – Owen Sound Council Candidate

First of all, tell us a little about your background and overall platform in 100 words or less.

I have lived and worked in Owen Sound for almost 30 years and raised four children, with my husband in the city. I’m self employed and my work focuses on violence prevention, poverty reduction, violence against women issues and affordable housing. I’ve have been on Owen Sound City Council 4 years and am now seeking re-election. My platform has three central planks:

A Growing City: Building strategies and a work plan to attract newcomers, businesses and youth to Owen Sound.

A Smart City: Embracing change and building on our great community assets to develop long range strategies with a focus on connection, collaboration and sustainability.

A Healthy City: Supporting and sustaining public transit, active transportation, affordable housing, fair wages and equal opportunities for all.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing business-owners in Grey-Bruce?

  • Stagnant population growth in the region and an aging population and the impact on the market
  • Poor transportation linkages to urban areas in the south
  • Lack of high speed broadband connections
  • Succession planning for small businesses
  • Need for newcomers and youth to discover the city and the opportunities for business and family life in Owen Sound

The way business is done has changed and requires a more regional and collaborative approach, and highly developed communication and partnership building skills – it’s a different kind of competition now where we are competing against other regions, provinces, or countries.

The way business is done has changed and requires a more regional and collaborative approach.What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

Implement a Welcoming Communities initiative to promote Owen Sound and area as a community that welcomes newcomers, new immigrants, new Canadians and youth. Many Ontario communities have successfully brought new businesses to their communities using this approach.

Getting serious about a collaborative and regional approach to Economic Development in Grey and Bruce counties.

Develop farm and food based businesses to support ‘buy local’ initiatives and find new markets for the high quality agricultural products in the region.

Continue to work on getting broadband and fiber optic technology to our region to build necessary infrastructure for the 21st century.

More work with our own youth to encourage them to come ‘home’ after they have left to further their education.

More skills training for youth and young adults in our region, and continue to build opportunities for continuing education in the region through Georgian College, and university programs.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on:

A) Bringing in new business developments, or

 B) Encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

Both – this is not an either or question. We need new business developments, new business ideas and new people to come to this area. We also need to encourage small businesses to grow and thrive, change and adapt to new realities and build succession plans so they continue. A wide range of strategies and skills are needed for both.

Do you think local business taxes are should be:

A) Increased

B) Decreased

C) Maintained at current levels

There is a plan in the City of Owen Sound in place and underway that will bring business taxes in line with industrial and commercial taxes in the County of Grey.

Should there be any changes in the services offered to local businesses?

It would be good to know what new or changed municipal services local businesses are seeking. That could be an area for consultation with the business community. To date the city is actively working on getting broadband connection, improved transportation linkages (public transportation, regional transportation), and maintaining core services at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. The city faces a very big infrastructure deficit that as a result of years of underfunding by provincial and federal governments. Large-scale changes in services will require investments from other tiers of government because the property tax base is not adequate to maintain the existing municipal infrastructure and services in the city at the current level of taxation.

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A seminar series at The Technology Centre. Spend 45 minutes gaining new knowledge and skills for success and satisfaction in any area of your business or personal life. Bring your lunch, have coffee or tea on us. 12:00 – 1:00 alternating Wednesdays. Visit for more info.
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Phone: 519 371 7464
Fax: 519 371 4043
Address: 954 1st Ave W.
Owen Sound, ON CAN N4K 4K5

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