New Generation Stepping Up to Run the City

Travis Dodd - Owen Sound Council Candidate

Travis Dodd – Owen Sound Council Candidate

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

I was born and raised in Owen Sound. After high school I had the opportunity, to volunteer with an organization that was funded through the Canadian International Development Agency to promote positive life choices for youth across North and South America.

I attended the University of Guelph, where I graduated in Political Science. Upon graduation I always knew I would return to Owen Sound as it was always my home. Now when I think ahead about my future, I want to ensure when I have children they will have a similar perspective of our great City as I do.

As the City’s youngest candidate, I strongly believe Council needs to become more diversified in its representation of our population. I believe in technological and economic growth through prosperous sectors that could offer a “new perspective” to our region. I also strongly believe youth development is essential for the future of our community.

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

The lack of adequate and affordable broadband, I feel is a major hurdle that business owners are expected to jump. As the world continues to grow technologically, we as a region need to stay competitive in this field to ensure we don’t miss out on or restrict new forms of development in our community whether through new businesses opportunities or through the expansion of our existing sectors.

We are a region that is well known for its agricultural sector, and we should aim our attention to opportunities that are related to this field.

There has also been a drastic change in the global economy, where we have witnessed the closure or reduction of the manufacturing sector in not only our community but around the country. This can also be portrayed through the notion of globalization and the increased use of technology to purchasing retails goods that have changed consumer habits.

Both of these situations I feel have caused issues for both the small and large scale businesses in our region.

What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

I believe our region must work in collaboration on economic growth that caters to the strengths of our area. The development of our region as a whole is dependent on the co-operation amongst all parties. I believe what is positive for one community, generally reflects positively with the surrounding municipalities as well. Therefore as a region we need to recognize the prosperous sectors and aim our initiatives towards them as a whole.

That being said, at the municipal level we must continue to ensure all services are in place to support our existing businesses as well as become a viable location for new ventures.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on:

A) Bringing in new business developments, or

B) Encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

I feel economic growth needs to maintain a balance between both new business opportunities, as well as supporting our existing businesses.

Existing businesses need to be recognized for their devotion to the community, through the difficult times they have faced over the years and deserve the proper support to ensure they stay successful.

I also do favor economic plans that can support both new developments as well as promote our current business sector.

We are a region that is well known for its agricultural sector, and we should aim our attention to opportunities that are related to this field. I feel we need to work towards establishing the City of Owen Sound as an agricultural hub, with the help from a corresponding University that would promote our region through a research facility that emphasizes on the agricultural sector. This has the ability to further lead into niche markets for organic products, and culinary and rural tourism that would support existing businesses along with the development of new opportunities.

I feel we should also focus attention on the advancement of broadband services that are required to obtain future developments as well as maintain our existing technological based companies. Technology has become just as vital as roads and sewers when discussing pieces of valuable infrastructure.

I also feel there needs to be a strong focus on the promotion of Georgian College, as satellite campuses, online learning and/or joint programs with universities all would increase youth development in the region, employment and diversify our community.

I also strongly believe youth development is essential for the future of our community.Do you think local business taxes are should be:

A) Increased

B) Decreased

C) Maintained at current levels

Currently the City of Owen Sound has a system in place that will decrease the business tax ratio, in order to comply with the standards set by the County of Grey. As this system progresses, the business tax ratio will continue to decline until it hits County levels, which is meant to assist the existing businesses in our region and help entice new prospects.

We must continue to press this issue, as our tax rates need to be competitive with other regions for businesses to be encouraged to stay open in our City, as well as attract new opportunities. This needs to be dealt with diligently to ensure taxes aren’t passed directly to the residential tax base to make up the difference from the decline.

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

I believe there is a necessity for both City Hall and the local businesses to work together at finding a solution to some of the issues that are currently ongoing. As new businesses come to the area, we need to ensure the processes are maneuvered in a more efficient and timely manner, that will assist new opportunities rather than impede the process.

As we all are aware, the more active businesses we have in the community, the more tax dollars we have as a City, which will reduce some of the financial strain that businesses face today.

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Fax: 519 371 4043
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Address: 954 1st Ave W.
Owen Sound, ON CAN N4K 4K5

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