Tuesday

Moving on: The Road to 2014


Hello everyone,


Well I didn't win. I finished 3rd out of 6 people. I received 1134 votes - a lot of support to build-up from (considering those elected received 2294 and 2064 votes respectively). The campaign was a success.


I want to say congrats to the winners: Jeff Burch and Jennie Stevens. The public has voted and I respect their decision. The experience has been amazing and I definitely promise to run again in 2014. This was the first step on the long road to victory.


Between now and 2014, I will work hard in the community and give residents the chance to get to know me better. I will put myself out there.


I want to thank everyone who helped on my campaign or supported it by doing things like taking a lawn sign (which I will start collecting in the next few days), delivering flyer's, or walking in parades. The whole experience would have been impossible without this help. Thank you.


Lastly, I would like people to keep visiting Merritton.com. I am going to use this website to promote the Merritton area, including businesses and local residents. I know that even though I did not get elected, I can still make a valuable contribution to the local community.


Please everyone keep in touch.

Sincerely,


David Haywood


YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate 2014


PS: If you want to publish a story about Merritton or want to promote a citizen or business in Merritton, please email your suggestions to dh06ja@brocku.ca

Sunday

VOTE HAYWOOD



















Hello everyone,

Well my campaign is finally over. Ten long months of hard work have finally came to this - the time for you, Merritton residents, to vote. Whatever happens, win or lose, I gave it 110 percent. It is now completely out of my hands and into yours. My cousin, Mathew Bilodeau, sent me a quote this afternoon. It sums of the way I feel at this moment perfectly.
The quote was:
The ultimate victory in competition is derived
from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your
best and that you have gotten the most
of what you had to give.
I know that I have done this. It was a honour to have been a candidate in the 2010 St.Catharines Municipal Elections. The experience was great. I hope that I will have the opportunity to be your representative at city hall. Please vote for me tomorrow. The time IS ripe for change. Tell your family, friends, and neighbours to vote for me. Please help spread the word.
I would also like to thank everyone who helped me during the past few months: family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, local residents, and community groups. To name everyone who helped individually, would take forever. I feel grateful for all your support. Whatever happens, happened because of you - I will be eternally grateful.
Sincerely,
Thank you.
David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate.

Thursday

Strong Foundation To Build From








Hello everyone,

To start, I would like to let everyone know that my email has changed to dh06ja@brocku.ca. My old email address was hacked and I no longer have access to the account. Please ignore any emails from that account if you receive any, and I am sorry for any inconveniences this may cause. Now on to more positive news.

The campaigning is going great. I really have enjoyed meeting Merritton residents and listening to their views on what they want for the area.

This past October 17th, at the Westminister Church Hall in Merritton, the community group Good Neighbours allowed me the opportunity to speak to them at their 13th Annual Good Neighbours Finale. Chair, Mary Stanko, was a blessing and I enjoyed the opportunity immensely. I want to thank them for the invitation, and I look forward to working with them in the future (and other community groups) if or if not elected.

Last night (October 20th), at the Quality Inn on Ontario Street, I was invited to attend an all candidates meeting hosted by the St.Catharines and Thorold Chamber of Commerce. I would like to thank Walter Sendzik, Executive Vice President / General Manager of the Chamber, and the chamber as a whole for the opportunity to attend this event. All candidates running for election within Niagara (regionally and municipally) were invited. It was a great chance to meet the public and prospective councillors - people that I would relish the chance to work with in the future. It was a good experience.

There are only 4 days left until it is time to vote. I believe that residents are ready for change. I feel that a strong foundation has been built to start from. Win or lose (obviously the win part would be the best outcome), I will work hard for the community. Please continue to tell your family, friends, and neighbours to vote for me. Word of mouth is powerful! To recap, here is what I would work for as your representative on St.Catharines City Council for the Merritton Ward.

1) Listen to residents and community groups more. Be a REAL voice for them at City Hall. They want to be engaged, and they have a lot to offer. Currently they are an asset that is under utilized.

2) Review all current and future city expenditures to ensure that taxpayer's money is spent in an effective and sustainable way. There are numerous city projects that go on the books in the next few years (performing arts centre is one good example). We need to prioritize these projects and limit city debt. I will work hard with other councillors to achieve this.

3) Revitalize and green the Hartzel Road/Queenston Street corridor. If elected, I will work with council to have these 2 projects looked at as one interconnected project. Revitalizing efforts toward one area could be jeopardized by the state of the other. Cost efficiency could be realized if they were considered one project. Some form of help needs to be given to businesses located in these areas. Furthermore, if elected I would help develop incentives to lure new businesses to the Hartzel Road/Queenston corridor.

4) Seek historical designation for the old Welland Canal Sites. Also, clean-up of the parks located around these sites. This includes the cleaning, greening, and better maintenance of Community, Centennial, and Mountain Lock parks. I would work with community groups to bring more community gardens to city parks. This includes, strengthening the city's relationship with community groups and residents to help achieve this; while at the same time, developing more programs like the Niagara Prosperity Initiative, to help provide residents access to cheap, healthy foods. Lastly, I would help improve the urban environment by working to increase the city's tree canopy cover.

5) I would work with other councillors (including those in other municipalities) to bring FULL regional and FULL Go transit services to the Niagara Region. Something that I feel would benefit the residents of the Merritton Ward. They could live in the area AND have access to the labour market whether that market was in Thorold, Welland, Burlington, or Mississauga. Furthermore, the city is trying to boost tourism and being connected to Hamilton and the GTA would definitely help. This is what I mean when I say, "bring the residents of the area to jobs and the jobs to residents of the area." I feel that this would be a great help. It is something that groups like the St.Catharines and Thorold Chamber of Commerce have been calling for.


The opportunity to be your candidate in the 2010 St.Catharines elections has been amazing. The people that I have made connections with have been great. This experience has topped any of my pre-election expectations - easily. I want to thank all the friends (old and new), family, and local residents for being polite and generous with their time and attention.

If elected, I promise that I will work hard on any issues that come forward. I will approach every situation with a clear and open mind. I will personally research every issue, while working with YOU - local residents that I wish to represent. I will work with other city councillors to improve the local environment -including your quality of life.

Thanks again,

Sincerely,

David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate

Tuesday

Thinking Locally, Acting Globally

The temples in Cambodia

The World in the Eyes of a Young Merritton Resident



Hello everyone,


One of the goals of Merritton.com is to profile local residents and their pursuits in life. The respondents can be young, old, or any demographic possible – as long as they are or were a local resident(s). Therefore, it is with great honour that I have the opportunity to profile my younger sister.

During the past year, my younger sister Michelle Haywood has been planning a 4 -week trip to Cambodia (which started October 1st). Only 18 years old, my parents, other siblings and I were obviously frightened at the prospect of her doing this on her own. However, Michelle was determined to go and even financed the trip with her own money.

The purpose of the trip was for Michelle to volunteer at a orphanage; raise awareness about the lack of funding for orphanages in developing countries like Cambodia; and to gain a better understanding of how her social reality (and the realities of other similar youths her age) differed from the social realities of people in other countries. Coming from a big family (there are 3 girls and 2 boys in my family), I am undeniably proud of Michelle’s current endeavor. The following letter was written by Michelle this past Monday (Oct 5th). I feel it is important to share her letter with other local residents.

If you would like to follow Michelle’s journey in Cambodia, just look her up on Facebook under Michelle Haywood. The following letter stemmed from Michelle having a serious conversation with her friend Taylor Riva. Here is what she wrote:


A Serious Note: Cambodia Life vs. Our Life

This trip, a week and a half in, has made me realize how lucky I am and even though I'm sitting here with eyes that look like they're bleeding [Michelle contracted pink eye during her first few days in Cambodia], I can't change that realization. I look at this eye infection and although it has made me have to stay inside for 4 days and I have to wear sunglasses for the next 8 days... I see that these people deal with pink eye and infections all the time and they don't have vaccinations like we do for every type of simple ailment.

In my first days of being in Cambodia, I met the sweetest, happiest and brightest kids. I've been able to step out of my comfort zone and emerge myself into a completely unfamiliar and sometimes hard-to-deal with culture; I don't always like it but everything I learn, I appreciate. When I spend time with these KIDS, kids who are informally educated; don't have parents to walk them through life; and who learn lessons through experience rather than education, I am mind-blown. These little people think what they do because they've learned it, they haven't been brainwashed by a society; they are pure and able to idealize by themselves.

They don't thrive on making some one else unhappy, they don't thrive on drama. These people have real life drama... they have war and poverty. Yet, I've never seen kids get along so well... they rarely fight and argue, they share everything and they help each other. They hold so much respect for those around them, something that most people lack.

Anything different from our real life, when you spend time away from what you're used to and when you emerge yourself into someone else's life for any amount of time, you realize things. You get the sense of wanting to help these people and want yourself to be better.

When you're in a place like Cambodia, you realize the things that you have at home that you take advantage of. Here, you can't drink water from the tap because of parasites and bacteria. I can only use the tap water to wash my hands and bathe, I have to brush my teeth with bottled water and drink only bottled water. But some people have to bathe in ponds filled with disease, I've seen it. I've seen people pump water from a well to clean them selves. Back home, we know the generalization of what these people deal with: they have dirty water. We don't consider that this water kills people, creates epidemics and we don't hear about it until it becomes a big problem that affects us, but it goes on every day here.

What were you doing when you were six, eight and ten years old? Were you transporting buckets of water back and forth on a pole that was suspended from your shoulders? Were you scrubbing clothes with something hard in a big bowl full of soap and water? That's what these kids are doing. When we were that age, we were in school for 6 hours. Some of these children are lucky to have 6 hours of school in a week. They lack in education but it isn't their fault and what makes it even more amazing, is that at any chance, these kids take the opportunity to go to school if they can. We have a free opportunity to get an education and people don't attend, here the kids are so unbelievably excited to learn, it is like a Canadian child on Christmas morning (another thing, the kids don't even recognize Santa Clause). Schools here are built by people donating their money because the government doesn't have enough money to support it. We have all these schools in Canada, yet people decide not to attend because they 'don't feel like it'. (Yes, I know I was one of those people and I now know that what I took advantage of something that is so much wanted here in Cambodia.)

What do you sleep on at night- on a big comfy mattress like most people? At the orphanage, they have queen-size wooden slats that sleep 3 kids and a lots of the local people sleep on hammocks. Do you eat in the morning, afternoon and evening? Sometimes these kids go without a lot of food. Can you easily drop $30 on a shirt? I can. These people would rather spend $30 on food to feed themselves for a long time rather than a shirt that will only stay in style for a month. Think of how life without a body part could be... landmines in Cambodia have killed or amputated many body parts. I've seen people with no feet, no legs and no arms. They don't complain, they sit and play music. I don't want to make people feel bad for having good things. I, of all people, love luxury... but I can appreciate the luxuries that I have, that's part of the point I'm trying to get across. What we worry about at home, like having a cell phone, nice hair and clothes, a car and whatnot... is minute compared to them worrying about food, money and health. How much do your parents annoy the hell out of you sometimes? Mine do, a lot. These kids don't have that, some don't have any parents. When I was looking at the family history of some kids, some of their parents have died from AIDS/HIV, some have just died or some kids were just abandoned at the hospital or other places. These simple relationships and material objects that we take advantage of sometimes are things that these children will never get to experience. We shouldn't feel bad for having nice things; we should feel lucky and appreciative. We don't necessarily deserve anything we have, we are just lucky to be where we are.

Here, you mostly learn by experience. Parents let their kids falls and scrape their knees and they don't hold their hand every step of the way. I'm sure the first time I brought going away up to my parents, they were like "No way, what are you thinking?" They didn't know anything about this place and I was doing it all alone, they weren't going to be with me. But then they realized that I'm not a little girl anymore, I am able to make my own decisions... no matter how crazy (even I thought I was crazy). But how else will we learn if we are limited to what we want to do? The learning and experience that I was reaching for was not something that being at home could provide. This isn't even formal education but I had no idea how much life knowledge I lacked until I came out here... the most important thing I've gained so far is independence (yeah, sometimes it really does suck).

These people experience struggle and I'm not saying that people at home don't, because we do. But, we have the opportunities to help us get out of it and most people here are stuck. They know more about responsibilities and priorities than we do, they've had to deal with it from day one. Being geographically placed somewhere isn't your choosing and we are lucky enough to have been placed where we are because we have doors already opened for us. Compared to these people, we have everything given to us. (I'm not taking away from the fact that we are hard workers too.)

Literally, one year ago, I would have never imagined being where I am at this very moment. I was planning to go to college, making plans with people who aren't significant in my life anymore and not stopping to worry about what is going on in places like this. I was completely ignorant, I know that. I never thought so much could change but you can't live with planning out everything in your life, some things just fall in and out of place and sometimes your best bet is to roll with the punches. I have dreams, things that I want to do and that takes planning... but you can only plan so much because things inevitably and so often change. Cliches depict things best sometimes: you don't know until you try. You really don't because things are rarely ever as you expect them. When you take a risk, you don't necessarily have to love it, you might even hate it. But in the end, it's something you can say you did and you have the experience from it... you won't have the 'what if's' that you'd have if you never tried it.

I'm in a place that a lot of people will never be. I don't mean being in Cambodia. I mean being in a life-changing experience learning about myself and things that I was so unaware of before. In my place, I've realized how good it feels to help others in a different way than I'm used to.

When I get home, I know I'll go back to taking advantage of everything I have... the only difference is, I'll be taking advantage of it because I know how lucky I am to have it, not because it's there. Think of how good it felt to receive something you really wanted... that is every child here when they meet someone new or get something second-,third-, or fourth-hand... they appreciate everything they're given.

I would love to come back here one day and see that things have changed. It's been 30 years since the Khmer Rouge took over and their economy is still rundown. I miss home so unbelievably much, almost enough to want to come home.. But that's just the selfish part of me that gets overpowered when I help these kids learn English or just teach them basic things... who knows where what I taught them will take them. This trip has been hard on me, but thinking of the difference I'm making, I would do it somewhere else (or here, again) in a second.

If I were to not learn anything (impossible), I would have still spent a month in Cambodia. Like I said before, I took a risk and I tried it. I know when I leave I'll miss the kids unbelievably and I'll think of ways of bringing them all home but it's easier leaving on the note that I know I helped them and they are still happy. I thought coming here would make me cry every day because I thought it would be horrible for them... but when I see the kids playing and smiling, it's a whole new feeling because they are happy. It could be just me, but being in this position is so fulfilling, I wish everyone had a chance to do so.

What is life without the risk?

Michelle Haywood



As previously stated, you can follow Michelle on her Facebook page. Her page also has pictures and videos of her exceptional story.

Thanks again,

Sincerely,

David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate.

Monday

Volunteers Needed


















Hello Everyone,

The campaigning is going well. Unfortunately, even though I am trying to personally go door-to-door to introduce myself, I now realize that it will not be feasible. The Merritton Ward is huge! I have walked over 100 hours and still have only completed half of the ward. Therefore, I need HELP!! For the next 2 weekends (October 16th/17th and 23rd/24th), I need volunteers to help me deliver flyer's to the rest of the Merritton Ward. I will need help from 1pm to 3pm on those days. If you can only help one day, I would still greatly appreciate your help and support. I also need people to keep spreading the word to family, friends, and neighbours about voting for me. Word-of-mouth is very powerful.

If you want to help call: (905)3240123. Email me at davehaywood444@msn.com or on facebook: Elect David Haywood Merritton Ward Candidate. Lastly, you can leave you information (if you feel safe doing so) in the comment section at the end of this article.

Thanks again for the support,

David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate.

Regional Transit and Go Transit




Why these services are both a regional AND municipal issue
Hello everyone,
As I walk door to door, people ask me about my platform. I tell them that I want to improve the relationship city council has with residents, businesses, and community groups.
I tell them that I want to be their voice on city council. I talk about how I want to see a green, revitalized, business and pedestrian friendly Hartzel Road; coupled with, a sound plan to guide the redevelopment of the Queenston Street area after the hospital leaves its current location.
I talked at lengths about the need to have more community gardens in city parks. Parks that would provide access to healthy foods options and free-up some of the hard earned disposable incomes of city residents who participate. The maintenance and revitalization of Mountain Lock, Community, and Centennial Parks could be grouped into this category.
I explain how the preservation and historical designation of the old Welland Canal sites is something that I support and an issue that I know is important. I stress the importance of working with other councillors (city AND regional) to protect taxpayers' money in a fiscally responsible and sustainable way.
However, when I talk about my support for FULL regional and GO Transit services in the Niagara Region, they pause. When people read my profile on the city's website or the Standards' website, they see my quote"I want to bring the people in St.Catharines to jobs or the jobs to the people of St.Catharines" and they wonder what I mean. To explain why I support increased funding for regional transit, Angela Browns' March 10th, 2009 article "Niagara Region Spins its Wheels on Transit: Lack of Public Transit in Niagara is Leading to Loss of Talent " summarizes it the best - including why a strong, concerted team effort by regional AND municipal councillors within Niagara is required. The full article is available at: http://www.suite101.com/content/spinning-our-wheels-in-niagara-region-a101667.
In the article Brown state the following:
How young people and non-drivers are disadvantaged in the Niagara Region, and why the region cannot keep its young people. She states how older people are also finding it hard to live in the region as its manufacturing base continues to cut jobs with fewer jobs available that would replace the worker's previous salary.
Her argument is strengthened by the fact that despite the presence of two excellent post-secondary educational facilities (Brock U and Niagara College), Niagara Region still remains among those with the lowest number of permanent residents with a completed post-secondary education. She points to a meeting of St.Catharines City Council in September 2008 where substantial discussions about the problems of Niagara emerged. Stan Drobnich, Executive Director, of the Employment Help Centre, the region’s main generic “help” program for unemployed workers, cited that among 1,000 persons using his agency that year, only 70 (or seven percent) of them had both a driver’s license and a vehicle. Many people turn down jobs because they have no way to get to the job. Phil Madden, a manager with SITEL (a major city employer) stated his business has difficulty attracting people to work for them, as there is poor transit. Walter Sendzik, of the Chamber of Commerce, also reported many businesses have difficulty finding and keeping employees due to a lack of regional transportation (well outlined in the chamber’s “Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government in Niagara” available at http://www.sctchamber.com/advocacy/). Brown talks about how newspapers in Niagara have editorially backed the need for a regional transit service (since the Niagara Region is the only incorporated regional municipality in Ontario that does not have a regional transit service).
Almost all jobs, regardless of industry, that pay much more than minimum wage, seek only candidates with a driver’s license and vehicle. Regardless of qualifications or education, some of the only jobs available in Niagara to non-drivers is unskilled, low-wage labour. While employers are ostensibly required to structure their jobs to accommodate people with disabilities, including those that cannot drive due to medical conditions or treatments, the tendency is to avoid this, possibly because of poor transportation alternatives in the area.
Brown states how if any of these people, as well as other non-drivers in Niagara, wish to travel from one municipality to another, the only option is to drive a car or take a taxi, in most cases, the cost for which is prohibitive. Depending on distance, taxis can set one back between $60 - $100 for ONE round trip. While politicians know this is a problem, neither the municipal or regional levels of government want to take responsibility.
Lastly, she states how after more then thirty years of community groups and the Region itself conducting study after study, the Region is once again embarking on a $75,000 study to be followed by a plan of sorts. Critics of the Region's handling of this file are hesitant to believe anything will come of this. With the cost of vehicle ownership exceeding $8,000 a year, it is not likely young persons graduating from post-secondary programs in the Region will be able to take on this cost, in addition to repaying hefty student loans. This is in part is why most young persons flee Niagara to "greener" pastures.
This IS the reason why I feel it is a municipal issue AND regional issue. An issue which requires both levels of governments (local and regional) to work together. This is what I mean when I say that I support bringing the residents of St.Catharines to jobs.
I know that the region has a pilot project in the works. The goal of the project is to improve and increase regional transit within Niagara -St.Catharines needs to increase their participation. Transportation is a major component of the city's new Official Plan. I will work with other city councillors to accomplish this.
GO Transit would be an extension of this issue -it would enable St.Catharines (and Niagara) residents the option to live locally while pursuing employment out of the region. This would help the region retain our educated youth who would otherwise leave the area -a common occurrence in recent years.
Having permanent GO transits could also help the city diversify the locally economy by bringing tourist from heavily populated areas like Toronto or Hamilton. These areas have access to the GO Transit infrastructure. Permanent GO Transit could entice businesses to locate or relocate to the area and take advantage of people who now reside locally. This is what I mean by bringing the jobs to people in St.Catharines.
As for funding for the GO Transit, there currently is funding available. The Federal Government's recent stimulus funding initiatives provides finances for municipalities to build GO bus stations within their cities. However, a suitable location for the station in St.Catharines has yet to be found. One site, which is not in St.Catharines but would benefit the city none-the-less, is located on Glendale - the old race grounds behind Leon's. I am unaware if there is any current plans for the area but I do know that the location is accessible to the QEW; is close to Niagara Falls, Thorold, St.Catharines, and is in Niagara-on-the-lake; lastly, the site is close to Niagara College and Brock University. This would be a great chance for the region's municipalities AND the region to work together; not to mention the environmental benefits of increased public transit AND a lessened local carbon footprint.
What do you think? Do you agree? Is there holes in my position? Please comment.
Sincerely,
David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate.

Friday

Queenston Street/Hartzel Road Revitalization


Hello everyone,
It is not a secret that the Queenston/Hartzel Road corridor needs revitalization. I group both of these areas together, since fixing one without fixing the other would be a mistake. I have listened to other candidates, residents, and local organizations. I have walked the area, personally have seen the 16 closed storefronts on Hartzel Road, and tried to picture what Queenston would look like after the hospital moves.
All is not bad in the area. One just has to drop in on places like the Lancer -reopened this past February by the Holley family and always busy. However, there is a lot of work (and vision) that needs to be planned, studied, and implicated.
The city has started part of this work (both for Queenston and Hartzel) but no firm plans are in place to guide us in this pursuit. That is why the next few years are important for the city (including residents of the Merritton Ward). The right individuals need to be elected and in place at city hall. I know that I belong at this table. As for what I would like to see for the Hartzel Road/Queenston Street corridor, here is what I support.
Hartzel Road:
Hartzel Road needs to be greened in a substantial way to make it visually attractive to people walking or driving by. New trees (but not ones that cost $600 each), planted boulevards, and grass needs to be added along the street scape. People need to be enticed to stop, instead of just driving-by.
The city need to study whether Hartzel Road supports bike lanes; if it is too dangerous for bike riders to traverse; or if bike lanes would hinder local businesses . I am a firm supporter of more bike lanes in the city. However, the location of these lanes need to be on city roads which support the bike lanes. Wasting money, like the thousands wasted converting then re-converting sections of Welland Avenue into a bike lane and back, is unwarranted.
Incentives need to be offered to get more business to locate on Hartzel Road. The incentives could involve grants for facade/building improvements (not re-reimbursed after the work is done), or a year or two of favourable tax relief. I would work with other councillors to develop a way to bring business to not only Hartzel Road, but any area within the city that is facing similar issues (St.Paul St. for example).
Queenston Road
For Queenston Street, I support trying to find another use for the hospital site after the hospital leaves. If one can not be found, then the site should be used for mixed-income housing with small commercial businesses (to take advantage of the new Wine Route that will be coming to the street soon). Doing this could compliment a revitalized Centennial Park, and be a draw that would bring new residents to the area. This would help with the revitalization of the downtown area as well.
What do you think?
Please comment, debate, or correct any or all of my plan. I do not profess to know everything. I feel based on the opinions of residents; local groups; and careful research that the above would benefit us, as residents, the most.
One more thing...
The point of Merritton.com is to give local residents a venue to learn more about my campaign. This website is a place to debate, engage, or inform the public concerning different elements of my platform- big issues and small. Some local politicians may feel that these issues (chickens, tree canopy cover, or community gardens) are issues which do not deserve the media attention. I could not disagree more! Do not get the wrong idea, I do understand that there are bigger issues the city is facing or will face in the foreseeable future(new police station headquarters, a bridge or two, fiscal responsibility, performing arts centre, new arena, etc.) I will be ready to work with other city and regional councillors to address these issues head-on. However, this should not mean that these smaller issues have to be put on the back burner at city hall. The city needs to understand that it is the ability of city hall (and council) to solve these smaller issues, that gives residents the chance to trust them on the bigger ones. How are residents suppose to trust us, if they feel that we can not help them solve these "little issues." I was just wondering. What do you think? Please comment.
Sincerely,
David Haywood
Merritton Ward Candidate

Wednesday

All Candidates Debate: The Follow-up.


Hello everyone. I am writing this to inform you about the all candidates debate that occurred last night, October 5th, at old Merritton High School (now Pinehurst private school).


To start, I want to thank Pinehurst for allowing Merritton ward candidates the use of their auditorium for the debate. I want to thank the Merritton Community Group for hosting the debate. Community groups like this are an essential and irreplaceable asset for the residents of any community. Lastly, I want to thank the many residents that attended the event (100 people +).


Hopefully, this event helped residents formulate an open opinion about the candidate that would best represent them on city council. Furthermore, I expect this debate enabled residents the ability to inform their family, friends, and neighbours that voting for me is a vote that benefits the Merritton Community (and the city) the most. Knowledge is powerful. I trust those in attendance were able to achieve a sense of who I am; what I want to do; and how I want to do it. I anticipate they realized that I will have their best interests at heart if I am their representative on St.Catharines City Council.


Measured by the response of those in attendance after the debate, my platform was the most in-depth, researched, mutually beneficial, fiscally responsible, achievable, and realistic platform of all candidates. Residents said that they could see and feel the passion I have for the area. Those in attendance said they felt that the other candidate’s platforms were vague; not explained well; generic; and (for the incumbents) recycled from past elections, misleading, and insincere. Residents stated that they ARE ready for change! They know that the time IS ripe for CHANGE! I AM ready and willing to help these residents achieve this.


Stay-tuned, so far I have given my platform in a broad view. I will post a more detailed and in-depth view of my platform in the next few days.


Thanks again for your continued support.


Sincerely,


David Haywood
YOUR Merritton Ward Candidate.

Friday

Urban Farming: The Chicken in the Back Yard Debate -PART 2


In response to the wishes of the public and the media. I want to update everyone on this subject. -including where I stand.

This is David Haywood, Merritton Ward Candidate,

I will be honest, when I first encountered this issue during my campaigning I did not know a lot about the subject. However, I knew that it was an important issue so I posted it on http://www.merritton.com/.

On the site, I asked both sides for their opinions; asked them to post any peer-reviewed literature to add strength to their position; and to clarify any misconceptions they felt there was on the issue. The response has been great and to make a long story short -the pro-side had a solidly researched, scientific-based, ecologically friendly points on the issue.

Therefore, I agree the city should LOOK into allowing people to engage in urban farming. A good start to this would be to work with other councillors to see if allowing people to raise chickens (which are already legal in the city) in coops that are located in their backyards (4 to 6 as required for their winter survival) is something that we should allow. This includes any regulations, enforcement, or yard-size requirements that need to be formulated for back yard urban farming.

As for other animals, I would need to work with other members of council -plus residents of the city, to see if they have the same benefits as animals like the chicken (or hen BUT not roosters). Having these animals can reduce our local carbon foot-print (less trucks transporting the goods we now raise, result in less waste to the landfill -chickens and other farm animal eat most of our food scraps); and lastly, provide local residents with cheap food while at the same time freeing up their scarce disposable income. Income that can be spent locally and create an added economic benefit for the local economy.

Even though I did not know the issue, I set out to try and personally know it. I worked with local residents and engaged them on the issue. The funny thing is, I was updating the information on http://www.merritton.com/ about the issue. A resident even invited me to her house to see their hens, an offer I excepted. I hope I answered the question properly. If not, email me at davehaywood444@msn.com or call me at (905)3240123. I want to also thank the residents of the city for their information. That includes people from both sides of the debate.

Sincerely,

David Haywood
Merritton Ward Candidate.