Highlands East, ward 2: Janice Dahms

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Listen to the full interview here.

Qualifications 

Janice Dahms worked in the hospitality industry and then at a spa in Eagle Lake. She now works at a service station in Highlands East. “I feel I have a good understanding of our community and our people having that hospitality backing then working in the tourism industry.” 

Amalgamation

 “To some degree, I agree with it. I don’t think every aspect of all the municipalities should be amalgamated. But, for example, shared road maintenance could be something that is taken under one umbrella. So certain services, social services probably would work better as a whole, whereas other things [should be] kept to their own municipalities.” 

Haliburton County, along with all four townships, has been working to increase collaboration on services such as road maintenance and more since 2021. 

Health

 “I believe having the two hospitals is beneficial, given the sheer size of our County… it’s ‘is this person now having to drive 40 minutes instead of 20 minutes to get to the hospital?’ The staffing issue is something that’s common everywhere whether it be healthcare or your local restaurant or grocery store. It is an issue that hopefully as time goes on, will start leveling out. But I really do believe that keeping the two hospitals running is beneficial to most people.”

 Housing 

“I’d like to find out what [Highlands East] can or can’t do. I don’t have access to any of that information at this point in time… In an ideal world, I’d say, let’s take a chunk of land because we have lots of land in this County. Can we not approach developers and create some kind of incentive program to maybe build affordable houses with rent geared to income, like we have a complex in Wilberforce that has been running successfully for a few decades now.” (Information on municipal incentives that can be offered to developers and Ontario’s regulations regarding municipal control over housing developments can be found publicly online). 

Poverty 

“We obviously have our food banks and our heat banks. We need to continue to work with our partners, to have their services accessible to everybody.” When asked to specify what working with the partners would look like, Dahms said she’d like to volunteer or help organizations find other partners in the community to offer services. 

Shoreline preservation bylaw 

“I personally am very supportive of it. I do live on the lake as well. I like to see the naturalized shorelines and their preservation. I have seen the total opposite going on as well. I’ve seen people come in and clear-cut their properties.” She said the bylaw is “a work in progress.” 

Transportation

“I do believe it’s something really neat to have, in what capacity I’m not exactly sure.” As an example, she said at prior jobs, such as Sir Sam’s Inn, “people couldn’t physically get up to Eagle Lake from Haliburton. So, to have just any form of a public transportation system to get from A to B to C would be beneficial for everybody.” She pointed to the TROUT bus in Bancroft, which is operated by Bancroft Community Transit, as an example of a community transportation system.

Vision for the future 

“I want to see our community continue to grow and prosper, get healthy, recover from the pandemic, and everything that happened to it.” When asked about her role in seeing that growth and prosperity come, Dahms said that could include helping organize new volunteer groups. 

Highlands East 

“I feel that there hasn’t been [a connect] between the public and the council. I know council has [meeting] agendas and things that they have to do and follow. But I feel there’s not enough community input into what’s going on in council.” When asked to specify how council could improve community input or communication, she said “I don’t know that… I’ve been watching meetings in the past. But I don’t have enough experience hands-on to know what goes on even behind the scenes of some of the council meetings.” 

Janice Dahms the candidate

 “I was sort of feeling that things do need to change. Everything has to evolve, always, and nothing is going to change or evolve unless changes are brought forward. So, coming in as a new person into the political scene I’m hoping that I can bring some fresh perspectives, concerns and interests of other people… I’m really hoping that people will get to know me and be comfortable enough to call, email or text with any of their thoughts or concerns, and hopefully, I can address them or at least get them answers if I don’t have an answer for them directly.”