Candidates Mark Mills and Sara Gardinier

Two lesser known Candidates have added their names to those wanting to be elected as Councillor: Mark Mills and Sara Gardinier.  Mark is Manager Transportation Services, City of Toronto and previously had a similar job at the County.  Sara is a homecare PSW.  As you might expect, Mark has a strong interest in active transportation and Sara wants to change the struggles the elderly and the disabled experience in our town.  Mark’s web site records his meetings with key people in the Town and appreciates their support.  Sara does not have a web site but seems to be relying on Facebook where she is quite active and says “change is needed”, “You can count on her to be 100% transparent.”

Mark has more comprehensive information – he has a platform (plan), information about himself, contact information and testimonials.  He plans to have Lawn signs and asks for support.

Sara instead relies on getting the word out using her Facebook page with no talk about Lawn signs and little on campaign specifics. Her situation was not helped by coming down with Covid (see her Facebook page).

Sara’s Campaign (from her Facebook page)

Sara Gardinier
Sara Gardinier

My name is Sara and I have lived in Cobourg for the past 6 years with my husband and our 3 kids. I am originally from Oshawa, but my husband was born and raised in Cobourg. His grandmother was Marie Hall who owned and operated AM Hall’s Jewellers for many years. My profession is a homecare PSW and I truly enjoy what I do. I get to meet many interesting people and listen to their stories. It really is an honour.

I am running for town council because my job also shows me the many problems the elderly and the disabled experience in our town. I also see daily the struggles of families and singles and I want to try to change that.

If you vote for me, you will always have a voice.

Mark’s Campaign (summary)

The key to a successful municipal government is open-mindedness and a willingness to adapt.

Change can be difficult, but often necessary. It is time to take a hard look at fiscal responsibility and managing the municipal budget with a focus on YOU, the taxpayer.

Mark Mills
Mark Mills

I have 33 years of experience working in Municipal Government in a Senior Management role. This experience has allowed me to collaborate with staff, residents, businesses, and council in dealing with highly complex, ever-changing municipal demands all while providing cost-effective, cost efficient municipal services.

I was appointed by Cobourg Town Council as a member of the Transportation Advisory Committee. I provide leadership to Cobourg municipal council regarding the design, development and implementation and monitoring of policies, programs and facilities to enhance and promote a safe, sustainable and accessible transportation system.

Mark’s Plan (summary)

Fiscal Accountability
Conduct a line-by-line review of town budgets to verify there is no extra tax-burden
Ensure proper oversight of in-house and contract-delivered services for the Town.

Active Transportation
Committed to investing in public transportation, cycling infrastructure, pedestrian facilities, trails, and walkways.

Responsible Growth
Supporting development and community growth while ensuring that the infrastructure and municipal services remain sustainable and viable.

Mark’s commitment – Your Vote, Your Voice

As I speak with residents and businesses in Cobourg, a common theme is that they feel they are not being heard by their elected officials. Your Vote, Your Voice is more than a slogan; if elected, I will make it my obligation to ensure that your concerns and ideas are heard by those who represent you.

Apart from Mark’s activity on the Transportation Advisory committee, these candidates will be new to most residents. But if you like what they say, they deserve your vote.

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Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 9:00 am

I must say I seem to have been painted in a very unflattering light by Mr. Draper. My platform is visible on my Facebook page, but I will post here as well.

– fix our broken transit system. The On Demand system is not working and drivers and riders are frustrated.
– revamp the waterfront parking system. Citizens find it confusing.
– advocate for more funding from both Provincial and Federal Governments to help ease our housing, drug and mental health crises.
– remove accessibility barriers to all buildings in town.
– expand our homeless shelter and services.

I don’t tend to speak to the “important” people. I speak to the citizens, the ones who are feeling left behind by our town, who are the important people and I don’t record their conversations.

As for signs, if you want one, just ask and I will get it to you.

I ask Mr. Draper that next time if you feel there is info lacking and you would like to know more, please contact me directly and I will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Bryan
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 9:33 am

Sara,
JD reports what he observes. At the time that he reported, you had little info on your FB site.
You’re the one seeking election. The onus is on you to provide information to the electorate. It is not JD’s responsibility to chase you for it.

On the points you list:

  • Transit: Everyone knows it isn’t working. What is your solution?
  • Waterfront parking: Specifics. What is your solution?
  • Social services: Lobby for funding…How? Is this not being done already? No mention of the County, which is responsible for these services.
  • Accessibility barriers, all buildings: How? Who pays? No jurisdiction over private property
  • Homeless shelter & services: Who pays? No jurisdiction. County is responsible, not Cobourg
Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan
Sara Gardinier
Reply to  Bryan
19 September 2022 11:17 am

Hi Bryan, Thank you for your reply. You’re right about the onus being on me so it’s a good thing my platform was posted on my Facebook group Sara Gardinier for Cobourg Town Council on August 27, but I will pin it at the top of the page so it cannot be missed again. For transit, unfortunately not everyone knows it is not working and now it is getting worse. Better mapping of routes needs to be done and if someone has an appointment to get to or going to work, they take priority. I need to look into further solutions and for that I will need to take the bus and talk to the drivers. The Waterfront and where it applied to was confusing for many people. However, since I had announced this on my platform, the town did release a few weeks ago a very detailed map. Other issues related to the parking though is there are not any exceptions for home healthcare workers or for anyone stopping for less than 10 minutes. This could be easily fixed. The County just recently turned down town council on additional funding for housing. If we can advocate for money from the other governments, we can put pressure on the County for these social services. Sadly right now, whatever money is given is pitiful at best and many of our citizens are suffering. In terms of our homeless shelter, again we need to put pressure on the County to expand this. If need be, fundraisers could be held to help offset the cost. In terms of accessibility barriers, please refer to https://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/human-rights-disability-and-accessibility-issues-regarding-visual-fire-alarms-people-who-are-deaf Thank you Bryan for taking the time to reply and pushing me to do better! There is a Meet the Candidates at the Lions Centre on September 29 at… Read more »

Bryan
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 12:42 pm

Sara,
You wrote, “…The County just recently turned down town council on additional funding for housing. If we can advocate for money from the other governments, we can put pressure on the County for these social services. Sadly right now, whatever money is given is pitiful at best and many of our citizens are suffering….”

When did the County turn down Cobourg Council for additional housing funding?
The Town is not in the housing business and it is not Cobourg’s responsibility, so why would the County give Cobourg money for housing?
The senior (Prov & Fed) levels of government will ignore the Town’s requests for money and refer the Town to the County, MPP Piccini and MP Lawrence. Wasted effort.

There is no denying the need. As to the money, in 2020-2021 the County received $4M for various social programs including housing, homelessness and mental health. Similarly, the Cobourg Police received $900K in early 2022. This isn’t chump change.
You might ask the Mayor, who sits on County Council and is chair of the County’s Social Services Committee what the $4M was used for.
The mayor also sits on the Cobourg Police Services Board. You might ask him about the $900K.

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan
Sara Gardinier
Reply to  Bryan
19 September 2022 3:18 pm

Hi Bryan,

https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/10682599-cobourg-s-request-for-homelessness-help-gets-cold-shoulder-from-county-council/

I like your idea of asking the mayor what the funds they did receive were used for. I will email him right now. Thank you!

Bryan
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 3:38 pm

Sara,

You wrote: “…The County just recently turned down town council on additional funding for housing…”

The NN article that you referenced says nothing about the County being asked to provide additional funding to Cobourg. The County currently does not “fund” Cobourg. Rather, various non-monetary forms of assistance were requested.
There is a difference between “funding” and non-monetary assistance.

Sara Gardinier
Reply to  Bryan
19 September 2022 4:06 pm

Hi Bryan,

It seems that no matter what I write right now it’s going to be picked apart to find flaws. The problems are what I see and hear everyday, especially through my job as a PSW. As a councilor, we are supposed to represent and work with you, the citizens, to find and implement doable solutions to the problems our town is facing. Everything I see happening here, I grew up watching happening in Oshawa where I lived and I want to be part of making this town a great place to live again. I am going to be the voice for all citizens, including the elderly, the disabled, the struggling families and the homeless. I don’t have a hidden agenda and I’m not running for my own personal gain. I am 100% transparent. I will not stop or take no for an answer and will keep pushing all levels of government to get things done. No more ignoring the majority of the citizens.

If you would like to discuss more, please email me at sara_gardinier@hotmail.com or come to the Meet the Candidate night on September 29.

Bryan
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 4:41 pm

Sara,
You may also want to ask him if he reported this information to Cobourg Council.
If yes, when?
If no, why not.
In 2018, as noted in his election literature, he committed to transparency and accountability.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
19 September 2022 1:20 pm

Sara, Mayor Henderson is our representative on Northumberland Council. He is even the chairperson for the county’s Social Services Committee (the committee responsible for solving homelessness). How, exactly, as a Cobourg Councillor and without a seat at county council do you plan to be more effective than our current representation which has accomplished very little?

Last edited 11 days ago by Ken Strauss
Sara Gardinier
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 September 2022 4:07 pm

Hi Ken. Thanks for your reply. Please see my response above to Bryan. Please have a good day!

marya
Reply to  Sara Gardinier
21 September 2022 7:23 am

The On Demand Transit System works well and could only work better with additional Bus Drivers for which there is a shortage of employees almost everywhere. I noted a new Driver yesterday when I used the System. Riders are able to go virtually anywhere within the Town- something that was not possible with the former fixed-route system. In seventeen months of its operation, only twice was I unable to obtain the preferred time of usage.

I have nothing positive to write about the Waterfront Parking situation.

Old Sailor
17 September 2022 2:45 pm

From a Town fiscal management point of view, a Council team including Lucas Cleveland, Suzanne Sequin, Michael Sprayson and Mark Mills might allow us to reduce our blood pressure prescriptions.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Old Sailor
17 September 2022 4:34 pm

Well, Old Sailor — since your health is at stake, let’s get it done!

ben
Reply to  Old Sailor
19 September 2022 7:17 pm

none on my list

Just a thought
Reply to  ben
19 September 2022 9:22 pm

Is there no one on your list or just none of the fiscally responsible ones?

ben
Reply to  Just a thought
20 September 2022 6:24 am

very few!

cornbread
17 September 2022 9:08 am

Mark has my vote! Why? …Cost efficient municipal services, fiscal responsibility.

Just a thought
Reply to  cornbread
17 September 2022 9:23 am

Both great statements for a candidate. But…..how?? Where are the ideas?

cornbread
Reply to  Just a thought
17 September 2022 5:51 pm

It’s not their ideas, it’s how they “think” that counts.

Mark Mills
Reply to  cornbread
18 September 2022 6:35 pm

When it comes to Municipal Government, fiscal responsibility is the ability to balance spending and tax revenue. This is paramount to ensure the successful delivery of municipal services for residents and businesses.

As a Council, you are the stewards of the public’s money. You must make every effort to ensure cost effective and cost efficient service.

The Town provides Fire and Police Service, water and electrical utilities (LUSI), our library, parks and recreation facilities, road maintenance (summer and winter), sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and public transit, planning and development, just to name a few.
Residents, as taxpayers should be confident the core services are dependable; that we can turn our lights on each morning, have clean water to drink and that our roads are safe and passable. We also deserve to have recreational programs for people of all ages and abilities year round. The Town needs to ensure our beautiful waterfront is safe for residents and visitors and that Police and Fire services are sufficiently resourced to service our changing community.
Growth cannot outpace services.

Important to note that over 30% of Town of Cobourg tax revenue pays for Northumberland County services including, social services, social housing, EMS, long term care, garbage collection, recycling, and child care, again, just to name a few. It is imperative that the Mayor and Town Council work collaboratively with county representatives to maintain accountability around fiscal responsibility on these matters as well.

If you wish to discuss this further with me, please go to electmarkmills.com, electmarkmills@gmail.com.

Mark Mills

Last edited 12 days ago by Mark Mills
Bryan
Reply to  Mark Mills
18 September 2022 8:28 pm

Mark,
Some good points made:

  • balance spending and tax revenue
  • stewards of the public’s money
  • ensure cost effective and cost efficient service.
  • be confident the core services are dependable
  • imperative that the Mayor work with NC to maintain accountability around fiscal responsibility

However, some misinformation also:

  • provides water and electrical utilities (LUSI). Electrical services are provided by LUI (Lakefront Utilities Inc) a subsidiary of Holdco (99.99%Town owned). Water is provided by Waterworks (a Town department) LUSI (Holdco subsidiary) is a contractor hired to run the water system.
  • over 30% of Town of Cobourg tax revenue pays for Northumberland County services. Northumberland County (NC) is an upper tier municipality that includes Cobourg. NC levies its own taxes, but Cobourg bills and collects these taxes on NC’s behalf
Mark Mills
Reply to  Bryan
18 September 2022 9:27 pm

Hi Bryan

Thank you for the clarification, I appreciate your insight.

I should have pointed out that Northumberland County is the upper tier municipality that supplies service to Cobourg, Port Hope, Hamilton Twp, Brighton, A&H and Trent Hills.

When I knock on doors and speak to Cobourg residents some don’t understand the two tier system. All they know is they pay their taxes to the Town of Cobourg, and many feel their taxes are getting very high.

We need to ensure that the Town of Cobourg budgets don’t duplicate allocation of funds for services that the County levy should be handling, for example social service, social housing, long term care, homelessness etc; all very important and necessary Northumberland County services.

I want to ensure that the Cobourg Mayor and Council ask the hard questions on how the County spends Cobourg taxpayer money. It all comes down to the council members making sure the lower tier (Cobourg) works collaboratively with the upper tier (Northumberland County) for the benefit of residents and businesses of Cobourg.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail please reach out to electmarkmills.com or electmarkmills@gmail.com

Mark Mills

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Mark Mills
18 September 2022 9:18 pm

Mark, it goes without saying that Cobourg must balance spending and tax revenue. However, fiscal responsibility is not just balancing spending and revenue. Fiscal responsibility means spending cost effectively and only on things that benefit the majority of our residents.

Fiscal responsibility also means understanding responsibilities and understanding of where tax revenues are spent. I find your numerous errors regarding the services funded by Cobourg’s revenues extremely worrying in one who aspires to become part of our town’s council.

Last edited 12 days ago by Ken Strauss
Mark Mills
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 September 2022 7:28 am

Hi Ken

Water , waste water and electrical service are municipal services. As a Councillor I will ensure the rates for these services are sustainable and affordable for the taxpayers of Cobourg.

I welcome your comments, and will always be open to meeting you in person to discuss any concerns you may have.

Contact me at electmarkmills.com or electmarkmills@gmail.com.

Mark Mills

Bryan
Reply to  Mark Mills
19 September 2022 9:08 am

Mark,

You wrote: “…As a Councilor I will ensure the rates for these services are sustainable and affordable for the taxpayers of Cobourg…”

How exactly are you going to “ensure” these things?
Council has no control over electrical rates. Further, you have only one vote.

Rob
Reply to  Bryan
19 September 2022 4:28 pm

You need a solution to the one vote dilemma? That’s why its called Municipal politics Bryan…

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
19 September 2022 5:13 pm

Rob,
It’s not about politics, it’s about democracy.
An elected person can’t “ensure” anything, be it at the fed, prov or municipal level. The elected person has one vote, that’s it. At the fed/prov level, political parties use party discipline to consolidate votes into a block. Thankfully, at the municipal level it’s still, for the most part, one person – one vote.
To move things forward there must be others of a similar mind.

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Mark Mills
19 September 2022 1:05 pm

Water, waste water and electrical service are municipal services. As a Councillor I will ensure the rates for these services are sustainable and affordable for the taxpayers of Cobourg.

Really, Mark? So you think that electrical service is funded from my municipal taxes? How will you ensure that electrical service is “affordable”? You seem fluent in buzzwords but what, exactly, do you mean for “sustainable” in the context of electrical service?

You are digging an ever bigger hole for your lack of understanding of Cobourg’s taxes! Please learn the facts rather than wasting our time with further erroneous comments.

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 September 2022 4:44 pm

Ken with your level of knowledge, passion for Cobourg, demonstrative expertise in a public utility, I can’t believe you’re sitting in the catbird seat rather than running for public office – of course being in one seat in markedly hotter than the other.

After more than 30 years, Mark has likely forgotten more about Municipal business than most people know.

We all wanted new faces, new ideas, new opinions, different perspectives, successful leaders…why don’t we try and give these candidates a little slack before getting combative.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
19 September 2022 5:11 pm

As mentioned before I’m too old to run.for office.

Rob, not combative but just shocked at the erroneous “knowledge” that a fiscally responsible candidate with 30 years of municipal experience brings to this election.

Mark Mills
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 September 2022 4:55 pm

Hi Ken

The offer to meet in person is still open if wish to discuss your issues.

I could also provide a lawn sign if you wish.

Let me know.

Mark Mills

Rob
Reply to  Mark Mills
20 September 2022 11:13 am

I’d like a lawn sign!

Mark Mills
Reply to  Rob
21 September 2022 11:44 am

sure thing.

Provide address at electmarkmills.com , I will make sure you get one

Eastender
Reply to  Mark Mills
20 September 2022 7:06 am

Interesting comments. The Town never has cleared my sidewalk of snow as part of road maintenance. Bike lanes still unpainted on some streets. Working collaboratively
does not seem to work at present when council rarely
listens to residents. Carte blanche approval of Police Services budgets are wrong. We need our Council
(and hopefully all new Councillors) to focus on a balance of social responsibility as well as fiscal responsibility.