The Ridgetown Independent has reached out to each candidate running for a position in the upcoming municipal election. Included down below are the questions asked, as well as the answers provided by the candidates.
Name: Darrin Canniff
Address: 7 Cherokee Cres. Chatham
Occupation: Mayor of Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Tell me a bit about your home life, e.g. married (how many years), how many kids, grandkids, how long you have lived in this area, where you work, hobbies, etc.
I was born and raised in Chatham, the youngest of six boys. I am married to Christine (Johns). We have been married for 31 years. We have four beautiful children; Chelsea, Megan, Emily and Tyler. I hold a degree in business from Wilfred Laurier University and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Prior to being elected as mayor, I held several senior positions with Union Gas, Greenfield Ethanol and Transform SSO.
Community involvement: Community leadership roles have included acting as Chair of the Board of Directors of Entegrus Inc., Chair of Mainstreet Credit Union, Co-chairing the 2018 International Plowing Match, Co-chair the United Way of Chatham-Kent Campaign with Christine and past member of the Board of Directors of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Some of the community engagement activities I have initiated include the ‘Festival of Giving’, Positivity Day in Chatham-Kent, the Amazing Race Chatham-Kent, the Children’s Concert Series and Crowfest 2022.
Past political or other experience you feel may be beneficial?
I served on CK Council for four years prior to being elected and serving as Mayor of Chatham-Kent for the past four years.
Why have you decided to run for a position in the upcoming election? Or, if you are already on council, why do you want to be re-elected?
I would like to continue to champion our community and help drive forward the positive momentum that Chatham-Kent is currently experiencing.
If you could change one thing in Chatham-Kent, what would it be and why?
I would like to change the negative perception that some have of our community. I believe we live in an amazing community. To put this in perspective, MacLean’s magazine ranked Chatham-Kent as the 27th best place to live in Canada (last year, CK moved up 99 places). I would hope that everyone will come to appreciate/understand how good our community really is. Yes, we face challenges and have our issues, and not everything is perfect, but we are an amazing place.
What do you believe to be the one most pressing concern to the business community in rural Chatham Kent?
Infrastructure is a pressing concern. To grow rural business, hydro, water, electricity are required, which are very expensive to expand. Also, providing access to fast, reliable internet is imperative to assist the rural businesses.
Do you feel it is important to keep facilities such as the library, municipal offices and arenas available in rural areas?
Municipal services and public facilities must be maintained in rural communities.
Do you feel there is waste in the municipal budget? If so, please cite specific areas where you would reduce funding.
Having been through 8 budget cycles, I am very familiar with the costs the municipality incurs. We have continually strived to be as efficient as possible in delivering the services taxpayers require and expect. Council recently hired KPMG to review how efficient our costs are compared to other municipalities. The results were very favourable. We need to continue to challenge how we do things with the objective of providing better service more efficiently.
What do you hope to accomplish as mayor and head of council?
I strive each and every day to encourage and empower the citizens of Chatham-Kent to make a difference and have a positive impact on our community. It is important that we continue to support community events and initiatives and encourage volunteerism, making it easier for citizens to help build and enhance our community. To continue to grow and thrive, the municipality cannot do it all on its own. In order to attract new business, industry and people, CK must continue to make it easy for all businesses to do business in CK. I hope to continue to seek out and encourage many more public-private partnerships that build on the momentum that has been created. I will endeavour to deliver enhanced and expanded Arts and Culture programs and amenities and improved sports and recreation facilities and programs across CK, an important element in attracting new business, industry and people to our community.
What is your vision for Chatham-Kent in the next four years? Long term?
My vision is that Chatham-Kent will continue to be a growing and thriving community that is rich in opportunities for residents and businesses alike in all corners of the municipality. CK will be a community that our kids and grandchildren are proud to call home and will want to live in. It will be a safe community that provides a solid job market with arts and culture and recreational amenities that compete with those offered by other municipalities. CK will continue to be a caring community that looks after each other, especially those in need of assistance.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News