(revised Oct 4, 2018)
Pat McCourt was born and raised in Toronto where she also completed High School. After marriage, she and her husband moved to Hamilton Township where they raised their family of 4 children. Pat lives in Harwood, and has and has 7 grandchildren. She is also a graduate from the architectural technician program at Loyalist College, and did design a number of houses before switching back to her greater love, working at a residential treatment center for youth. She is now assistant administrator, with additional responsibilities for staffing and training.
She was first elected to Hamilton Township council in 1997, and ended up loving the job, having to sift through lots of information to see the bigger picture, and then having say (even though she did not always get approval for her recommendations). Since then, she has served a total of 4 terms, and remained on a number of committees during the times she was not elected back to office.
The upcoming election is pivotal, she thinks, for a number of reasons. With a new provincial government, there has been talk of Premier Ford wanting to strengthen regional government, but what does this really mean for municipalities? And with legalization of marijuana happening in mid October, the municipality is going to have to make its decision on whether to allow retail outlets in the Township. She would favor not allowing them until more is known about the impact in the communities, and additional costs involved (having heard that policing costs are going to increase by 1-2% because of legalization). If it works out well in other jurisdictions, then opt in later.
She believes that the Municipality is on sound financial footing, with adequate reserves to fund infrastructure needs without having to borrow money. As well, tax rate increases have been kept to approximately 2%. Demographic trends are encouraging with more younger families taking up residence, and filling up schools.
However, more needs to be done to improve internet service to rural residents and farmers, who are increasingly dependent on new technology. While this is not a direct township responsibility, she would continue to advocate other levels of government and industry to help make this happen. While public transit has been greatly improved through partnership with Community Care (currently offered two days a week), she would like to see this expanded to four. And roads are the biggest budget item, but there is also a disconnect because of shared responsibilities by County and Township. And representation on County Council is a concern, with no substitution allowed if a mayor representative is unable to attend.
Pat McCourt would also like to change the fact that Hamilton Township is the only one without bicycle routes. She would like to make municipal buildings more available for community groups and events, and to increase the trail system (noting however that major tourist improvements have been made to the Bewdley waterfront, Gores Landing, and Harwood dock
Hamilton Township is an amazing place, with so many great people and potential. But she does not want to see it stagnate. She would like to use her energy, enthusiasm and planning skills to help make sure of that, and preferably by being re-elected to council.