Wednesday, November 29, 2023

2022 Municipal Election Candidate Profile: Shirley Keaveney

Candidate Name: Shirley Keaveney

Position Sought: Deputy Mayor – Acclaimed


Phone: (519) 373-7652


I am fourth generation, raised on a fruit and dairy farm in St. Vincent Township. My beautiful family consists of two grown sons and one precious granddaughter, my husband passed in 2020.

For 36 years I owned the Meaford Dairy Queen where my focus was great customer service, quality products and being a good boss. I am a Past President of our Chamber of Commerce, and am a member of the Meaford Rotary Club, I sit on the Godfrey Apartment Committee, and chair the newly formed Midas Mart Committee.

In 2014 I ran for council and topped the polls; I am your acclaimed Deputy Mayor and a member of Grey County Council.

This term I chaired both the Meaford and Grey County Economic Development Advisory Committees, was a member of the Grey County Agriculture, Affordable Housing and Mental Health and Addictions Taskforces.

I’m a Director on the Northeast Grey Health Clinics Board and the Four County Labour Market Planning Board.

I look forward to spending time with family and friends, walking, reading, movies, and meeting residents who have chosen Meaford as their new home. I enjoy hearing what brings people to Meaford, inevitably, early in those conversations everyone says, “I love it here”!

Explain your primary reasons for your decision to seek election to Meaford council:

I love this community, it’s my home. I want to see Meaford continue to be a great community to live, work, play and volunteer in. Our vast municipality is changing, growing, and evolving.

I believe “Collaboration is the New Leadership”. I want to see increased community engagement and greater involvement from our Advisory Committees.

There are critical issues ahead for the next council. We will face many challenges: inflation pressures, determining “right” growth for Meaford including the attraction of affordable, worker based rental units, evaluating environmental reports as the TC Energy approval process continues, attracting businesses to our urban and rural areas, infrastructure funding gaps, and much more. I want very much to utilize the knowledge I’ve gained during the past two terms as I continue to participate in these discussions.

I sold my business last summer; I intend to devote my full attention to the work of council.

I successfully brought 17 motions before the current council, there is work yet to be done to see these actions thru.

I love what I do, and I believe my determination and experience will help shape an even more prosperous and vibrant future for Meaford.

In your view, what should be the top priorities for the council that is elected on October 24?

  1. Creating a vision for Meaford utilizing public input that will drive the workplans of council and Staff.
  2. Determining Council`s Strategic Priorities based on the new Vision for Meaford.
  3. Determining “right” growth for Meaford, what density, height and mass are acceptable working within the provincial policy statement as well as our County and Meaford Official Plans.
  4. Attracting and retaining qualified, skilled municipal staff.
  5. Asset Management, continuing to prioritize investments in Road and Bridge Infrastructure including the reconstruction of bridges 21/22.
  6. Economic Development, the attraction of businesses to both our urban and rural areas. Downtown beautification.
  7. Supporting agriculture, developing a greater understanding of the needs of this sector, and taking action to address the issues that impact our number one industry.
  8. Improving customer service and staff response times to residents.
  9. The attraction of affordable “worker based” housing to support our businesses.
  10. Public engagement, broader reach for information regarding proposed developments.
  11. Structuring Advisory Committees to be more effective for our volunteers.
  12. Transparent budgeting with an emphasis on inflation pressures and our high water and wastewater costs.
  13. The implementation of our Community Safety and Well Being Plan.
  14. Holding TC Energy’s “Feet to the Fire” as their efforts to gain approval continue.

Explain the role of councillor (or Mayor/Deputy Mayor) as you understand it.

The Municipal Act simply states that the Deputy Mayor’s role is to fill in for the mayor should he/she be absent which I did for five months in 2019.

The Municipal Act states that elected officials “represent the public”. As Deputy Mayor I along with the mayor and five members of council are your voices in decision making. This is incredibly important, it’s critical that we are strong communicators, good listeners and that we respond to your concerns.

Apart from this responsibility the Deputy Mayor attends County Council and reports back to Meaford council on the activities of the Second Tier. The Deputy Mayor has one vote at both tables.

The Deputy Mayor attends Agenda Review meetings with the Mayor, CAO and Clerk so can influence meeting agendas.

Council has one employee, our CAO, it is our job to oversee this role.

The main responsibilities of council are to set policies for the municipality, to establish levels of service, to set the budget, to make sure the residents have safe drinking water and to be transparent in all our actions.

Members of council sit on various committees and report back to council on their activities.

Elected officials follow a Code of Conduct always acting with integrity in all we do.


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