Lisa McGee

Candidate for Mayor – Town of Arnprior. | Mom. | Dog Petter.

Lisa McGee

Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal
Lisa
Professional Profile
  • Current member of Arnprior Town Council (2018-2022)
  • Vice-Chair, Town of Arnprior Corporate Services Committee
  • Board member, Arnprior Public Library
  • Customer service executive – developing and delivering training internationally and remotely, and handling executive escalations on behalf of a $1B company
  • Previously responsible for Communications and Community Relations on behalf of Eli El- Chantiry, City of Ottawa Councillor for West Carleton-March, and Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board
  • Five year host on Airbnb with Super Host status
  • Former small business owner – Twisty Cream, Village of Carp
  • Former BIA executive member, Village of Carp
  • Currently pursuing Certified Municipal Officer (through the AMCTO)

About Me

Hello! Welcome, and thank you for visiting.

My name is Lisa. I am a mom of two adults who have fully launched into their own lives, a customer service executive, an Arnprior homeowner/taxpayer, Airbnb operator, and I am a current Councillor for the Town of Arnprior (2018-2022 term).

My professional career has involved extensive work on prominent municipal files (City of Ottawa, and Town of Arnprior), working with community groups, executive level policy research/implementation and decision-making, and creating and delivering customer service training internationally. I have also been a small business owner and participated fully as a BIA (Business Improvement Area) in the Village of Carp. My combined experience affords me a unique lens to appreciate the many groups that we need to consider in the decision-making process.

The path to where I am now has been a challenging one. I was a single parent for most of my children’s lives, and there were many difficulties that went along with it; from housing to the life expenses that go along with raising a family. I have a full appreciation for what it means to struggle, and I am very empathetic to anyone enduring the difficulty of navigating similar situations.

I currently have aging parents and I have a key role in supporting my dad with his daily needs. I know firsthand how important it is to have resources for seniors in the community.

Please take a read of my website, and feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. You will find that I’m friendly and approachable, and very respectful, even when our opinions may differ.

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Daily Steps Around Arnprior
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Lifetime hours spent on municipal affairs

What Makes Me Ready To Earn Your Vote.

Some people read fiction and romance novels or watch sitcoms on tv. I read Council minutes from many municipalities and watch council and committee meetings from Arnprior and beyond. Municipal affairs is a passion for me, and it has been a privilege to serve as one of your town council members for the 2018-22 term.

Municipal Council Experience.

As a former assistant and the Community Liaison for Councillor Eli El-Chantiry in neighboring West-Carleton, I have extensive experience working on municipal issues, from the annual municipal budget, to addressing concerns of community groups and individuals. I was involved in the Carp BIA first as a liaison for the Councillor, then as a member when I had my retail business. Eli has been the Chair of the Police Services Board for many years, which has also provided a lens into the required operations needs of our emergency protection services. I worked with the local community and the Arnprior Hospital at the earliest stages of the Arnprior Physician Recruitment Campaign, since many West Carleton residents seek emergency care in neighbouring Arnprior. My work involved diving into complex issues that affect residents in their daily lives, from their sense of security with police resources, snow removal issues, to barking dogs, and everything in between. The ideal was always to find the common sense balance between needs, wants, and the associated costs.

As an Arnprior councillor, I dove into many key issues during this past term. I demonstrated that I am ready and able to do the research, make decisions that I can defend, and I am proud of the efforts I have made. I have worked to keep the community informed through social media, and been available to discuss concerns with anyone who has reached out.

Successful Retail Business Owner.

I was privileged to serve neighbouring Carp residents with a popular ice cream shop, voted second best in the Ottawa area in 2012, Twisty Cream. Running a business isn’t all sugar cones and fun toppings. I understand the hard work, challenges, and sacrifices made by our retails owners, and the importance of having both community and government support.

Arnprior Tour Guide.

I currently run two very successful AirBnbs in town. This role requires being an informed tour guide of our local amenities, eateries, shops, and other points of interest. It also affords me the unique opportunity to hear from visitors and solicit feedback and ideas from the lens these tourists in our community provide. My home is right near Grace St. Andrews Church and is central to Robert Simpson Park, Gillies Grove, and the downtown core. I walk my dog many kilometers every single day, and always find different streets, paths, and unique things to explore.

Dedicated Volunteer. It takes a village.

Time is precious and valuable. I have given hundreds of hours to any community I have lived in. I coached youth soccer at recreational and competitive levels for almost a decade (some years, two teams). I was a member of my local Neighbourhood Watch, and represented several neighbourhoods at the executive level for ONWEC (Ottawa Neighbourhood Watch Executive Committee). My previous work with Councillor Eli El-Chantiry had me volunteering my time over dozens of weekends and evenings at community events, and community group meetings. Soon after moving to Arnprior, I joined the Arnprior Fair Board as a Director. I have continued to volunteer my time to almost any group needing a helping hand, and I plan to continue to do so.

Unbridled Enthusiasm for Arnprior.

After calling Arnprior my second home for almost 20 years, I made it a reality and bought a home here six years ago, and I’m never leaving. I walk our streets three times a day with my dog, and I see the great things that we have done as a town. I also look at things from the critical eye and understanding of what a municipality does for its residents, and I see some gaps and areas of opportunity during my 5000 steps a day. Finding a balance between what makes sense and what does not make sense when using tax dollars and ensuring there is public awareness, and participation when making decisions is probably the key reason that I decided to run in the last election, and it remains the key reason I am running this time.


Affordable Housing and Growth Strategy

Housing prices for purchase or rent have become unaffordable for many. While there are limitations to what we can do from within our tax base, there are measures that the Town can take to contribute to positive solutions.

The Greater Arnprior Community Council on Poverty and Homelessness (GACC) has put in countless hours towards their final report “The Path Forward on Poverty and Homelessness in the Greater Arnprior Area.” We also have to support private initiatives to bring affordable homes to our community. There are several efforts underway currently, and I will continue to support their energies.

While we do not have the tax base, nor the mandate to be the creators of affordable housing, we do have the ability to keep our foot on the gas, engage with other levels of government, and seek every possible opportunity to make this happen. Being an open minded and invested partner in the process will be key. We cannot do anything without the support of other levels of government, and developing meaningful partnerships, and this starts with putting out the energy to make that happen.

Our new council will need to remain engaged and active with the GACCPH and other partners, to support and advance many of their key recommendations. One of the key recommendations arising from this report is to conduct a housing needs assessment based on the University of British Columbia’s HART model, and I fully support this, in addition to supporting the efforts of the Greater Arnprior Senior Council to move forward with their housing initiatives.

Lastly, we have already seen the impact of our growing population. Our roads are busier than ever, as are many of our programs and services. As part of our growth strategy, our new council will need to thoroughly review what we can do in advance of adding to our swelling population to minimize and mitigate the impacts. This includes reviewing retail needs, and engaging businesses who will fill the gap needs of our community.

Effective and Positive Council

Through my lens as a first-time council member, there are many things that we can do to create an effective and collaborative council. Providing early opportunities through training as well as having regular meetings with new council members will allow us to thrive. We are stronger together!

As a seven-member council, we will not agree on everything all the time. Creating an environment of respect is a key role of any leader. We need to return to a place where residents and businesses see that we are working collaboratively together. Through this, we will be a council that is respected, and contributes to making Arnprior a great place to live, work, and play.

I am a relationship builder, easy to work with, transparent in my efforts, and committed to fostering a positive environment where others feel valued and respected.

Economic Development

There are many elements to economic development. My plan for economic development is three-pronged.

Firstly, we need to have an updated retail demand study, and then use the results to entice retailers to fill the identified gaps in our current landscape of wonderful retailers.

Secondly, having a dedicated Economic Development Officer whose sole role it is to create an environment that encourages industry/job creation as well as to fill the gaps in our retail landscape will be key in the coming term. The ED Officer will need to focus on creating opportunities to engage, entice, and welcome new industry to Arnprior. A couple of terms ago, we lost the opportunity to have Canopy as a large employer in town, and they set up shop in Smiths Falls. We need to roll out the red carpet for anyone considering our beautiful town in the future.

Finally, we need to make sure that the Town works hand in hand to support our businesses through the Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce, as well as those who are engaged and progressing forward in their efforts to create a tourism board.

Tourism

Being fully supportive of our businesses (retail, accommodators, service providers), recreation department, library, and museum to have a collaborative effort is key to driving tourism and visitors to Arnprior. Taking advantage of technology through social media, bloggers, influencers, and a dedicated Economic Development officer will allow us to progress beyond where we have already. Our downtown core has changed, storefronts are full. Now we need to get the word out better than it already is – Arnprior is THEE place to live, work, play, and visit! We need to fully support the efforts of those who are creating a tourism board for Arnprior – we have exciting times ahead!

Leveraging our two rinks and the tournament opportunities of having this asset is something we need to do better as well. We should be promoting local businesses at every possible opportunity and inviting everyone to experience everything that our town has to offer when they visit from away.

As an accommodator with two Airbnbs, I have spoken with hundreds of people to understand why they visit. We need to understand why people come and stay overnight, and make sure they can take advantage of all our amenities and businesses when they do. This starts by creating awareness and engaging with those who come to town, those who host them, and encouraging newcomers to experience what we offer!

Communications and Transparency

Council recently received a presentation regarding communication efforts by the Town. It is clear that we need to improve these efforts and I’m thrilled to see the data to support this need.

We need a website that is easy to search, and pulls up meaningful information. We need a service delivery model with clear expectations and posted metrics. If we see gap areas needing improvement, we need to be transparent about these gaps, and make the needed improvements.

We always need to be mindful of who we are working for, and ensure we keep the service in public service!

Waterfront Enhancements

I am pleased that a new council will be moving the waterfront enhancements forward. By agreeing to focus on the breakwater/pier, pathways, lighting and accessibility, the Town will be able to seek the needed approvals from other levels of government and apply for any possible grants.

I’m also looking forward to the marina study. Before we do anything, we need to ensure the economic benefits of doing so. I have had many conversations with businesses in the core area and beyond. They have consistently said that they do not currently benefit much from those who come to visit Robert Simpson Park. Before we spend your tax paid dollars, we need to see the benefit to you. It’s that simple.

EPS Review (Emergency and Protective Services)

I have heard from many that a review of our bylaw services is overdue. Concerns about overzealous efforts by bylaw, and concerns about not having enough seem to be common. I believe we need to look at the model that we use, review the metrics of calls for service and community concerns, and then consider our costs and options.

Similarly, we need to ensure that our police and fire operate efficiently, while having the resources they need to keep our community safe. Reviewing metrics and calls for service will allow us to move forward with any necessary changes.

County Council

We are one of only three municipalities in the county who do not have our head of council/mayor at the county table. I would like to see the head of council for Arnprior at the county, and a position of Deputy Mayor in the 2026-30 term. This will give us a stronger voice in county matters, and provide consistency with the position of deputy mayor. Currently, councillors rotate to be the deputy mayor (8 months at a time).

Dog Park

It’s TIME! I have heard consistently from residents that this is an amenity they desire, and that they miss when they move to Arnprior, since so many communities have one. I am encouraged that many new council candidates recognize the priority that an off leash park needs to be for the town. Dog parks are parks for PEOPLE – as much as they are for their four-legged friends.

Please see my efforts this term to make this happen.

Age Friendly Community

We have made significant gains in recent years, and the town has wonderful supports in place for seniors. Continuing to embrace partnerships and support the groups who support our seniors will need to continue with partnerships, in kind services, and an effort to continually re-evaluate opportunities to improve, enhance, and support.

Youth programming and recreation opportunities is imperative for our growing population. We have many younger families who have chosen Arnprior as their home. Having amenities to engage youth and support our new families will need to be a focus this term. It’s exciting to see the efforts to bring an enhanced skateboard park to Arnprior, and the new programs being brought forward by our recreation team at the Town, and the library. We need to engage the users – YOUTH, and their parents to determine the gaps and supports they need, and see where we can fill those gaps, or find partnerships to do so.

Core Services

Maintaining our waste removal service levels, and exploring alternative technologies will be key in the coming years. We need to keep an open mind on available alternative, but be in no rush to push forward with any solution unless we are certain it is safe, and that it makes good fiscal sense for the years ahead. Snow removal services and road/sidewalk rehabilitation will continue to be a focus of our long range capital forecast. It would be great if we could get every road done tomorrow, but that is not realistic, nor can it be managed from our limited tax base, unfortunately.

Diversity & Inclusion

Although we got off to a bit of a rocky start, we have made some great gains this last term in our efforts. Ensuring our staff and our council have the tools they need to understand and embrace the importance of diversity and inclusion, and continuing to seek opportunities to improve and celebrate our diversity will remain important this term. The efforts of the Inclusivity and Diversity Committee (IDAC) have been a step in the right direction, and we need to continue with these efforts.

For the first time ever, we raised the pride flag, the town now has a rainbow crosswalk, and we enjoyed a cultural night market this past summer. These are all progressive steps towards a great future where everyone feels welcome here.

Taxes

Just like any good household budget, we need to be mindful of rising costs, and prioritizing our needs, and accounting for our wants. We have seen the rising costs in our households, and it is no different for the municipality. Although it’s not easy to hear, zero is simply not sustainable, but keeping taxes as low as possible is always the goal. Carefully reviewing the budget every year, and soliciting feedback from community groups is always an important part of the process when reviewing the annual budget. Keeping with the pay as you go model makes good fiscal sense, and is more important now than ever.

Library & Museum

Supporting our library and museum is more important than ever. As our town grows and evolves, we need to ensure that our jewels have the resources to support the increased demands that they face. Expanded services and programs require staffing resources and creative thinking and meaningful partnerships.


Glenn Arthur

Recreation Director, Town of Arnprior (1982 – 2018)
Program Coordinator, Seniors Active Living Centre – SALC (2018 – 2021)
Co-Chair – Arnprior Regional Health, The Grove Fundraising Committee
Chair, 2022 Arnprior Santa Claus Parade

I first met Lisa while she was campaigning for her first term as a member of Arnprior’s town council.

Since that time, I have worked closely with her; first as the Director of Recreation at the Town of Arnprior, and then in several capacities since my retirement.

Lisa is a genuinely empathetic and caring individual who takes the time to understand the issues that are brought to her attention. She has reached out for insight and support on files where I had historical knowledge, and as a sounding board for advice during the term. She has always come to me with possible solutions, whenever she has identified a problem she is trying to resolve. I have always been impressed with her level of understanding, the solutions she proposes, and her drive to contribute to a balanced resolution.

I have been impressed from the beginning with the amount of homework and research that Lisa does before she brings a point forward. She looks outside of the community to learn from others, and to research best practices.

I believe that Lisa will be a breath of fresh air for our town. She is engaging and respectful, and professional when called to the task.


Eli El-Chantiry

Councillor, City of Ottawa (Ward 5, West Carleton-March)
Chair, Ottawa Police Services Board

I have known Lisa for almost 20 years, as a friend, as a volunteer, as an employee working in my West Carleton-March office in the City of Ottawa, as a business owner in Carp, and most recently as a Councillor in the neighbouring Town of Arnprior.

Lisa has always demonstrated her strong competencies for municipal affairs, and passion for the communities she has lived in. Beyond all of this, Lisa was a single parent, and she raised two wonderful children while thriving in her challenging career.

While working with me, Lisa demonstrated her strong abilities to dissect an issue, and present creative solutions to problems. She was always able to back up her positions and make recommendations based on extensive research, and community engagement efforts.

Lisa was part of the initial efforts for the Physician Recruitment Campaign in the Town of Arnprior, since many of our residents use the Arnprior hospital.

While working with me, Lisa had the respect of residents, Councillors, her peers, and staff as someone who would go the extra mile to get a job done, and to ensure that decisions being made were the right ones. I have watched her this last term, and I see she has carried this over into her new role in the town of Arnprior. I have heard from many residents that they have been happy with her energies, and they are supportive of her bid for Mayor.

I am happy to endorse Lisa for the role of Mayor, Town of Arnprior.


Tom Orr

President of Orr Developments

I met Lisa in the summer of 2021. She reached out to get some insight from a developer’s perspective and to inquire about affordable housing. She asked why I had not done any in my Sawmill Flats development. From that day on, I have seen her devotion to Arnprior and the residents in it.

Lisa asked questions about developing and wanted to figure out how to encourage more affordable housing in Arnprior. She set out on a mission to get answers to questions I could not answer. Asking questions at higher levels of government and getting answers on funding options. etc.

Lisa introduced me to Darrel O’Shaughnessy approximately 5 months ago. Darrel's commitment to affordable housing in Arnprior is unprecedented. He has been pressing the town for solutions for years and has even formed a committee to push forward. I was asked to be involved and felt honored to try and help. I arranged with Darrell to reach out to Cavaghan Construction development people in the last few weeks along with a couple other key players in the development business.

All that said Lisa’s ability to listen to people and get things done is very impressive. I feel she will make a great mayor for the town of Arnprior.


Heather Lang

Municipal Councillor, Township of McNab-Braeside

I first met Lisa at the official launch of The Grove Redevelopment Project at the beginning of this council term. We became fast friends. Lisa shares many of the same values as I; she is honest, shares a strong work ethic, and has integrity—qualities that every municipal representative should have. Lisa believes in strong municipal governance and transparency, and that every member of council must be, and is, accountable. These qualities are a must in a mayor, along with the foresight to lead a municipality in the right direction, the fortitude to see the tough things through, and the courage to stand by one’s values.


Dave Pelkey

Vintage Crate

Lisa represents the honesty and integrity our town needs for the future. Her hard work and preparation for each challenge ensures outcomes that will benefit Arnprior now and in the future. Lisa has been fair minded, open and accountable in her role as counsellor, and I think those are great qualities for the job of Mayor in our wonderful town.


Ed Reid

Co-Chair – Arnprior Regional Health, The Grove Fundraising Committee

I reached out to Lisa to share information about the Grove expansion in 2018. When we met, she was very prepared, and almost knew more about the project than I did! The last election she blew me away with your knowledge of the town, it’s needs, and those of the people of Arnprior. I strongly believe she is the person to lead our council in this time of economic and political unrest. You definitely have my vote.

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