By Lee Griffi
Lilliane Dunstall is ready to give the voters of Wilmot Township what they have been asking for, and she says that is change. She is running for one of the two positions in Ward 4. “Once I started knocking on doors, that same sentiment echoed repeatedly. You want a change on council, and I am here to deliver it.”
Dunstall and her husband Scott moved to New Hamburg in June of 2019. She was retiring from her job as Vice President of North American Business Operations for Tremco Inc. “I am Acadian and was born in the small town of St. Antoine, New Brunswick. We have four grown children, two boys and two girls, and currently have five grandchildren with more to come. After living for a total of 25 years in the Waterloo Region and with retirement on the horizon, we chose New Hamburg for the second chapter of our lives. I had always loved it here and had friends who went to Waterloo Oxford,” she says.
Dunstall is currently the chair of the National Women in Roofing Canada Council, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization supporting women in Construction. “I also introduced the betweenusgirls.ca program to the Principal at Waterloo Oxford. The program promotes confidence and leadership skills, and the healthy development of young women, specifically in rural settings, and I am thrilled the program is being adopted for the 2022/23 school year.” She is also a member of the local Optimist Club and the New Hamburg Legion. “I am also giving back to the community in other ways. I am a member of the 100 Women Who Care Wilmot and am now sitting on the Executive of the New Hamburg Board of Trade.” She believes that thriving service clubs in any small community is just as critical as healthy businesses. “We’ve met so many wonderful people since joining the Optimists and Legion. And they have told us that they didn’t feel their voices were being heard. That’s when I decided to put my hat in the ring.”
Dunstall has spent her working career in business, and she believes that supporting local businesses is crucial to the survival of any countryside community. “In essence, you are supporting your neighbor down the street, your high school friend, or a family member, who, in return, supplies goods and services to our community. To help our local businesses get more foot traffic, I co-created the Shop Local Wilmot Bingo game this past Christmas season. We contacted the New Hamburg Board of Trade as well as the Township to assist with the logistics and funding of the prize money. This was my first time getting up close and personal with both entities, and boy, did they step up. With their help and the help of three local businesses, it was a great success.” She adds there were 90 participating businesses and over 740 in-person visits. The community embraced the game.
I think thriving Service Clubs in any small community are just as critical as healthy businesses. We’ve met so many wonderful people since joining the Optimists and Legion. And they have told us that they didn’t feel their voices were being heard. That’s when I decided to put my hat in the ring.
One of our biggest issues is ensuring we have a Sustainable Community. Not just environmentally but generationally. Many of the doors I knocked on had grown adult children still living at home. This is the first generation where young people must leave their communities and family support network to find affordable housing of their own. That’s not right, and I will do whatever I can at the Municipal level working with the Region to help.
Dunstall says that according to the 2021 Census just over 40 per cent of New Hamburg residents are aged 55 and older, and they do not feel their voices or needs are being met. “Over the next few years, we need to work with the appropriate branches to ensure we address accessibility and support for their growing need for physical, emotional, and cognitive support. With long-term housing being an issue, we need to keep our ‘Second Halfers’ in their homes if possible.”
She says the Township also needs to be what it is and not think like a big city. “Our rural townships are not Kitchener-Waterloo, nor do we want to be. We need to forge a pathway to ensure that our voices are heard at the regional table and that we can impact decisions made for our communities. I believe working with the other rural communities within Waterloo Region is a strategy that will begin moving us in that direction.”
Her campaign slogan is ‘YOUR VOICE. YOUR CHOICE,’ and she says one of the ways to support that mantra is through communication. “I have created a newsletter as part of my campaign and think this would be a great tool moving forward to keep my pulse on the Ward. I also believe town halls are a great way to encourage two-way dialogue with constituents.”
Dunstall feels the current council has done an amazing job with trails and parks that many people enjoy. Allowing us to embrace our natural surroundings is not only good physically but mentally as well. She adds as vice president of business operations for a half a billion-dollar company; it was her job to work with department heads to keep the company moving forward, effectively, and efficiently. “Being able to build relationships and problem solve are qualities I honed while in that position. Those qualities make me not only a strong choice but also the smart choice for Ward 4 vote.”