Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: CollingwoodToday Candidate's Forum
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
This blog series explores some of the questions I have been asked by Grey Highlands' constituents (well, in this case The Press). This post reviews the questions asked of all candidates at the CollingwoodToday Candidate's forum.
1. Members of council will have the responsibility of setting the annual budget for the municipality and monitoring its progress throughout the year. There is no doubt all municipalities in Ontario face challenges in the coming years. The economy continues to emerge from the pandemic, inflation is increasing the costs of all goods and services and supply chain issues continue to cause problems. What will your fiscal priorities be for Grey Highlands over the next four years?
I am going to start off by using this platform to ask every Grey Highlands resident to fill out the survey being conducted on the budget by the municipality. Why am I using up my limited, allotted words to tell you about something other than myself? :-)
Because the upcoming budget realities mean that I want as much consultation as possible.
I have really enjoyed knocking on doors and visiting all over Grey Highlands, and I am hearing fiscal priorities including road safety and traffic calming measures. Additionally, whether we like it or not, people are coming to Grey Highlands; I think investments are needed for things our community has just, frankly, never needed before, for example, electric charging stations, litter pick up, parking attendants at the waterfalls and much more. I think we need to invest to protect these spaces from the damage that can occur thanks to (good things) like tourism.
2. In the coming years, Grey Highlands can be expected to experience significant pressure for growth and development. The development wave is moving up the Highway 10 corridor, as evidenced by the growth in Dundalk. As a member of council what will your priorities be for managing and planning for this anticipated growth?
Everyone deserves a home they can afford, where they want to live. We are in a housing crisis, and we need to think outside of the box to provide attainable and affordable housing including more housing choices through expanded zoning options, gentle density via infilling with smart growth. Governments of the past paved over prime agriculture, let's not make the same mistake in Grey Highlands.
My priorities for managing and planning for this anticipated growth is density where density belongs, and that is where there are existing services. Housing is more affordable where most of the infrastructure investments have already been made.
Grey Highlands has implemented some very forward policy changes in the past four years aimed at supporting attainable housing, for example, this Council removed the minimum building size for a single family dwelling, removed development charges on Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs), allowed a duplex or triplex by way of right in serviced areas and have supported a review of minimum parking requirements in built-up areas.
As your mayor, I will:
Encourage infilling where services are currently.
Support secondary dwelling units (SDU), as well as an analysis of increasing the number of units.
Support tiny homes on temporarily leased land. (At the County level, Temporary Land Leases are being explored as a way to help support tiny home development; this solves the high cost of land, it does not solve the high cost of hooking into services.)
Support partnerships to get truly affordable homes built.
Support a review of minimum parking requirements.
3. The expansion of the Grey County-owned and operated Grey Gables long-term care home in Markdale is currently in limbo. The Ministry of Long-Term Care has awarded the county new beds to allow for an expansion, but county council has put the project on hold. As a member of Grey Highlands council, how will you encourage Grey County to proceed with this project?
As the mayor of Grey Highlands, I will put forward a resolution to direct Grey County Staff to include Grey Gables and the 60 plus approved beds in the County's ten year plan. Then I will work with every Mayor and Deputy Mayor to ensure all their questions are satisfactorily answered. All within the limitations of quorum, of course!
Additionally, not only will I prioritize the long term sustainability of Grey Gables, but I also support The Grey Highlands Age-Friendly Action Plan that was supported by this Council. I would like to see the new Council develop a Strategic Plan that ensures age-friendly policies are supported in our community.
See more about this on my blog, Implementing The Grey CountyAge-Friendly Community Action Plan.
4. Road Safety has been a topic of conversation in the community for some time. Please share with us what your priorities will be for addressing road safety concerns in the municipality.
Road safety is a huge concern within all of Grey Highlands. Grey Highlands’ Staff is currently working on a Road Safety Plan that includes options for traffic calming measures many from this plan.
Additionally, Staff is preparing a Transportation Master Plan; this reports on--among other things--Grey Highlands' sidewalk inventory and needs. I believe communities are well-served by active transportation infrastructure, and I will prioritize financial investments to increase our sidewalk inventory and slow people down.
At the Wednesday September 21, 2022 Council meeting, I made a motion that Grey Highlands Staff prepare a Staff Report as part of the 2023 budget process to evaluate the possibility of increased enforcement options that might include a dedicated Grey Highlands Community Safety Officer. It passed unanimously, and will be deliberated by the next Council.
Thanks to Collingwood Today for the great questions, you can read all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!