Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: The Bayshore Broadcasting Survey
This blog series explores some of the questions I have been asked by Grey Highlands' constituents. This post reviews the questions in The Bayshore Broadcasting Survey.
The following questions are answered below:
Why are you running?
It’s time that Grey Highlands had leadership that is about people, not politics. As you Mayor, I am committed to open communication. I believe in working collaboratively, and not seeing the world as either winners or losers because divisive politics are a barrier to real solutions that improve people’s lives. I will strive to make “politician” evoke a positive image: an image of integrity and transparency.
I am running because I am committed to a collaborative government that works transparently with staff and the community. Grey Highlands needs resilient and capable leadership to navigate both the urban-out migration, as well as the over-tourism affecting our area. This includes the traffic speed increases in our community.
I am running because Grey Highlands is changing, and we need forward thinking leadership that reflects where Grey Highlands is headed. Let’s build a community that is shaped by our strong rural, farming roots.
I am running because I am committed to supporting affordable housing through infilling with smart growth in our built-up areas. 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 within our existing urban boundaries.
Learn more about me and why I am running.
Are there any steps municipalities can take to help ease cost of living concerns?
Municipal revenue is limited to property taxes, user fees for services, and transfers from the provincial government (or occasionally from the federal government). Property taxes are not popular, but they are necessary as municipalities are required to balance the budget every year. This said, every year, Grey Highlands Council does its best to keep taxes as low as possible while ensuring the priority needs and wants of the community are met.
We can affect the cost of living in Grey Highlands through smart housing policy.
As your mayor, I will:
Encourage infilling within existing in-catchment boundaries that are currently serviced.
Support secondary dwelling units (SDU).
Support tiny homes on temporarily leased land.
Support partnerships to get truly deeply affordable homes built.
Support a review of minimum parking requirements.
Learn more about my opinions on Smart Growth.
What are your ideas for economic development in your municipality?
As the Mayor of Grey Highlands, I will have open communication with not only the Chamber of Commerce but all business owners and business groups within Grey Highlands, for example, Grey County Agricultural Services, the Arts Community, and so on.
I believe the municipality can be a big supporter of the Buy Local movement, and can support all of the very different businesses across Grey Highlands through the Community Improvement Plan and social media promotion. This obviously includes the businesses in our villages, but should also include the other businesses found in our homes and on our farms.
Additionally, I believe that supporting Aging in Place strategies like Secondary Dwelling Units (SDU) will keep seniors in our community, and; hopefully, spending their money here. I recently rediscovered The Grey County Age-Friendly Community Action Plan and many of these initiatives would go a long way to creating an open, inviting space that all ages want to be in.
Check out my post on The Grey County Age-Friendly Community Action Plan.
Do you think the municipality has a role to play in the recruitment and retention of physicians and other healthcare workers?
Grey Highlands can play a role in the recruitment and retention of physicians and other healthcare workers by providing affordable housing for new residents. Grey Highlands will be both economically sustainable, as well as better able to retain professions of all types (and teachers for that matter) if Grey Highlands is a place people want to live and people can afford a home here.
Additionally, providing more recreational activities in Grey Highlands will not only attract more families (who might be nurses, doctors, teachers, and so on), but more money will be spent in our community because parents are not leaving our community to take their kids to activities like gymnastics, dance, karate, and so on.
What would you like to see for land development in Grey Highlands?
I would like to see development that reflects Grey Highlands’ rural culture and landscape. 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, allowed to build a duplex or triplex by way of right in serviced areas and I have supported a review of minimum parking requirements in built-up areas.
What would you like to see for community safety and well-being?
Road safety is a huge concern within all of Grey Highlands. Grey Highlands’ Staff are currently working on a Road Safety Plan that includes options for traffic calming measures many from this plan that will include speed limits, lighting, cross walks, sidewalks and enforcement.
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.
See my post, Running for Mayor: Smart Growth for more details.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!