Saturday, September 2, 2006
This Council has been very busy in making things happen as well as cleaning up the mistakes of previous Councils. Approximately $16 millions has been spent on these mistakes including $5 million so far on the SUBBOR lawsuit, $6 millions on the purchase of the Eaton's Centre (which was not supposed to cost the taxpayer a cent), several millions on the end of the OMERS tax holiday, plus a few other SNAFUs. Without these problems, tax increases could have been well below the rate of inflation, or alternatively the City could have funded some other needed programs.
Meanwhile a number of positive things have happened. New businesses that came to Guelph include the Tim Horton's Distribution Centre, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Zellers, Shopper's Drug Mart for the South part of Guelph, the Agri-Food Centre, the Galaxy Theatres, and 3 new hotels. There is more, but you get the idea. A heavy investment has occurred for infrastructure projects, and a new east end fire station was built, a South end Library was added, and a South end branch Library has been approved for construction next year.
Many industrial expansions have occurred, and the Hanlon Creek Business Park has cleared all the major hurdles, and with the approval of OMB, phase 1 will commence in 2007. Linamar will open several new plants as well as a research facility. All of these projects will ease the burden on the residential taxpayer as well as providing more employment opportunities and reverse the commuter trend. Guelph's future is bright.
2) Why did you decide to run for re-election?
There are issues that must be dealt with for the betterment of the City. Very simply it is the three "W"s - Water, Waste and Work. I want to ensure a safe secure, reliable water supply that meets the future needs of the City. The Master Water Supply plan must be completed I want to ensure proper management of our waste handling program, ensuring a minimum use of landfill. I want to see the City reach the performance of Sweden, where less than 10% of Municipal waste goes to Landfill. Sweden is a true leader in this area. I do not want to see our solutions rust out in 10 years as happened with the poorly approved designed, constructed and poorly located Composting plant located I also want to work for a new deal on taxation with the Federal and Provincial Governments to ease the burden of downloading onto the residential taxpayers. The basis of Municipal taxation should not exclusively be Market Value assessment. And I want to ensure that the commitment to quality of life issues is continued in all areas of
3) The Guelph Civic League has highlighted four issues for the consideration of voting students. Please comment on the following:
The initial board of GCL consisted of four failed candidates from the 2003 election. I do not know if they are still on the Board, but this has interfered with the integrity and credibility of GCL in my opinion. Further acts of disrespect by the spokesman when addressing Council with supporters waving flash cards further detracted from there neutrality, as well as satirical mockings of this Council.
a) What is your position on the proposed pipeline from Lake Erie to Guelph?
Please read the consultant's report. All options for supply must be considered. That is the Provincial directive. At this time the study is "work in progress" and no determination has been made on the future water supply provision. If you can tell me what the population of Guelph is 100 years from now, the question can be answered. The City needs to negotiate the growth rates and not accept the "Places to Grow" imposed rates.
b) How will you address issues of development in the city and what is your plan for the continued growth of Guelph?
- Continued emphasis on employment lands
- Eliminate the underservicing of the City by the retail sector
- Focus on intensification and infill.
- Remediation of brownfield sites in order to return them to productive use
- Keep addressing the infrastructure deficit.
c) If you are elected to council do you intend to lend your support to the continuation of the student bus pass?
Absolutely. This program was copied from Queen's University, and it is very worthwhile. Ridership stats indicate that buses to and from the University are the most utilized in the City. This is an excellent program. I do not understand why GCL thinks it is an issue.
d) The GCL is concerned about the size and number of bike lanes on Guelph roads, will you push for greater bike access?
Bike lanes are fine, however this is Canada, and the use in the Wintertime is problematic.
We need some education on the use of bike lanes. I find it irritating that cyclists prefer to ride on the sidewalk even in areas where bike lanes exist, and some bikers completely ignore the rules of the road.
4) Is there another issue(s) that you think voters should be aware of when considering their choices at the ballet box?
In addition to the City issues, there are Ward specific issues that need addressing. In Ward 2 this includes traffic and safety issues, particularly around Woodlawn Road, the need for convenient grocery stores in the Woodlawn/Victoria Rd. area, resolution of the two termite areas, and improved health facilities and services. Candidates must have a broad perspective, a narrow/single issue candidate is not what you want.
5) What’s you final message to U of G students?
Find out the various platforms and be questioning. Making a statement is not proof that it is true. Do some research and get various points of view on the issues. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric. You want Councilors who are open-minded and will consider all input and do a lot of research before making a decision on any matter. When people say Guelph is a leader, ask for evidence. Get informed and vote, whether it is in Guelph or in your home town.