Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Stratford's Mayoral Candidates - 2018

Note: Last week, the Beacon Herald published the submissions of two mayoral candidates. The third was reported as not having responded but in fact, the Beacon Herald had made a mistake in the email address and the candidate had not received a request for information. No phone call to check, simply a statement that he did not respond to the Beacon Herald's invitation to submit.
I asked the Beacon to post the three mayoral candidates' submissions online so they could be distributed by interested citizens. I hope they will do so but in the meantime, I've asked the three for their submissions. I've taken pictures of the two that appeared in the Beacon and will update them when I receive them.

Here is additional information on all the Council candidates and the candidates running for the Avon Maitland District School Board. Tina Doherty was acclaimed to represent the Huron Perth District School Board.

Your help spreading the word would be appreciated.

Tom Drake

What you need to know before voting
  1. When a City expropriates land they are required to pay the legal fees for both themselves and the counterparty, as well as interest at a minimum of 6%., and to reimburse the lost opportunity costs of the previous owner. Legal fees related to the Cooper site are passing $20 million. And if Lawrence Ryan wins his appeals, his potential entitlement is more than $100 million.
  2. The existing building on the Cooper site cannot be torn down if the City wishes to rebuild within 200 ft of the railway tracks. There would need to be a berm, meaning this space could not even be used for parking.
  3. The outgoing mayor has had 4 terms in which to solve the Cooper site problem, and has cost the City potentially 2 whole years of revenue. The City’s average expenses for a year is $55 million, so if required to pay compensation of $100 million, taxpayers will be hit with a huge bill.
  4. The City needs to purchase or redeploy a different existing city property for the Community Hub that is in a better location and quicker to build.
  5. Stratford needs to perceive itself as a regional centre and expand its transit services to move people in and out of Stratford in all directions. And we need to address arterial roads across town so that express traffic can miss the downtown core, allowing more space for bicycles and parking.
  6. Planning needs to become more imaginative, and consider building up and filling in. Mini houses, accessory suites, repurposing old factories, taller buildings, apartments in large houses should help alleviate the shortage of rentals and help keep the costs of housing manageable for all ages.
  7. I’m proposing a green energy initiative combined with a boost for local manufacturing industry. I would look at a tax rebate of 25% up to $500 for purchase or installation of green building products made in Stratford. For example, upgrading windows, insulation, heating systems, solar panels, This would send a signal to the manufacturers of these types of products to locate here in Stratford, and be close to a motivated customer base.
  8. Stratford has to utilize its only natural resource – the productive farmland surrounding the city – and attract industries associated with agriculture. This should provide a more stable economic base without the fluctuations of auto parts and the boom and bust of IT.
  9. As a mayor, my job is to ensure that civility and respect in council. This would include more transparency in city business and make sure that the public is aware of each councillors opinion.
During this election campaign, many worthwhile ideas have been put forward by all the candidates and by the public, and if elected, I will be encouraging city staff, council committees, and local interest groups to work together to implement the best Stratford solutions quickly.

Andrew Fraser

Stratford has what it takes to be one of the truly great small cities of the world: we have many of the necessary foundations and a rich history, world-class theatre, a strong agricultural heritage and a robust industrial sector. This is why I chose to make Stratford my home and why I am running for Mayor. We need to redefine the vision we hold of our city to that of the community we desire to live in tomorrow and long into the future.

Stratford is currently carrying a disclosed debt load of close to $60 million, which places a tremendous burden on our city finances. I am a fiscal conservative and as mayor, I will prioritise the implementation of timely, viable solutions to the following issues:

Stratford is in desperate need of a walk-in medical clinic for those without access to a family doctor. I am already speaking with physicians to create a plan to make this a reality.

Public transportation needs creative solutions in order to make transit more efficient and affordable, while meeting the needs of riders better. Extended hours, express routes, and smaller buses are all options to make our transit system more user-friendly, increasing ridership and offsetting costs.  

Affordable housing is a high priority. We need more multi-level buildings, structured plans and detailed supports in place to facilitate the step from rental to home ownership, creating vibrant communities that people are proud to call home.
Our city has need for a multi-use community space with a civic auditorium, where all of Stratford’s residents can congregate and feel engaged by programming and events. This could be created outside of the Cooper site within a reasonable timeframe.

We need to ensure our residential side streets are maintained with safety in mind. Slower speeds and more stop signs, better sidewalk and road maintenance, and designated bicycle lanes would be easy to address quickly.

In my work across Ontario, I have gained many insights into the issues that cities are facing and will bring that knowledge to City Hall. I grew up in Keswick, Ontario a small, seasonal tourist town. I was educated at the University of Toronto, and am currently a licensed real estate and mortgage agent. I have chosen not to be involved in real estate and mortgages in Stratford, instead focusing on this community as the place we call home and raise our three young boys.

Dan Mathieson

I have been a long-standing advocate of Stratford. Having sat on municipal council since 1995, I have been a member of several boards and committees in healthcare, public affairs, law enforcement, sports, non-profits, and universities. I am currently Past Chair of Kings University College at Western University, Chair of the Stratford Police Services Board, Member of the Board of Directors of Festival Hydro and Rhyzome Networks, the Stratford Festival, and the Advisory Board of the University of Waterloo-Stratford Campus among many others.

During my tenure on the municipal council, my priority was to ensure that Stratford can meet the needs of its residents both today and tomorrow. I am proud of my accomplishments in the last few years like establishing the University of Waterloo-Stratford Campus, securing City financial support for building the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice, developing a high-speed broadband and wifi network to serve residents and businesses, creating partnerships to construct new affordable housing units in Stratford, attracting new investments and employers that have diversified Stratford’s economy, reconstructing Stratford’s Market Square as public gather space, establishing Stratford as a hub for the testing and researching of autonomous vehicles and the expansion and renovation of the Anne Hathaway Day Care Centre. I am glad that these critical initiatives have helped make Stratford an even better place to live and work. This is my motivation and I am committed to continuing this work for the next four years. 
In the coming years, I am dedicated to starting construction on a new Community Hub that includes space for seniors and youth center, a new YMCA, a student life center for the university, and space for cultural and arts programming. I will work on updating and executing the Stratford-Perth 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan and implementing the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. Another crucial point in my agenda is enhancing Stratford’s economy by providing support for business startups, training for residents, attracting new industries, and expanding available employment lands. In addition to the above point, I will ensure we continue to offer the connect2SKILLS Program to assist those in employment transition to get re-skilled for the jobs of the future. Last but not the least, I will work together with the community stakeholders - citizens, school boards, the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, and mental health and counseling service professionals - to develop and implement a Community Mental Health Strategy.

The Beacon Herald has now published a complete list of candidates. http://bit.ly/Election2018CouncilCandidates

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