Brantford Sports Council Questionnaire
1. Why did you choose to run in this election?
Great question as I had gave this question serious consideration late this spring early this summer. With knowledge that many councillors including my Wardmate would not be seeking re-election, we all have to evaluate our ability to dedicate the time and commitment necessary to being a city councillor. As a shift worker, my job takes a hard toll on my body, however I know that the job I most enjoy is being a city councillor and that the time it requires being a public servant is time well spent and I wanted to continue to serve and champion ward 5 as a trusted voice who understands and connects with the people. .
2. How would you describe yourself to the voters?
I consider myself a working class representative of a working class ward who does the grind like many in the ward. People know that they can count on me when i give my word and that win or lose I serve with the people in mind.
3. What would you like the voters to know about you?
People can count on me. Its what people knew about me before i was elected and is why people contact me when they need help.
4. What is your number one priority if you are elected?
Crime, Housing, Opiods
My number one priority has been addressing the increased crime in Ward 5. Without safety and security its difficult to deliver on other aspects. I was receiving many calls this term, far far to many throughout the ward and especially the downtown. Alot have changes have come through, from security cameras to Special constables. It took 2 years longer to get this through, but early reports from the downtown businesses and residents have been very positive on these changes. There is a long way to go, but it feels like we have bottomed out and are heading up. Expanding this model into eastward and eagle place are in future plans. But there are alot more then one priority, there is always alot to get done, including making transit more useable to the person going to work or appointments, to keeping long term tenants in their homes. If we can’t keep long term tenants in their home in ward 5, the most affordable area to rent, we will struggle to keep up with our affordable housing goals as new subsized afffordable housing is often higher in rent then what many currently pay in ward 5. And finally the opiod crises that is sweeping across the country but really hitting Brantford in a hard way. Getting the help and rehab , improving the services and making sure that referrals actually can be followed through on are critical. People are asking for help, but often have to quickly return to the same environment they wish to break free of.
5. If elected, what are 3 steps that you would take to ensure our community is on a firm financial footing?
A well worded question as the community and the city are not necessarily the same. One has to consider the taxpayer and the rate payer. As Mpac increases the values of our properties, residential taxes are going to dramatically increase particularly once they have assessed the recent pricing spike residential properties sold. Keeping our tax rates down is imperative and not having the industrial commercial millrates downloaded onto the residential homeowner must stay on hold. While we can hire KPMG to make recommendations, its council that ultimately spends money on things such as the Post Office to create a 2nd city hall. Now its time to sell the old city hall or repurpose it for the needs of the community, but it should not be let go for a firesale price. $30 was spent on the post office and there is still structual work ahead. We have to separate needs from wants. We often have pork style politics going on and while it may make certain segments of a community happy, its often costly and based more on want then need. Finally, the rates and fees are often broadly looked at with generic increases that can make it very very difficult for a senior on a fixed income, someone on disabliity or working low wage jobs With rents often needing the wages of two jobs to keep a roof over your head, being nickled and dimed by extra user fees, is not always necessary and often too many times the same sources for increases are repeated time and again. While a cmunicipality MUST balance its budget, the affordablilty to all residents must be considered from my eyes, and this is often not the case.
6. If someone came up to you with a proposal to build a new public infrastructure in our city (i.e. bridge, road, facility, park etc.), how would you evaluate whether the project was worth implementing?
A) is it needed is it necessary? Is there public interest? How is it funded? Who pays who benefits and who else can be brought to the table? What information exists in the staff report, if this is brought from public interest and a desire to implement , request a staff report on its feasibiilty and have it presented at a future public meeting. A few examples would be Kiwaniss field, Tutela splashpad, and an example of not implementing a road, is the BSAR at the point it crosses into the glebe lands of Six Nations of the Grand River. Once a possible viable route, no longer so without the interest of Six Nations Putting an end to the expensive studies to design this road through this area was no longer viable , doable or feasible. Looking at the Flip side the Proposed route on the west side of the the grand is also problematic with a cemetary , a very expensive bridge and possible land claim issues as well as public resistance to the proposed route. A route is needed alternatives must be found and the public particularly those who are affected by the route and or require access to the highway need to be engaged in public meeting with staff as its important for the public to see thoe options that are avaiblable and the pros and cons of those options. Right now we see the very people opposed to the current route are also the ones who require the access to the highway.. The proper way forward is with public engagement in order to select a viable proposed route that meets the needs. Failure to sonsult with the public leads to unintended consequences and outcomes such as delays and lawsuits as occurred with the sale of Arrowdale.
7. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with the funds?
Well if i received it, with no strings attached, i would get public feed back on what they would like to see it put toward, From anything like homeless inititaitives, and how to leverage money, to seniors or Accesibility useages. To help build the hospital or clean up mohawk lake. To add in a fund to help clean up another brownfield, to expanding our tree canopy. To help with food security , to helping update another park or sportsfield , I would be saying, i have come into this grant money, its open ended what do you , the ward 5 community think we should do with it. Then look at the feasibility of doing it and then doing it.
8. Where are your favourite places to spend time in your neighbourhood and in the community?
I spend alot of time on our trails and parks. Like many, just getting used to going to community events again.
9. The Pandemic has been with us for the past three years and no one has been left untouched, what are the 3 key things you would do to overcome the impact of the Pandemic as we move forward in 2023 and 2024?
For me, switch off the social media and get face to face with people again. We lost alot of human social bonding and understanding. Something social media cannot give us in the same manner. It was a good bridge for communication during the pandemic but nothing equals meeting and greeting. However one must still be on guard as covid remains out there and is very contagious. Go to more public events and enjoy what is being offered, be it sports, music, theater, this is also healthy interaction. Good for your mental and physical health. Spend local, shop local. promote local.