Brantford Sports Council Questionnaire

1. Why did you choose to run in this election?
Brantford will experience unprecedented growth during the next term of council and will also deal with a number of issues of significance. It’s important that the makeup of the new council include members like me who have the depth and breadth of experience to deal with the important issues and mentor the 4 incoming new members

2. How would you describe yourself to the voters?
Firstly, I look after the needs of the folks of the Third Ward. I communicate monthly by E-newsletter and in return receive great advice, learn about things that need fixing and hear ideas I can take to the council table for implementation.

I also demonstrate Strong, Sensible Leadership at council and in committee work. I’ve chaired just about every committee and have led a great many task forces and working groups.

3. What would you like the voters to know about you?
I grew up in Brantford, attending King George & Agnes Hodge Public Schools and Pauline Johnson CVS. After graduating from the University of Toronto, I lived and worked in Calgary, managing two large contracting companies. On returning to Brantford in 1990, I founded and operated a successful contracting company until retiring a couple of years ago.
First elected in 2003, I came to council having written the City Beat political column for the Brantford Expositor for 5 years.

4. What is your number one priority if you are elected?
My number one priority for the first quarter of 2023 is to rein in the proposed tax hike of 4.79% which, if it stands, will cost the average homeowner about $160. Most W3 homeowners would see a much larger increase

5. If elected, what are 3 steps that you would take to ensure our community is on a firm financial footing?
Firstly, we must look inward to continue to reorganize and be much more efficient. As chair of our Human Resources committee, I play a small role in ongoing reviews. We may also look at sideshifting some city operations to third parties who can take over certain roles.
Secondly, we must find ever more sources of revenue other than the taxpayer. For example, we subsidize our emergency dispatch and other services by also providing them to other communities. We also must find partnerships, sponsorships and opportunities previously never considered.
Thirdly we plan to introduce multi-year budgeting to provide greater budget masnagement capability.

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?
We would begin a process to evaluate the proposal based on these criteria:
Needs assessment – is there a need in the community.
Sustainability – is there a pool of potential users
Financing – presuming needs and sustainability meet the test, can we afford to build and operate
Partnerships – is there a group or organization that can play an ongoing role

We have looked at quite a opportunities over the years. One that comes to mind is a number of proposals to host a Junior A Hockey Club here. The City of Brantford evaluated each of the proposals on its merits – former Councillor Larry Kings and I composed the committee that reviewed the proposals for the City of Brantford. In the end, neither of the proponents chose to proceed further.

7. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with the funds?
The Brant Community Healthcare System has received provincial approval for a revevelopment and new hospital building on the site of Brantford General Hospital. The province requires the community to make a very significant financial contribution. The City of Brantford has already agreed to provide the land and absorb the costs of fees etc. Still, we need to raise a lot of money. That’s how I’d spend $1 million.
If I had a second million, it would be well spent upgrading and improving our multi-use trails and playgrounds. We do invest annually but we could accomplish much more, and more quickly with increased funding.

8. Where are your favourite places to spend time in your neighbourhood and in the community?
I spend a lot of time on our trail system, which by the way, is second to none. We continue to make investments which further enhance trail safety and accessibility.

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?
I was honoured to be selected by Mayor Davis to be a member of the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force.

The task force produced its report in June of 2020 and recommended 8 broad areas of activity.
This is the link: https://www.advantagebrantford.ca/en/resourcesGeneral/special/2020/COVID-19/PDFs/report_Economic-Recovery-Action-Plan.pdf
Much of the initial work is now complete.

Many local employers are having difficulty filling skilled and non-skilled positions. We need to do all we can to put employees and employers together – an initiative we are now exploring.

Additionally, we must continue to cut the red tape at city hall that stifles the development of small business opportunities. We have already relaxed the outdoor patio regulations for example.

We must also find ways to get people together again after hunkering down in isolation. Living on Facebook is not social interaction. We can offer more and better access to recreational programs and sports – particularly for seniors and young folks.