Brantford Sports Council Questionnaire

1. Why did you choose to run in this election?
Four years ago, I saw that the city was not addressing some important challenges and opportunities in several areas: transportation, housing, the drug crisis and more.
I wanted to meet them in a concerted way and give the city the foundation it needs to be ready for tomorrow.

Despite the challenges of coping with covid, we’ve made great progress in the last four years. Now I want to complete the job.

2. How would you describe yourself to the voters?
Brantford has been my home almost all my adult life. It’s the city where I built my career as a lawyer. It’s the city where I raised my family.
During all those years I’ve tried to give back to the city I love. I’ve been a part of community groups and charities helping children, families, seniors, and those at risk. I’ve led organizations building our economy and creating jobs.

As a lawyer, I’ve developed mediation, negotiation and problem-solving skills that can be applied to the pressing problems facing our city.
I’m optimistic about our city’s future and ready to seize the opportunities that are coming our way.

3. What would you like the voters to know about you?
I spent my career as a lawyer, but my undergraduate degree was in economics. I’ve always been interested in business and finance. I applied that knowledge in my legal career when I was the managing partner of my firm, which means it was my job to run the business side of a company with 55 employees. I have also used that knowledge in my volunteer work and as a city councillor to ensure that the organizations I’m involved with are well-funded and financially sound.

4. What is your number one priority if you are elected?
Homelessness and housing. We have launched new programs in conjunction with health and other agencies to help homeless people to get them off the street and into accommodation and, if necessary, to get help with substance abuse or mental health issues. In partnership with the County of Brant we are building 500 new affordable housing units. We must continue to pursue these solutions be creative and compassionate in looking for more ways to help.

For most people who are looking to rent or buy their own homes, the rapid rise in prices in recent years has made it difficult.

The basic problem is that the supply of housing is not keeping up with the demand. Brantford needs more housing units. The city has streamlined its approval process to get more houses built sooner. It provides financial incentives to encourage the construction of rental units. We encourage new infill housing in the existing city. And we are working hard to open up the land north of Powerline Road where thousands of new houses will be built in the coming years.

5. If elected, what are 3 steps that you would take to ensure our community is on a firm financial footing?
We have to continue to look for ways to increase city revenues and control costs so we can keep property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation.
Traditionally, municipalities have three sources of revenue: property taxes, fees and government grants.

We are developing a fourth revenue stream. For example, the merger of Brantford Hydro with Energy Plus (co-owned by Cambridge and North Dumfries) has created a new company, GrandBridge Energy. The new company will be larger, more efficient, and more profitable so it can pay increased dividends to its shareholders: the taxpayers of these three municipalities.

Our second approach is to reduce costs. During the Covid pandemic, when many city employees worked from home, productivity went up and absenteeism went down. Now, about 30 per cent of city employees work from home permanently. We had planned to spend $20 million to renovate the old city hall for social services staff. Now we don’t need that space, so we are saving that money. Third, we are disposing of assets that we don’t need and using the money to invest in things such as affordable housing and the construction of our new Brantford General Hospital. The old city hall is one example of a building that will be sold. Another is a former city building on Market Street which was sold earlier this year.

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?
For any municipal project we must evaluate how it fits into the city’s long-range plans. Does it answer a need? Will it improve the level or type of services to the public? How much will it cost to operate once built and who will be paying those costs? Who will use it? Will the level of use justify the upfront and ongoing costs? Who will own, control and manage the asset? These questions and more need to be answered before a decision can be made.

7. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with the funds?
I would put the money toward investments in affordable housing and the local share of the cost of rebuilding Brantford General Hospital.

8. Where are your favourite places to spend time in your neighbourhood and in the community?
I love being by the river, whether it’s fishing, hiking or biking.

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?
The most important thing to remember is that Covid is still with us. It is still vital that people get vaccinated or boosted. They need to follow public health protocols if they are unfortunate enough to come down with Covid.

Local businesses have suffered throughout the pandemic so Brantford residents can help them by shopping local and supporting local businesses, retailers and other businesses.