Statement for the Judicial Inquiry

NB: This is the statement I read aloud at the public meeting for the Judicial Inquiry, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. It is a much-abbreviated version of a statement I have made in my written submission to the inquiry.

Thank you, your honour, for letting me speak tonight. My name is Ian Chadwick. I was a member of the previous council.

This inquiry is about two of the many challenges council faced and overcame last term.

First was the changing nature of Ontario’s energy sector. Prior to the provincial election, all three political parties vowed to reduce the number of Local Distribution Companies across the province. The town expected legislation to force amalgamations after the election.

Council chose to be proactive.

Council listened to our utility board, to our utility and town staff, and to a consultant from the world-renowned firm KPMG. We created a Strategic Planning Team tasked with the responsibility of finding the best option and then guiding us along that path through an open public process.

Our decision to engage in a strategic partnership was lauded around the province as a model of cooperation and collaboration.
Continue reading “Statement for the Judicial Inquiry”

My responses to residents: 4

Questions? I have answers.NB: As a candidate for Deputy Mayor in the upcoming municipal election, I receive questions from residents about my stand on various issues and policies. I will post my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.

Please keep your answers short and to the point. The following are my questions:

1.What do you see as the main issues in this upcoming election campaign?

Answer: A return to open, accountable and ethical government to regain the trust of the people and staff is the first priority.

2.What experience do you bring to the office of Deputy Mayor?

Answer: Three terms on council, a dozen years before that in local media covering regional councils and politics, two decades serving on municipal boards and committees, serving the last four years on the county’s library, museum and archives board, serving the past two years on the local source protection committee. Plus being a contributor to Municipal World as both feature writer and book author on municipal issues. Plus owning and operating a successful local retail business for a decade which taught me much about financial management and budgeting.

3.What is your vision for Collingwood?

Answer: A return to open, accountable and ethical government will allow us to rebuild our tattered reputation, and restore public faith in town hall. A return to proper fiscal management will allow us to take on projects and initiatives for the betterment of the people and the town.

Continue reading “My responses to residents: 4”

My responses to residents: 3

Questions? I have answers.NB: As a candidate for Deputy Mayor in the upcoming municipal election, I receive questions from residents about my stand on various issues and policies. I will post my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.

Looking forward to your review & response to enclosed questions to understand your level of support to improve cycling infrastructure in Collingwood that you will provide if elected in the upcoming election.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment and respond to your questions. As a bit of background, when I was on council (2003-2014) I advocated for and championed alternate transit, spoke up for dedicated bicycle lanes and ‘sharrows’ on side streets, requested three-metre sidewalks for shared use (such as were installed on the north side of First St), and requested a change in the sidewalk bylaw to permit riding on the wider sidewalks. I also supported the installation of roundabouts for traffic calming on Poplar Sideroad and the proposed one at High and Sixth Streets. I spoke with the clerk’s bylaw staff about prohibiting parking in marked bicycle lanes along Ontario Street and the liability that parking presented to the town.

I also advocated for mandatory bicycle racks and dedicated bicycle (and pedestrian) lanes in all new commercial developments and malls within the town’s urban design guidelines. Plus I asked for a report on more upscale bicycle locking and storage devices downtown (I saw a presentation on a vertical storage unit that seemed appropriate).
My wife and I bicycle around town in the clement weather. Although we are not sport cyclists, we like to ride the local trails and sideroads for short (10-20km) trips to the waterfront, our parks and other communities. We are both aware of many of the issues that face cyclists including traffic and streets not designed for shared transportation.

Given the growing interest in cycling in the region, both among residents and as a tourist/visitor attraction, it is appropriate to create a regional committee with members of all local councils, staff and the cycling community to collaboratively examine challenges and opportunities. I support a regional cycling strategy where common standards and priorities are adopted by all local municipalities.

Continue reading “My responses to residents: 3”

My responses to residents: 2

Questions? I have answers.NB: As a candidate for Deputy Mayor in the upcoming municipal election, I receive questions from residents about my stand on various issues and policies. I will post my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.

Hi Ian,
Where do you want the hospital to be built ?

It’s not where *I* want the hospital built that matters – it’s where the hospital’s staff, consultants, planners and board identified as the best place after many months of surveying, studying and planning. They are the experts, not me, not anyone on council.

It’s the site with the best access for ambulances and helicopters, land to grow in the future, and which serves the region best. The current site would lose its helicopter landing access if it built up on that property.

The hospital consultants and planners said that the best site was on Poplar Sideroad. And that’s the site the council should have supported. It’s a mere two minutes from the current site by car, but it addresses the hospital’s plans for our future healthcare best of all three sites surveyed. And because it’s beside Georgian College, it provides an opportunity for the college to expand its own healthcare education programs in concert with the hospital.

Site number two was in Wasaga Beach, but I would hope that it stayed here. Council should have supported the hospital and not have hired lawyers and consultants to contradict the board’s decision.

My responses to residents: 1

Questions? I have answers.NB: As a candidate for Deputy Mayor in the upcoming municipal election, I receive questions from residents about my stand on various issues and policies. I will post my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.

One of my main concerns is development in the area. I do understand that development is important for the economic growth of Collingwood and builds a tax base. My concern is the natural area that makes Collingwood beautiful is shrinking especially with the future housing plans.

Is this a priority for you? If yes, what will you do to ensure protected areas remain protected and the natural beauty remains? If not, please explain.

Response: I too am concerned, but there’s not much any municipality can do because planning is controlled predominantly at the provincial level. Collingwood was designated as a growth area several years back, as part of the provincial plan to limit sprawl in more rural areas. The county also supports this, by the way. It means we see more residential growth than most of our neighbours. And yes it means increasing loss of greenspace.

Compounding this is the shift in real estate that has driven many homeowners in the GTA to sell and move outside the city – and with it a demographic change because many of these new residents are older and retired. That has driven up the market for housing and accelerated the growth in some areas.

Although growth brings in new money – and for a council that manages its finances carefully, that helps keep taxes low – it also means more demands on infrastructure and services, which can also raise costs for them. And few if any of the new homes are in the “affordable” range for many of our residents (especially seniors and low-income earners).

The Planning Act, the county’s Official Plan and our own Official Plan lay out what can be developed and where. Since all of this land is in private hands, we can only regulate it according to these documents: things like servicing, density, setbacks, roads, tails, parkland, etc. We can slow growth down through bureaucratic means, but not stop it indefinitely.

We even have little to no control over things like style and design (although last term I did manage to get a change to stop the building of ‘snout houses’ here). Last term I also raised mandatory tree planting in new developments, but it didn’t gain traction (I’ll try again next term).

Continue reading “My responses to residents: 1”

Airport sold after secret deal, no public input

According to the Connection, Collingwood’s airport – owned by the taxpayers – was just sold to a private corporation after almost 20 closed-door council sessions. Not once was the public consulted. Not once was the public told WHY or even if selling the airport was good for the community. Not once did Brian Saunderson or his Block puppets warn the public last election campaign that they planned to sell our public asset. 

Not once did Saunderson or the Block or the town administration present a business case in the past four years to show that selling it was good, that it benefitted the town, or compare options for keeping it. It was all done in secret, behind closed doors. Just like everything Saunderson and his cabal do.

There it goes. Sold for $4.1 million – which, if I recall the last appraisal correctly, is $2 million LESS than it was valued at last term. And imagine how much more it would have been worth if Saunderson and his Block had not blocked the commercial development there, with it’s 1,000-plus local jobs!

And that won’t begin to pay the costs of the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry. But that’s really why he’s selling our assets: to pay for his vendettas.

Saunderson wants to be your mayor and his minions want to be on council again. Yet they’ve sold another public asset without once informing or consulting the public, even after their numerous closed-door meetings. Is that REALLY the sort of government you want at the table for the next four years? Haven’t you had enough of their secrecy and deception?

Collingwood deserves better.