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 have posted my responses here for everyone to read. My responses are in italics, below.
1. What is your vision for the transportation system here in Collingwood over the next 4 years? Are there any specific projects you would champion around the Council table? What role do you see transit and active transportation playing in Collingwood’s transportation mix moving forward, and how will you work to integrate those into our community over the next 4 years?
Answer: I would like to see an expanded an more user-accessible regional transportation system will help people who work in Collingwood but can’t afford to live here.
There is a possibility of a bus running to/from Barrie, but I have not seen anything to suggest the numbers of potential users. That would be a county initiative and I would support it.
I served on the council that brought in local transit and also on the later one that enhanced its hours of operation. Our staff regularly report on its use, so council keeps a close eye on how it is performing.
I have written, too, about the need for changes in traffic patterns and management, including additional signals on Highway 26 (at Rupert’s Landing and Elliot Street), plus internally at Third and High Streets. Plus we need more stop signs to slow traffic moving within town. Public safety should always be council’s prime concern.
We also should have better cycling access, with paved shoulders, bicycle lanes and bicycle water/rest stops on our trails. Cycling is not only transit, it’s becoming one of our most popular visitor activities. I wrote about this here: ianchadwick.com/blog/my-responses-to-residents-3/
2.) The town’s recent Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan identified the need for a multi-use facility as a key priority for the community moving forward. What steps (if any) will you take to move such a facility from vision to reality over the next 4 years?
Answer: A recplex is a very expensive project and takes 4-5 years to build. The last two proposals were incomplete, and expensive and the most recent one didn’t make meet community needs. Plus it recommended shutting down the Eddie Bush Arena, to which the council and the BIA are committed to retain and develop.
I’d only support a proposal that was much more comprehensive in outlining costs and needs, and took into account our existing – and well-used, very modern and popular – facilities.
But before we did anything, council should engage the community – especially the user associations and sports teams/clubs – to get a sense of what we need. Recreational uses and needs change over time and we should be sure that anything we build serves not just today’s users, but looks to the future.
3.) What role do you see the Town playing in alleviating the housing crisis in this area? The rental market in Collingwood is extremely challenging, even for a family with 2 working young professionals – I honestly can’t even imagine trying to find a house to rent for a family here working on a service industry wage, but that is the reality for many families. How will you work to ensure that there is more housing stock available in town, and that families can afford to live in the community where they work going forward?
Answer: I served on the town’s Affordable Housing Task Force in my first term, helped develop the plan that created rent-geared-to-income apartments in town, in my second, and on my last term I was on the council that advocated for the county to increase its subsidized housing allotments (which are being built right now at High and First Streets, thanks to the previous term’s efforts).
I wrote about housing issues recently on ianchadwick.com/blog/ten-points-on-affordable-housing and ask that you take a look at my thoughts there.
4.) If you were at my door, and I asked you to tell me, in one sentence, why my family should vote for you, knowing what you now know about me, what would you say? Essentially, I’ve given you my elevator pitch – this is your chance to give me yours!
Answer: Having served three terms on council, two-and-a-half decades on local boards and committees, and a dozen years in local media, I bring experience, knowledge and integrity to the table.
As a PS, I’d add: I currently serve on Simcoe County’s museum, library and archives board, and on the regional source water protection committee, plus I manage the communications for a non-profit association that advocates for municipal water systems and safe drinking water.