After reader demand for a Regional Councillor questionnaire similar to our Mayoral and Ward posts, we decided to go ahead and ask the two Regional Councillor Candidates their thoughts on growth, planning and issues in Grimsby at the Regional level. Both candidates responded to the questionnaire and the results are presented below.
Unlike the Ward races, you only get one vote for Regional Councillor, so choose wisely!
First, lets take a look at the candidate bios:
Occupation: Retired, Incumbent Regional Councillor for Grimsby
Occupation: I run a small family farm and participate in several volunteer positions.
And here is how the candidate(s) answered our questions…
Q: What is the most important experience or skill set you can bring to Regional Council if elected/re-elected?
The most important skillset is that my peers selected me as Vice-Chair of the Niagara Transit Commission, which will provide a seat at the table for Niagara West and small LAMs, Vice-Chair of Public Works and Chair of the Transportation Steering Committee. Transportation is extremely important and cannot be lost.
I am a long time resident of the escarpment, with a background in agriculture, and knowledge of wetlands and ecologically sensitive microenvironments. I have 8 years of experience on Grimsby council, working with staff, council members and the community I can be a team leader and a team player.
Q: Do you believe in the concept of responsible growth? If yes, please explain your definition of responsible growth as it relates to Grimsby at the Regional level?
Responsible growth is infilling but must be kept in the same pattern of existing growth. Putting a two-storey house beside a bungalow is not responsible growth. The new Official Plan should also be followed and the Region should also make sure that it is followed.
The region relies on municipalities to determine development, densities and infilling. Responsible growth to me means infilling where possible, maintaining the character of the surrounding area. I feel that if we are to maintain our heritage sites, the region and the municipalities need to offer some form of financial support.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge or hurdle facing the Town in terms of planning and development at the Regional level and how would you solve it?
I have not heard that there is any major challenge or hurdle facing the Town in terms of planning and development at the Region level. I understand that the Region supports the Town and they both have agreed on the new Regional Official Plan.
The region wants Grimsby’s population to grow a further 4,000 before 2051 which will require careful planning. We will need to be sure infrastructure is in place for the expected population increase, find ways to use infilling while keeping our farmlands and ecologically sensitive areas protected.
Q: The issue of law enforcement has become of significant concern to residents in recent years, whether it is the increase in petty crimes or dangerous driving on our streets. With Grimsby having minimal and strained police resources, this has led to resident frustration. What effective actions will you take at the Region to address these law enforcement issues in the Town and ensure Grimsby remains safe?
In the last budget, Regional Council approved the hiring of 40 new police officers. Maybe what certain areas should do is implement "Neighborhood Watch" programs to deter petty crimes. Speed Limits within Grimsby should be reduced to 40 km/h on secondary streets and 50 km/h on major arteries.
The three communities that make up Niagara West have traffic concerns (speeding, reckless driving, thefts, vandalism, heavy truck traffic on escarpment roads), property damage and thefts as the main complaints. Our area can be plagued with long wait times with an understaffed police force, especially on the night shifts. When lack of service interferes with human safety, then we are not adequately covered. With increasing density and populations, Regional council needs to find ways of increasing the police force in such a way that Niagara West is adequately covered.
And that is it from our Regional Councillor candidates.
If you missed our previous posts Mayoral and Ward questionnaires, you can catch up on them here:
Representing the citizens of Grimsby to ensure that the Town’s planning for intensification results in responsible growth while preserving the majesty of the escarpment and natural areas, the Lake Ontario waterfront, the small town charm, character and history, and the friendly nature of its people.
Bringing the citizens of Grimsby and its elected town council together to foster responsible growth and good planning to make Grimsby a leading community of modern small town living.