Hello Ward 5!

Councillor Debbie Schaefer
Hello Ward 5 residents & businesses and the rest of King Township,

I am thrilled to continue as Councillor for Ward 5 in this ever so beautiful King Township!  I appreciate so much the trust that voters have expressed by voting for me.  I will work hard and creatively to serve the community for this next term of Council.

As I campaigned I not only had the opportunity to tell people about myself and what I wanted to accomplish, I also heard from residents about the issues and how they see them.  Top issue expressed is traffic (speed and volume) and parking.  A close second one is development, both subdivision development and development within the traditional/older subdivisions.  In King City, inadequate amenities were often flagged; this particularly frustrates some since new subdivisions have been built.   I heard from our rural businesses and homeowners that they need a significant improvement in broadband capability.  I also heard about substandard roads and sidewalks.

I heard clear confirmation that people expect and want our natural heritage to be protected.  I also heard relief that I stand for not changing the boundaries of King City and not increasing the population cap of 12,500 for King City.

Hearing all this only increased my desire to serve on Council for this term.  The Council of 2010-14 initiated and approved many strategies which address these issues.  We have some big challenges; but we have identified where we want to get to and how we are going to do so.

Debbie Schaefer

Only a Few Days left to campaign

There are only a few more days for me to connect with voters before election day October 27th.  And as my success criteria is a quality conversation as opposed to volume of visits, I am not going to reach every door.

  • I have been very pleased to have the chance to review with people how I see closing the recreational facilities deficit in King. There have been many questions on how and when there will be more playgrounds for all the new children living in King City.  And I have been glad to review how we are working to establish partnerships to enable us to establish facilities in fiscally sustainable manner.
  • Road safety is on many peoples’ mind.  I have been able to review the process we are using in one of our older subdivisions to address the issue.
  • Property taxes have been a popular topic with residents.  I think people have been surprised to learn how King compares in terms of level of property tax versus neighbouring municipalities.  And there has been good discussion about how our $27million budget is spent.
  • The lack of housing choices for Seniors in King Township has been a hot topic.  The hurdles (zoning and property values) are huge; the conversations have served to remind me that  I must not give up on this issue, even though it is a tough one, if I am re-elected.

The challenges before Council are big ones.  I am convinced that I have the skills to tackle these issues.  I will continue to work as I have done during the first term:  soliciting input from the community, listening to input from the community and my Council colleagues, studying the problem and advocating for what I believe the best solution to be.    And, I will keep you informed.

The current Council has set the direction by developing our various strategies which are all based on the Sustainability Plan; if elected I will champion the wisdom of staying the course and executing these strategies.

If you don’t know me please contact me to set up a conversation. Alternatively you can read about my personal history and/or read about what I did in my 1st termand/or read about my platform. (Click on the hi-lights to find details.

 

 

 

Greenbelt Series…a valuable read

There is a very timely 6 part series in the Toronto Star, penned by veteran journalist John Barber on the Greenbelt.  His articles touch on everything:  from the Greenbelt’s agricultural sector, to the state of its urban river valleys, to its ecological, political, and economic future.  If you missed the series when it was published (September 13th to October 16th), as I did, you can find it here.

As Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan are up for review by the Province, it is important that we  remind ourselves as to what the GB is giving us and how it addresses King’s sustainability goals.  In addition, we need to be thinking about what amendments we would like to see, if any.  In an earlier post I have summarized my thoughts about the GB.

 

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On the campaign trail

Although it can be a tad wet & dreary these days when I am out knocking on doors, the conversations with constituents is very worthwhile.  I am hearing confirmation that my platform does resonate with people in terms of their issues and concerns.  And I am also hearing what “bugs” people about dealing with “city hall.”

People are anxious to see that our green spaces and the rural landscape is protected.

Within King City itself, residents are wondering how much more development there is.

Everywhere, rural and within King City, traffic, is affecting quality of life.

The concept of the Community Improvement Plan is getting the thumbs up; now, action is wanted.

The anecdotes about  frustrating interfaces with “city hall” is valuable for me; if re-elected I will have new fresh data to focus me on areas for improvement.

I invite you to contact me if you would like to have a talk before you vote; as I work my way around Ward 5 I may not reach your door in time or you might not be home.

 

 

Who is NOT funding my election campaign

I have voted with a resounding “yes” to the question from “Campaign Fairness” if I would promise to accept donations only from individuals and not from corporations and not for unions.  I have made this pledge to ensure that there is no ambiguity as to whom I am accountable.  The initiator of so many of the issues before me as a Councillor is development.  The resources that the developers bring to the table to plan and sell their proposals are significant and far outweigh the resources of the citizens of King who bring their point of view to the table and if necessary to argue against proposals put forward by developers.

This Campaign is sponsored by Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition; consequently the pledge has only been requested of those running in municipalities in the Lake Simcoe Watershed.  Given the research behind the question I think it is unfortunate that the question is not posed to all candidates across the Province.

What is the research?

  • Candidates with the financial support of the development industry are more likely to win than those who don’t.  In the “905″ in 2006, election winners got 54% of their funding from developers whereas the losers got 35%.
  • A 2006 study in Southern Ontario revealed that 78% of winners were incumbents and they got 3/4 of all the corporate contributions.

You can learn more about the campaign here and you can check out other candidates in King and other municipalities in the watershed.

 

Question the 2014 Candidates

Over the next couple weeks there are several opportunities to see and hear those who are running to serve as a Councillor in Wards 2,3,4,5 and 6.  Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) are hosting one Oct. 15 for Wards 3,4, and 6 and another one Oct. 20 for Wards 1,2 and 5.  King Chamber of Commerce is invitiong all King businesses to a meeting on October 16 for all candidates. Time and venues are below.  In addition to being an opportunity to listen to the candidates and to ask questions, you will also be able to hear from the two acclaimed Council members: Mayor Pellegrini and Councillor Mortelliti

Wednesday, Oct 15 7:15-9:30  at Kettleby-Pottageville Lions Community Hall (7th concession & 18th SDRD)

Thursday, Oct. 16, 8AM-11  Nobleton Lakes Golf Club (125 Nobleton Lakes Drive, Nobleton)

  • all Councillor candidates (i.e. Wards 2,3,4,5,6)

Monday, Oct. 20 7:15-9:30 Villa Nova College-library (15th SDRD, west of Keele)

  • Councillor Candidates for Wards 2 and (click here for names)
  • brief speeches by acclaimed Mayor and Ward 1 Councillor

 

 

 

Collard, Winter & Scott Re-construction Update

As I recently wrote, the reconstruction of Collard, Winter and Scott has not progressed as had been anticipated.  I brought it up at Council meeting on Monday; specifically I indicated that the status of the project is very disappointing and that the lack of communication on the project to both Council and residents is unacceptable.  The criticism on the communication failure was accepted and a clear apology was given.  Technical issues & challenges with the project were identified as an explanation for the delay.  Very importantly, commitment to execute the project with excellence was given; funds from the 2014 gas tax will be kept in reserve to fund it as soon as the frost is out of the ground in 2015.

Although it by no means balances the tardiness in execution there is a benefit:  as the request for proposals will be issued during the winter months we will get a better price.

During the questioning of Staff over the matter I was very pleased to learn that the Purchasing Co-ordinator is implementing a vendor/contractor performance monitoring program and data from this will be incorporated into future tender decisions. I have been questioning the degree to which previous performance is incorporated into our contract decisions; this program is much needed.

Although it by no means excuses the poor communication I do want to communicate to residents that the Engineering & Public Works staff is very stretched right now due to amount of activity and personnel departures.

 

 

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