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

Property Assessments: news from MPAC

Monday 8/24 at 5PM there is a working Committee of the Whole session at which the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) will be making a presentation on the “State of Assessment, Present and Future in King.”  As is the usual protocol, members of the public are very welcomed to attend and listen; questions and/or deputations from the Public are not permitted.  Council members can ask questions but no decisions are made.

Understanding why the property tax owed to King is what it is is confusing.  It is a function of two things: i) the tax rate determined by the King, York Region (YR) and the School Board; and ii)  the assessed value of your property.  The latter is determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). (more…)

GTA West Corridor

August 24 Council agenda includes a Staff report including recommendations as to King’s feedback to the Ministry of Transport on the GTA West Corridor, specifically the eastern portion of the Corridor which is in vicinity of King.  Except for the possibility of this corridor being a bypass  for King Road there is nothing about this project which is positive nor is the analysis adequate. There are alternatives which have not been adequately investigated as is required by the Greenbelt Plan infrastructure policies;  the full cost of the project has been significantly underestimated as expropriation of high cost land has not been included; and finally the environmental impact is too great.  I think the Staff’s report is pretty good in terms of effectively looking after King’s interests except that we should be challenging the need for an interchange at Pine Valley/7th concession:  if the corridor is to be built the interchanges should be limited to the two urban growth centres i.e. Bolton and Vaughan City Centre.

I have deliberately said there is the “possibility” that the Corridor will be a bypass for King Road as the (more…)

Project MOVE

August 24 Council agenda includes Staff report with recommendations on the relocation of the Township Administrative Offices, specifically to relocate to the former Holy Name school site on King Road.  (This initiative has been entitled MOVE.)  I have not had opportunity to review it all yet but some points jump out at me which are very positive:   re-purposing a large portion of the current building and exploring the opportunity to include a York Region Police (YRP) Substation.  By repurposing we will be walking the talk about reducing waste and creatively integrating the old into contemporary times.  In addition to the obvious benefit of increased security in the community, inclusion of a YRP substation is an opportunity for sharing capital costs and a revenue stream in terms of lease costs to support ongoing operational costs.  To read the  recommendation and the consultant’ report follow this link to the agenda; scroll down to 9.2.

There have been some negative comments on this project because of the reported estimated full cost of $10 million.  This project will be done with an objective of minimum, if any, property tax dollars. A major source of funding will be the sale of the current Township Office. As noted above value of YRP is partially the opportunity to have a partner to share costs.  This Council will continue its practise of full transparency with our constituents.  It is premature to be saying it is a bad idea. 

Finally..to explain the project title MOVE.  Municipal Office Vision For Everyone

Trails Masterplan–final

The Masterplan for Trails in King has been completed and is on the 8/26 Council agenda for approval.  Personally I am excited about this plan as its execution will truly impact the quality of life of every person who lives in King with a few exceptions.  (The exceptions will be those who insist on driving everywhere all the time; but even those people may have visitors who want to spend some time on a trail.)  To see the report and read the Masterplan here is link to the agenda; scroll down 9.8.  The masterplan is lengthy;  to pique your interest I suggest going to page 70 and 71 of the masterplan where recommendations to King City Trails are reviewed.  Implementation of the plan will be over the next many years as it requires significant investment (total is estimated at $6.3 million.) The master plan is practical as it recommends a priority schedule.  Clearly, this will be one of the inputs to the 2016 budget.

OPA Application by Hickory Hills

There is a public meeting at Council on Aug. 24th regarding the Official Plan Amendment Application by Hickory Hills. (Here is formal notice of the meeting with some detail.) This application was initially presented in May 2011.  Given that much time has passed this public meeting is being held; for those following this effort to create 2 new lots, you will find that there have been some changes to lot sizes along with other things.  Here is the Staff report.

Noise By-law Exemptions: process

On Council agenda for 8/26 there is a Staff report recommending modifications to the noise by-law, specifically process for approving exemptions; in addition there is a recommendation to introduce a modest fee ($50) for processing applications. Very importantly this report confirms intent to review the current by-law for amendments and to consider the value of introducing a special events by-law.

I agree with these recommendations.  By the current by-law, most requests for exemptions are to go to Council.  I believe the latter, if followed, would divert time away from the issues which Council should be addressing. The proposed process, whereby an application is approved by the Clerk providing that the request meets the conditions identified, enables efficient processing of the application and ensures a good exchange of information about issues beyond “the noise” e.g. parking.  A small fee is appropriate as time is required to process it; the recommended $50 is consistent with other municipalities.  Here is the report.

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