My Accomplishments during my 1st Term
on King Township Council (2010 – 2014)
First Term as Councillor: the highlights of how I have influenced the evolution of King Township
I volunteered to be on numerous committees in order to truly impact development of programs.
- I was Chair of the Sustainability Task Force for the first 15 months of this Council term. Our work was to develop the Sustainability Plan for King. As we wanted it to be a community plan our work included engaging our residents and businesses to provide input. We launched the Sustainability Plan in April 2012; it includes identification of 13 priorities and a “bank” of hundreds of action items. This Plan now influences the work of Township Staff. It is the foundation for all the other strategies developed and approved by Council in this term.
- I volunteered to be on the Heritage Advisory Committee and Sustainability Advisory Committee once the Sustainability Task Force was finished its work. In addition I volunteered to be on the Humber Watershed Alliance. I also was one of two councillors who participated in interviewing and selecting residents to be on the Advisory Committees throughout the term.
I have tackled the parking problem at King City GO station from many angles. (When I was campaigning in 2010 this issue was frequently identified as a problem.) This issue provided me a very good municipal politics lesson: the problem may not be in King Township’s jurisdiction but a Councillor can make a difference.
- I initiated requests to York Region for a shuttle service. Result: Bus 61 was launched January 2013; its route through the township enables people to take the bus to GO station for their morning commute to Toronto and picks them up at GO station in late afternoon. This eliminates 30-40 cars at the station.
- For 3 years our Staff has been relentless in putting the issue before Metrolinx. Results are slow but there has recently been one significant step forward: acquisition of the property immediately to the south for the purpose of providing parking.
- I joined Vaughan Councillor Marilyn Iafrate (Maple/Kleinburg) lobbying Province to accelerate building a new station at Kirby Road; once built commuters from Maple and area will cease coming to King City GO station.
For me a priority in our annual budget process is to build our reserves.
- Result: forecasted reserve for end of 2014 is $35 million (vs $12 million end of 2010). One reason for having a reserve is to provide funds to respond to emergencies such as we are doing this fall: emergency road repairs and reconstructions are being implemented fall 2014 to address problems caused by the very severe 2013/14 winter. This work includes several roads in Ward 5: Collard Drive, Winter Road and Scott Crescent.
I believe that we need to seek out and develop partnerships to supplement and enhance our position.
- I endorsed the agreement to lease out a portion of our museum space to a developer in exchange for significant renovation and expansion of the museum. The time frame ended up being longer than anticipated and the upgrades ended up being greater. After nearly 3 years the Museum will be back in full control of the Township as of October 2014. Upgrades include new exhibition space, new roof, and paved parking lot.
I am a strong advocate for the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plans (ORMCP). These plans do present restrictions in terms of land use; our response needs to be one of leveraging the value of those plans and developing creative alternatives which respect those plans.
- Although there were enticing aspects to a proposal for a wedding venue complex at Lloydtown Aurora Rd and 400 I was opposed to it. It did not conform to the ORMCP’s policies regulating new ventures in the countryside of the Moraine , specifically it was not for a recreational use. I am delighted that our Council unanimously opposed it and that the OMB upheld our position. I have written extensively about this application on this blog.
- I am opposed to a proposal to create & build an “age in place” condo community in protected countryside of Greenbelt Plan. The concept is wonderful; but it is totally in the wrong place. This proposal is still on the books. You can read about it here.
I introduced 10 motions for resolutions by King Township. Subjects were varied including one about use of neonicotinoid pesticides and the municipality’s commitment not to use them. Another was in response to the vulnerability of municipalities, including King, to contaminated soils being dumped under the guise of an aerodrome being built as there is ambiguity in Federal legislation covering such project. Another requested support from York Region for a parking/shuttle service to alleviate the parking problem at King City GO station. Summary of all the resolutions can be read here.
Finally, a very visible change in King come from development applications affecting areas currently not built up. I see my role as understanding the positions of my constituents, helping my constituents to understand the options and then working to achieve the best outcome for my constituents. There have been several very difficult ones in Ward 5 during my 1st term; difficult in the sense that the proposals were very inconsistent with the character of the established community/neighbourhood adjacent to the development site. Stakeholder satisfaction level with the different outcomes is varied.
When I think about my accomplishments I can’t help but think of issues which have not been resolved as I had hoped and wanted. From these situations there have been some good lessons. I knew the “principle” underlying these lessons before but during 1st term I got to see them in action, so to speak, as a Councillor.
- The best opportunity to really influence an outcome is to be involved from the outset, to ensure that the 1st set of decisions is the “right” ones. All the following decisions are tweaks.
- When the change is in one’s actual back yard OR front yard one evaluates options differently than others; and, it is tough to think strategically, long term when the choices affect one directly and immediately
- It is truly impossible to satisfy everyone.