My Accomplishments during my 2nd Term on King Township Council (2014 – 2018) – plus some extras
I found it personally rewarding to participate in these important initiatives.
Careful strategic financial management
Building our infrastructure reserves; as of Dec. 31, 2017 it is $14.665 million vs $5.8 in 2015.
Benefits: for both current and future residents & businesses there is capital available to address long term infrastructure needs (maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction).
Leveraging Development Charges, partnerships and our real estate to fund needed infrastructure
Benefits: minimizing tax payer dollars spent to deliver desired services
Sensitive to overall cost of living pressures on tax payers
Benefits: The Township portion of 2018 property tax, very specifically, is lower than it would have been if I had not considered other cost pressures and the increase in MPAC assessment.
Streetscaping on Keele Street and King Road
Keele Street (King Road to Station Road) in process as of June 2018
King Road (from new municipal office to Library) is in the budget for execution 2019
Benefits: visual improvement and smooth sidewalks which are safe to walk on and are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs
New Municipal Hall
Benefits: In contrast to the current crowded Hall, the new Hall will be a place where residents and businesses can carry out their business with the municipality easily and efficiently. The design also includes new community space, specifically a gymnasium, and a substation for York Region Police.
Target commencement of use is late fall 2018.
The financing plan is sustainable; it respects the tax payers of today and tomorrow
- total budget $21.5 million
- 50% ($10.5 million) from sale of property (2075 King Road)
- debenture financing $4 million remainder from York Region Police, Development Charges, Infrastructure Reserve
New community hub in King City (expansion of King City Library and new King City Seniors Centre adjacent to library.)
Benefits: For the Seniors there is improved programming opportunities and more space. For the library users there is not only more space but a configuration appropriate for contemporary needs and the digital world.
The financing plan is sustainable; it respects the tax payers of today and tomorrow.
- total budget $10.7 million
- 50% funded by Development Charges (DC’s)
- 28% ($3 million) funded by 10-year debenture.
Protecting Our Established Neighbourhoods: I have opposed severance applications. I have actively participated in the development of the new zoning bylaws for the 3 villages.
Benefits: Directs intensification to the “right” areas of the villages, namely not in the mature neighbourhoods. Enables fulfillment of the desire for replacement homes larger than originals but also limits the magnitude of the increases to respect the current character of the mature neighbourhoods.
Conversion of all street lamps to LED
Benefits: LED are significantly more energy efficient; pay out is estimated to be 8 years. In most cases the quality of the illumination is brighter while reducing light pollution. Its anticipated that conversion will be completed by fall 2018.
Refurbished Roads of interest to Ward 5
Station Road was rebuilt in 2016 and Collard Drive was done following year.
And of interest and value to all King Township residents: 19th SDRD from Hwy 27 to Rebellion Way was resurfaced in 2018 for $865,000. Initial proposal from Engineering was to rebuild the road for $2.4 million. I challenged this as it was an inappropriate road design for its rural setting and it was too expensive.
Commencement of installing broadband internet to rural areas
Benefits: Enables everyone to have access to internet which has been declared a fundamental right. Eliminates a competitive disadvantage to businesses by providing reliable, cost effective infrastructure. Enables students to carry out their studies efficiently.
Protecting and celebrating our cultural heritage
As a very active member on the Heritage Advisory Committee I am particularly proud of 3 initiatives.
- We recommended to Council to designate 66 Main Street in Schomberg.
- We re-instituted the annual King Heritage Awards in 2017 to engage the greater population in recognizing our numerous historical buildings and to show appreciation to property owners of their stewardship.
- We renewed our engagement with the very popular annual Doors Open Event by participating in 2016 and 2017.
Laskay Hall moved to Heritage & Cultural Centre
Benefits: We saved and restored an important designated historical building. Very importantly once again the community will be able to hold events there. A grand re-opening is being hosted by Friends of Laskay in September.
Partnership with Arts Society King (ASK) I have been a non-voting member of ASK board for several years. I am delighted that there is now a 3-year partnership agreement between Township and ASK.
Benefits: provides the foundation for Township to work directly with ASK to promote, support and advocate for arts and culture. ASK’s track record features innovate events and programs which can only be better as there is now this formal multi-year agreement.
Sustainability I have continued to be an active member of the Sustainability Advisory Committee. Its all too easy to focus on one of the four pillars (environmental, socio-cultural, finance, economic) at the expense of the others. SAC, composed of citizens, Staff and Council members, assesses issues considering all four; and very importantly identifies and executes opportunities to engage the community.
Responsive to complaints about traffic When there are complaints about speeding I request Staff to monitor the area and get the facts. There are also complaints about the safety of egress, particularly for roads leading onto Regional arterial roads. When I heard complaints about Cavell and Keele I persuaded York Region to do the monitoring and to assess the topography. The latter revealed that there was a risk which could be mitigated with a flashing light over the road.
New and/or important amendments to by-laws
Zoning By-law for King City and Schomberg
Benefits: Provides better protection of the character in the established neighbourhoods without stifling the modern sensibility.
Zoning By-law for Cannabis
Benefits: ensures new growing facilities are in the right place and that the facilities’ infrastructure provides appropriate controls e.g. air ventilation. It also provides a mechanism for encouraging property owners, already established, to improve their operations.
Amendments to Sign Bylaw
Benefits: achieved a balance between needs of our business community to promote their services and merchandise and our desire to not diminish the aesthetic of our streetscapes and landscapes with signs. Also provided clarity on length of time contractor signs can be erected on private properties where work is being done.
Amendments to Animal Control Bylaw
Benefit: Bylaw Officers can now respond to a threatening dog before it bites or attacks someone.
Outside the usual focus areas of a Municipal Councillor I have worked on the following initiatives
For several years I lobbied Provincial Government to pass legislation to discourage strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). I was thrilled when Bill 52, known as the Protection of Public Participation Act passed third reading October 28, 2015. This protection is needed to ensure that citizens are secure in expressing opposition to development applications (or any other proposals) put forth by corporate entities who have the financial capability to threaten law suits.
Supported the Lake Simcoe Coalition effort to lobby Provincial Government to ban union and corporate donations to candidates in municipal elections. This was included in Bill 181, The Municipal Elections Act. This is the first election with this restriction. I believed this change was required to level the playing field. I have never taken such donations.
I proposed to my fellow Council members that the Township should offer rebates to Township citizens who make donations to individuals running in a municipal election campaign. Donations made to candidates in Federal or Provincial election campaigns receive a tax receipt which ultimately reduces the “cost” to the donor. Despite lobbying to do similar for municipal elections, the Province did not include this in Bill 181. I believe providing some level of rebate will encourage more citizens to get engaged in the election by selecting a candidate to financially support. This is turn would help candidates to get needed funding. Accomplishing the latter is daunting. Much to my regret my Council colleagues did not agree. Accordingly, neither my generous donors, nor the donors to other candidates, will be receiving a rebate.
I lobbied against the GTA West Corridor (Hwy 413) as I did not believe it would solve the identified problem: congestion. The nature of my lobbing was attending meetings hosted by Ministry of Transport (MTO), asking questions, challenging assumptions. At Council, when there were reports on the topic I raised issues as to the impact on King. I was relieved in February 2018 when MTO halted the environmental assessment (EA) for it and said they would look at other options.
I participated in the review of the Conservation Plans and Growth Plan conducted by the Crombie panel. The recommendations made in February 2016 entitled Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041 is critical for King’s future as 99% of our land is in Greenbelt. Furthermore, the report includes recommendations targeted to improve the capability of our farmers to prosper.
I responded to the migration crisis in late 2015 and became a volunteer in King for Refugees. The latter is a unique grass roots organization as it was formed with an objective of helping not just one Syrian refugee family but to continue helping future ones, limited only by volunteer and funding capacity. I am currently one of three Directors.