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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Development and annexation hot topics at all candidates meeting

Development and annexation hot topics at all candidates meeting

The all candidates debate was held Thursday evening at Nantyr Shores care of the Greater Innisfil Chamber of Commerce. Twenty five candidates running for mayor, deputy mayor and councillor positions took to the stage, each with an opening statement and then fielding questions from the floor. John Hurd, running for councillor in ward 2 sent an email to the Chamber, stating he was unavailable to attend the debate due to an illness in his family.

Before the debate, the candidates running for ward positions picked a number which determined the order in which they would make their opening statement. Mayoral and deputy mayor candidates were each allowed five minutes, those running for councilor were allotted two.

Opening statements

Deputy Mayor Barb Baguley seeking the mayor's position was the first to speak. She said she has made a choice to be available full time as mayor. She also stated she did not support the 2006 budget.

"I've heard loud and clear your issues and concerns," she said. "Annexation is a four letter word in Innisfil and I will not let that happen."

Baguley said growth has been approved and it will happen. "It's up to council to control the growth and see where it will benefit the community." Baguley said she has heard from residents that they would like to see and off leash dog park in the town and she would support that.

Jim Roberts, running for mayor told the crowd that he was running for the position because "I love where I live" and he was not happy with some of the decisions made by the previous council. He said in regards to OPA1, if it is accepted by council, he will appeal it to the OMB.

"The last three years council has been on a spending spree," he said. "The new council is going to be saddled with debt." He stated Innisfil's boarders were not up for negotiation as "our neighbour Essa has not given any land to Barrie".

He stated there needs to be higher paying skilled jobs at the 400 corridor and in regards to the traffic in Cookstown, the matter needs to be addressed by all levels of government.

Mayor Brian Jackson, seeking re-election, said he is running with a clear and positive plan to build a better Innisfil. He said he has not accepted money from any developers and he has donated half of his salary to the

rec centre.

"There is a greater growth demand on our services," he said, stating he would like to look into a public/private partnership in regards to servicing the 400 corridor. He said while there was a tax rate of 9% in 2006, 3.8% went to the town, 5.1% went to the province and Simcoe County. "Forty per cent went to police, fire and roads," he said, adding "if you do not support the budget, you do not support a safe community."

Councillor Gord Wauchope, running for the position of deputy mayor, told the crowd his goal when he first got on council was to bring a rec centre to Innisfil for all to enjoy. Committed to the town, he said he is approachable 24/7.

He said the town is facing a lot of issues and in regards to Barrie trying to take Innisfil over, he stated, "I sure as hell don't want that".

Wauchope stated council runs the town, not the developers. He said the town has a jewel in Lake Simcoe and that there were a lot of organizations "doing a lot of great thing" for the Lake. Wauchope said he has the expertise for the job, "not only for the town, but a strong voice for county council".

Deputy Mayoral candidate Elmer Spring said he feels he has something to offer the town.

"I stand for honesty, integrity and I am dependable," he said. He said he was a good businessman and the agriculture business was wonderful to be in.

"I believe in making my voice heard," he said. Spring said he wants a safe community to live in and he was looking forward to serving the town.

Ward 3 candidate Ken Simpson said a 10% tax increase was not acceptable. "I would spend your tax dollars prudently," he said. Simpson stated the 400 corridor would be the area for a skilled labour force and if elected, he would create an opportunity to change how business was done in Innisfil. He also stated St John's Road needs sidewalks for the people of the community.

Ward 1 incumbent Paul Wardlaw stated there were several issues facing council the next term and "I believe I have the expertise for the negotiations." Wardlaw said he wants to keep ward 1 in Innisfil. He stated he did not support the last two budgets and suggests that 95% of the casino revenue the Town receives from Georgian Downs should go to paying off the MURF debt.

Ward 2 incumbent Bill Van Berkel stated he wants to help Innisfil meet three key challenges. Regarding development, he said the town wants, needs and deserves new residential communities that will fit with what the town already has. He said education about the Lake is "very important".

"We need growth to help the tax base," Van Berkel said. He said he does not agree with the current development proposals and the houses that do come in "need larger lot sizes". He said he wants to ensure Innisfil stays Innisfil.

Ward 6 candidate Mike Long said from what he has gathered "council is not concerned about the people of ward 6". He said although you can't stop growth, it has to be done in a proper way. He also said money has to be spent for the youth of the community.

Ward 6 candidate Robin Crowder said she is running to provide a voice to her demographic. She said growth needs to be ecologically responsible and developers needs to be "held accountable" for that.

"We need quality medical care in Alcona," she said, as there are residents who do not have a family doctor. She would also like to promote culture in Innisfil.

Ward 3 candidate Russ Evans stated he would strongly pursue a youth centre for the kids. "The rec centre will only take care of 30-40% of the youth," he said. Evans said young people need a place they can call their own under adult supervision. He said

environmentally friendly developers need to be brought into the community, and that there needs to be sidewalks on St. John's Road.

Ward 3 candidate Janet Deacon said she would like to see employment in the 400 corridor and downtown Alcona. She is in favour of more sidewalks and streetlights in her ward and the "lakeshore needs a lot more TLC".

Deacon said growth must be planned, balanced and properly maintained.

Ward 7 candidate Earl Hughes said he is running for councilor in his ward because there has to be a change.

"If you want someone to do the job for you, as a neighbour, as a friend, I'm your man," he said. He said Innisfil is a big community, but the traffic concerns facing his ward and environmental issues facing the town need to be taken care of.

Ward 6 candidate Garin Kilpatrick said his three key issues were development, lake and the youth. Kilpatrick said the Lake needed to be promoted more. He said development was important because the youth in the town need jobs. "The youth needs something to do" he said, adding it will help them stay out of trouble. "The youth needs positive things to do and a positive environment to be in."

Ward 4 candidate Peter Kmet said Innisfil was in a municipality of "unique communities". He said he would keep growth strong and smart and when there was a need, he would act. Kmet stated property taxes were climbing at an alarming rate and that "local government should be open and accessible for residents".

Ward 5 incumbent Roy Bridge said in the past few years, just over $1 million had been spent on the roads in his ward.

"If you call me, we (LSRCA) have a One Voice Action Plan for the Lake," Bridge stated, adding the phosphorus loading in the Lake has gone from 125 tonnes to 65 - 75 tonnes. Bridge said in regards to jobs, the infrastructure has to be in place for the commercial and industrial area for the people in the town. He said he is proud of the job council has done in the past three years.

Ward 7 candidate Angela Cristini said she has been meeting with members of the community.

"Knowing your community makes you successful," she said. She said Cookstown is in need of the by-pass and wants to make her community safer, especially when it comes to roads. "We are building a community, not just homes," Cristini said.

Ward 7 incumbent Lynn Dollin said she enjoys living in a caring, grass roots community. She said years of hard work are starting to pay off in regards to the Cookstown by-pass, water pipeline and the new library.

"I am not afraid to stand up for my residents," she said.

Ward 4 candidate Nola Wale said she believes one person can and should make a difference in a community they live in. Outlining one of her goals as transportation, she said "residents cannot be expected to walk to the Innisfil Rec Centre, GO Station, and Big Bay Point." She has planned out two routes, one to the north and one to the south. She said growth needs to be responsible and environmentally sensitive. "Other candidates give you promises, I give you my phone number," she said.

Ward 3 incumbent Bill Pring said there needs to be more businesses to help ease the tax burden. "Innisfil has the lowest tax burden per household," he said. Pring said he supports the Hewson's Village project, which would bring 29,000 jobs to the area. He said he will out the pressure on to have sidewalks or paved shoulders on St John's from the 7th - 8th Line.

Ward 1 candidate Richard Simpson said he decided to run because the time was right with all the changes coming to the town. Simpson said with his business background and roots in the farming community, he would be good for ward 1.

"We can maintain our agricultural heritage along with the urban business growth coming in the future," he said.

Ward 6 candidate Rod Boynton started his statement with the quote "Past behaviour is your best indicator of future performance." He said he would like to see the competition of downtown Alcona. "I'm not against residential growth," he said, but wants to "finish what was started". Boynton said Innisfil needs to have permanent jobs and address the transit issue. He said people need to work together within the community.

Ward 5 candidate Dan Davidson said the rapid and excessive growth in Innisfil is "out of control, out of our hands, and out in left field". He said healthy growth must mean sustainable growth. He said the double digit tax increase is a result of uncontrollable growth. He said on council, he would like to establish a Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee to help the transparency of council.

Ward 4 candidate Pamela Colbourne said her ward issues include traffic volume, street lighting and property assessment values. "My neighbours do want someone on council that would represent their issues," she said. Colbourne stated the youth need accessible programs and research needs to be done for a transit system in the community.

Ward 3 candidate George Timpson said a 9% tax increase is too much. "The Town needs to live within its financial capabilities." Timpson stated new industrial and commercial development will help ease the tax base and in regards to garbage, he said the town needs to have bulky and metal item collection more than once a year.

He said a sensible plan needed to be developed to bring services to the people that need them.

Debate

Baguley was asked if she became mayor, how would she build her new council. She responded by stating she would ask new members to list their skill sets to help determine where they would be most effective.

Councillor Lynn Dollin was asked about what teens could do in her ward, and she said she was looking forward to the fruitful development of the library and recreational facilities located on the land the library acquired.

Councillor Bill Pring was asked if he voted for council pay increased, to which he responded yes. "An outside committee assessed the amount and made the suggestion," he said, adding Town of Innisfil councillors get paid "much below our surrounding areas".

Rod Boyton was asked if he was supportive of the No Frills development at the 20th Side Road. He said he was, but "against development all along the 20th Side Road".

Gord Wauchope was asked about the mortitorium lands. He said the discussion was set for 2011, and "as long as I am a member of this council, I will make sure nothing is lost at that time, nothing after that time."

Brian Jackson was asked about the best way to bring all of Innisfil together. He stated he tries to visit all

areas of the community for various functions. "We are a community of communities spread across 120 miles," he said.

Garin Kilpatrick was asked about drug awareness for the youth. He said there needs to be programs for the students outside of school as well as the ones that they have.

Jim Roberts was asked why he decided to run for mayor, and not a councilor. He stated he has been in many leadership roles throughout his life.

Elmer Spring was asked about why he decided to run for deputy mayor. Spring said he business experience will help him in the role.

Ken Simpson was asked if he could handle both being on council and working a full time job. He said he job as a fire inspector is not a five day a week position and he will have a lot of time to do the job as councilor when elected.

George Timpson was asked how long it should take to assume new streets in a sub division.

"I would think after two years, a new street should be assumed."

Regarding sewers, Bill Van Berkel was asked about the sewers and water in his ward. "I continuously try to get grants from different areas for sewer and water," he said.

Brian Jackson was asked about the beautification of

Alcona, and why chip trucks were taking up valuable commercial property. He said a street scape plan was brought to council which includes sidewalks, four lanes, and lights.

He said the chip truck was there temporarily until the beautification starts.

Garin Kilpatrick was asked about the youth employment situation. He said he would like to work with the employers within the town for a solution. Kilpatrick said kids need transit to their jobs, "for example, the kids who get

the transportation to their job at the McDonalds in Cookstown".

Ward 7 candidate Angela Cristini was asked how much of her campaign was funded by developers. "It has been 100% funded by myself and my family," she said, adding she has had offers.

Robin Crowder was asked if she was in favour of shopping facilities in Alcona. She said she does support more economic growth within the town, but does not support monopolies within the town.

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