Essa candidates outline platforms in Utopia
By Brad Pritchard Simcoe,com October 20 2010
UTOPIA – It was standing room only at the Utopia Community Hall on a rainy Wednesday night (Oct.13) for the first and only all candidates meeting for the upcoming municipal election in Essa Township.
Across the wards, many of the candidates support the same initiatives: a medical walk-in clinic in Angus, the implementation of scheduled yard waste/large item pickup days, creating more recreational opportunities, and continued road and infrastructure improvements.
The Ward 1 candidates (David Barnes, John Butcher, and Archie Duckworth, Bryan Millerson, Keith White, and Jon Vink) spoke first at the meeting.
Barnes talked about the importance of maintaining the “small town feeling” in the township and wants to provide more recreational opportunities for young people.
Butcher said the current council has made “empty promises” to residents. He said council needs to be more transparent and accountable to the residents.
Duckworth said residents want to be able to “work and play” in the township. He said more business opportunities are needed so the next generation of workers won’t have to move away to find employment. He also wants to reexamine the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) flood mapping regulations.
Millerson supports continued road improvements, more recreational opportunities, and the creation of a walk-in clinic and medical lab in Angus.
White, who is the president of the Angus Chamber of Commerce, wants to start an Angus community newspaper. He said it could be independent, but essentially serve as a newsletter for the township. He said the people he talked to “want to know more about what’s going on in the community.”
Vink said he’s cautious about reexamining the flood mapping regulations. He also said a public transportation link needs to be created between Alliston, Angus and Barrie, to help students land part-time jobs.
Ward 2 candidates (Ken Cooke, Rick Newlove, and Michael Smith) were next.
Cooke said he decided to run for council after he determined he had “no conflicts of interest” with the township. He is also calling for a greater police presence across the township to curb speeders on concession roads.
Newlove used his speech to mainly focus on his qualifications for the job. However, he said continued road improvements are needed, such as lighted intersections to keep drivers safe.
Smith said he’s one of the younger faces in the election race, and is promising to be accessible to residents if elected.
Ward 3 candidates Ron Henderson and E. Lee Redmayne spoke before the intermission.
Henderson said if elected he will continue to support further business development to help increase the township’s tax base, which he said will also help create more jobs.
Redmayne says she supports responsible development. She said residents need to have a greater say when it comes to decisions made by council and regulatory bodies like the NVCA.
The last half of the meeting began with deputy mayor candidates Shawn Bubel and Sandie Macdonald.
Bubel started by telling stories of residents who felt underserved by the township. He promised to work towards recruiting new family doctors and build upon the business tax base. He wants a review of options for waste management, bylaw enforcement and the township’s contract with police services. He is also proposing an NVCA board with “responsible” citizens sitting on it, and would like to see the township create a regular electronic newsletter to keep residents up to speed.
Macdonald said her first point of business would be developing a strategic plan for council.
She said this would allow everyone to see the “future vision” of the township. She wants to pave the remaining gravel roads, create new senior and youth programs, create a shop local initiative, take steps to protect properties from flooding and erosion, increase police presence, and look at ways to look at alternate ways to deal with waste (including yard waste pickup).
Like her opponent, Macdonald supports doctor recruitment and wants to move towards the creation of a walk-in clinic and medical lab. She said a partnership with Canadian Forces Base Borden doctors could make this possible.
Mayoral candidates Terry Dowdall and David Guergis had the last words.
Dowdall also supports a shopping local initiative and more commercial and industrial development “in the right places.” He said he doesn’t want to see additional growth “pad the pockets” of developers.
Dowdall said he would push to create more sidewalks for safety reasons and improve access to shops and amenities. He recognizes the township has a speeding problem and said council needs to continue to work to address this. He’s also in support of bringing back large item pickup days to help residents who lack the proper means to transport items to garbage dumps.
Guergis said he would like to eliminate all gravel roads in the township by the end of the next term of council. He said he would continue to oppose a proposal (which is currently on hold) to extend Highway 427 to Barrie through Ivy.
He said speeding on roads is residents’ biggest complaint, and he promised to work towards alleviating this problem. Much like the other election contenders, he wants to establish walk-in clinic within next four years at old Angus library.