Thanks!

I’m honoured to be acclaimed for another term as Zorra Mayor and Oxford County Councillor.

Our communities have achieved a lot that people thought we couldn’t do: from saving schools, to stopping high speed rail and a dump, and building a new public works building that uses 100% renewable energy and will cost residents LESS than a conventional building.

Most recently we’ve committed to building a new municipal office with renewable energy that will cost less than the current building, AND an 88 space childcare.

We’ve done all this and kept property taxes below inflation.

But my main motivation to run again is our communities’ children.

Wether it’s the climate they will live in, responsible long term finances that determine how they live, or making sure every one of them belongs.

There’s more to do and I still think I can contribute.

Housing, sprawl, schools, finances and taxes, economic development, environment, gravel pits, fibre, childcare.

Some of these will be very challenging.

But hard things are hard, and our communities have never shied away from that.

I’m honoured to be acclaimed for another term as Zorra Mayor and Oxford County Councillor, and I’m ready to get to work for the next term and get those things done.

unleashed for another term!

Priorities for 2022-2025 Terms of Councils

Our community has done great things.

We’ve stopped school closures, high speed rail, and a landfill. We’ve built splash pads, 100% renewable energy buildings that cost us all less, and an 88 space childcare. 7 of 8 budgets below inflation (2018 Zorra budget was 0.1% above inflation).

We need to do more of these things that will define our own community for all of us.

Many of these things will be very challenging, and none of them will be quick. But hard things are hard, and our communities have never shied away from that.

So we need a plan to get them done.

Below you can read what would have been my campaign platform for you to see and ask me about. These will be the Strategic Plan items and policy changes I will be bringing to the next term of Zorra and Oxford Councils.

In order to deal with the challenges and opportunities we face I propose we implement a “triple bottom line” approach of evaluating the financial, environmental, and social impacts of all issues.

Each of us will weigh these differently on each issue, but these are the things to consider.

Financial will not only be property tax impact, but economic development impact (long term property tax impact).

Environmental will be short term and local like trees and green spaces, but also long term and broad like climate change impacts.

Social will be be ensuring that we strive to include everyone, and not just reactively, we need to encourage everyone’s participation. Without as much participation in our communities as possible, we cannot put forward our best effort to to overcome challenges and realize opportunities. Everyone should be able to do their part.

The challenges and opportunities we need to tackle are:

– Housing, we need more quantity, variety, and affordability

– Continue the 100% renewable energy plan

– Childcare – Thamesford will have a licensed space in 2023, we need one in Embro now

– We need to implement a “total life cycle cost model” for all assets and services to best manage our finances and keep tax increases low

Examine the possibility of more aggressive rebuilding of gravel roads to remove 1/2 load

– Continue to work with other levels of government to bring true high speed internet to every residence

– Continue to protect farmland and green spaces by reducing sprawl and increasing density in serviced villages

– Continue to work the the Thames Valley District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education to preserve and enhance the role of our schools in our communities

Again, all these challenges and opportunities should be assessed using a “triple bottom line” approach of evaluating the financial, environmental, and social impacts of each.

The Zorra Township policies I propose to pursue to address these challenges and opportunities:

– Zorra needs more than 800 new houses by 2031 for the growth that is inevitably coming, we need policies to get that done

– Secondary Plans to encourage the type of development we want, rather than only reacting to development proposals from developers. A variety of housing where we want it, while minimizing sprawl

– Implement the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan to help include more people, address homelessness and crime

– Total life cycle cost models to better assess the true costs of assets and services

– Implement a robust Asset Management Plan to accurately forecast the maintenance and replacement costs of all assets (buildings and equipment) and plan finances accordingly

– Develop a plan to secure the future contribution of our schools to our communities

Again, all these policies should be assessed using a “triple bottom line” approach of evaluating the financial, environmental, and social impacts of each.

The Oxford County policies I propose to address these challenges and opportunities:

– Oxford needs more than 12,100 new houses by 2031, we need policies to get that done

– We need minimum density targets for all fully serviced villages to make the most efficient use of services, encourage variety in housing, and reduce sprawl into green spaces and farmland

– Increase our investment in affordable housing

Expand the number of long term care beds and extend at home care into the community

– Implement the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan to help include more people, and address homelessness and crime

– Total life cycle cost models to better assess the true costs of assets and services

– Implement a robust Asset Management Plan to accurately forecast the maintenance and replacement costs of all assets (buildings and equipment) and plan finances accordingly

– Explore a decentralized or distributed service model to deliver more county services in smaller communities by partnering with Oxford County Library and area municipalities and schools

– We said no to a private landfill, and we need to follow through with waste reduction policies to reduce our own contribution to landfilling

Again, all these policies should be assessed using a “triple bottom line” approach of evaluating the financial, environmental, and social impacts of each.

There are some challenges and opportunities we need to advocate and lobby the Ontario government to address:

– Fairer taxation, and improved regulation, of aggregate sites

– Rural communities shouldn’t bear the costs of protecting Prime Agricultural Land on their own. The Provincial Government needs to understand that there are consequences to rural Ontario for rightly protecting Prime Agricultural Land on behalf of all Ontarians. Rural communities should not have to bear the costs (reduced growth resulting in reduced services such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure) on their own. The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) should be increased to previous levels to address this unfairness.

– Our schools are integral parts of our small rural communities. The Province needs to recognize this in changed funding formulas and policies.

– Oxford County residents can only do so much to reduce our waste by recycling. The Provincial and Federal governments need to play a role in reducing waste, which will reduce the cost to Oxford County residents to dispose of it, and reduce the environmental impact.

– Housing and homelessness cannot be addressed by Oxford alone. Even if we “fix” our problems we will then only (understandably) attract people from other communities looking to solve theirs. The Provincial and Federal governments need to help fix this larger problem.

I started by highlighting the great things our community has done. We got those things done by hard work, and a plan.

So we need to continue with the same effort if we want to continue to get results for our communities: we need a plan that can actually deliver results.

I’ve posted that plan over the last week. Please feel free to comment and ask questions. It’s not a perfect plan, no plan is, it can get better with your input.

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