Browse the answers below from the 2018 municipal election candidates from Grimsby. All submissions printed verbatim.
Developing proper planning for the future of our town. Southward Park, the Waterfront Trail, Fire Hall/ Training Center, downtown improvements and traffic calming measures were done with little effect on our taxes.
Grimsby is in an enviable position in relation to our financial situation that has been confirmed by provincial audits.
Council and staff have worked together to keep tax increases low (average 2.27% since 2011) but still meeting community needs
Our roads, sewers, water and recreation facilities are the best in the area. Our debt ratio is under 2% - one of the lowest in all of Ontario.
Development or more specifically, a haphazard approach to development is the most important issue to arise from the last term of Council.
We have seen Council approve projects incompatible with surrounding neighbourhoods, buildings exceeding the limits of our Official Plan and adoption of a “let’s-make-a-deal” approach to planning.
Citizen awareness and attention to planning and development matters has sharply risen in recent years.
Despite this however, most of Council refuse to defend the community vision that is in our Official Plan, make too many concessions to developers and for the most part rubber-stamp project approvals.
I do think that previous councils have done a good job in many areas but for some reason there seems to be a disconnect with what role council plays in communicating with Grimsby residents.
Council needs to be accountable for their decisions and to stand behind them.
If responsible decisions are made that are well researched, they should be able to be argued and supported, which should negate any supposed need for secrecy.
Grimsby residents, as shareholders of Grimsby Hydro, deserve the right to a line by line review of its books.
It’s difficult to pick one issue BUT in my opinion it’s the obvious “lack of transparency”, which spread across many projects and decisions.
The electorate, our taxpayers, have a legitimate right to know how and where their tax dollars are being spent.
Dare I mention things such as Grimsby Power, the bio-digester, big developer’s influence, Livingstone Road extension, $9 million sale of NRBN, to name only a few issues, where our council kept our taxpayers in the dark.
Poor transparency only creates a cloud of distrust and now the people are screaming for change and disclosure.
Let’s open the books!
I believe it is how to handle the growth expected in Grimsby and provide the services and amenities.
To that end we built Southward Park on the Mountain and have started to build a lakefront trail. We demanded lakefront property from the developers and commissioned a study as to where the expected growth should go (between the Q.E.W. and the Lake) so the developers would not come in and destroy our established subdivisions and everyone who moved into the density area would know in advance.
I believe the most important issue to arise from the last term of office is TRANSPARENCY.
Whether it be the biodigestor, medical marijuana grow ops, or the Intensification.
The last term of council could have improved their communication to the people they represent by taking the time to address each of the questions put forth instead of keeping it all close to chest and leaving the residents to question each matter.
This has affected the trust our residents have in our elected officials and without trust ……… It’s “Time for Change.”
In Canada’s best places to live, the Town of Grimsby ranks 86 out of 417 best places to live, unfortunately the successes of our Town have been overshadowed by the lack of Transparency & Accountability.
The issues arising from last terms council remain the lack of:
• balanced approach towards development
• transparency pertaining to the Grimsby Biodigester
• creating employment opportunities - jobs within the community
• transparency pertaining to the Livingston expansion.
• protection of the wooded-lot
Having not served previously on Council, I don’t feel it is appropriate to comment, except to say that I hear again and again that decisions are being made with little effort to appropriately communicate the reasoning behind the decisions.
I promise to make sure everyone knows why I vote the way I do and that my thought process is open and transparent for anyone who asks.
The most important issue to me from the last term of council is the lack of transparency with information with regards to the bio-digester.
This project has become a very high profile issue with concerns of the over budget dollars that have been invested into this project, and more information is warranted to the taxpayers of Grimsby.
The ongoing state of the 10 million dollar biodigester is probably the most important thing arising from the last term of council. The project is 200 percent over budget, with no official documentation as to its profitability.
Grimsby hydro staff are only providing verbal updates to council. Given that the project is ultimately backstopped by Grimsby taxpayers, council has fallen well short of conducting even the most basic due diligence.
My commitment is to push for an independent audit of the project, written reports to be delivered to council and removal of staff involved with any identified mismanagement.
Development has been the most important issue to arise this term of council. The past four years have seen a huge increase in development in the only area of Grimsby where development can still take place.
Issues that surround development are always the type, density, parking, traffic and effect on the rest of Grimsby.
We need to be very careful about any development that may occur in our downtown and hospital corridor areas and keep heights, density and parking within the Official Plan recommendations while taking into consideration the surrounding neighbourhood.
Loss of accountability to taxpayers.
Residents don’t want high rise condominiums exceeding the Official Plan. We want to know why our taxes are high and not in line with the cost of living.
Residents want straight answers about the cost to build and operate the Bio-digester.
Estimated at $3.5m, its now over $10m, and a majority of Council refuse to ask any questions. Residents want to know where the $9m from the sale of Niagara Regional Broadband went.
As your Alderman, I will vote for a full review of Grimsby Hydro and publication of the results.
Important issues that are to arise are Planning and Transportation. They have been concerned items with in the community.
Continuous Residential development and MetroLinx bringing GO Tranist.
How these factors are changing our small town feel of Grimsby.
As I campaign through my ward in town, I will answer any of your questions with complete honesty.
I have always been transparent with my decisions on council. I will welcome suggestions and yes criticism.
My father taught me to be honest, speak up for myself and have no regrets with my decisions.
I am very honoured to be your Alderman, part of this community and council. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.
That people are not communicating with the citizens before making decisions
I have heard from residents within Ward 3 that they are disappointed in the lack of transparency and accountability from members of the current council.
That is evident in the inability for residents to voice concerns at council meetings, people's opinions are sought yet not valued for decision making in such things as development and transit.
Since the last election, the province completed a Greenbelt review. Grimsby is basically frozen to future development outside of our existing urban boundary and that has put considerable pressure on the Town to build upwards.
There is no doubt that this is changing the face of parts of Grimsby with large condominium buildings in a way that we have never seen before.
People want to live in Grimsby and there is nothing wrong with growth, but we have done our best to direct growth to specific intensification areas in order to protect our established neighbourhoods.
Residents, on numerous occasions, have been asking the current Council where monies received from the $9M sale of the Town-owned portion of the Niagara Region Broadband Network went, with no clear answers.
Numerous concerns and questions abound as to the actual costs and debt burden of another Town investment, the $10M+ biodigester, which have also gone unanswered.
The lack of transparency and accountability to the community on these, as well as the Ombudsman’s admonishment of Council for discussing Town Hydro issues inappropriately behind closed doors, demonstrates a need for a change in leadership that respects open and transparent communications.
Growth and development have been the issues that have garnered the most attention during this term of council.
I am committed to incorporating the ideas of the citizens of Grimsby and to abiding by the official plan to ensure growth is well managed. We have only one opportunity to get it right.
There are many new initiatives coming to Grimsby such as Go Transit, a Recreational Services Master Plan and hopefully a new hospital.
We have created a comprehensive master plan to ensure these new services are effectively delivered to our town.
Our previous council has allowed development to happen without following our official plan.
They claim growth is needed to keep taxes low, however our town has grown so much over the past few years, and our taxes keep rising.
I personally feel we are growing too fast but it’s up to the community as a whole to make these decisions.
As your alderman I will listen to you and bring your concerns to council.
Grimsby should follow our official plan and resident’s needs should be the focus of what drives the official plan. Not Developers.
Without a doubt the development in Grimsby is off the chart. I spent many weeks on the Planning Committee to come up with a comprehensive plan and worked with the public on the Official Town Plan.
Over the last term of council the Planning Committee has approved high rise buildings that exceeded the OTP not only on the north shore of Lake Ontario but other areas in Grimsby.
The Secondary Plans near the Hospital and Casablanca north are not needed. Development is a good thing but not the way we have been doing it.
Tony Quirk did not submit a photo or answers to the questions offered.