KAWARTHA LAKES-Ward Four is in the west part of the City of Kawartha Lakes. It includes the villages of Manilla, Oakwood, Little Britain, Woodville and Glenarm. According to the 2014 final voters list there are 7821 electors in Ward four.
The boundaries are as follows:
North – All lands lying south of Lot 17 Concession 1 – 10 Eldon
East – All lands lying west of Concession 11 Eldon; west ½ of Lot 22 Concession 1 to 15 and Lot 23 Concession A and B Mariposa to Lake Scugog
South – Municipal Boundary from west limit to Lot 23 Concession B Mariposa
West – Municipal Boundary
There are four people running for a seat on council to represent Ward Four. George Davidson, Ian Nicolson, John Pollard and Andrew Veale.
We asked each candidate the same three questions.
1)What are the top three issues in your ward?
2)If elected what would you do about these issues?
3)A Facebook poll we conducted found that the majority of residents (who answered the poll)would prefer better roads over lower taxes. Would you increase taxes to fix our roads?
The responses are posted in the order in which they were received.
1: What are the top 3 issues in your ward?
Roads Taxes /budgets Short term rentals 2: What would you do about these issues?
We are making excellent headway with roads as staff, assisted by external road experts, conducted an extensive review of all roads in the Kawarthas. Currently we are working on a 5 year upgrade improvement plan on all roads within the Kawarthas.
At this time no additional taxes are needed to proceed with the 5 year upgrade road plan. Unfortunately previous councils did not budget properly to maintain our roads adequately . Currently our plans are for an approximate 3% tax rate over the next 4 years. If lower taxes are demanded by the public then the level of service must be reduced i.e. garbage pickup, minimize fire halls, snowplowing and road improvements. to name a few. We must continue with our core service reviews and updates which enables the City of Kawartha lakes to function efficiently.
Short term rentals especially relating to waterfront properties is being monitored and staff have been directed to return to council in 2019 with any new recommendations.The City of Kawartha lakes presently has many existing safeguards to ensure the safe enjoyment for all taxpayers. I am recommending the bylaw department staff be increased to respond 24/7 to any and all issues directed to that department. Hopefully this will occur in the 2019 budget.
3. Better roads over lower taxes?
At this time no additional tax increase is needed to proceed with our 5 year road upgrade. Unfortunately prior councils did not budget correctly to maintain our roads hence their current conditions. I was able to achieve starting 2018 with a return to 6000 litres per km sprayed on gravel roads. Regrettably previous councils had reduced this to 2000 litres per km. 6000 litres is critical to not only minimize dust but to allow the liquid calcium to penetrate the road base ensuring it remains solid.
The Top issues in ward 4 are community centres,fire halls and roads.
I plan to work with staff and council to address these issues.Taxes have been raised dramatically in the last few years and this tax increase is carried forward. It is time to start spending some of the money raised. Ward 4 needs clean gravel on some roads and resurfacing of the chip roads where they have broken up.
I believe the top three issues in ward 4 are roads, jobs and growth.
If elected I would review the cities 5 year roads needs plan, and establish costs to bring more road upgrades forward faster, as well as reviewing if there are any cost savings realized, by hard topping certain gravel roads. Part of that review should also deal with unassumed roads, and a decision needs to made on how to handle them going forward.
To bring meaningful jobs and industry to the city, we need to work to create a positive atmosphere, that encourages companies to come and do business here. Additionally we should strive to create an environment that will attract individuals to our city , with the necessary skills employers are looking for today. Ward 4 is a large agricultural area, which creates many local jobs and we should listen to the needs of all in the agricultural community, and be very conscious of those needs and not create unneeded hurdles or roadblocks for them to go through.
We need to work with individuals, and larger developers, who want to locate here, to help our city grow, and in turn help reduce the current tax burden on our residents.
I believe that roads should be a priority, but I also think that we don’t necessarily need to raise taxes to do it. I believe that there are efficiencies and savings in other areas of the city that can be undertaken to free up substantial dollars to go into roads. One example is getting out of third party leases and making use of facilities we already own, and putting those savings back into roads.
Top 3 Issues in My Ward
The following are just some of the challenges we are facing within Ward 4.
Shortage of Doctors – Doctors are retiring and there are no Doctors locally to fill their role.
Firehall and Community Centre amalgamation or closures.
Getting value for our Property Taxes.
We need to aggressively recruit family doctors to the area. Action plans need to be set with local and province governments to make it attractive to work within the Kawartha Lakes. We need to make the opportunity attractive, the “What’s in it for him or her.” factor. We need to emphasize the lifestyle benefits within the Kawartha Lakes playing up the proximity the practice location offers. Town revitalization will also have to be factored into attracting workers. Succession plans need to be drafted and actioned sooner than later in order to not have a gap in coverage.
Firehall and Community Centre discussions need to include the public during all phases of the project. Residents need to be at the table with government in order that we all understand not just the financial gains of these projects, but outcome needs to include the well-being and safety of our communities.
We have gone through the past few years with very aggressive tax hikes. Again, residents and government need to work together to develop realistic financial plans for today and in the future. If residents have their say about how their tax dollars are being spent, it is an easier by in for all.
Taxes increases should work hand in hand with inflation rates. That being said, there are projects/improvements that from time to time are required to take place. Again, with consultation between residents and government an increase may be warranted.
Most Important Issue Within the City in the Next four years
We need to maintain and attracting businesses for all of CKL during all seasons. Tax and water increase to be in line with services provided. Increases should be manageable with annual inflation rates. By-Law decision making needs to be inclusive to all Wards with an introduction of a Service Level Agreement for the process.
The Municipal Election is on October 22nd.