At Large Candidates

Click to jump to respective section of the survey:

Personal Info

1. What special skills or expertise do you possess that may be relevant to voters?

Tom Badcock: I’m a retired air force officer who developed and managed budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars so I have a very strong finance background. I was a former executive assistant to the associate deputy minister of finance in Ottawa and I believe that I have experience in numerous areas that would benefit the citizens of this city. Since retiring from the air force I have been a human resources director, a marketing manager and for the past 16 years, the executive director of a charity that is the largest independent printer in the province and one of the largest caterers. I am the author of 14 books and have been a guest speaker at numerous events throughout Canada and Europe and so not only am I able to communicate with the written word, I am also a very effective public speaker.

Sandy Hickman: Experience in municipal politics, government, volunteer sport organizations and as a school board trustee and school council member. I have a great interest in transportation issues and a good understanding of same. I have a professional background in tourism and sport and recreation.

Dave Lane: First and foremost, I am a friendly, approachable, and reasonable person who tries to understand and solve problems. I communicate effectively and have a great deal of leadership experience. I have an education in Computer Science and Business Com- merce and have spent most of my career as a “bridge” between these two complimen- tary yet vastly different fields.

Lorne Loder: As a business owner for 18 years, I am very versed with working within a budget and always tackling tasks.  In small business you have to be a ‘Jack-of-all trades’, a problem solver and one who prioritizes. I believe enthusiasm, approachability and a new approach are what I bring to the table.

Paul Sears: Decorated Fire & Life Safety Veteran with 30 plus years experience in Fire & Life Safety, in addition to 4 years experience at the municipal council level. My current experience as a Fire & Life Safety Consultant and Pastoral Care Assistant volunteer with Eastern Health; in addition to my previous experience as a Councillor-at -Large; Fire Fighter/Fire Inspector has provided a detailed and firsthand experience to feel and understand the heartbeat of our city and the many concerns and issues that we as citizens continue to face on a daily basis.

Deanne Stapleton: “I am woman, hear me roar!”    

Lionel West: Have regularly attended council meetings so understand many of the processes within City Hall. Maintain a blog on St. John’s civic issues. I am a former Operations Manager with CBC thus understand the responsibilities associated with looking after citizens/taxpayers funds. Have travelled quite extensively and observe other cities in the world. Been a leader in many aspects of my life including career and sports. Willing to work within a team but not afraid to take the lead. Sense of humour.

Cecil Whitten: I have worked in the field of Education for 25 years. I have volunteered with the City since 2001 and Chair the Para Transit Committee, I am a member of the Cruise Committee and the Taxi Committee.

Derek Winsor:

  • Team player
  • Background in recreation- past member of Recreation NL
  • Coached youth teams

Fred Winsor: I have organized and worked with rural and urban community groups in both Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes as a policy advocate for many years.

2. What community organizations are you or have you been a member of?

Tom Badcock: My employment with the HUB puts me in daily contact with not only many of the business members in the city and government officials but more importantly, those most in need of housing, employment assistance, transportation, and a host of other social needs. I am a member of numerous national and international organizations related to my writing, military associations, etc. I served on the Avalon Health Care Board. I was a member of the Minister’s committee for Blue Zone parking.

Sandy Hickman: The Gonzaga school council, the Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee, the old Avalon Consolidated School Board, the executive of Volleyball Canada, the NLVolleyball Assoc. and local volleyball organizations plus short term with other sport and community org.s

Dave Lane: I founded and chaired Happy City St. John’s, a group that informs, encourages, and facilitates public dialogue on municipal issues. I stepped down this year so I could run for council; the group continues to be active. I sit on the boards for Downtown St. John’s and the Newfoundland Historic Trust, St. John’s Clean and Beautiful Take Pride Take Action committee, and the St. John’s Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards committee. I spent 12 years on the organizing committee of the St. John’s Northwest Rotary Music Festival and have sat on the boards Quintessential Vocal Ensemble and Newman Sound Men’s Choir, both of which I also sang with for years.

Lorne Loder: Through my business, I have liasoned with the City numerous times on the creation of skate parks.

Paul Sears:

  • · Eastern Health – Pastoral Care Assistant
  • · St. John’s Youth Diversion Community Board – Board of Directors
  • · National Fire Protection Association – Education Division Member
  • · Corpus Christi Parish – Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
  • · St. John’s Regional Fire Department – Historian & Archivist
  • · Knights of Columbus – 3rd Degree
  • · St. John’s Senior Soccer – Player & Coach
  • · St. John’s Fire Prevention Guide – Editor

Deanne Stapleton: Girl Guides of Canada, MacDonald Drive Junior High School Council and the MacDonald Drive Legacy Fund.

Lionel West: Been a volunteer with various organizations within St. John’s including Folk Festival, Jazz Festival, Festival 500.

Cecil Whitten: Scouts Canada, Board of CPNL, past Board Member EVVC and Provincial Volunteer week Committee.

Derek Winsor:

  • Rotary Club of St. John’s (& past chair of 508 Caribou Air Cadets)
  • Masonic
  • Eastern School District Trustee (Zone 10), held positions of Executive member, Chair of Property and finance and vice chair Eastern Education Foundation.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Chair of Macdonald Drive Junior High School Council
  • Chair of St. John’s Metro School Council Ad Hoc Committee Coaching various sports (volleyball & soccer) teams

Fred Winsor: Currently I am involved with several groups. They include: Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Canada; Treasurer, Sandy Pond Alliance for the protection of Canadian Waters; Member of the Fracking Awareness Campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador; Member of the Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition.

3. When and where have you run for public office before, and what public offices have you held?

Tom Badcock:  I was a town councillor in Medley Alberta, and I was the chief investor for the funds of the CFB Medley Society. I was the ombudsman for CANEX Europe, I have been a member of literally hundreds of boards and committees and I ran unsuccessfully for St. John’s City Council in 2009.

Sandy Hickman: I have been on St. John’s city council for three terms.

Dave Lane: This is my first run for political office.

Lorne Loder: This is my first attempt at public office.

Paul Sears: City of St. John’s: Councillor-At-Large (2001-2005)

Deanne Stapleton: Ran unsuccessfully in 1997, 2001 and 2005 in the St. John’s Municipal Election.

Lionel West: Run in St. John’s municipal elections for Ward 3 in 2005 & 2009. Have not held a public office.

Cecil Whitten: I ran for City Council in 2001 and for School Board. I have not held public office.

Derek Winsor:

  • I ran for Mount Pearl City Council in 1997.
  • Eastern School District Trustee (Zone 10), held positions of Executive member, Chair of Property and Finance and Vice Chair of Eastern Education Foundation

Fred Winsor: I have run for St. John’s Municipal Council twice before, once in Ward 3 and once for Deputy Mayor. I have never been elected to public office. 

4. What business or commercial operations have you or your family members engaged in within the last five years that may put you into a conflict of interest in matters of municipal governance?

Tom Badcock: None.

Sandy Hickman: Nil.

Dave Lane: None that I am aware of. I currently work for Dc Design House, a creative design and promotion firm. My parents are retired and my sister is a teacher.

Lorne Loder: I have owned and operated Ballistic on Water Street for 18 years, and also own some property in the downtown.

Paul Sears: N/A.

Deanne Stapleton: None.

Lionel West: None.   

Cecil Whitten: None.

Derek Winsor: I run a small independent travel agency out of my home.    

Fred Winsor: To the best of my knowledge neither I, nor any member of my family, have any conflict of interest in matters of municipal governance in St. John’s.

5. In which ward and neighbourhood is your principal residence located?

Tom Badcock: Ward 5.

Sandy Hickman: Ward 4 off Elizabeth Ave.

Dave Lane: I live in Downtown St. John’s, which is in ward 2.

Lorne Loder: I live in the downtown area, within Ward 2.

Paul Sears: Ward 4.

Deanne Stapleton: Ward 1.

Lionel West: Ward 2 – Downtown.

Cecil Whitten: Ward 3.

Derek Winsor: Ward 2.

Fred Winsor: My residence is located in Ward 2.

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Multiple Choice Questions

 

1. Of the following list of municipal issues, choose up to six that you consider priorities for improvement:

  • Public Transit
  • Snow Clearing
  • Lower Taxes for Residents
  • Lower Taxes for Businesses
  • Affordable Housing
  • Controlling Spending
  • Promoting Tourism
  • Crime Prevention
  • Roads
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Arts and Culture
  • Fiscal Relationship with the Province
  • Electoral Reform
  • Traffic
  • Parking
  • Stormwater Management
  • Urban Sprawl
  • Regional Cooperation
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure
  • Garbage, Recycling and Composting

Tom Badcock:

  • Affordable housing,
  • fiscal relationship with the province,
  • urban sprawl,
  • crime prevention,
  • snow clearing,
  • traffic.

Sandy Hickman:

  • Lower Taxes for Residents
  • Lower Taxes for Businesses
  • Affordable Housing
  • Crime Prevention
  • Traffic
  • Urban Sprawl

Dave Lane:

  • Public Transit
  • Lower Taxes for Residents
  • Affordable Housing
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Urban Sprawl
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure

Lorne Loder:

  • Public Transit
  • Affordable Housing
  • Controlling Spending
  • Crime Prevention
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Parking

Paul Sears:

  1. Transparency and Public Engagement
  2. Parking
  3. Urban Sprawl
  4. Lower Taxes for Residents & Businesses
  5. Water and Sewer Infrastructure
  6. Controlling Spending

Deanne Stapleton:

  1. Lower Taxes for Residents
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Snow Clearing
  4. Traffic
  5. Fiscal Relationship with the Province
  6. Roads

Lionel West:

  • Public Transit.
  • Affordable Housing.
  • Urban Sprawl.
  • Regional Cooperation.
  • Fiscal Relationship with the Province.
  • Transparency and Public Engagement

Cecil Whitten:

  1. Public Transit
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Lower Taxes for Residents
  4. Crime Prevention
  5. Snow Clearing
  6. Roads

Derek Winsor:

  • Public Transit
  • Affordable Housing
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Garbage, Recycling and Composting

Fred Winsor: 

  • Affordable housing
  • Regional Public Transit
  • Snow clearing for pedestrians
  • Fiscal Relationship with the Province
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Garbage, Recycling, and Composting

2. For the following list of statements, indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree:

a) The City of St. John’s should invest more in public services (water and sewer, public transit, snow clearing, etc.), even if this means raising taxes.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat agree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Strongly disagree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat disagree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat agree.

b) The City of St. John’s should reduce taxes, even if this means cuts to public services.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat disagree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat disagree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat disagree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly disagree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly disagree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

c) The City of St. John’s should design regulations to encourage high density development in the city core and discourage urban sprawl.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Neither agree nor disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat agree.

d) Metrobus service could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat agree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat agree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat disagree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat disagree.

Paul Sears: Strongly disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat disagree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly disagree.

e) The St. John’s Harbour Authority should be pressured to restore public access to sections of the waterfront that are being fenced off.

Tom Badcock: Strongly disagree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat disagree.

Dave Lane: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lorne Loder: Strongly agree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat disagree.

Derek Winsor: Neither agree nor disagree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

f) The bylaw governing the use of mobile signs should be made more strict to discourage their use.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat agree.

Dave Lane: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Neither agree nor disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat agree.

Lionel West: Somewhat agree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

g) New developments should be held to a zero net-runoff increase policy for stormwater, in order to protect watersheds and reduce the risk of flooding.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Strongly agree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

h) Regulations to protect heritage areas in the city should be relaxed in order to encourage new development.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat agree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat disagree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat disagree.

Lorne Loder: Neither agree nor disagree.

Paul Sears: Neither agree nor disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly agree.

Lionel West: Strongly disagree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly disagree.

i) The city should take a harder line with people who park illegally in fire lanes.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Strongly agree.

Dave Lane: Strongly agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Strongly agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly agree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly agree.

Fred Winsor: Neither agree nor disagree.

j) Sidewalk snow clearing could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat agree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat agree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat disagree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat disagree.

Paul Sears: Strongly disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat disagree.

Derek Winsor: Neither agree nor disagree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly disagree.

k) The senior citizens tax reduction should be extended to all low income homeowners.

Tom Badcock: Neither agree nor disagree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat agree.

Dave Lane: Strongly agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly agree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat agree.

l) The City of St. John’s should implement a municipal composting program.

Tom Badcock: Somewhat agree.

Sandy Hickman: Strongly agree.

Dave Lane: Strongly agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Strongly agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly agree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

m) Political donations to municipal candidates should be published in a public report and posted on the City of St. John’s website.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Strongly agree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Strongly agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly agree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

n) City parks could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

Tom Badcock: Neither agree nor disagree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Strongly disagree.

Lorne Loder: Somewhat agree.

Paul Sears: Strongly disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat disagree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat disagree.

o) Traffic calming measures, including speed bumps and lower speed limits, should be expanded.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat agree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Strongly agree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat agree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat agree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Somewhat agree.

p) St. John’s should pursue amalgamation with neighbouring communities.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Strongly disagree.

Lorne Loder: Neither agree nor disagree.

Paul Sears: Neither agree nor disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Neither agree nor disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly disagree.

Derek Winsor: Neither agree nor disagree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly disagree.

q) Loud motorcycles are a problem and bylaws should be enacted to restrict them.

Tom Badcock: Neither agree nor disagree.

Sandy Hickman: Strongly agree.

Dave Lane: Somewhat agree.

Lorne Loder: Strongly agree.

Paul Sears: Neither agree nor disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Somewhat disagree.

Lionel West: Somewhat agree.

Derek Winsor: Strongly agree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

r) The city should encourage more mixing of commercial and residential development.

Tom Badcock: Strongly agree.

Sandy Hickman: Neither agree nor disagree.

Dave Lane: Strongly agree.

Lorne Loder: Strongly agree.

Paul Sears: Somewhat disagree.

Deanne Stapleton: Strongly disagree.

Lionel West: Strongly agree.

Derek Winsor: Somewhat agree.

Fred Winsor: Strongly agree.

 

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Long(er) Answer Questions

Arts and Culture

1. What specific initiatives would you undertake to support arts and artists in the city?

Tom Badcock:  When tourists visit our city, where do they go besides the geographic sites? We all should know the answer to that! They visit the various festivals such as the folk festival, Trinity, etc. etc. They buy books, they buy paintings and they visit the almost countless dinner theatres and similar events. What would happen if there were no such venues or opportunities to our tourists or indeed for our citizens? This would be a rather boring city. So I support anything and everything that is reasonable that will allow our writers, and performers, and painters and entertainers to continue to ply their crafts. We should lobby the provincial government to free up space at our arts and culture centres to set aside days at no cost to community groups to allow them to perform on the big stages, we should fund mentoring programs so the more established writers and performers can mentor the struggling writers and performers, we should lobby the provincial government to provide more funding to library boards so they will have the funds to purchase more local books, we should invest more in the numerous festivals and events that draw the tourists to our city.

Sandy Hickman: I have been heavily involved in this during my time on council and certainly would not change my thinking if re-elected. I think we do as much as many cities but I would like to get the mural committee going again,which I have chaired over the years; I feel the lunchtime concerts at harbourside park are an outstanding success and would like to lengthen the season and go to twice a week; we offer a lot of support to artists in various ways but I would like to see a small fund for a new program to encourage innovative projects for all genres- ones that would allow artists to gain experience, enhance their repertoire while also presenting public performances, installations,shows,etc. I am a big proponent of the facility for culture and artists that we are now in the final stages of preparing and support developing this over the next few years.

Dave Lane: The city launched a Municipal Arts Plan in 2010, which shows that the arts are a true priority for the city, but this plan is now in its fourth year and we need a new plan for the next four years. We also need more spaces to create, share and present art. And we need to support and invest in our current cultural infrastructure. I’ll be a strong proponent of all these initiatives. Specifically, I would work toward more projects like the Quidi Vidi Plantation which enables creation, display, and sale of art. Incubators are extremely beneficial to our arts community, our culture, and our economy.

Lorne Loder: I think the City could provide more free public space for artists to further beautify our city. We should also continue to support as many types of artists as possible through the Grants to Artists and Art Organizations program. I would also love to see more programs like Music at Harbourside Lunchtime Concert Series in different areas of the city and times of the day that promote emerging (and established!) musicians while adding to our community. Maybe this could even be expanded to other types of art performance!

Paul Sears: (No answer given)

Deanne Stapleton: We should support the delivery of programs and activities for innovative, artistic work and provide opportunities for engagement and participation.

Lionel West: Continue the current support the city has. Would also look at public/ private partnerships to promote arts and artists and work with other government agencies to enhance grants and facilities. Find a suitable facility to accommodate and display the arts within the city. Look at initiatives such as “Artist-of-the-Month” and display their work on the City’s website.

Cecil Whitten: I would like to see the arts treated as the revenue generating business that it is; The City should purchase art from new young artists and add alternate art to it’s collection.

Derek Winsor: As a city councillor, I will meet to discuss their initiatives and to ensure open communication with the arts community to support and enhance their objectives.

Fred Winsor: I would work to help them identify vacant or under-used space in the city for studios and /or practice space.  Also work with artists to identify affordable housing for them in the city centre.

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By-laws and enforcement

2. What should be done to discourage illegal parking in fire lanes and other parking violations?

Tom Badcock: It’s fine to make laws and to increase fines but if we don’t enforce them it’s a waste of all of our collective time. I have spent what seems to be a lifetime trying to get changes to the blue zone parking regulations but all I have managed is an increase in the fines. I was a member of the Minister’s committee and we discussed the issues but it all comes down to enforcement. We need dedicated people to police these areas and to ensure that violators are ticketed and the fines are paid. But perhaps the best initiative would be to punish the business owners who allow their customers to block fire lanes. Make them responsible to ensure that their customers are told that unless they institute procedures to curb the practice they will be fined. This is happening at the big box stores and they have the staff and the ability to control it but unless they are told that they have to, it will remain the same.

Sandy Hickman:  Two things: One – something that I am always harping about…increased enforcement. This could mean hiring more officers or just ensuring that this a priority for them. Two – increased fines. This is pet peeve of mine and I am glad to see some stores putting out traffic cones. Pretty bad they have to do that though!

Dave Lane: Tickets help, as do education campaigns that effectively convey illegal parking in wheelchair-specific spaces and fire lanes as shameful. As for simply parking in spaces with expired meters or parking restrictions, we need to work on alternative solutions like an integrated transportation network to enable busing, biking, and walking, etc. That can free up spaces.

Lorne Loder: I think an increase in police presence and an improvement in clear signage would be a big deterrent.

Paul Sears:

  • Increase Fine Amount
  • Give out the Maximum Fine
  • Vehicles should be towed that are left unattended in Fire Lanes for more than 15mins

Deanne Stapleton: Increase fines for illegal parking.

Lionel West: Increase enforcement and impose higher penalties. Work with the RNC Traffic Department to seek out ways the City’s can make its task easier and more effective. Encourage local businesses to discourage illegal parking by using cones in designated areas. Erect larger and more colourful warning signs of illegal parking.

Cecil Whitten: I would increase fines and have more enforcement.

Derek Winsor: Citizens can call 311 to get violators removed by a tow trunk. You could also increase the number of parking enforcement officers to monitor these areas especially fire lanes and disabled parking.

Fred Winsor: The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary should be directed to ticket anyone and everyone parking in fire lanes or in any other space which compromises public safety.

3. Would you support a volunteer group of concerned citizens to monitor parking lots and issue tickets and/or report violations?

Tom Badcock: Most definitely. I have written the Minister of Transportation for the province countless times suggesting such a program. I suggested that this could be meaningful employment for certain persons with disabilities who could otherwise not find employment especially those with job coaches such as the programs offered by Avalon Employment.

Sandy Hickman: An interesting idea. Would require some thought re: the legalities of it all. But a trained group of interested volunteers that only recorded and reported would be a deterrent.

Dave Lane: I love crowdsourcing ideas like this, in principle, but we don’t necessarily want to pit neighbours against one another. So, before making a decision, I would have to be informed about the pros and cons as well as the model to organize and manage this initiative. One idea I do appreciate is if the City accepted photos of violations via text message or email. I don’t know the legalities behind this, though.

Lorne Loder: If volunteers presented themselves I would support that.

Paul Sears: I would not support such a group for the following reasons:

  • Possibility of confrontation is too great.
  • Liability issues for the City & Property Owner would be a concern
  • Scheduling & Management of such a group would require city resources that could be used for more important civic priorities

Deanne Stapleton: No.

Lionel West: If the volunteer group was given training from the RNC and provided with a clear mandate of their responsibilities I would consider supporting such an initiative. However, I would assess whether the city’s current enforcement officers could take on this task and/or hire more enforcement officers to carry out this enforcement duty.

Cecil Whitten: I would support this if volunteers were trained and monitored.

Derek Winsor: I believe that this is a job for people who are professionally trained and have a specific skill set.

Fred Winsor: (No answer given)

4. What should be done to improve the enforcement of traffic laws?

Tom Badcock: More persons involved with policing and it doesn’t have to be police officers. Our pedestrians are ignoring cross walk signs, our drivers see yellow lights as a sign to speed up and until we do a crackdown, it will continue.

Sandy Hickman:  This is primarily a provincial policing issue and the RNC simply should put more resources towards it. I guess the city could always do a better job with signage along major arterials.

Dave Lane: My preferred approach is to design streets that encourage better driving. There are lots of tactics like speed bumps, “Your Speed Is” display pop-ups, etc., and my favourite ideas include narrower roads, more painted lines for parking, lane demarcation, and cycling, and lots of big beautiful trees. These all have an impact on speeds so there are less violations to enforce.

Lorne Loder: The City could look at the costs of cameras in specific problem areas. The revenues could potentially outweigh the costs.

Paul Sears: As Former Chair of Police and Traffic Committee, I believe the city is doing a good job with working the RNC on traffic enforcement, and a good job with our own parking enforcement. If any improvement is needed it would be improved communications with the citizens on why certain measures have been implemented or why certain changes are occurring.

Deanne Stapleton: In dangerous intersections, cameras should be installed.

Lionel West: Laws within the jurisdiction of the city need to be enforced. A review of enforcement officers may be necessary to ensure the city has enough enforcement officers to complete the tasks assigned to them. Discussions with the RNC traffic force to assess how the city can work with them to help make our roads safer.

Cecil Whitten: I would add more manpower to combat the problem.

Derek Winsor: This is an area that crosses responsibility for both the City and the Province. A committee should be formed to discuss the various laws and by laws before they are implemented, and how they will be monitored. This area requires input by both levels of government.

Fred Winsor: I would support more vehicle spot checks of both drivers and vehicles.

5. What can be done to reduce the number of parking tickets issued for parking on snow removal and street cleaning days?

Tom Badcock: Common sense and communication. If it’s not snowing, there is no snow in the forecast and no snow to be cleared, why are we ticketing people who park on the street just because there is a ban? Be flexible. Street cleaning days are announced with signs on the streets with lots of notice. There is no excuse for these violators.

Sandy Hickman: Again, something that sticks in my craw and something, particularly snow-clearing, I have asked about almost every December. I always have said the traffic dept. should tell officers to use common sense and discretion on ridiculously mild nights with no snow on the ground. I was told each time of the legal position from the city solicitor that there were very good reasons that we had to be consistent throughout the winter. And I could see their point, but it still upsets me. I will propose that the parking ban start as late as possible into January, should weather stay mild after New Years.

Dave Lane: The big one for me is street cleaning. We need a better system of informing drivers of when their streets will be cleaned. I wrote about this on my website and said that, even if we cannot put up signs during the day like we do for snow clearing, we should at least provide a visual of where the cleaning takes place. Email notifications are good, but only if they are clear. Improvements should be made in this area.

Lorne Loder: The City could form an email database for voluntary subscribers and consider physical signage on the days streets are cleaned just as they do with snow removal.

Paul Sears: (No answer given)

Deanne Stapleton: Increase notification to the public of the times these activities will be done.

Lionel West: Education. The city does inform residents of these days, (through a mail-out brochure and its website) so I would want to address communication methods with citizens. If possible, also speak with residents who received tickets, to understand their circumstances and the cause of them receiving a ticket.

Cecil Whitten: Increase public transit.

Derek Winsor: I would encourage a program that empowers the staff to make judgment based on the weather conditions at the time. For example, if there were no snow on the ground, no snow in the forecast, then no ticket should be issued. Another idea would be that people could register for an alert program, so that emails or text messages/twitter could be sent to people in the areas where the snow clearing or street cleaning would be taking place to remind them to remove their cars from the road.

Fred Winsor: I would recommend more street to street and door to door publicity for snow clearing. Similarly maybe temporary signage for street cleaning days. Better still, maybe we could ask the citizens if they have any suggestions on this matter. The publicity alone would raise awareness.

6. What would you do to reduce illegal garbage dumping in the city?

Tom Badcock: More hidden cameras, higher fines, impounding the offending vehicles and publishing offenders’ names in the media.

Sandy Hickman: I have been active in this over the years but I think the use of cameras is one important method that will be used. Once proven, I would hope the new council would expand this. The next step is getting convictions and increasing fines which would act as a deterrent. We need to also review access pints to some of these unused trails and close off access to large vehicles.

Dave Lane: Constantly educate and remind people that it’s just as easy to dump garbage at our Robin Hood Bay facility. We may have to explore better opening hours, and cameras can be good, but we have to balance cost with effectiveness and, oftentimes, simply informing people of their options is very cost-effective.

Lorne Loder: The city should consider installing cameras in common dumping areas. Such equipment is not as expensive as it used to be, and shame serves as a huge deterrent. Adding signage stating fines in common dumping areas is also a great deterrent.

Paul Sears:

  • Camera /video surveillance in problem areas
  • Increase Fines for violators
  • Recovery of Clean-up Costs from the violator
  • Court Action for consistent violators or dumping that causes a major environmental impact

Deanne Stapleton: Increase fines and use video monitoring where possible.

Lionel West: Where appropriate I would install security cameras as these have proven effective in other jurisdictions. I would also place large size skips at various locations throughout the city to encourage residents to use them to dump their garbage in, if they have difficulties getting to Robin Hood Bay Landfill.

Cecil Whitten: I would increase video monitoring.

Derek Winsor: The measures that are now being implemented with cameras being put in areas where illegal dumping often occurs is the best measure to take to deal with this issue plus increasing the minimum fine and expropriation of vehicles used in illegal dumping.

Fred Winsor: I would propose that the Robin Hood Bay landfill hours of operation be expanded from 8AM -4PM to  8AM-8PM for Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays.  I would place more public garbage cans in the downtown and at strategic locations ie shopping centres around the city and monitor them.  We need to make it easier for people to dump garbage legally in appropriate containers.

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Crime

7. What is your take on crime in St. John’s and what should the city do about it?

Tom Badcock: I believe the RNC are doing a good job dealing with crime in the city. They have a monumental task but I believe that we need to re-examine in conjunction with the province  what our priorities are. Even the chief of police has come out against the amount of manpower wasted dealing with Marijuana issues. We need to sit down with the RNC and to focus not on crime statistics but why these crimes are being committed. We are addressing the symptoms and not the causes. Let’s find the causes and then and only then can we address crime. The province and the federal government are funding numerous organizations such as Turnings, the John Howard Society and others and yet do we ever consult them?

Sandy Hickman: While the RNC has a mandate for crime prevention as well as enforcement, the city has a major role to play in helping to engender creative solutions to unsafe neighbourhoods. We need to help in building neighbourhoods into communities by facilitating networking and cooperation amongst residents. The neighbourhood Watch program is one example and this could be expanded. But our building, recreation and other departments do get involved and the new strategy that was just initiated will work toward even greater understanding of the need to care for each other.

Dave Lane: From my platform:

A typical symptom of a growing economy is an increased prevalence of drug use, theft, and other crime. City Hall can take various actions to help mitigate crime, and can be most effective by supporting the efforts of our provincial police force, the Royal New- foundland Constabulary (RNC), and their many community services such as Neigh- bourhood Watch and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

I support the recently approved Advisory Committee on Crime Prevention at City Hall, and believe it must be made up of people of diverse walks and stages of life. As a coun- cillor, I will work to ensure that St. John’s is always a welcoming, positive, and safe place to live, work and play.

Lorne Loder: With the number of armed robberies and automobile break-ins on the rise the City needs to respond with force. I think we need to better promote Neighbourhood Watch program, inspire people to be more vigil and offer rewards for information leading to convictions; rewards can be very effective. Also, we need to nip the problem in the bud and counsel misguided youth through community centres and programs.

Paul Sears: The Canadian Crime Statistics speak for themselves, as a citizen this is of great concern. I believe we can start to address major problem through the following:

  • Evaluation of types of crime in our city
  • Intervention by community groups
  • Enforcement by RNC
  • Public Consultation on Specific problems (Location or Type of Crime)
  • Increase Resources both for enforcement and rehabilitation.

Deanne Stapleton: Unfortunately, prosperity brings increased crime. However, there should be more information on the Neighbourhood Watch Program and how valuable this initiative is to all residents. The city needs to promote the program more effectively.

Lionel West: It does appear crime is increasing within the city. Crime falls within the jurisdiction of the RNC. I would ensure the city met with the RNC to discuss what assistance the city may be able to provide to aid them in their task of reducing crime.

Cecil Whitten: The City can support the RNC crime prevention programs and develop a modern prevention strategy geared to youth.

Derek Winsor: There is no doubt that crime is on the increase and the proper law enforcement authorities should be provided with proper resources and funding to deal with crime rates. Implementing of Neighborhood Watch programs could help with making people more aware of tips on keeping safe in your home and neighborhood.

Fred Winsor: It is my view that most crime in the city is related to drug use and drug addiction. We have to stop treating drug use and addiction as crime and treat it as an illness.  Any person who is addicted to drugs should be able to get treatment when they need it. We need a 24/7 clinic in the downtown to help  our citizens afflicted with this illness.

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Development and Urban Renewal

8. The St. John’s Board of Trade argues that the city needs more high density residential development and less urban sprawl. Do you support the Board’s position, and if so what policies would you implement to achieve it?

Tom Badcock: I agree with the board of trade. I have a cultural geography degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and as a student there in the 80’s I was part of a study in the City of Ottawa that dealt with this issue. And unfortunately, in this context it is just not feasible to discuss them at length but as councillor I would certainly consider urban sprawl an issue that needs to be addressed now and I would be very willing to work with any committee to address this issue and to offer solutions.

Sandy Hickman: Somewhat. I fully understand the need to curtail urban sprawl. There is no question of the need for this in our growing city. We simply can’t allow unplanned development at the cost of inefficient servicing. However, there are two comments I would make. One- there will always be a sector of the population that would like to live in a suburban setting. Young families or whatever…we have to respect that but ensure that these communities are efficiently planned with parks, trails, etc. that complement a reasonable mix of housing. Second. I agree with in filling and the need for increased height, generally. But we cannot compromise the older section of downtown. This must be preserved in order to keep our character. Without it we have nothing.
All areas of downtown need to be watched for too much height. But in the “new downtown”, we have to realize that a 15 m restriction is not reasonable nor sustainable.

Dave Lane: I strongly agree with the Board’s position, and in fact helped to inform it by coordinating a document of shared values relating to development and heritage with them and other groups. Not all development is “good” development, however, and it has always been my position that any proposed development must fit within a broader plan for our city. We must be guided by principles such as: context-sensitive design (does it flow with the structures and space around it?); contribution to the surrounding community (does it have public amenities?); and long-term sustainability (Is it energy efficient? Is it built to last?).

A clear set of development guidelines and regulations is essential to ensure we have incredible built infrastructure. These guidelines must be created with input from citizens, developers, architects, and urban planning experts, and it is essential that these guide- lines are enforced consistently.

The current state of frequent, arbitrary amendments and allowances must end. Devel- opers and residents alike will appreciate these guidelines and we must not shy away from following a plan we all agree on.

Lorne Loder: Yes, I support density over sprawl as it makes much more economic sense. A sprawling infrastructure is tolling on the City’s budget and conversely a denser City makes for a healthier tax base. It is also much easier on public transit and traffic.

Paul Sears: I strongly believe that Board of Trade has a valid point and has good reason to express concern, however further discussion with stakeholders would need to occur. I commit to holding public consultations for all those stakeholders within the first year of the new council’s mandate. Regarding implementing policies I believe we are at the beginning stages. I am confident that reasonable solutions will be found, and research is required to examine what other municipalities across the country are doing to address this issue.

Deanne Stapleton:  Yes. The policies I would implement would be: 1) Ensure development is consistent with the location of the site 2) Consider the location, size and impact on future development 3) Heritage elements of the site 4) Height of the structure 5) How the development contributes to the quality of adjourning streets and other public places.

Lionel West: First of all, the Municipal Plan has to be completed. Urban sprawl is a serious issue because the more the city spreads, the more it costs to run. To control the sprawl, the city will have to utilize its zoning by-laws to achieve a higher density – Integrated neighbourhoods with mixed zoning for commercial, residential use. Encourage more apartment style housing.

Cecil Whitten: I would work with all groups to find a balance between the two.

Derek Winsor: In new developments, such as Kenmount Terrace which are all single family dwellings, small apartment complexes could be introduced into these neighbourhoods in order to increase the density of the neighbourhood. There should be a balance of apartment buildings and single dwelling homes in new neighbourhoods so as to make it esthetically pleasing.

Fred Winsor: I have read two of the Board of Trade policy documents on densification and traffic. They are well considered and compliment the City’s proposed Municipal Plan. In that context it would seem the first thing I would do, would be to hire a few urban designers who have practical experience in planning and designing this type of urban development. They could work with city staff, Board of Trade members, community groups and specific interest groups to develop strategies appropriate for increasing mixed use, diversity and density in St. John’s.

9. What should be done with vacant properties (e.g. abandoned grocery stores and soon-to-be-closed schools), and what should the city be doing to ensure that these spaces are put to good use?

Tom Badcock: We are of course referring to the Churchill Square issue and there are a number of actions that council could take. I would support an exponential increase in taxes for businesses who are being stubborn as they are in this case. I would support a by law that requires  them to have 24 hour security and a whole host of initiatives that would cause them to realize that unless they open or sell the store, it is going to cost them a lot of money to keep it vacant.

Sandy Hickman: A difficult problem that the current council and staff have been grappling with. It sort of sneaked up on us with the closing if the three Dominion supermarkets. We have to realize that this is private property, that there are no zoning concerns, that most are reasonably clean and tidy (debatable) and that free enterprise allows them to not lease the space if they don’t want. The city needs to do an analysis of best practices around the world and see if there are not ways we can force the issue.

Dave Lane: We need some clear guidelines and regulations around this issue. A well thought-out municipal plan would help with this; we should give the city some teeth to achieve a shared plan for the city, so an appropriate approach to vacant properties would be helpful.

Lorne Loder: Large, vacant commercial properties could be taxed and/or fined to encourage the owners to find tenants or sell. The tax break they enjoy should certainly end.

Paul Sears: The City can only encourage/lobby the owners to enhance these properties. The City is not in a position to force property owners to re-develop the sites; however we can and should start improving relationships and communications with property owners to encourage appropriate redevelopment for these sites.

Deanne Stapleton: As long as the building is kept up and the taxes are being paid, and the property is well groomed there is not much else we can do.

Lionel West: The owners of these properties should be responsible for ensuring the building does not go into disrepair. The city must enforce its own by-laws on unoccupied buildings. It may be possible for the city to act as a liaison between owner and potential buyers or community groups to achieve a use of a building that is otherwise unoccupied and becoming an eyesore.

Cecil Whitten: First determine if properties are useable, if they are use them for free studio and rehearsal space for the arts community.

Derek Winsor: The City could encourage businesses to use the buildings for rental spaces, storage, etc. The City could investigate opportunities to rent some of the spaces for recreation use (i.e. for gym space). Council should ensure that these building spaces do not become hazards to the community.

Fred Winsor: I see the abandoned stores and closed schools in the city as the foundation for building mixed-use, walkable neighbourhoods which will contain many necessary services that citizens can access on foot.

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Electoral reform

10. The City of Toronto is planning to move to a ranked ballot system for municipal elections. This system reduces the problem of vote splitting in races with more than two candidates. Would you support a similar reform in St. John’s? Would you support some other kind of reform?

 Tom Badcock: While studying at university I had some very heated debates on this subject and I trust you will explain to your readers what a ‘ranked’ system is. Our system has flaws but it’s our system. Unfortunately, in a multi party system or in the case where there are many people running for the same position, the majority of voters do not select their party or their councillor. In Israel for example they have a party list system. This is a great example of democracy at its best but it leads to many more elections than we have in our fixed term system. I truly don’t know if the ranked system is the way to go.

Sandy Hickman: Toronto has a full ward system. This makes sense in ward and I would fully support for St. John’s. however, at large is a different situation and I like the current system. You can vote for four people or as few as you want. I like that flexibility. But I have always been open to new ideas. I thought the vote by mail was great idea when it came along but now feel we are behind the times in not having online voting (again this is held up by the government).

Dave Lane: I’m always open to exploring options to improve our democratic system.

Lorne Loder: I would support electoral reform efforts, such as moving to a ranked ballot system, which would result in a council that better represents the residents. The first past the post system has been proven to produce a democratic deficit.

Paul Sears: A. As a former member of St John’s Electoral Reform Committee I believe there will always be room for improvement in the electoral protocol and process. Having that said I would support having a review every 2 years to review the system and ensure we are maintaining the best approach for our city and citizens. B. No at present, I am content with our current system.

Deanne Stapleton: I would like to see the outcome of a ranked ballot system before I would support this reform.

Lionel West: I am in no rush to change the current voting process. I would consider viable options and discuss with citizens. Internet voting may be an option and one that is currently under consideration by the city. I would like to hear what citizens have to say about “term-limit councillors” and full-time councillors. If full-time councillors are employed, it may mean the number of councillors could be reduced.

Cecil Whitten: I am not familiar with the ranked ballot system, I look forward to learning about it. I would support the implementation of electronic voting.

Derek Winsor: I would like to look at a fair system of election that allows all taxpayers to consider themselves for election and not be based on who can put up the most signs and print the most flyers. I would like to see one area in each ward where signs can be posted from all the candidates. Once candidates declare their intention to run, there should be a section on the City of St. John’s website that posts links to candidate’s websites. I think that it would be worth looking at other options of voting procedures.

Fred Winsor: I believe we should explore other voting options.

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Heritage

11. How do we balance real estate development with the preservation of heritage in historic St. John’s?

Tom Badcock: There is a very fine line between maintaining heritage and growth. There is no blanket policy for these types of issues. It has to be dealt with on a case by case basis with established guidelines. But to assume that fifty years from now, this city is going to look like it does today, is counter to the concept of reducing urban sprawl. Each issue has to be dealt with on an individual basis. But my goal in all  my decision making has always been to make decisions on what is best for the majority while protecting the interests of the minority without giving benefit to the former at the expense of the latter.

Sandy Hickman: An age old conundrum that councils past have struggled with. Council has to keep in mind the special place that St. John’s is and ensure that it protects heritage buildings and areas. We are just another city if we lose our identity. But….we must plan for appropriate development, to scale in the heritage area, but get tougher with regulations that support creativity, innovation and respect for the vernacular. We must support the development of residential properties to keep downtown alive night and day. St. John’s certainly is just that and that is not something you see in all cities.

Dave Lane: St. John’s unique heritage is an incredible asset. The challenge in our city has often been finding the balance between maintaining our built heritage while encouraging and facilitating growth and development.I have worked for several years to seek out this balance. I sit on the board of the New- foundland Historic Trust and am proud of the work we’ve done to expand our mandate to advocate sustainable, well-designed new structures. Through this role, I also have the opportunity to sit on the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee. I have seen first hand the hard work that many developers undertake to maintain heritage value as they build new developments. We should encourage and incentivize developers to preserve, maintain, and re-adapt our built heritage with tax incentives, allowances, and awards. A clear set of guidelines that is enforced would be helpful, too. I’ve written about this a number of times, including on my blog at The Telegram.

Lorne Loder: This is a complex issue and almost every scenario needs to be addressed independently. Having said that, I strongly feel we need to preserve important historic properties and features
while remaining pragmatic and increasing density, therefore the tax base.

Paul Sears: As former member of the Heritage Committee, I believe good balance already exists.

Deanne Stapleton: People should be encouraged not forced to preserve the heritage in historic St. John’s.

Lionel West: Once again, the Municipal Plan has to be completed and feedback from citizens incorporated into the plan to see what type of city, citizens want St. John’s to be. Many cities throughout the world have managed a blend of heritage and modern within their borders. We can have modern by retaining facades, heritage by designating and enforcing by-laws. The Council has to be consistent with its decision making process and restrictions should be placed on Council’s discretionary powers.

Cecil Whitten: I would provide incentives for modern design with historical flavor that will balance old with new. I would have discussions with stake holders to bring this about.

Derek Winsor: I believe there is a need to retain the historic appeal of the city for the tourism sector. However with the advances in engineering I believe there are ways to incorporate the modern needs and at the same time retain that historic look. I believe this has to be conducted on an individual basis.

Fred Winsor: I do not view this as a “balance.” Its not “either or.” Heritage development is one form of real estate development. Heritage development has proven to be very successful real estate development for St. John’s in a variety of ways. They include: preserving and rebuilding neighbourhoods, improving property values, and enhancing the aesthetics of St. John’s as tourist attractions. We can learn from these positive experiences as we develop and redevelop real estate, and build and rebuild the city and the other municipalities around it. Street design and architecture, building design, mixed development, incorporating the needs of pedestrians in a winter city, recognition of the effects of our natural enviroment including wind and weather variability on the built environment, and serious attention to urban aesthetics are just some of the factors which need consideration as we move St. John’s forward as mid- Atlantic urban centre.

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Housing affordability

12. What initiatives would you support or undertake to address the following issues?

  • a shortage of available rental housing
  • rising costs of rental housing
  • rising house prices

Tom Badcock: Funds such as the homelessness fund which my organization was recently able to access is but one of a number of provincial programs that begin to address the issues of the lack of affordable housing. We, as a city, and as a province, are downloading our responsibilities for these issues to private and corporate interests. We need more housing owned and controlled by the city, we need more housing owned and controlled by the province. I am not suggesting we discontinue funding private and corporate housing initiatives but all levels of government need to be more involved than they are. Every couples’ dream is to own their own home and they will never manage to do that while they are paying  the rents they are paying today. There is simply nothing left over to save. We are creating a situation likened to a dependence on social assistance and unless we seriously address this issue, couples today will never own their own homes. House prices are a supply and demand issue primarily. It’s difficult to tell a developer what he/she will charge for a home. But if we have more low income housing, that will increase supply and hopefully stem the rising prices. That’s a very simple approach to a very complex issue.

Sandy Hickman:

 

  • (a) a shortage of available rental housing; i think the development community is recognizing the need and we are starting to see some rental units developed. This is market driven really but it has taken some time for this recognition by developers. The city must keep this dialogue going and support zoning in appropriate areas
  • (b) rising costs of rental housing; this may drop with more development as it is,again market driven. The concept of rent  controls has been discussed but needs further analysis. I would support this though.
  • rising house prices. Again,  a false inflationary trend over the last number of years driven by a hot market. I don’t see it lasting, however, but we’ll see! Our home prices are higher than in Winnipeg – a city eight times our size! The city must encourage the development of smaller homes that are affordable for young people of both low and modest income.

Dave Lane: Here’s my stance on housing affordability:

It has been proven worldwide, and here at home, that one of the most important ways to maintain a strong economy and quality of life is to make sure everyone can afford a place to live. Housing prices are affecting people of all income levels, and solving this problem helps everybody. I believe there are ways that City Hall can help reduce the cost of living. For example, we can work with developers to encourage the development of rental apartments, and mixed-use neighbourhoods with various types of housing. As well, we can help reduce the “hidden” costs of housing like utilities and property taxes by providing more efficient services and a more equitable tax system. I’ve written about how better subdivision de- sign can reduce taxes. For those who are struggling with income, I support groups that are already doing in- credible work in this area such as the Housing and Homeless Network, Choices for Youth, and Habitat for Humanity.

Lorne Loder: I think providing incentives to developers to create more affordable housing (and not just expensive condominiums) would help with all of these issues. Furthermore, I think the City should consider allowing fixed-income seniors to defer their property taxes until the sale of the home.

Paul Sears: 

(a) The only way to improve this situation is to find funding for construction of more units by partnering with other levels of government.

(b) There is no easy answer; the economy drives this particular issue. The City can try to find ways ease the financial burden by lowering income required to rent these facilities. (City owned properties or Lobby the Provincial government for Provincial owned properties)

(c) The economy dedicates the prices.

Deanne Stapleton:

(a) Build more accommodations with affordable rent. The city should play a bigger part in Habitat for Humanity. We should consult with the provincial and federal governments on affordable housing initiatives.

(b) This is up to the provincial government on rental control.

(c) Price of housing is part of an indicator that the city is doing well. We cannot change the housing market. The demand on the market controls the prices as any fast growing city would know.

Lionel West: The market place determines the housing conditions. However, I would encourage all levels of government to work with the construction and development industry to ensure affordable housing was factored into all housing developments. May be a quota would have to be applied. I would also encourage new apartment buildings. The city could create tax breaks or other incentives to achieve these aims.

Cecil Whitten:

(a) a shortage of available rental housing; I would provide tax incentives to anyone willing to rent or build affordable rental units.

(b) rising costs of rental housing; I would have income based housing based on Net not Gross income. This is the amount that a renter actually has. Provide incentives to landlords of non income based rental units who rent at a lower rate.

(c) rising house prices. I would consult with the industry to determine how the City could work with them to build lower cost housing and still allow for a reasonable return on there investment.

Derek Winsor:

a)  Allowing reduction in the mil rate for private individuals who invest in affordable housing units through other level of government programming. The city needs to work with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and the provincial government to ensure consistency in the application of policies around affordable housing.

b)  Unfortunately, rental units are a free market commodity, and my belief is that rent control will create more low income landlord units.

c)  Housing prices are a free market commodity and it is a buyer-controlled market.

Fred Winsor:  Some of the most effective housing affordability programs to come out of Canada from the 1940s to the 1980s were the rise of new construction housing cooperatives, non-profit housing cooperatives, and non-profit housing corporations. Often funded through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, these programs provided affordable housing to many families and individuals who otherwise would not have been able to qualify in the private real estate market. Another option is for municipalities to require developers to build  affordable units in new construction projects. This has proven successful in jurisdictions although it has been shown that affordable housing needs to be  constructed  adjacent public transit to be workable.

 

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Immigration

13. What initiatives have you been involved with, or would you implement, to promote a welcoming and supportive environment for immigrants and refugees in our community?

Tom Badcock: I have a cultural geography degree as I previously indicated. So issues of immigration and integration into the community are important to me.  I firmly support programs to bring more immigrants to our city and for more reasons that I can list here. More people buy more shoes, more clothes, more houses, more of everything and our economy grows and we all benefit. But I don’t support immigrants who refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. I am not a monarchist but until the Queen stops being our head of state that is who we swear allegiance to. I don’t support immigrants who refuse to recognize that this is a Christian country and there are crosses on churches, there are saints’ names on schools, there are religious studies in our schools. Many if not all immigrants come to our province because we have a better standard of life here, we have freedom to worship, to speak and to associate.  Accept what we have to offer in your new home or return to yours. On the other hand however, I welcome programs to integrate immigrants into our society while giving them the opportunity to retain their cultures but not at the expense of ours. I support financial assistance programs to allow immigrants to expose us to their cultures.

Sandy Hickman: I feel immigration is important to NL as our population ages and we do not have enough people in he younger age groups to fill all sectors. So far, we have seen a steady increase in immigration and it seems to be going well. I feel the City should support the various benches,when needed, in delivering programs that support and educate immigrants to life in St. John’s.

Dave Lane: First and foremost, I would visibly work with and support groups that already work to support immigrants and refugees, such as the Association for New Canadians and the Refugee-Immigrant Advisory Council. People in St. John’s are, in general, fairly welcoming when interacting with newcomers. However, I have heard time and again that it is difficult for people moving here to establish themselves. The city can do more to simplify setting up a business, for example. I would also encourage the province to reverse cuts it has made to the Office of Immigration and Migration. We need to make it easier to move here, live here, and work here.

Lorne Loder: I think the City should continue to work with community organizations (such as ANC and RIAC) to help newcomers adjust to our community. They add culture, diversity and help address our growing labour shortage as well.

Paul Sears: I have not been involved directly with these initiatives; however I know there is some great work occurring throughout the city by many community groups. The City of St. John’s has always been a municipal government who has and will continue to welcome new residents to our city from around the world

Deanne Stapleton: Strengthen participation of newcomers to our city through communication, relationships and information sharing.

Lionel West: I have not been involved in any immigration initiatives other than personal ones. By this I mean, I welcome all into this community.

Cecil Whitten: I would support non profit groups whose mandate it is to support new immigrants. Develop educational programs that will allow the people of St. John’s and new comers to meet and learn about each other.

Derek Winsor: In my position at Bridges to Hope, we support families and individuals who are transitioning into St. John’s life. The City needs to support the Association of New Canadians through grants for programs and services.

Fred Winsor: In my experience most immigrants bring with them “immigrant mentality.” They are more than often very eager to work and start their own businesses. Cities thrive on diversity, so I see immigrants as  bringing positive energy to St. John’s. We should support them as they will benefit us.

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Intergovernmental relationships

14. What are two specific initiatives/issues at the federal or provincial level that you would commit to advocating for if you were elected?

Tom Badcock: There are so many federal issues that to single out one or two is very difficult. I think it’s criminal the way that search and rescue is being served. I think it’s criminal that retired military people have their pensions clawed back when they turn 65. I think that DFOs treatment of our fishermen is simply outrageous. We are a have province paying more to the federal government than we are getting but we don’t get our fair share of federal offices and jobs. But perhaps the single biggest issue is with Marine Atlantic. The cost for people to get on and off this island is outrageous and once people are on the ferries, food and accommodations are charged at five star rates with zero star ratings. Nearly every item we purchase in this province costs more because of the costs of getting those items to us using Marine Atlantic. I believe that if this service were privatized and subsidies provided to the carriers, costs would go down dramatically and service would increase dramatically.

Provincially, the fact that hospitals are charging for patient parking has caused me many sleepless nights especially when they don’t even pay taxes on the land they occupy in this city.  I don’t think that because St. John’s is the largest city in the province that we should be cut out of the municipal operating grant system.

Sandy Hickman: Again, the prov. govt. need to assist with,indeed,demand, cooperation amongst the municipalities in the region in particular, Metrobus cannot work effectively without the involvement of Mt. Pearl and the other towns in a plan for regional transit.

Dave Lane: 1) Improved support for our public transit system. Just to give an example, Metrobus is required to pay registration to the province for all of its buses. This should be waived. 2) Housing affordability. There is never enough that can be done to support this.

Lorne Loder: We must continue to work with both provincial and federal governments to reduce crime, improve inner-city highways and infrastructure and affordable housing.

Paul Sears: Funding for social housing from both level of government is a high priority; as well as funding for city infrastructure.

Deanne Stapleton: 1. Increase in funding for infrastructure 2. A better working relationship with both levels of government.

Lionel West: A new financial arrangement with the provincial government in terms of grants and tax breaks. E.g. H.S.T relief on all services and goods purchased by the city. Open discussions with the provincial government on eliminating property assessment as a means of revenue for the city and replacing it with a “Municipal Tax” through the Income Tax system.

Cecil Whitten: I support the effort by the City to negotiate a better funding agreement. I would lobby for federal funding for housing and transportation.

Derek Winsor: 

  1.  Increased funding through the infrastructure program to ensure city infrastructure is maintained at a high quality level
  2.   Affordable housing

Fred Winsor: I will advocate that the Provincial Government provide funding to support regional public transit on the North-east Avalon. I will advocate  that both the Federal and Provincial Governments provide funds to not- for-profit housing groups to build and manage affordable housing units in St.John’s and the surrounding areas.

15. What opportunities for regional cooperation with neighbouring communities do you think should be pursued?

Tom Badcock: (No answer provided)

Sandy Hickman: As above. Transit is number one.

Dave Lane: I think we should improve regional cooperation with our neighbours and focus more on competing with global cities – such as Toronto and Calgary – rather than with each other. I consider amalgamation to be the “easy” way out of the challenges regarding how to effectively share services and costs. Cooperation requires trust, and I intend to establish that with our neighbours over my tenure in Council. As for a specific opportunity – transit!

Lorne Loder: I am a strong advocate of a strong regional transit system. If more  people from neighbouring municipalities, and areas within the city, used busses to get to the City’s core, it would help alleviate parking and traffic concerns. However, this requires an overhaul of the practicality and perception of metrobus, and cooperation with other communities to do so.

Paul Sears: 

  • Tourism Initiatives
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Funding of our road networks

Deanne Stapleton: All neighbouring communities should pay their fair share of infrastructure programs that has been started by the provincial government. There should be a bi-annual meeting to discuss the issues.

Lionel West: All opportunities should be looked at where it makes sense. This may be in things such as recreational facilities, bulk purchasing, and infrastructure needs.

Cecil Whitten: We should cooperate to create better safer municipal infrastructure. And secure government funding for the overall betterment of all municipalities. Co-operation is the cornerstone and dialogue is the key to achieving this.

Derek Winsor: There has to be an increase in cooperation in public transit to make it efficient and reliable in and out of neighbouring communities and one that meets the needs of the users it serves.

Fred Winsor: In addition to the existing municipal joint management programs to manage fire protection, water, and technical issues, I think both regional public transit and regional planning could fall under similar municipal joint management agreements.

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Municipal pensions

16. A recent submission from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business called for reforming the pensions of public sector workers. Their recommendations include:

  1. Converting from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ pensions
  2. Ending incentives to retire early
  3. Fully disclosing pension liabilities using a consistent methodology

Where do you stand on this issue?

Tom Badcock: First, city councillors are part time employees and as such they should not be entitled to pensions under any circumstances. Second, I am a recipient of a defined benefit military pension but I think that the way we are heading is defined contributions. There are many valid arguments for and against this. I still think that giving people incentives to retire early are necessary in some situations to free up jobs and to reduce costs. But again this is not a simple yes or no answer situation.  I do agree with fully disclosing pension liabilities using a consistent methodology.

Sandy Hickman: I agree that governments are financially burdened with the weight of pension liability. There has to be a more realistic approach taken in the very near future with a move to removing pensions or setting up a defined contribution program. This is very sensitive and difficult to negotiate but will soon bankrupt the city if we don’t come up with a creative way to compensate employees fairly without hamstringing the city.

Dave Lane: We need a pension system that is fair and equitable and works for all involved. Currently the system is not sustainable, so reforms do have to take place. I will explore the options and consult in good faith with all parties involved. I do think that an agreement can be reached that essentially allows current workers to keep their existing plan while making more sustainable and fair agreements with new workers as they are hired.

Lorne Loder: I think the City should take a close look at its outstanding pension liabilities and consider measures that help with their forecasting and affordability. I do believe that this information should be disclosed to the taxpayers using a consistent methodology.

Paul Sears: 

  1. Regarding this statement more detail formation is necessary to make a constructive comment. I would look to the Director of Human Resources and the City’s Chief Commissioner to bring forward the a plan showing the pros and cons for the both scenarios for our current pension plans.
  2. I have no issue with this type of policy.
  3. I agree, as long as all information is disclosed.

Deanne Stapleton: Changes are needed to the pensions with more public consultations and transparancy.

Lionel West: I require more information on this issue. I support full disclosure of pension liabilities but sometimes, employment incentives can be used to ensure retention of an effective and efficient work force and a reduction in lay-offs.

Cecil Whitten: I am not familiar with municipal pensions. I look forward to listening to all sides as part of my learning curve.

Derek Winsor:

  1. I would have to do more research on the difference between the two programs. However it is my understanding that the defined contributions benefit the employer and the defined benefit is a benefit to the employee.
  2. Early retirement is a benefit to the community, it opens positions for younger workers, it will reduce lost time due to sick days when people get older. It will reduce the demand for longer vacation times for employees who stay on longer.
  3. Yes I agree there should be a statement of liabilities on the pension.

I think these programs were put in place to protect the economy in future years and any reduction or loss of benefits to employees will create stress in the workplace and lack of incentive to perform. Also, changes will eliminate opportunities for youth to enter the workforce and continue to develop the city.

Fred Winsor: I do not have enough information to offer an informed opinion on this issue.

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Public spaces and walkability

17. How would you foster community spaces and walkability in the city?

Tom Badcock: At the risk of being coy, I like to stand in public places and I like to go for walks.  These issue form part of the city plan and we need open spaces and we need walking trails even within the city.

Sandy Hickman: Something I believe in to be sure. The older areas south of Empire ave. are a challenge but they are the ones that need some creative open spaces and enhanced walk ability. I like what has been done in expanding sidewalk clearing. This can be further expanded but has to be done in a more timely way. You will never please everyone but the city must continue to enhance  winter walk ability this way. Year-round pedestrians have to be given more consideration. I have been pushing for enhanced consideration in the downtown and, as a member of the convention centre expansion committee, am leading a plan for the convention centre/downtown west end that would see the provision of better pedestrian movement, mini parks,rest areas, planting along with controlled vehicle movement. This will be necessary as new buildings in that section of downtown start opening up and residents, workers and tourists hit the streets in increased numbers.

Dave Lane: I believe in incorporating trails and green space throughout the entire city. We need a full plan and we need to ensure that new developments integrate with that plan. Walkability fosters community and improves our mental and physical health. I think the city can team up with the Grand Concourse initiative and landscape architects to de- velop and implement a plan.

Lorne Loder: I think we should take advantage of tasteful and architecturally designed corporate sponsorship of community spaces and trails. I have spoken to several CEO’s that have expressed interest in participating in such endeavors and it would help beautify the City and alleviate burdens on the taxpayers.

Paul Sears: Keeping up proper maintenance and grooming; providing security and additional lighting where necessary. Also promoting the various spaces we have to our citizens.

Deanne Stapleton: More green spaces and trails in future developments in and around the city.

Lionel West: I like the idea of a city having “breathing spaces” and would encourage the creation of “parkettes” within new sub-divisions or on vacant lots within the downtown. To encourage walking we must ensure our sidewalks are well maintained with appropriate snow clearing.

Cecil Whitten: I would encourage the creation of community open space in all new development. Including completely accessible walking trails and playgrounds.

Derek Winsor: (Did not provide an answer)

Fred Winsor: I think we need to know the status of our community spaces. Which are used, which remain unused, or used very little, and why. Then move ahead from there. Regarding walkability in the city we might look at what amenities are needed to make it easier to walk in the city. Are there always sidewalks in place to make it safe for walking? Do bus stops in exposed areas have bus shelters to protect the riders from inclement weather. Are there exposed walking areas which could use windbreaks or other forms of wind protection? Is it possible to construct awnings over exposed stairways for protection from rain and snow?

18. Do you support the harbour fence initiative? What would you do about it if elected?

Tom Badcock: I do support the harbour fence. It does not impede view or access to the harbour. 

Sandy Hickman: The harbour fence was a dead issue before it even started. It is completely outside of the jurisdiction of the city. The port authority, I guess,had the courtesy to offer the city an opportunity for input into design which allowed a much more attractive alternative than they would have put there.

Dave Lane: I walk along the harbour frequently, and was personally dismayed to hear about the fence. However, I completely agree that the port is a busy one which has dangerous work being done at all hours and people should be protected. My position on the fence is that I understand and agree that it is required, but that we, as a community, missed a major opportunity to do a detailed, visionary plan for the entire harbour. It’s a gem that should be accessible to people and, if major decisions are made behind closed doors, we all lose.

Lorne Loder: The harbor fence is a contentious issue among many people, ultimately I would like to see the harbor meet the security requirements necessary for trade and visitation yet when these needs are not necessary have one or more gates that allow public access.

Paul Sears: This decision is already made by the existing council and work is near completion.

Deanne Stapleton: Yes, unfortunately, security is a fact and reality in our country since 9/11.

Lionel West: My understanding of the harbour fence initiative is that the Port Authority was going to erect a chain-linked fence but went to the City and said if it wanted a different type of fence, the city would have to share the costs. The City agreed to this, as long as it had design control. It does. On this basis, I support the current project. What our harbourfront needs is a complete re-assessment. What do we want our harbourfront to be?

Cecil Whitten: Harbour security is a major issue and cannot be encored. This is the reason why I support the harbour fence. The safety of the citizens of St. John’s and our visitors must be our prime concern.

Derek Winsor: For security reasons, I support the harbour fence because we now have a busier port than we ever did before so I think this security is necessary, however, when the harbour is in a downtime, the port authority should be able to allow people to walk the harbour apron.

Fred Winsor: I would like to see the documentation regarding the justification for building the fence. The harbour apron is a great attraction both for tourists and the local population. Our tourism industry in St. John’s is expanding rapidly and the harbour is a great draw. Could the Southside of the harbour be used for maintenance of vessels engaged in the offshore oil industry? It seems like a safer location away from the retail and business section of the city.

19. A commonly used walking trail between Cowan Heights and Sobey’s Square has been cut off by the Team Gushue Highway extension. Would you support the installation of a culvert tunnel so that pedestrians would not be forced to cross the highway?

Tom Badcock: I do not know what the pedestrian flow is there and so I can’t comment.

Sandy Hickman: I used to live in the area and it is a used route but not as well used as it used to be as there are no store in the mall anymore. I would assume people will use topsail rd.

Dave Lane: Yes.

Lorne Loder: Yes, this is another example for potential corporate partnership to help absorb costs. Going forward, the City should use better planning to ensure walkability between neighbourhoods.

Paul Sears: More Information is required. This is not a yes or no answer, I would however be willing to look into the issue.

Deanne Stapleton: Yes. We have one on the Virginia River Trail under the Outer Ring Road and it work very well.

Lionel West: I am not aware of this situation and would seek advice from appropriate people to determine a suitable solution.

Cecil Whitten: I would support this, safety first. Human life should not have a price tag, better to save a life than a dollar.

Derek Winsor: Yes.

Fred Winsor: I am surprised that it was not included in the original highway  design. Did the provincial government solicit public input when they planned that road?

 

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Regulations and red tape

20. How would you increase the speed of regulatory approvals for new business operations in the city (i.e. certification for restaurants, cafes, etc.)?

Tom Badcock: I think the city has made improvements in recent years dealing with these issues. Quite frankly, until I understand how this process works and I speak to the users, I would just be acting like a politician and giving you an answer that was just a bunch of hoohaw.  When I went to work for the provincial government after retiring from the military I met a man at Confederation Building who had a huge roll of red tape in his hands. He jokingly informed me that he was the one who distributed the government red tape. The term originated from Henry VIII who sent a barrage of petitions to the pope bound in red tape trying to get his marriage annulled which of course resulted in the creation of the Church of England. There will always be red tape in dealing with government but we must always strive to reduce it.

Sandy Hickman: A very frustrating issue for many businesses. The city needs to assign each application to one staff member and have that person remain as the only point of contact. Too often, different inspectors offer different restrictions or demands on the proponents. This is a weakness that we can resolve by keeping the contact consistent and efficient.

Dave Lane: I’d work to establish a standardized, clear, and consistent process for development re- views, inspections, and approvals. I think we can improve the verbiage of guidelines to reduce the “legalese” so they make more sense to those following them. To help us achieve this, we can look to other cities that have rapid and effective proc- esses and see how they did it.

Lorne Loder: This is an area that needs great improvement. It is crucial that we facilitate small business and not hinder. With more staff in these departments and an overhaul of current systems I think we can make major improvements.

Paul Sears: As a former Fire Inspector who has worked with City Building Inspectors and other Regulatory Agencies; it is my experience that each has to be based on its own merit there is no generic solution.

Deanne Stapleton: Cut out some of the red tape and make it more business friendly.

Lionel West: I believe the city is currently reviewing “regulations and red tape” and would await the outcome of this review. Part of this review includes the re-structuring of departments. I would be looking for “best practices” and ensuring implementation.

Cecil Whitten: This is something that I would like to meet with stake holders on. Those who encounter a problem usually find more innovative ways to solve it.

Derek Winsor: The staff should be able to be able to make decisions on basic straightforward applications.

Fred Winsor: I think that is a very difficult question to answer simply because  most buildings were built at different times, often under different building codes and standards. However I believe there should be some grandfathering in regulations to accommodate the age and construction of buildings. People like cities, especially older cities because of their diversity, uniqueness, and idiosyncrasies. We need to be expansive enough to incorporate our diversity and uniqueness into our building regulations as long as basic standards of public safety and public health are met.

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Seniors

21. What initiatives would you support to make the city safer and more accessible for our seniors?

Tom Badcock: I would have to say that I think that our city is very safe for seniors from a crime perspective. I don’t think that seniors are being singled out more than any other group. I do think however, that our snow clearing procedures do restrict accessibility for not only our seniors but for persons with disabilities.  Accessibility is very encompassing and it includes not only physical access but also access to services through telephone, computer and other means. I would be very supportive of a study to address these issues and to determine what we can do to make the city more accessible and safe.

Sandy Hickman: As noted increased ease of walking. Accessible buses and bus stops. Continue to provide seniors rec. programs and expand the offerings and promotion of same.

Dave Lane: Better public transit, improved walking trails, better street and sidewalk snow clearing, means-testing for property taxes, and partnership with / support for groups such as Seniors Resource Centre and the Independent Living Resource Centre.

Lorne Loder: Obviously better snow-clearing of sidewalks and review the GoBus system to ensure it is serving the needs of residents.

Paul Sears: That question is for seniors themselves to answer; I commit to having a public form on these issues with seniors in first 6 months of my term to get their input. At present there are many good quality programs in place but like everything I’m sure we can build on and improve these programs.

Deanne Stapleton: 1) Coordinate community resources to improve access to services. 2) Have more age-appropriate programming at the local community centers. 3) Ensure that information is readily available, appropriately designed and delivered to meet the needs of our seniors.

Lionel West: The City already has a Mayors Advisory committee for Seniors and I would ensure I became a member of this committee thus enabling me to be well informed on seniors’ issues. From this I would be able to assess the requirements of our seniors and help implement proposals emanating from the committee.

Cecil Whitten: I will support all forms of accessible Transit. Sidewalk repair and installation of low back curb cuts.

Derek Winsor: Improvement in the transit system and increased snow clearing of sidewalks.

Fred Winsor: I would upgrade and expand our public transit system to have bus stops and bus shelters located near seniors’ apartment buildings. I would build smooth hardsurfaced walkways to make it easier to walk outside. I would hold ongoing discussions with seniors groups as to what kind of amenities they need to function effectively in and around the city.

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Snow clearing

22. How do you propose to improve road and sidewalk snow clearing in St. John’s? Please address both and provide specific details.

Tom Badcock: All of us have opinions on snow clearing and I am no exception. I don’t know why I drive to work in the mornings and the roads aren’t plowed and the on and off ramps are blocked. I don’t know why we don’t salt and sand our streets when we know a storm is coming so that ice won’t build up. I don’t know why you can eat off the sidewalks and the streets around city hall after a storm and Merrymeeting road and the surrounding streets are impassable for pedestrians for days. I have more questions than answers but be assured if I am elected, I will have answers and solutions and I am not blaming the guys who drive the snow plows. But management needs to get their act together. And regarding the issue of clearing sidewalks, I don’t understand why the city centre and the downtown are not the priority areas for sidewalk clearing when these are the areas where there are fewer person who own vehicles and sidewalks are used more than anywhere else in the city.

Sandy Hickman: This is a huge expense on the city for various reasons, mostly because if snow removal in the older parts of the city. There is a much greater program in place than in years past with much more effective equipment and methodology. But much of the time,except in the four to six weeks of consistent snowfalls, the cost for equipment and staff to sit and wait is excessive. I would like to revisit the staffing methodology so that it is more reflective of the needs. I am very big on sidewalk clearing and pleased that this has been expanding in recent years. I want to have this become a bigger priority and be undertaken more expediently after each storm subsides and, indeed, be undertaken on main routes, even as storm are running their course. It is not realistic nor is it safe to be clearing sidewalks during the height of a storm. Sanding the sidewalks after clearing is a very important safety practice, as well.

Dave Lane: This will be one of the first issues I engage on should I be elected. I will start by meeting with the city managers and workers who oversee our snow clearing efforts to get a clear understanding of their efforts. Next I’ll discuss what opportunities we have for making the system more efficient and more effective with the resources we currently have. I’ll advocate for these changes and assist in making them happen. Finally, and more long-term, I will continuously explore and advocate for better road design that has less of a burden on these services. Currently the trend in subdivision development is to have homes far apart from one another with wide roads. This means we have a lot more area to cover and increases the cost of service for everyone. (Please see my blog post about this). As an overarching principle, I believe we should strive to be a safe and accessible city, and this means, among other things, providing excellent snow clearing.

Lorne Loder: I think St. John’s taxpayers have spoken and are demanding clearer sidewalks in the winter months. With the potential purchase of more equipment and priority placed on sidewalks in high traffic areas (such as downtown, the university, and near schools), we can achieve a more mobile city.

Paul Sears: 

  • Public Consultations (your voice)
  • Web Reporting and Improving tracking
  • Equipment options
  • Sidewalk Design
  • Weekly Progress reporting to council

Deanne Stapleton: 1. Let’s look at other cities to see how they handle the situation. 2. Increase the number of sidewalk plows and change of snow removal equipment if necessary.

Lionel West: The city currently does a good job with snow clearing, especially the roads. However I would want an independent review of operations to discover if improvements can be made. Snow clearing of sidewalks has improved in the last couple of years and hopefully, funding permitting, will continue to improve. I would also look into the possibility to see if parts of the Downtown could have heated sidewalks. I would want a feasibility study undertaken and decision made after receiving the study’s report.

Cecil Whitten: I would increase the frequency of road and sidewalk clearing.

Derek Winsor: Snow clearing requires the empowerment of the workers to take pride in their work and to be acknowledged when the work is done more efficiently versus taking 8 hours to do a 4 hour job. I would like to see an expanded agreement with the downtown development to have a dedicated crew for snow clearing and removal in the downtown business area. I would to see all poles moved back from the curb when being replaced (where possible).

Fred Winsor: I would designate certain sidewalks on busy main streets as pedestrian priority and have snow clearing and removal resources designated specifically for clearing and removing snow from those sidewalks. Two streets which come to mind are Bonaventure Avenue and Elizabeth Avenue which receive heavy use from children and students. I would make efforts to ensure that snow does not get piled up at intersections to block the sight lines for motorists and pedestrians.

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Stormwater management and flooding

23. Last year, a City Commissioner’s report found that watersheds, bridges, and culverts are unable to handle any additional stormwater runoff from planned developments above the 190m contour (such as Dannyville). The report recommends a zero-net increase runoff policy for new developments. Would you require developers to submit a blueprint that clearly incorporates a zero-net increase stormwater management plan prior to any land clearance or developmental phase? If so, how would you ensure that developers follow this policy?

Tom Badcock: Yes and city staff have to ensure that the policy is followed.

Sandy Hickman: No question that the zero-net runoff policy is key, as well. This is now practice in the city. City engineers must monitor developments to ensure compliance. The only thing I would say is that, with all the development and city projects, we are understaffed in this area.

Dave Lane: Yes I think zero-net runoff is a great idea in general, let alone above the 190-metre contour. To ensure developers follow this policy, I see two key components: that the policy is crafted in close partnership with developers or their representative associations like the CHBA; and that the policy be enforced by the city. This may mean helping to streamline the inspection process to help inspectors do their job more efficiently (enforcement requires resources), but it will be worth it.

Lorne Loder: My understanding is the Stormwater Detention Policy addresses these concerns. I would be in favour of enforcing these regulations by monitoring developments at various stages to ensure compliance.

Paul Sears: I have not seen this report regarding developers submitting a plan, however I see no immediate issue with that. Regarding the enforcement of the policy, this could be accomplished by regular inspection and oversight by city inspectors.

Deanne Stapleton: Yes of course, this is why our green spaces and marshes are so important to development areas. No development precedes without it but we will have to work together to bring it to standards. Cooperation on both sides.

Lionel West: I would support this initiative. To ensure adherence to such a policy, the city will have to ensure its building inspectors are monitoring the development and submitting reports for public consumption.

Cecil Whitten: I am not familiar with the report however providing a blueprint for stormwater management is advisable.

Derek Winsor: I would like to see that any culverts and draining be 1.5 times the national recommended sizing.

Fred Winsor: I would require that developers be required post a substantial bond(30-40% of the total cost of the project) which would be forfeit if they fail to install appropriate stormwater retention infrastructure.

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Tax policy

24. Tell us your position on tax policy, addressing some or all of the following questions:

  1. How important is it to keep taxes low?
  2. Do businesses pay too much or too little tax relative to residences?
  3. Should tax breaks be provided to low income people who are not old enough to qualify for the seniors reduction? What about to senior citizens whose income is too high to qualify?
  4. How do you feel about the recent decision to blend the business occupancy tax and the business realty tax into a single tax?
  5. Would you consider blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more basement apartments?
  6. Would you consider introducing residential water metering so that households are charged for the amount of water used rather than a flat rate per unit?
  7. Would you consider a tax on land value as opposed to property value as a way to encourage more efficient use of land?
  8. Should the tax break for vacant commercial property be eliminated?

 Tom Badcock: 

  1. That’s a crazy question. No one wants to pay taxes but there are expenses to running a city and it’s a fine line. I have always been a proponent of property tax not tax on what’s on the property.  Tax the assessed value of the property not the assessed value of the building on the property for single residential properties. Multiple residential properties and businesses should of course be treated differently.
  2. No, I think it’s fair.
  3. Yes, and set thresholds.
  4. Good idea
  5. I’d consider it but I would need more information
  6. Yes depending upon the cost
  7. Most definitely
  8. No. Increase it as well as the taxes to encourage development

Sandy Hickman:

1) How important is it to keep taxes low?  A priority for me. We cant expect people to pay any higher.

2) Do businesses pay too much or too little tax relative to residences? An age old question that is complex. But, generally, residential carries a little more of the load

3) Should tax breaks be provided to low income people who are not old enough to qualify for the seniors reduction? What about to senior citizens whose income is too high to qualify? A difficult question, again. Generally, I would like to see all seniors given some breaks. But income has to be a consideration. It can’t be age related solely as that would not be fair to those that have to make up the taxes taken out of the system through the breaks

4) How do you feel about the recent decision to blend the business occupancy tax and the business realty tax into a single tax? A very good move that simplifies things for the business person and the city alike.

5) Would you consider blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more basement apartments? Haven’t thought of that but I know it has become an issue as the water tax has risen. Basement apts., in excess, cause traffic, parking, garbage,etc. problems at times. I wouldn’t suggest this as a way to encourage even more.

6) Would you consider introducing residential water metering so that households are charged for the amount of water used rather than a flat rate per unit? It is a big capital expense that may not be worth it but this requires a lot mote study. There are a lot of ramifications that may be obvious. This would probably mean a loss of revenue for the city as people conserved.

7. Would you consider a tax on land value as opposed to property value as a way to encourage more efficient use of land? Again, a complex issue that need study but would worth looking at.

8) Should the tax break for vacant commercial property be eliminated? Yes. This needs to be reviewed as there have been some recent situations that are not fair.

Dave Lane: We need better tax policy, and I’m very excited at the prospect of engaging in a wide-ranging, in-depth discussion on the matter. It’s a long-term effort and I’m ready to dive in. First off, whatever we can do to keep taxes low while providing quality services, we should do it. This means reducing the cost of service without diminishing its effectiveness. There are always ways to be more efficient with service provision, and I will always be encouraging tweaks and modifications to existing processes to make things run better. I am also a huge proponent of using information technology to make different system within City Hall talk to one another. When this happens we can save money by reducing mundane or repetitive tasks. The purpose of taxing is not make people’s lives harder, it’s to provide quality of life. It’s important we keep this in mind so we can find ways to tax people in ways that are appropriate to their ability to pay. Means testing and rebates where appropriate should be priorities for our approach. I love the idea of water metering and we have to start installing the meters on new homes NOW. There are also ideas for taxing homes differently based on service requirement that I’m interested in exploring (for example, should a house with three bathrooms have the same water bill as a house with one bathroom? Probably not). As a final point, I think it’s important for City Hall to adopt a budgeting system that encourages us to “work within our means” rather than the current system which, in a way, simply presents what we think we have to spend and then taxes the populace to cover the cost.

Lorne Loder: It’s important to keep property taxes low, both for businesses and residences. While I don’t believe the seniors reduction should be expanded to younger people, the city should consider alternatives to help fixed-income seniors stay in their homes. This could include a program allowing them to defer payment of property taxes until the sale of the property. Other municipalities facing escalating property values have employed this type of policy to great success.

The city should also be open to new policies such as blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more affordable housing, and introducing residential water metering to make taxation fair and discourage wasteful water usage. However, such decisions would require research, a determination of whether the incentives would work as planned, and ensure cost-effectiveness.

I strongly believe that the tax break for large vacant commercial property be eliminated. Abandoned buildings are not only an eyesore, but a lost opportunity to serve neighbourhoods in many ways. They also deprive the city of much-needed tax revenue. The city should tax large vacant commercial properties at least as much as those in use, if not more.

Paul Sears: 1) It is very important and it must part of the city mandate to do so.

2) A tax base is necessary for services;  I do not believe business are paying too much tax  however I believe as a city it is important to keep taxes low and strive to find savings and pass back to user such business.

3) There is only so many dollars to go around, those who are in greatest need are the ones who should receive assistance; However I am open for discussion with the parties involved to find a formula.

4) This is long over do, the city should benefit from this decision. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost over the years by the previous formula.

5) No.

6) I am committed to public consultations on (WATER METERS) In March 2014. Mandatory installation of water meters should not be an arbitrary decision by council. It will be up to the citizens of this city to express their desire on whether they want a meter rate or flat or both. Citizens need choices.

7) More research is needed to determine if this approach would be the best one.

8) All tax breaks should be reviewed to see their benefits and efficiencies

Deanne Stapleton:

1) How important is it to keep taxes low? Very important
2) Do businesses pay too much or too little tax relative to residences? The tax base now is efficient.
3) Should tax breaks be provided to low income people who are not old enough to qualify for the seniors reduction? No What about to senior citizens whose income is too high to qualify? No
4) How do you feel about the recent decision to blend the business occupancy tax and the business realty tax into a single tax?
5) Would you consider blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more basement apartments? Yes
6) Would you consider introducing residential water metering so that households are charged for the amount of water used rather than a flat rate per unit? No.
7) Would you consider a tax on land value as opposed to property value as a way to encourage more efficient use of land? No
8) Should the tax break for vacant commercial property be eliminated? Yes

Lionel West: I want a discussion with the provincial government to review the way municipalities create revenue. I believe the property assessment system is not necessarily the fairest way for citizens to pay for municipal expenses. I would look at using the income tax system and the provincial government and municipalities can devise a formula for distribution of this “municipal tax” – perhaps on a per-capita basis. This may have to be combined with a business tax. The city currently has a water meter trial underway and I would like to know the results of this initiative. Water meters may encourage conservation. The city has to create revenue to ensure it can meet its mandate of maintaining the city, so taxes have to be set to meet this challenge. The city has to maintain a balanced budget. If we do not have an income based tax system then I do endorse some form of tax relief for those on low or fixed incomes. I would extend this relief to the water tax.

Cecil Whitten: 1) Very.  3) Yes to the first question. 4) Good idea. 6) Yes.

Derek Winsor:

  1. Nobody wants to pay higher taxes but at the same time nobody wants to have reduced services. I believe that as long as you show an efficient operation people will accept the need for increased taxes
  2. I think the present level of tax on business is at an acceptable level.
  3. Unfortunately most low income residents live in rental units and do not pay taxes directly. There should be one rate for seniors no matter what level of income.
  4. I think it has simplified the taxes and made it easier to understand
  5. I believe that if it is a family home with one apartment there should be one rate.
  6. It is my understanding the capital cost to put a metered program in place is high and would be met with resistance.
  7. At this point no, I would have to get a better understanding of the two options and see which provides the most equitable approach.
  8. No

Fred Winsor: I need to read more about municipal taxation both locally and nationally to comment on tax points 1, 2,3,4,5,and 7. Regarding point #6, I think we should start taxing residences and buildings that already have water meters installed and commence a process of installing water meters in all new houses and buildings. We could maintain the flat rate in all other houses and  buildings which do not have water meters. Point #8, I would propose that taxes for vacant buildings be double the normal rate as an incentive to get the building functioning again and as a method of discouraging property speculation.

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Transportation

25. In 2011, a transit study was released that made a number of recommendations for improving public transit in the City of St. John’s, including:

  1.  Increase service between Downtown and the MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall corridor.
  2. Negotiate a deal to provide Metrobus passes to all students at MUN/CNA for a mandatory fee.
  3. Allow city employees to trade free parking at work for cash or a Metrobus pass.
  4. Establish a park-and-ride program for commuters.
  5. Increase the price of parking in the west end of Downtown.
  6. Develop a regional transit plan involving Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, and Torbay.

What is your vision for public transit, with specific reference to some or all of the recommendations above?

Tom Badcock: I’m afraid I have very little knowledge about the public transportation system other than the para transit system. So I cannot make any educated contributions at this point.

Sandy Hickman: As discussed earlier and to be brief, I like all these suggestions and will work toward implementing them. Regional cooperation is the key to transit. The government must get tough with the other municipalities as they are not interested. Possibly…hopefully…the incoming councils will have some new people with vision.

Dave Lane: Enhancing our public transit system is one of my top priorities. I have been working at this already through my chairmanship of Happy City – we partnered with the Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board to discuss the issue and I’ve learned a lot. You can read a letter to the Telegram I wrote here. At its core, I view transit as foundational to our society. It not only moves people from place to place, it enables better health, strengthened communities, a vibrant economy, and a sustainable environment. It is an investment whose benefits far outweigh its costs. That is, if it is done correctly. Here are the priorities, as I see them, to take our transit system to the next level:

  • Create a more more convenient and frequent Metrobus map and schedule
  • Create one or more transit hubs in high-volume areas, namely downtown and Mun/HSC/Avalon Mall.
  • Connect these hubs to a completed cycling plan, trail networks, and parking lots for park-and-ride systems
  • Convey to provincial and federal governments the massive benefits to them ofhaving an integrated transit system so they will support the system with funding and legislation
  • Develop meaningful partnerships with our neighbouring communities (Torbay,Paradise, Mount Pearl, etc.) to enable a regional system

By the way, a better public transit system would help us with that pesky downtown parking problem without having to build more parking garages.

Lorne Loder: We must change the practicality and perception of Metrobus. It is essential have frequent, direct routes along the city’s main arteries, including the MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall corridor and to the downtown area. Connecting to these express routes, the City should consider having smaller busses for the less-travelled routes (such as within some residential areas) which would be more economically and environmentally efficient.  Park and rides should also be considered, so that people can easily get to an express route, and leave their cars out of the high-traffic areas, relieving pressure on traffic congestion and parking.

All of this must be implemented with the cooperation of our neighbouring communities. Many people commute from these towns to our busiest areas, and the pressure on our roads and parking spots can only be relieved if they also have the option to use public transit. This can also help address the labour shortage issue, as regional transit could allow more people to travel from one end of town to the other to work.

I think it makes sense for city employees to trade their free parking for Metrobus passes, to increase ridership and available parking. Our city council needs to consider more innovative ideas such as this to open up more parking spaces for those who need them, and get more people on the bus.

Paul Sears: My vision would be to have more citizens use our system; We need to better educate each other in the pros and cons of our public transportation system. Regarding expanding our present service we need to chart the right course (route); in my opinion there should be concerns for all of us regarding the increased operational cost should expansion occur. However before we venture down that route public consultation has to occur.

Deanne Stapleton: Our public transit system should include a regional plan involving Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South and Torbay. This would alleviate some of the traffic but would also give people the opportunity to live outside of the city and commute using our public transit. We definitely need to establish a park-and-ride program for commuters. We also must add more buses and more routes to ensure that everyone is able to take our public transit.

Lionel West: I would encourage Metrobus to review their services and routes to ensure an efficient and effective service is being utilized. Metrobus operates at “arms length” to the city so this has to be respected. Direction can be provided to the board from Council. Our biggest issue is to try to change the mindset of citizens on the role of public transportation in their lives. A regional transportation plan should be assessed and the provincial government should also be involved in such a plan. We should also scope out suitable locations for a park-and-ride program to encourage a shuttle service into the core areas of the city.

Cecil Whitten: All of the above recommendations are important and should be implemented in a timely and financially prudent manor.

Derek Winsor:

  1. Routes that are presently every 30 minutes be changed to every 15 minutes.
  2. I would not support a mandatory fee for all students.
  3. I would support a park and ride program for employees at city hall.
  4. Any park and ride has to be efficient and convenient to the stakeholders.
  5. Improved service will always out way any fee increase.
  6. There Is a need for better transfer location to encourage transit users.

I would like to see a system that meets the needs of the users and potential users. The system needs to be fast and reliable. Routes need to be 15 min intervals during peak times and no more than 20 minutes other times.

Fred Winsor: The Dillion Report on Public Transit, prepared for the City of St. John’s pointed out that if public transit on the North-East Avalon was to grow it needs to become a regional public transit system. That means the inclusion of the other municipalities on the Northeast Avalon. Under those circumstances the Provincial Government has to be involved as it is a provincial issue. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of only two provinces in Canada(Prince Edward Island is the other) which does not fund public transit systems. In all other provinces public transit is considered as part of the provincial infrastructure.

For regional public transit to function effectively on the North-east Avalon requires provincial government participation and funding. Transforming the present transit system into a regional one will make it accessible to those living outside the boundaries of St. John’s, including students who attend  Memorial University, the Marine Institute, the College of the North Atlantic, the Ocean Science Centre, and other private colleges located in the region. Establishing a regional public transit system would encourage post-secondary students to support  the additional fee to have their student cards be used as bus passes, a system that has worked very successfully in other parts of Canada. Moving in that direction would provide a solid ridership for Metrobus and facilitate the growth and expansion of Park and Ride systems and express buses to increase regional public transit use on the North-east Avalon. Such measures have been shown to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving accessibility and overall health for users.

26. What initiatives would you undertake with respect to transportation infrastructure in and around the city?

Tom Badcock: (No answer provided)

Sandy Hickman: We really need a regional plan for transportation, as well, but the government has to take a lead in this and in funding the capital work. We need to create efficient movement of traffic on the major arterials and calm traffic on residential roads.

Dave Lane: Viewing transportation as a top priority for our city can actually be an excellent guiding principle when developing all of our infrastructure. When building a subdivision, for ex- ample, if we are asking “how can we design this so it enables public transit?” we are more like to create dense, mixed-use neighbourhoods. I would like to see better designed subdivisions for this reason. I would like to see a transit hub downtown for the reasons noted in points 2 and 3 above. I would like a fully networked trail system throughout the entire city to enable recreational walking and commuting. I also think some of our wider streets should be “right-sized” to slow traffic and enable cycling and bus lanes.

Lorne Loder: I would like to address the pothole situation earlier and more diligently in the spring/summer months.
Also, I feel a review of access for large 18-wheel vehicles in the City (i.e. Water Street) should be made, as it causes undue stress on roads and bridges.

Paul Sears: As a former Commissioner on St. John’s Transportation Commission I have seen great improvement in infrastructure over past 12 years, and it has been the result of the public expressing their wants and needs. I believe so long as the users want and demand change such as Bus Shelters, Better Scheduling, and Purchase of New Buses this will occur. The initiative I see as most important is Park and Ride, this is essential in helping solve downtown   parking. I strongly believe we can make great strides in this area, especially after examining models used in other municipalities throughout North America.

Deanne Stapleton: Increase city planning and better cooperation with our provincial and federal counterparts to increase funding for infrastructure in all areas of the city.

Lionel West: The parking situation is currently being addressed with the construction of two parking buildings and the possibility of a third. I would still be looking at initiatives to use some form of shuttle service within the city and assess the feasibility of smaller buses for commuting purposes.

Cecil Whitten: I would develop a long term plan to replace existing info structure with accessible stops shelters buses and cabs to better serve our aging population.

Derek Winsor: The city and outlining communities need to develop transfer stations that provide other service to the rides.

Fred Winsor: (No answer given)

27. What should be done about painted road markings that fade away for much of the year?

Tom Badcock: In Europe they use a rubber base substance for paint markings that seems to last forever. I don’t know if it’s cost prohibitive but it certainly is worth investigating.

Sandy Hickman: One of my major beefs with staff. They continue to experiment with various paints and thermoplastic markings but faded markings are still a very serious problem. I pushed hard for a new paint unit last year but we need at least one more, probably two, so that we can get more done on fine days in the spring.

Dave Lane: We should use thermoplas. It’s being tested now in areas of the city and my understanding is that, while more expensive, it does last longer for the most part. We should paint what works whenever possible.

Lorne Loder: This can be very dangerous, particularly at night. They need to be maintained more frequently.

Paul Sears: The city is always looking for ways to improve the quality of paint used for street markings it was a topic of discussion when I was Chair of Police and Traffic (2001-2005) and 8 years later it continues to be an area we need to do constant research in so we can find solution.

Deanne Stapleton: The city should look into other markets or cities to see if there is an alternative to what we are using now. With technology today, there must be some other viable usage.

Lionel West: I know the city has being trying to solve this problem for many years. It is beginning to experiment with a different type of material that may prove to be more permanent than paint. I understood Mount Pearl was hopeful they had found a possible solution so I would follow up with them. I would also initiate a discussion with Memorial University to see if a research project could be undertaken by them to find possible solutions. Perhaps the city could launch a challenge/competition to try to resolve the issue.

Cecil Whitten: I think that we should use a better quality paint that will not fade.

Derek Winsor: Road painting should be done twice a year beginning in the spring and again in the fall. There should be dedicated crews for this task. They should be on a shift program and the line painting should be done in the night. There should also be a crew always going around to touch up areas that may begin to fade. There should also be the introduction of Orange lines leading into construction zones. As with other cities when a driver comes to orange lines they know they are in a construction zone and are to reduce their speeds. This should be the responsibility of the contractor. Then it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure white and yellow lines are put back after the contract work is complete.

Fred Winsor: (No answer provided)

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Free Space

If there any other important issues you would like to address, please do so here:

Tom Badcock: City councillors are like members of a board of directors. They put their arms around but they keep their fingers out. The experts in the management of our city are all paid employees whose jobs it is to run this city as effectively and efficiently as is possible.  Councillors have to remember, that although they might like to think they are the experts they are not. City officials bring them the issues with their recommendations and then councillors decide what is the best course of action.  Based on previous education and experience they make their decisions. Unfortunately, in this city, some councillors seem to think that once elected all of our problems are going to be solved. They have the solution and the answer for everything. Beware of them. I don’t have all the answers but I am a good listener and I am able to make a decision after given the facts. That’s all I have to offer.

Dave Lane: Indy readers can see my platform overview here: http://www.votedavelane.ca/issues/

Paul Sears: There are many more issues to be talked about you will be hearing from me in the future, Thank you for your interest it is appreciated. Warm Regards, Paul

Lionel West: The role of a councillor is very different to the role of a “party politician”. On council an individual is exactly that – an individual. There is no party line to tow and no scripted comments to make. This is an important difference citizens should factor in when they are considering their representatives for council. Council is a team. A councillor has to be able to convince at least 5 other councillors that his/her proposal is worthy of their support. So citizens should look for a person who is a team member but also a leader. A person who is able to compromise, who is willing to listen and who is willing to challenge.

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