Our municipal councillor needs to be in our community
Currently, councillors are provided with a small office at City Hall in downtown Halifax. That may be okay for some, but for me, that is too far away to understand the pulse of our community – and to keep my ear to the ground.
I believe that part of being a reliable and accountable representative involves enabling an accessible space for you to acquire information and services that are important to you.
With that in mind, if elected, I will establish an office location in an accessible space in our community at no cost to taxpayers.
Beyond this, I also look forward to coming directly to you, meeting individuals, businesses, and organizations to foster relationships in our community.
Facing the financial impacts of COVID-19 and economic recovery
COVID-19 is an unprecedented global health crisis. It has impacted our friends and neighbours in more ways than one.
Our municipal government needs to be realistic and pragmatic about the years ahead. We need to remain focused on preserving services and infrastructure in our district and making improvements wherever possible as we rebuild our economy – together.
As a Chartered Accountant, Management Accountant and Financial Planner with more than thirty-eight years of experience, I have been tasked with helping individuals, families, businesses and organizations navigate their way through difficult financial times. My experience makes me uniquely qualified to be a source of knowledge and stability.
Given that we are still realizing the impacts of COVID-19, we need to be nimble in our response.
As District 13 Councillor, I will focus on helping you navigate ways to utilize supports that are available at all levels of government.
I will work to ensure that we provide effective support to those that are the hardest hit by COVID-19. Seniors and those requiring poverty reduction services need to be able to access those supports quickly and easily.
I’m committed to working with groups like the Bay Seniors, St. Margaret’s Bay Food Bank and others local organizations to ensure our community effectively navigates this ongoing situation.
Grassroots community development
Curb appeal initiatives, pedestrian safety, support for volunteer and not-for-profit organizations, and benevolence takes place throughout our community on a day-to-day basis. Ensuring that these types of activities and entities are supported financially can be challenging on the best of days.
COVID-19 has placed an increased burden on financial resources and it is critical that grassroots, community-based solutions for problems are established. A practical, informed approach to community development is necessary.
I want to ensure that we maximize our capacity to raise funds for these organizations and initiatives. That is why, if elected, I intend to establish a Community Trust Fund that will provide those who already contribute financially with a mechanism to get a tax break for their financial support, while maintaining community-control over these funds.
I wholeheartedly believe that we will see an increase in the number of people who wish to support our community financially as we continue to navigate troubled waters.
Further, I believe that more people will be inclined to contribute to causes in our community if there is a tax break associated with the contribution.
Parameters related to the organizational structure and terms of reference will be established in consultation with individuals, businesses and organizations throughout our community.
In addition to the points above, one of my ambitions as your Municipal Councillor is to identify long-term goals that will vary for different communities throughout our district. I look forward to engaging community stakeholders to chart a path toward achieving these goals, which may include working to update the various municipal planning documents that pertain to our district.
Maintain and improve opportunities for recreation
Over the years, sport and recreation has been a significant part of my life. My wife and I raised our four children in our community where they participated in hockey, soccer and baseball, outside of a variety of school sports and activities.
As a volunteer coach, manager, board member and organization executive, I have always been committed to ensuring that everyone in our community have opportunity and access to sports and recreation.
As a board member and past chair of the St. Margarets Centre, I’ve worked alongside community members and been an active contributor to the development and expansion of this facility, and its programs. I have demonstrated my ability to work (and lead) with others to see major projects like this, come to fruition and if elected, I look forward to the opportunity to continue this work as your Councillor.
I look forward to ensuring that our existing programs and infrastructure are maintained and improved upon wherever possible; I look forward to working with local organizations and homeowners associations to realize their respective ambitions and projects. It is important that we work together to ensure that natural and built recreational assets in our community are available for future generations.
Diversity, inclusion, and accessibility
District 13 includes a variety of smaller communities and the diversity across Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets gives us collective strength.
Now, more than ever, it is critical that we embrace our diversity and engage it to influence government policy, enhance community development and to demonstrate to the next generation that no matter your background, creed, culture, race, gender, or sexual orientation – a future of your choosing will not be hindered by the prejudice or bias of others.
This is why if elected, I will host a Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Forum, annually. In addition to my day-to-day office hours and community engagement, this Forum will ensure a focused opportunity for people from all corners of Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets, to discuss ways to evolve and elevate.
Implementing effective traffic calming measures
We live in a community that is home to many families with young children, seniors, and individual of varying abilities and we have a responsibility to keep them safe. Speeding is an issue that I constantly hear about in conversations with community members.
Most subdivisions in our district (and most of HRM) were not designed to accommodate the level of traffic that currently travels on some of our major roadways. The current model for establishing traffic calming measures is for staff at Transportation and Public Works to visit individual streets to measure the levels of traffic travelling on these roads.
I am committed to working with you to address your traffic and snow removal concerns throughout the district, especially in our subdivisions. Through communication with associations and individual residents within the district, we will develop a comprehensive list of streets that need to be assessed for traffic calming measures.
I will utilize that list and engage with Transportation and Public Works to create an inventory of streets and roads, discuss suggestions for possible, practical measures that will ensure a balanced approach to speed reduction, safety and travel efficiency. I also will work with staff to advance local suggestions and provide progress updates on a consistent basis.
Finally, I believe there is an education component to round-out the efforts to address speeding and safety concerns – as such, I will endeavour to create educational materials that can be distributed on defensive driving and speed adherence.