Steve Howes Candidate Profile – Expositor

photo Steve standing in a meeting room

Steve, along with all of the candidates for County of Brant Council Ward 2 recently had the opportunity to submit responses to a list of questions from the Expositor. The candidates’ responses were published in the article ‘Meet the candidates for Brant County Ward 2‘ by Brian Thompson on October 13, 2022. This article provides voters with a terrific opportunity to compare the candidates on a number of issues.

To learn more about Steve beyond his comments below, please take a look at his Priorities and browse this website – you will find his Bio, over 40 Posts he has written, along with local Endorsements.

Do not hesitate to send a message if you have questions, would like to have have Steve visit to chat with you on your porch, or if you would like to show your support.

Steve’s Responses to the Expositor:

Age: 56

Experience: I have worked in the playground industry for 34 years and have spent most of that time working with Ontario municipalities and learning how they function. My first effort to be elected as a Councillor (in 2018) was a success, and I have approached the last four years with an emphasis on communication. I show people how the Municipality works, sharing the good news and being completely open about any bad news. Taxpayers deserve the whole story and I work hard to share information while representing the voices of our community.

Q: If elected, how will you address the biggest municipal issue in your ward?

A: One of my biggest concerns is the lack of modest housing solutions.  Many people want reasonably priced housing solutions.  Not everyone needs a 3,000-square-foot house with three bathrooms and a three-car garage. It frustrates me when seniors who lived their whole lives in Paris can’t find a modest housing solution when they downsize, and they then have to move to another municipality. The same applies to young people who are starting out in their careers.  To solve this, we need to create incentives for builders who want to come in with creative solutions, including rental apartments in appropriate locations, tiny houses, and even mobile home communities in the rural parts of the county. Our draft official plan includes steps toward these goals, but it has been parked on the province’s desk awaiting response for almost a year.

Q: Some feel growth in some county communities is happening too quickly. Do you agree?

A: Growth is definitely happening too quickly. When I was first elected, I learned from county staff that there were already 5,000 homes in the pipeline for Paris, at various stages of approval or appeal. That is why we implemented the “tap the brakes” approach to new applications. We need time to develop the necessary infrastructure (especially road solutions) before more added growth is forced upon us. Our community is in high demand and that has some upside, too. I have seen new residents of the county embrace our municipality with great passion and participation. Anyone with a positive attitude who contributes to making this a better place is a welcome addition.

Q: What must be done to attract more businesses to Brant’s downtowns?

A: We have beautiful downtowns in the county, and I don’t spend much time worrying about attracting businesses to them. However, as someone who has to drive to Brantford for many basics, I would love to see us attract a Giant Tiger to a location anywhere in Paris.  If anyone knows the owner of Giant Tiger, ask him to call me!  Walmart and Amazon and other large retailers have hurt the mainstream businesses that we used to enjoy in our downtowns.  We do need to make sure that local residents are encouraged to shop local and support the businesses that we do have, so that we are not too tourism focused.

Q: What steps, if any, will you take to protect farmland in Brant County?

A: We have lost enough farmland to development already. This is another example of how, as a councillor, I have worked with county staff on a new official plan that actually reduces our settlement boundary, to control where residential and employment land can occur, and protect the remaining farmland that is adjacent to our settlement boundaries.

Q: What would you do to ease the traffic congestion (especially in Paris) and parking issues raised by residents?

A: Our recently completed transportation master Plan addresses a lot of these issues, but it’s not an easy fix.  When you have two rivers meeting in a valley, your options are limited. We need to encourage more use of transit and more walkability; we need to give people in North Paris an alternative to getting around the downtown if they are not intending to visit businesses downtown. I have confidence that our TMP will help improve our current situation, but it will take time and more effort on solutions to our growing congestion. I like the idea of a bus system to connect with Brantford and while we recently added 70 parking spots downtown, we always need to be looking at more parking opportunities (that don’t involve a parking garage).

Q: Describe your ward.

A: Ward 2 is a unique combination of people who have lived here for generations and people who just moved here from larger municipalities, and I strive to be a voice for everyone. I have always loved Paris and continue to love it; throughout the significant changes we have experienced.  Ward 2 includes the hospital, the Health Hub, the present and future Paris Fire Halls, the Syl Apps Arena, the Paris Museum, the Legion, and the Fairgrounds. It is a great place to live!