Election Day Thoughts: October 24, 2022

County of Brant Councillors Wards 2 and 3 2018-2022: John Pearce, John Bell, Marc Laferriere, Steve Howes – photo courtesy of Marc Laferriere

From Steve: I think you will be interested in this post about this past term of County of Brant Council, written by my wonderful colleague Marc Laferriere, Councillor for Ward 2 County of Brant 2018-2022. It has been an honour serving on County of Brant Council with Marc. I appreciate Marc’s kind words, and echo his message:

Please note: I have added a few comments below Marc’s message

From Marc: Wishing these three luck and votes for re-election tomorrow. Getting to work along with them for the last 4 years had been an honour.

You may not always like it but they don’t just tell you what you want to hear even if that would be easy in the moment. The truth is the systems of municipal government are complex and every decision makes someone happy and someone else less so.

The best thing you can do is be honest, treat people trying to make the community better with respect and work, vote, and advocate for what you think is the public good.

Some of the deliverables this term:

  • Brant eRide/Brant Transit where there was no public transit system for decades here
  • OPP station opened
  • Brant Safe Streets investments made in higher number than any comparative municipalities with approximately 1 street change/enforcement change or other on-the-ground change per week
  • Traffic cameras approved and awaiting provincial processing
  • Official Plan approved which would see farm land protected and numerous planning changes made demanded by residents (stalled approval by province for over a year now!)
  • Dedicated traffic officers funded seeing thousands more tickets issued for speeding/racing/dangerous driving
  • More new sidewalks installed than multiple previous terms combined
  • Ongoing walkability funding baked into this and future budgets
  • Environmental reserve fund created which can be used for services like Green Bin when neighbouring municipalities develop green bin processing (to do so now would actually increase carbon footprint)
  • Reduced carbon emissions from municipality
  • Increased funding/hiring/ambulances for Paramedic Services
  • Community Health Hub opened and under-budget
  • Home-based business policies created
  • Additional Residential Unit/granny suite/tiny home approvals
  • Huge investment in social services and public housing which also sees equal power between County and City for decision making
  • Social services and other community agencies now offering services in Brant
  • Community Safety and Well-being Plan approved with deliverables
  • Improvements to John Noble Home
  • Brant finally celebrating PRIDE and other inclusive practices
  • Partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and other affordable housing providers
  • New Main Branch Library approved utilizing re-use of long-dormant Bawcutt Centre
  • Enhancements to library services during a time when many municipalities are cutting library funds
  • Tap the Brakes which paused Development applications for nearly two years but could not stop the nearly 5000 homes already approved before this term
  • Fighting over 3 dozen developments at provincial tribunal after not approving their applications for over-development this term
  • Fighting successfully against mega-builds both residential and commercial who pushed for higher density, storeys etc without additional parking or against character of the neighbourhood
  • Bypass feasibility study completed
  • Increased parking downtown
  • Left turn signals downtown and on bridge to Willow St
  • Voted in favour of community groups such as CCOB and Trailer Park Tennant Association
  • Voted for allowing registered Cannabis retail
  • Supporting economic development seeing increases in tourism, filming, large employers (Ford Motor Company) and a pandemic closing rate of less than 2% vs 8-10% provincial and federal averages
  • Triple Bottom Line reporting from staff which requires staff to report not only economic dynamics but social and environmental ones too
  • Open Data approvals with world-wide recognition of County for data usage
  • No integrity commissioner issues/investigations
  • New tree planting bylaw and environmental planner positions created
  • Multiple Community Gardens approved and supported and a partnership with Equal Grounds to also have numerous home-based “victory gardens”
  • New (much needed) public washrooms in Downtown Paris
  • Seasonal decorations for all County Downtowns
  • Support for BIA
  • Balanced budgets every year this term with enhancements to service, service groups funded AND tax hikes below inflation
  • Enhancements to streaming for council meetings and accessibility changes for community participation
  • Pre-Covid, this council had a record number of public meetings including town halls, never stopped meeting to do the business of council and continue now with hybrid meetings and extra meetings
  • Each of these three chaired and co-chaired committees and took on a full slate of additional community committees too

These are just some of the achievements of council this term, and here’s the thing – go watch an actual council meeting from any time this term, and you’ll see these three represent their constituents well. Ask good questions. Advocate strongly, and not embarrass themselves or you. Not bickering or blasting others for the sake of it, and each of them know their files and do the work to prep for these meetings well.

It’s been a great experience to work with these three and I hope people are informed when they vote but regardless of who you vote for please get out there and make yours count.

From Steve:

Polls at the Fairgrounds were running very smoothly this morning thanks to a combination of County Staff and local resident helpers. We saw lots of friendly faces this morning! ?

And for those who might ask (and I have been asked), how I used my other votes will remain between me and the Tabulator machine!

If I’m fortunate enough to be re-elected for another 4 years, I will be happy to work with whoever is elected! ??

Don’t forget to vote! ?☑️