CCKT Questions to Municipal Candidates for the 2022 Election

CCKT believes it is important to be well-informed on relevant issues and the positions of the candidates when voting. We haves organized All Candidate Meetings at the Provincial, Federal, and Municipal level going back many elections. This year, we are hosting two: October 5 at the Trisan Centre in Schomberg for Wards 3 & 4, and October 6 at the King City Seniors Centre for Wards 1 & 5.

In addition, these eight questions were sent in advance to all candidates, asking that they reply with succinct answers  by October 1 for posting on our website and Social Media on October 3.

Ten of the thirteen candidates submitted answers to these questions.

The following candidates DID NOT submit answers:

Ward 1:
CESCOLINI, Jordan Alexander *

Ward 3
PHAM, Adam
SCHNEIDER, Jakob *

* Incumbent

Question #1

What is your long-term vision (20 years) for King Township?  Explain with specific details considering both the rural and settlement areas.

Ward 1

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Did not submit an answer

Rob has a vision for the future. A progressive and strategic thought leader, Rob will preserve our unique agriculture, rural heritage, and quality of life, while balancing the needs of our hamlets (Snowball) and villages (King City) with our rural community. Rob is committed to maintaining and promoting our distinct lifestyle, vibrant local economy, culture, safety, and way of life we so enjoy and cherish in King Township.

More specifically, beautification improvements and updated urban design guidelines for the village of King City and our hamlet Snowball, interconnected neighbourhoods using permeable surfaces, advancing our Economic Development Strategy, growing King’s tree canopy, additional soccer fields and parkland, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, smarter decisions on design including green building standards, expanding broadband to our rural areas, modernize our service delivery model (mobile) and traffic calming measures just to name a few. Rob is committed to controlled and environmentally sustainable development that meets the needs of today’s community without compromising future generations and our natural resources. This includes protecting and preserving our mature, established hamlets and neighbourhoods such as Springhill Gardens from inappropriate intensification (land severances). In consultation with the community, Council, and other key stakeholders, Rob will lead the conversation to revisit King Township municipal ward boundaries to ensure equal and fair representation, reflecting current population growth and demands and the elimination of the OLT, formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), the former Ontario Municipal Board (OMB)."

My long-term vision of King Township is a place for everyone.  Housing affordability in Ontario has eroded at a rate not seen in half a century and King Township has the ability to help alleviate some of this problem by building additional affordable housing.  New affordable housing developments should be made as close to HWY 400 as possible.  If King Township is to help the province solve this issue, the municipality/region needs to lobby the province for additional highway offramps to accommodate the traffic growth before any new development of these areas.  In more rural areas, the township should allow the owners of properties East of Keele, to subdivide lots into 5 acre parcels.  This will allow for sporadic homes to be built further apart and make it more difficult to assemble and build sub divisions in these areas.  It will preserve the area for the foreseeable future.

Ward 3

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Responsible and respectful growth – My vision for the next 20 years and beyond is for King Township to proudly feature and fiercely protect its rural countryside while responsibly building the settlement areas into vibrant complete communities through land use planning, transportation planning, and community design.

The stunning scenery in rural King has a great deal to do with the fact that 33% of the land is on the Greenbelt and 66% is on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Plus, almost 25% of King Township’s area is forested representing over 20% of all forest cover in York Region. With an abundance of such ecologically significant countryside, King Township must actively protect the land, water, and wildlife for generations to come.

As the growth in the settlement areas continues, King must respect and enhance the distinct character of each while carefully considering economic realities. By focusing on building complete communities that feature a variety of living accommodations and working opportunities, King will avoid becoming a “bedroom community” which is better for both residents and the environment.

Did not submit an answer

It is very clear to me that King Township is such a great place to call home, largely due to the diversity of living that is offered to its residents.

Individuals and families are drawn to this region by the option to be within a close proximity to local businesses, required amenities, and varied community programming, while simultaneously enjoying the beauty of stunning farmland, room to breathe, and a slower pace of life.

As I believe that this balance is of high importance to the current and future residents of this area, I feel that the King Township Official Plan outlines a promising path that I am in support of.

Controlling population growth within the region is necessary in maintaining the lifestyle that King residents are accustomed to, however as I am aware of the potential need for more diversified housing, I am interested in further exploring and addressing that gap.

Did not submit an answer

Ward 4

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We know that we have growing communities, and significant development pressures for both the urban and rural areas of King Township. On top of that there are broader questions of climate change, economic and financial pressures, and social and economic disparity and injustice.

Recognizing these issues, I envision a township of compact urban communities that are walkable, provide a diversity of housing, provide adequate goods, services and recreation, support a healthy business/industrial sector and provide local job opportunities. Both private properties and streets will be lined with mature trees forming a significant urban tree canopy. The unique character and heritage of our established neighbourhoods will be protected. Sensitive green space will be recognized, enhanced and respected. These communities will be well serviced with local and regional public transit.

The rural areas will be a mixture of agricultural lands, including the equestrian sector, and green space. Farms will be supported to protect areas of environmental sensitivity as well as returning non-productive lands to nature. Agri-related businesses will be supported as well as a strong eco-tourism/outdoor recreation industry.

Roads, buildings etc will be developed with meaningful green building standards and a local framework of alternative energy sources will power the Township. The focus will be on investing in our communities not in urban sprawl.

I have seen the Township of King grow and develop over the last 40 years, and I have seen farms of family friends develop into rural subdivisions, once vast farmlands were covered with houses and streets. However, I have seen other municipalities do the same, and I appreciate that the Township of King continues to have zoning bylaws to allow our rural areas to flourish. It’s what makes a living within the Township unique compared to other municipalities. In the next 20 years, I want to continue to see it grow sustainably and as required to meet the constituents’ needs while remaining true to what makes it a unique, rural community with many green spaces.

I have three school-age children so in the long-term I want King Township remain a beautiful place to live for their generation and beyond! I discuss further details in my answers below.

My long term vision for King Township is one where we hold onto our history while also adding to our community so as to share our history with new families. My hope is that King Town ship will grow, but not at an unsustainable rate. As parts of King continue to grow into urban and suburban areas, north of king road remains largely rural, this blend of urban and rural is something that I want to see maintained so that my own kids will be able to enjoy the beautiful natural environment that surrounds King Township.

Ward 5

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My vision for King Township over the next 20 years is to see it maintain its reputation as a community of families dedicated to multi generational health and prosperity, by balancing manageable growth in the settlement areas while preserving the natural elements of the rural areas.  

My family first moved into a mature neighborhood in King City over 8 years ago because we recognized and appreciated the natural beauty and peace that King has to offer while providing the amenities within the settlement areas.

With the population of King expected to grow quickly within the settlement areas, it is City Council’s responsibility to ensure the rate of housing development does not exceed the infrastructure in place to support this growth.

On a personal note, it would be my honor and privilege to bring my years of professional and personal growth experience and be of service to the residents of King Township for decades and beyond.

Our OP, One King, states a vision of a unified municipality with 3 distinct villages, several smaller distinct hamlets spread throughout a rural and agricultural landscape.   That is my vision. Details of my vision include the following:

  1. public transit connectivity between the villages and across the Township to enable people to access higher order public transit to the large urban areas  i.e. GO train, YRT on Yonge etc.
  2. King is both a beneficiary and a contributor to Ontario’s zero emission electricity grid  e.g. various sites in King are integrated into the electricity grid such that surplus solar energy is either fed directly into the grid or stored in batteries for subsequent distribution.
  3. King is celebrated as the place to live if your priorities are clean air and easy access to open spaces.
  4. King is recognized as a municipality where there has been a transformation from a car dependent community to one where transportation modes are predominantly walking safely on pathways/trails and sidewalks or cycling safely on roads and sidewalks; when distance is too great and/or active transportation is not feasible due to safety public transit is possible.  There will be cars but they will not be the dominant method/ for transportation.

Question #2

Name 3 major priorities for the Township of King over the next 4 years, and explain how you will address each of them.

Ward 1

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Did not submit an answer

Priority 1. Maintaining the highest standards in financial reporting and transparency, Rob will ensure the financial integrity of our finances and actively engage the community in understanding how their tax dollars are being spent. Potential cost efficiencies include tax and water bills distributed electronically versus traditional mail, reducing waste, and immediately addressing the significant budget increase of the new Township-wide Recreational Centre. As you know, the original budget was $52.9 million and is now $86 million – an increase of $33 million.

Priority 2. Crime Prevention. Stolen Vehicle Theft is up 43% from last year. 2,054 vehicles were stolen in York Region. Of those vehicles stolen, 108 were in King Township, the majority in King City. In addition, enhance and expand traffic calming measures including video recording devices to address speeding and crime, expansion of our neighbourhood Watch Program, and implementation of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategies to reduce criminal behavior in cooperation with York Region Police.

Priority 3. Today in King City, excessive noise, vibrations, and dust are the norms in many established King City neighbourhoods. New construction is ongoing during evenings, Sundays, and even during statutory holidays. It’s time for 7-days a week, accountable and responsive by-law enforcement that protects and preserves the way of life we so enjoy and cherish in King.

Traffic Congestion will be the biggest problem the township will face.  New developments are being made without increasing the transportation infrastructure.  Ideally, the township should lobby the province to invest in additional off ramps, specifically at 15th sideroad to allow for a direct connection to Bloomington Road.  This will allow large traffic vehicles to be routed from King Rd further North and allow for additional development of King Road without lowering the quality of life of the current residents.

The township should also focus on improving parks and recreational spaces.  A large investment has been made into this area; however additional investment is still need.  For example, the town still lacks indoor soccer facilities for public use.  This demand should be met within the next few years.

Prioritizing the preservation of our green space and limiting high density residential living is imperative for the Township.  We cannot solely rely only the current conservation acts as protection, as they may change in the future, therefore we must employ additional measures and strategy at the municipal level that will prevent large scale development of these areas in the future.

Ward 3

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  1. Taxes – In the 2022 budget, King Township staff have indicated that based on current projections the town’s budget will need to increase by 4.62% for 2023, 4.41% for 2024, and 3.56% for 2025. Funding this will require a tax increase to residents who already pay a premium to live in the community. As a councillor with a solid financial background, I will diligently review proposed projects and expenditures to help council make responsible decisions with your tax dollars.
  2. Housing – King needs to work to build a better mix of housing options in settlement areas that respect the guidelines outlined in King’s Official Plan and fulfill the requirements of the Green Development Standards Program. As councillor, I will carefully review all development projects to ensure that they meet King’s rigorous standards, in alignment with my vision above.
  3. Environment – With its rich natural heritage, King has a greater role than many to play in protecting, preserving and enhancing the environment. As councillor, I will take the role of environmental steward seriously to ensure that new projects are sustainable and will make a point to champion those that exceed the guidelines set out in King’s Green Development Standards Program.

Did not submit an answer

  1. Controlling growth – As previously addressed, controlling population growth is essential to maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed by King residents, however it is also necessary in sustaining the important natural systems that make up our land. It makes me incredibly happy to know that roughly 98% of our land is protected by the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Green Belt, Lake Simcoe, and various York Region Plans, and I fully support these entities which prioritize all of our incredible greenspace remaining as home to complex ecosystems. Population growth within King may be both inevitable, and necessary, however it is a goal of mine to advocate for strategic and careful planning with the needs of both our natural environment, as well as our concerned residents at its core.
  2. Addressing traffic issues – I have been hearing that traffic systems are a complex and concerning issue for the constituents of this ward and I am not surprised by this. Between the ever-increasing congestion caused by commuters to and from growing communities, motorists using previously seldomly travelled sideroads as detours and bypasses, and infrastructure which is struggling to keep up, these concerns are valid and important. I would like to dive deeper into this issue and elevate the voices of all affected communities to drive positive change.
  3. More affordable, diversified housing options and retirement living options for our elderly, long term residents. – Land and housing costs within King Township are perpetually on the rise, and while this fact comes with many obvious benefits to the community, it would be short-sighted to neglect the implications on so many of our residents. Exploring the potential to include additional residential communities offering smaller, and more affordable dwellings within King Township would be providing options for those who may currently have no choice but to relocate, or settle elsewhere, away from family, community, and other important supports.

Did not submit an answer

Ward 4

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  • I appreciate how much heritage/urban design and protecting green space is important to our community identity.
    1. Support and promote green building and infrastructure standards
    2. Promote a program/protocol to protect heritage
    3. Review the existing/proposed changes to the urban design guidelines, official plans, and zoning bylaws
    4. Review the Ontario Heritage Act (which has recently changed)
    5. Advocate for compliance with the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the Township’s Draft Zoning Bylaw for the Countryside
  • I’ve also heard from youth and seniors about their local challenges with housing and transportation infrastructure.
    1. Review the opportunity to provide / protect affordable and “missing middle” housing in our urban areas
    2. Reinstate the much-needed King Local public transit route with improved scheduling and destinations
    3. Creating active linkages (ie. cycling/walking paths) amongst Carrying Place, Lloydtown, Pottageville, and Schomberg by implementing the Trails Master Plan
    4. Develop walkable neighbourhoods that are safe and accessible for all ages and abilities throughout the Ward
  • Small business owners (employment) are also looking for strong economic support.
    1. Assist in post-pandemic recovery by investing in King Township’s Economic Development Office and their programming
    2. Prioritize local economic/commercial focus in our villages and hamlets to provide services/employment and promote active transportation
    3. Promote multi-use zoning where appropriate to provide economic value for local business
    4. Protect designated employment lands for industrial uses and employment opportunities
  1. Getting our youth involved in our growing community. Having our children involved now will help grow a caring and committed community.
  2. With an aging population and the discussions of inclusivity as major topics in many forums, I believe creating an accessible and safe environment needs to be a priority.
  3. I am looking for opportunities to be environmentally and fiscally responsible.

After speaking to community members within the whole Township of King, not exclusively Ward 4, these are commonly discussed themes. Our constituents have many unique ideas that I look forward to advocating on their behalf and consulting with the Township of King staff.

I have been grateful that in cooperation with the Township, We Believe in Abby, our charity has been able to support some of these concerns. Some examples are just creating an accessible playground in Schomberg and supporting a sidewalk installation on Western Ave. for safer access to the new park once it has been rebuilt.

Three of my top priorities for this term on council are to improve amenities and infrastructure within our Ward to enhance residents’ active healthy lifestyles, especially for children and seniors.  An example of this would be to improve walkability within our communities and also ensure Township-owned assets are utilized to their highest and best use. Secondly I will use my business perspective on council to ensure our tax dollars are being spent wisely, as well as attracting new businesses to the area whenever possible. In the current economic conditions where a dollar doesn’t go as far as it did just a short time ago, I’m adamant that we have to be very careful how Township funds are managed and provide true value to the taxpayers.  Thirdly I will make sure to build strong relationships with the various community service organizations of our area to ensure they have the resources required to make our many community and social events (as well as Schomberg’s incredible Main Street) as successful as possible.

My 3 major priorities for the Township are: sustainable growth, environmental protection, and traffic and speeding. In order for king township to grow sustainably, we need to allow for some growth, however I would limit growth to the downtown core of each respective town. Thus allowing for an urban center, with more natural areas as you move away from the core. To keep king Green we need to ensure that our environment is subject to protections from runaway development, as I’ve stated before we need growth, but runaway growth is unsustainable. Finally traffic and speeding are a problem in King Township, my plan is to work together with my fellow counsellors to reconfigure the roads that need to be reconfigured, maintain the roads that need to be maintained, and to ensure that our roads are safe for everyone.

Ward 5

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With increasing population, estimated to double in about 15 to 20 years, road and personal safety is extremely paramount. More vehicles driving through primary regional roads will naturally attract ‘alternate’ routes through residential areas which need to be avoided for the safety of our children and all citizens.  I will take the initiative to implement traffic calming measures as best suited for each neighborhood in Ward 5. 

We also need to keep property taxes low, and ensure optimum use of tax dollars so that our citizens can continue to provide and improve the quality of life for their families and their community.  As a Professional Engineer, in business for over 23 years, my default thinking is to continually look for efficiencies to reduce expense and ultimately save money for the end user.

Ultimately, keeping King “Clean and Green” is paramount in maintaining its pure essence and what attracted my family to live in King Township in the first place.  In line with road safety, promoting more net-zero energy uses within our community (electric vehicles, energy efficient construction, etc.) will reduce the negative effects of pollution on our environment and our resident’s health.

Next 4 years takes us to 2026 which is only 5 years before 2031 when the OP says we should have a population of 34,900 versus the 2016 population of 25,500. Employment also will be growing.  I anticipate that there will be applications to expand beyond the current urban boundaries to fulfill either or both of the forecasts for population and employment growth; I will advocate strongly for not doing so and will promote the opportunities in the currently identified areas.

Traffic, traffic, traffic.  King is not getting enough support from York Region to address the congestion in King City, specifically at Keele and King Road.  I will work with our Regional Council member (our Mayor) and the other King City councillor to bring attention to the issue and to ask for a plan to address.

Climate Action:  as mentioned in my answer further below we are not on track to meet 2050 goals.  Furthermore, the science tells us that reduction of GHG in the next few years is urgent. To quote from  the April 2, 2022 IPCC sixth report: if we hope to limit the rise of global average temperature from pre-industrial times to no more that 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 the “global emissions must PEAK Before 2025.”  Everyone must be taking action.

Question #3

What is your opinion of the current housing mix in King Township and what changes would you like to see in the next decade?  What specific ways would you work to diversity new housing stock and increase housing options in the Township to meet a greater variety of needs?

Ward 1

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Did not submit an answer

With respect to the current housing mix in King Township for the next decade, Rob supports a greater mix of housing types. More specifically, mixed uses with a focus on the GO transit corridor for seniors, rental and ownership options, townhouses, and improved accessibility for all life stages. In addition, Rob would revisit Section 3.8.9 of the Official Plan regarding secondary residential units given these units are currently not permitted within the Oak Ridges Moraine – a fresh approach should be considered similar to agricultural-related uses.

Although all housing mixes are needed for a diverse population, it does not make sense to build affordable housing in unaffordable areas.  More affordable housing and high density residential should be built closer to major highways hubs.  It is not efficient to build higher density developments where commuters need to drive through low density areas to reach highways.  This inconveniences the population as a whole with less benefit.  Areas closer to the village centers should have a mix of detached housing and townhomes attached by garage.  With the proper severing of larger lots in more rural areas, this will also allow for larger estate homes as well.

Ward 3

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Diversifying King’s housing mix must be a priority to successfully achieve complete communities. To improve this, the township must conduct a needs assessment, identify suitable land, have appropriate zoning, and prevent affordable housing loss.

Did not submit an answer

It is clear to me that we need to diversify the housing stock. Currently King Township’s residences are made up primarily of single family detached homes, and, while this was ideal in the past it does not address current and future needs of the community.

While Nobleton has recently seen a significant increase in townhome developments, the exclusive prestige of these communities has done little to provide meaningful options as far as affordability is concerned.

 I believe that condominiums provide promising alternatives to a range of populations, including first-time buyers, shorter-term residents, and retirees, “empty-nesters”, or “snowbirds”. I would be interested in focusing attention on King City and Schomberg as potential locations for this type of housing, specifically considering what Schomberg has to offer King’s aging populations including local restaurants and shops, community garden and programs, and ease of walkability throughout.

Did not submit an answer

Ward 4

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There has been a trend of single family residential development in King Township for the last several decades. It has left our community unable to meet the current demand for affordable homes. A solution is overdue.

I believe King Township needs an Inclusionary Zoning framework for residential development that limits urban sprawl, protects the character and heritage of our communities and protects our natural environment and agricultural lands while also providing diverse housing opportunities.

I also support increased density through property severances, secondary dwelling units (granny suites / garden flats), and the possible addition of 3rd floors on existing village core buildings to achieve this goal.

I believe there is a good mix of housing options; however, there has been an increase in the size of homes in new builds. I know the housing market has a significant impact on affordable housing; still, the Township of King might benefit from higher density builds to help with climate control, protect our green belt, and provide more affordable options. An excellent example of how these types of buildings can be placed in our communities and still fit the character is 215 Main Street, which provides the opportunity for more businesses on the bottom floor and the apartments above."

The current housing mix is acceptable however with our proximity to Toronto, heavier densification and infill development will inevitably become a reality for us in the very near future.  I want to maintain "smart development" meaning I would like to see the majority of densification done in appropriate areas within the three Village boundaries to limit sprawl while conserving rural and agricultural lands as much as possible.  I believe we can do this while also maintaining the character of surrounding neighborhoods wherever densification occurs by working with builders / developers and home owners to ensure a high level of architectural standards and appropriate structures. 

Personally I am pleased with the current housing mix in King Township, over the next decade I’d like to see some low rise apartments in the core of our towns and in keeping with our history, protections for historical buildings. With an increase in low rise apartments, it is my personal belief that whether the apartments are for elderly or new families, they will free up houses in less densely populated areas for families who are upsizing. Following this I believe that with carefully managed to growth we can continue to meet the needs of king Township residents.

Ward 5

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I believe we are seeing a good blend of housing development options within the settlement areas that appeal to all types of incomes and lifestyles. From new town-home communities along Keele Street, low rise condos along King and mixed use near Dufferin & King, I see extended families being able to live in close proximity to each other and within walking distance to private and public facilities and amenities that make King Township an ideal place to live.

However, City Council and Planning staff must ensure that we plan and act well in advance to ensure the rate of housing development growth does not overwhelm the infrastructure available.

Current mix reflects a car dependent society; its dominated by >95% single detached. I)   It needs to change so that there is a variety of formats:  apartments for rent, condominiums, townhouses.  Diversity is required as there are diverse needs:  persons who have physical limitations, age, income and interests.  I think the “interest” need is often ignored/misunderstood; there are those who cannot envision a happy life if they can’t have access to ground to have a small garden and there are those who have zero interest for grounds maintenance and use.  I think the factor of income is not necessarily ignored but it is underestimated:  it is not just the acquisition cost, there is also the maintenance, property tax and more. 2)  It needs to change as we simply don’t have the space/the land for the housing needs of the growing population. 

I will:

  1. challenge the developers/builders of tomorrow to build better i.e. to not continue building yesterday’s fashion.  E.g. When a developer plans a new building and proposes to build a pool I will ask how that will impact the monthly condo fees and will challenge whether it adds value.
  2. refuse requests to expand the urban boundary.  The growth must be within; hence, it cannot continue to be single detached buildings.
  3. be open to carefully considering applications which propose intensification and to insist that local community needs to be fully engaged.

Question #4

What economic and business opportunities do you see for King Township, a predominately rural township with many significant natural features, and how can the Township effectively help to bring these about?

Ward 1

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Did not submit an answer

Specific economic and business opportunities include prestige industrial and commercial developments in designated lands and consideration of an economic corridor at Highway 400. Specifically in the rural area – taking advantage of our unique natural features and promoting our equine, home-based businesses, agri-tourism, and support of a temporary by-law to encourage such; bed and breakfast and other short-term accommodations. Expanding and promoting our existing King Township Community Improvement Plan (financial incentive grant program for businesses) – promoting beautification, property improvements, streetscape improvements, and the economic development of our village core King City and support local businesses in addressing parking and access issues to facilitate retail sales and our local economy.

There is great potential for business opportunities if we open development immediately adjacent to the major highways.  Commercial/Industrial properties yield comparatively higher taxes than residential.  By allowing for additional growth of business along Highway 400 in combination of affordable housing nearby for employment opportunities, the Township will see sustained growth with minimal impact to the village centers. 

Ward 3

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With our rich agricultural heritage, promoting eco-tourism is a clear choice. King offers a variety of Agri-Tourism destinations as well as Arts, Equestrian, Events and Outdoor Recreation which are ideal for attracting visitors from outside the region. To attract more visitors to these opportunities, King needs to create more awareness by better communicating availability. This could be achieved with a website dedicated to visitors such as: https://yorkdurhamheadwaters.ca/. This engaging website is updated seasonally with various activities that can be part of a weekend road trip. If King doesn’t have the resources to undertake it’s own website, perhaps there is an opportunity to partner with this initiative in future?

Did not submit an answer

While sprawling farmland, greenspace, and wetlands comprise the physical features of King Township, I believe in the great potential for sustainability and expansion of businesses in the area. For local businesses to have options within the community to establish themselves means that their spending on rent, supplies, staffing, and other business expenses are funnelled directly back into King, and as a business owner myself, I sadly found it incredibly limiting when looking for local office space.

I feel as though land in the Schomberg area, specifically around The Trisan Centre would be ideal for housing some additional commercial and industrial units as they would tie into the existing industrial buildings in the area and offer ease of transportation with the proximity to Hwy 27, Hwy 9, Hwy 400, and Hwy 404.

Did not submit an answer

Ward 4

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Economic development provides our tax base, employment, tourism, and support for local businesses. We need to promote and expand the role of the Economic Development Office so that we have the financial ability for our Township to implement sustainable/complete communities and support the agricultural sector.

We need to take advantage of economic opportunities and business potential to ensure the success of our small businesses, Industrial business parks, and designated employment areas. I believe we should:

● Work with the Economic Development Office to promote King Township’s industrial space and its ready local workforce

I believe we should also leverage our many significant natural features to:

● Develop a local ecotourism model that supports business growth around existing facilities like Cold Creek Conservation Area, Seneca College outdoor recreation, Oak Ridges Moraine Trail and private outdoor recreation businesses.

● Allowing for the development of small businesses that would support overnight accommodations and recreational tourism (such as B&Bs, bike shops, cafes, etc) as well as local job opportunities

● Connect our villages and hamlets through active transportation and way finding

I believe an excellent opportunity to bring business without disruption to our predominately rural areas is with higher-density builds that mix business opportunity space with more affordable housing options. Having spoken to some of the local businesses and issues with staffing shortages, I also would like to advocate for some public transportation to neighboring communities that will allow youth to work within our community as transportation would be available to them.

Agriculture will always be a big part of King’s economy – we are known as part of the ‘vegetable basket’ of Ontario, and I certainly want to see that continue.  In these times of global unrest it’s imperative to grow our food as close to home as possible.  I don’t want to see farmers overburdened with government regulation from any level, they should be allowed to conduct their own businesses and be stewards of their lands and I will always stand behind our local farmers.  I would also like to see a broadening of the commercial / industrial base in our area, focused within designated employment lands. Commercial and industrial properties diversify our tax base and provide good paying jobs to residents, which is a win-win.  I think as a council we should be actively attempting to attract businesses to our area.

Historically king Township hasn’t had much industry, but that does not mean that we will never have that, there are many opportunities for companies to move here, or even for small businesses to relocate here. For example just in the last 10 Years Main Street, Schomberg has become home to a number of new businesses and in my opinion is now a feature of the town as opposed to just another street. Perfectly nestled between the housing and main street, is the Dufferin marsh which offers a beautiful Area for visitors to enjoy all year round. It is my belief that if we encourage that kind of growth, with nature as opposed to on top of nature, we can perfectly capture what King Township is all about.

Ward 5

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Over the last decade King has seen an influx of economic prosperity mainly due to housing development, and will continue to do so. But, we must also look at other means and opportunities to grow the local economy, not solely relying on residential tax dollars to fund public amenities and services.  However, this needs to be done in an environmentally conscious way which includes preserving Kings rich rural and farming history. 

King Township must look at supporting existing and attracting new local business growth, such as commercial retail and light industrial, which would allow our own citizens to work closer to home (hence reducing the carbon footprint) while shifting the tax revenue burden away from residential property taxes.  This is a win-win financial scenario.

Looking at utilizing lands closer to Hwy 400, and away from the rural and settlement areas are a good idea to bring in these alternate sources of tax revenue while keeping vehicular traffic away from the rural and settlement areas.

Of course, we will continue to showcase and celebrate the natural beauty and rich cultural history of King Township through local events such as Fairs & Festivals, which will in turn attract tourism dollars to our community.

The recently approved rural zoning bylaw is a big step forward.  It broadens zoning permissions in the agricultural zone including providing a framework for on farm diversified uses, agricultural-related uses, farm help and seasonal farm help dwellings.
The Community Improvement Plan is now available to businesses outside the 3 villages; as we have seen in the villages, the access to funds to support signage and building improvements has been welcomed by the business community.  Councillors have a role in ensuring businesses are aware of the opportunity and direct them how to access.

Within the King City and Schomberg urban area there are employment lands yet undeveloped.  Councillor has a role in advocating for appropriate development i.e. in parallel with enabling new businesses the needs and wants of those currently in geographic proximity needs to be respected.  E.g.  when the McDonald’s application came to Council I raised questions about impact on the neighbouring School i.e. is there a safety risk, might there be more traffic on the streets running into the area and if so how would than be managed.

With the growth in population there will be opportunity for new businesses.  In King City new residential developments on Keele Street have commercial zoning for the floor at grade.

Question #5

If you could change one thing in the King Township Official Plan, what would it be and why?

Ward 1

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In terms of one change in the King Township Official Plan. That the building height and massing provisions as part of our Official Plan, village core policies be changed. Currently, the OP allows for exceptions to the maximum height for new buildings which is currently 3 storeys. Six storeys have been approved – and Rob strongly believes these developments are not compatible with respect to adjacent low-rise residential areas.

Did not submit an answer

The one thing I would change on the King Township Official Plan, is to remove any constraints or conditions that would inhibit or prevent the province to allow for additional ramps to be built off of HWY 400.   Highway access is a vital component of land development.

Ward 3

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When I first reviewed the draft of the new Official Plan back in 2019, I recall being struck by the wide latitude offered to the aggregate industry. Of course, King is required to have these policies in place to conform with provincial and regional requirements.

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As I read through the King Township Official Plan I feel proud to be part of a community who’s visions and priorities seem so closely aligned with my own. I am grateful to those who have dedicated such vigilant effort and time into marrying resident voices with expert opinions and input in such an intentional and concise way.

In saying this, I would be interested in learning more about investment into the support of our retired and aging populations. I would also like to spend more time thoroughly investigating all of the plans considered alongside the impressive proposal for the Townwide Recreation Centre, specifically how we may incorporate this initiative in a greater tourism project by way of bringing more hotels to the area.

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Ward 4

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I would like to see a more effective policy that results in bylaws which promote more purposeful and intentional change in existing residential neighbourhoods across the Township.

The King Township Official Plan collaborates with constituents, King Township staff, and the Council. I believe my role is not to have my own agenda for specific issues but to represent and advocate with input. To align with the questions in this document, however, I would look at the building on Section 3.4.1 point 28.8 of the official plan that looks at adding a secondary unit allowance; I would build on the proposal by adding the possibility of triplexes and quadplexes to encourage affordable housing within the villages further. With the current sizes of houses being built in King Township, a multiunit building mixed within the housing units would not stand out and allows for higher density builds."

One thing I would like change is to enable King’s full autonomy in implementing our official plan. I would like to eliminate any looming concerns that the provincial government can override the plan, which was developed through consultation throughout the Township and provides a cross section and blueprint for what our Township can attain for future generations. This should be left to us here at home. 

Having read through a portion of the plan as well as discussed many aspects of the plan I believe that the plan, while thorough, does miss some issues in Schomberg proper, for example Main Street traffic as well as the speeding that takes place in town. If given the opportunity to change the plan, more specifically the portion of the plan dedicated to the revitalization of Main Street, I would work with designers and city planners to come up with a better plan for Main Street. The rest of the plan is thorough and complete and I have no issue with it.

Ward 5

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While Highway 400-series expansions are mentioned, The Official Plan does not explicitly call-out the proposed Highway 413 route study area which falls within the boundaries of King Township.  This highway, which will attract more vehicular traffic through King Township and impact the local environment must be taken into consideration today for planning purposes and explicitly discussed in more detail in The Official Plan.

In my opinion, Hwy 407 is underutilized and introducing a new Hwy 413 will only attract more traffic where it is not warranted.  Hwy 413 will increase urban sprawl and primarily serves big businesses like Amazon and Walmart to provide same day shipping services and also the land developers who own the lands along the proposed route.

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Question #6

Summarize your position on maintaining a balance between environmental sustainability and economic development.  How important is it, and is a balance currently being maintained?

Ward 1

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What is Rob’s position on maintaining a balance between environmental and sustainability and economic development? How important is this issue? Is the current balance being maintained? First, Rob is committed to maintaining a balance – through controlled and environmentally sustainable development that meets the needs of today’s community without compromising future generations and our natural resources. As we all know, this is in fact a very important issue given the majority of King City is located on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In addition, the Official Plan places an emphasis on growth in King City (8,600 by 2031), versus other villages such as Nobleton and Schomberg. Maintaining a balance between environmental and sustainable development with economic development has been achieved, however on a very limited basis. The limited basis, in Rob’s opinion, is we have not fully achieved economic development opportunities in King Township. Until then, we will be judged as to whether we achieved this balance.

Maintaining balance between environmental sustainability and economic development is very important, but it is only currently balanced because of the extreme of each on both ends.  We need to allow for more economic development in additional areas than currently allocated, however we must also limit the growth that is affecting the environmental sustainability in higher denser areas.

Ward 3

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Both are equally important, and the good news is that they are not mutually exclusive.

As noted in my answers to questions 1, 2, and 3, if King focuses on building complete communities that includes an appropriate amount of affordable housing along with employment opportunities within existing settlement boundaries, we can achieve both goals. Moreover, by enhancing tourism as I outlined in my answer to question 4, we will generate extra income which will support the rural economy which will help to preserve the countryside."

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This is an incredibly important, yet highly delicate balance that communities all throughout our province and country continually strive for. King is unique in its vast rural and agricultural landscapes, inclusion of multiple conservation lands, geographic proximity to larger cities and roadways, and micro-hubs of business and industry. I think that we are currently achieving a commendable amount of success in striking this balance, and I believe that we can continue on this trajectory to maximize both the environmental and economic benefits to our community. I would like to explore ways to continue to elevate industries such as tourism, recreation, and agriculture to ensure that environmental sustainability works as an asset to our economic development, and in turn both initiatives will exist in support of one another, rather than in opposition.

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Ward 4

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I struggle with this question because it is difficult to define balance. It is important (I think) but without a common perspective and definition, it is impossible to say if balance is being maintained.

However, I strongly believe in the importance of economic development while still maintaining the values and visions that we have for the Township of King.

This can be achieved by promoting existing locations that are suited for industrial and commercial purposes and by expanding ecotourism and other sustainable ventures.

If we don’t have a healthy environment, we don’t have an economy, and business is very much part of the solution. Small and medium businesses need more support to reduce energy use, water consumption, and waste, which can also help their bottom line. But many can’t afford the upfront costs or don’t know where to start. I would love to see the Township support waste reduction initiatives, for example, reusable takeout container exchange between restaurants (which Toronto is now piloting)"

I think a good balance is currently being maintained.  Sustainability to me also means creating more livable communities, and we currently have underutilized employment lands within our borders which can broaden our economy and improve livability without sacrificing sustainability.  

My position on maintaining a balance between environmental sustainability and economic development is simply that we need a balance. If a balance is not achieved then everything will suffer for it, currently I believe that balance is being achieved.

Ward 5

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The balance is important; its vital.  Its impossible to define what that balance is.  I think we are doing a pretty good job.  We do make some very tough decisions which have resulted in businesses walking away. 

As Professional Mechanical & Industrial Engineer, I look at all challenges as opportunities for growth. I live by a saying, “Always leave a room in better condition than when you walked into it.”  This expression holds true for our economy and the environment as well.

The balance between economic development and environmental sustainability is very important as our actions today will impact the health of our environment and its residents for decades to come.  I believe we are on the right path, but need more action on the implementation side.  We can do this through education and awareness of incentives and opportunities which meld environmental responsibility and economic growth.

Question #7

Do you believe King Township is on track with its Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions and achieve net zero by 2050?  What specific actions, if any, do you think are required in the next 4 years?

Ward 1

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Is King Township on track with the current Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions and achieve net zero by 2050? Unfortunately, NO. Specific actions required over the next 4 years include updating the Climate Action Plan with specific actions to meet our objectives that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The current action plan addresses the “what” but falls short to address the “how”. The building blocks for the electric revolution are vague and not SMART. We need to quantify the benefits to outcomes. As noted in the current action plan, 45% of King’s emissions are from transportation, 27% from residential. Carpooling and a reduction of personal use are not realistic or achievable. To achieve these objectives, the Township of King’s fleet of light, regular and heavy vehicles should be transitioned to electric as vehicles are decommissioned. Working with corporate and government partners, more education and engagement with residents are required to change future buying intentions. With regards to residential housing, consideration of heat pumps, induction stoves, south-facing roofs to facilitate solar panels and rough-ins (new construction) for electric charging stations should be mandatory. In addition, local building standards should be raised above provincial standards through cooperation with local developers to consider more green options. To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, we require financial support, resources, and infrastructure from the provincial and federal governments. In the short term, this presents significant implications for the 2023 King Township budget.

The township does not need to reduce emissions further to achieve net zero.  The premise for Net Zero 2050 does not account for the abundance of carbon reducing resources already in existence in the township.  I would argue that King Township as a whole has enough carbon reducing resources, however these resources are being depleted at a rapid rate in the village centers as entire properties are clear cut to build new homes.  I would advocate that clear cutting of all matures trees on lots should not be allowed and at least a minimum of 1 mature tree must be left standing per quarter acre.

Ward 3

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King’s Climate Action Plan is an excellent first step in identifying the many opportunities to decrease King’s carbon footprint. I look forward to reading the first follow-up report which is due Q2 2023, which I hope will include more detailed explanations for how various initiatives can be achieved. Specifically, I would like to see how much each action will reduce King’s carbon footprint as only then will we learn whether King is actually on track to meet its target and be able to set appropriate goals.

Did not submit an answer

Given the newness of this Action Plan it is difficult to accurately assess its progress thus far, however I feel that while a goal of net zero emissions by 2050 is ambitious, it is both important and achievable.

Based on the demographics of King Township I believe that there is a strong emphasis on agricultural efforts and I know that those involved in this industry are committed to utilizing quickly emerging technologies and advances such as biodigestion to offset emissions and detrimental environmental impacts. I would like to see increased incentivization and mutually beneficial policies to encourage these practices within our community.

I also understand how the increase of multi-unit dwellings, such as condominiums, would offer streamlined emissions monitoring on a residential level, while simultaneously addressing a multitude of other gaps in the needs of King’s residents. Ongoing work to enforce standards with developers and builders for all residential, commercial, and industrial infrastructure is also a highly effective effort that I would prioritize in a leadership role within the township. 

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Ward 4

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  • Build on existing corporate understanding and buy-in into the King Climate Action Plan and Integrated Sustainability Plan, while incorporating those principles into Township policies, Standard Operating Procedures, and infrastructure and building designs.
  • Establish climate committees in each village to implement a Community Climate Action Plan and give voice to all residents
  • Examine tools to protect trees in urban settings
  • Work with the Conservation Authorities to examine mitigation strategies in the context of conditions brought on by climate change.
    • Ex. Schomberg’s downtown is in a floodplain.
  • Reduce emissions by investing in complete communities
    • Ex. public transit/active transportation networks, walkable communities, alternative energy, home retrofits, local services/commerce/employment
  • Invest in missing middle housing that is affordable and located in walkable communities
  • Reducing commute times & emissions
  • Prevent unnecessary conversion of conservation/agricultural land
  • Ensure responsible land use planning

I have seen positive changes in King Township to help reduce emissions; however, I do not believe anywhere in the world is on track which is why this has been such a big topic. Installing EV charging stations, carpool parking spots, and education sessions about EVs are critical to the success of reaching our goals. I believe that increased safety measures to make walking more viable are critical if we are to encourage our residents to leave their cars at home and walk. In Schomberg specifically, many children are driven to school because parents do not feel safe walking with the current safety features. Within the Township, I believe in looking at traffic calming, crosswalks, sidewalks, and designated bike lanes. I also think looking at opportunities to work with York Region for bike lanes on regional roads since that is how our communities are connected; in this case, I believe Portageville would be where to advocate for first since the regional road goes through the neighborhood. Lastly, I saw a constituent looking for car sharing options; I am not sure how this would work at a municipal level because of insurance policies but being open and examining new possibilities helps make the difference.

I’m concerned that net zero will not be attainable especially if it disproportionately affects the farmers of our area, but I certainly do believe the Township should do what it can for its residents and the administration to reduce our local carbon footprint as much as possible. This could include creating / expanding walkable residential areas, utilizing employment lands, and ensuring high speed internet to all areas of the Township all of which help reduce / eliminate commuting times. Additionally, I think our Township building codes and standards should be flexible enough to accommodate new technologies that could lower our overall carbon footprint; for instance, a technology called massive timber frame construction is being used more throughout the world and avoids the use of concrete in larger buildings. We should be progressive in our relationship with the broader free market and look for creative ways to assist our residents and businesses to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Is the township I do believe the king Township is on track with its climate action plan to reduce emissions, specifically however I don’t think there’s anything we can do that will affect the greater action against climate change. As long as we continue doing what we can I believe that we can achieve NetZero by 2050.

Ward 5

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I believe net zero is achievable. And we have evidence to prove it.  Switching to electricity use and finding other clean alternatives has been making a difference in our communities over the last several decades.  For example, in 2005, our electrical grid produced about 225 grams of CO2 per kWh. In 2020, that was reduced to 25 grams by switching over to clean sources like Wind, Solar, Hydro and Nuclear, and away from petroleum based sources of producing electricity.

We are making strides and will continue to do so because we must and because it makes sense.

We are not on track.  To get there we need i) a much more demanding Ontario Building Code which will require new buildings to be built to passive house standards ii) a program to financially support retrofitting of current buildings, particularly including homes.  We need an education and engagement plan with the public so that everyone understands that each person and business has the capacity to take action, to reduce their carbon foot print. 

Question #8

Please outline your understanding of council’s role in applying the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan to the King Township Official Plan and Bylaws.

Ward 1

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My understanding of Council’s role in applying the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan to the King Township Official Plan and Bylaws is that the ORMCP, updated in 2017, needs to fully integrate the policies of the ORMCP into the Official Plan and respective Bylaws. Rob supports the continued protection of the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt Plan, enacted in 2005 and updated in 2017.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan is set out by the province.  The Municipality and the Region have no authority or jurisdiction to make revisions and it is the Municipality’s role to ensure the Provincial plan is being followed as per by law number 2009-63.  I would not advocate or vote for the municipality to lobby the province to make any land developable that has been not already been outlined as for development in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

Ward 3

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Council is responsible to ensure that the municipality meets all requirements established in legislation, including the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

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The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan is an initiative which is imperative to both the environment and economy of King Township. From sustaining the beauty and landscape of the area, to ensuring that our highly valuable agricultural industry is protected, it is of utmost importance that this, alongside all plans set forth by relevant conservation authorities, are at the forefront of the majority of components of the Official Plan. A symbiotic relationship between Municipalities and Conservation Authorities is necessary in creating a sustainable future and is something I am committed to uphold. 

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Ward 4

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One of the Council’s roles is to approve or deny development applications depending on whether they fulfill the requirements of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) as well as the King Township Official Plan and Bylaws.

It is my understanding that the ORMCP and the Greenbelt Plan policies (as well as the policies of other legislation such as the Conservation Authorities Act, the Growth Plan, the Regional Official Plan, etc.) are embedded in the planning documents and that Township planners and developers must adhere to the policies. If there is a proposed exception then that must be brought to Council for discussion and approval.

In addition the Township, along with other agencies, is responsible for safeguarding the Moraine through other mechanisms such as the fill bylaw and property standards bylaw.

Since Provincial laws and Policies protect the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, King Townships Official plan and bylaws must enforce that law by ensuring development isn’t creeping into the Moraine and that only permitted uses are occurring on the Moraine."

I understand that we as a municipal council can attempt to enforce our Official Plans and by-laws, and as a member of council I would certainly lend my voice to stop any unwanted developments. However I also know that the provincial government can override a municipal council’s wishes using provincial laws, ministerial zoning orders, etc. (as was done with the peaker plant for example) if they deem a development to be necessary.

The Oak Ridges moraine act, was brought in by the provincial government with assistance from the TRCA as well as local governments. When the original plan was put in place, it was more of a broad strokes plan to be decided upon by local governments, it is therefore up to council on how best to implement it, with in reason of course.

Ward 5

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As detailed in the King Township Official Plan (‘the Plan’), it is the intent of ‘the Plan’ to “fully integrate the policies of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan".

That said, however, it also acknowledges that “Nearly the entirety of the Village of King City is located in the Oak Ridges Moraine, and a portion of the Village of Nobleton is also located in the Oak Ridges Moraine. Generally, within the settlement areas, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan defers to the local official ‘Plan’ to set out permitted uses and other guiding policy"".  In other words, the King Township Official Plan supersedes, to some extent, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, specifically for the settlement areas. 

Therefore, as Councilors and Planners for the Township of King, we have the responsibility to ensure the upmost care and due diligence is taken to minimize any environmental impacts when planning for additional infrastructure within, and connecting to, the core settlement areas.

Council members are the ones who approve the OP and the ZBL…so we have a very significant role and responsibility.  That responsibility is challenging for anyone, particularly if one has not pursued academic studies in Planning.  Consequently, there is a great dependence on the Planning Staff.  But I don’t believe that a Council person is fulfilling their job by simply rubber stamping Planning reports.  Each Council person needs to do their best.  That is why it is critical to have all members doing their best to understand salient points and why it is so very important to have members of the public reviewing drafts, reading reports. 

To clarify:  my own experience and interests will drive me to read carefully, to consider specific sections of an OP, for example, and to ask questions to understand the thinking behind a proposed policy.  Other persons’ questions (i.e. those from other Council members or from the public) will trigger me to assess other areas. 

Planning is not an exact science; there is interpretation.  Hence, although it may be uncomfortable a Council member has the responsibility to challenge the professionals and to explain why they have a different interpretation.