Sagittarius. Favourite colour: blue. Family man. Happily married to my wife Casey. Proud dad to William, Benjamin & Owen. Lego builder. Dog owner. Supporter of the Arts. Realtor. Positive innovator. Change maker. Lover of Stratford.
Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.
1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?
Since moving to Stratford, I have joined the Knights of Columbus, helping out with ‘Stuff The Bus’ and serving meals. I am also an active volunteer with my children’s school, and look forward to steady involvement in Cubs with them. This past winter, I was often found clearing snow from the driveways and sidewalks in my neighbourhood lending a hand.
2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?
My loyalty is to the City of Stratford and all of its residents. My professional background in Real Estate and Finance is integral to understanding fiscal responsibility and the need to balance expenditures with revenue. I was raised in a small town, in a family who were active in the community, and that fostered within me a strong sense of civic responsibility.
3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?
I would like to build a civic auditorium and community centre that would provide a venue for local artists groups; also providing a place for our city’s children and teens to participate in age-appropriate events and activities.
I would introduce construction bonds, so if projects default, the funds are available to complete the work.
Sidewalks are protected, as they are vital to a safe community.
4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for those committees?
I am initially drawn to Community Services, Finance and Social Services. My background in finance, my interest in building a more inclusive community for all Stratford residents, and my willingness to learn about the key issues while working closely with others will allow me to bring tenacity and innovation to any issue.
5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?
I usually either walk or ride my bike. I would like to see safer routes for bicycles, dedicated bike routes and more efficient snow removal, to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe. The sidewalks need maintenance, we have wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and feet all using them and they could use some TLC.
6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?
Affordable housing needs to be a top priority and the Cooper site would be the ideal place for a multiuse project including our civic auditorium and community centre. I look forward to working alongside residents, community partners and council to make this space one that enriches and best serves the needs of our city.
7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?
We need more housing, period. We need low cost, affordable housing that will allow people to transition into home ownership. We can achieve this with a combination of retrofitting existing properties and new construction. People that work in Stratford should be able to afford to live in Stratford.
8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
I would facilitate an increase in residential development, building up instead of out, boosting tax revenue on a smaller footprint; implement taxes on buildings that sit empty and derelict to encourage their use and development; work with the Stratford Arts and Culture Collective to establish Stratford as an all season tourist destination so the existing infrastructure is utilized year round (B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, retailers)
9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?
While my wife Casey and I have chosen to make Stratford the place where we raise our three young boys, my business is province-wide and has no local connections. It is my sincere desire to be involved in creating and maintaining a community that I am proud to call home and will be open and transparent around any issues that could be seen as a conflict of interest.
10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?
Increasing our trades training programs is necessary, starting at the high school level including community college. Stratford would be a perfect backdrop for a specialised theatre training school that focused strongly on all aspects of theatre from acting to behind the scenes production. Ensuring education, employment and affordable housing will do a lot to make sure our young people have many reasons to continue call Stratford their home.