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Mayoral Forum Archive: Whitchurch Stouffville Election 2010

   

Four people are in the race for mayor (from left to right): Wayne Emmerson (incumbent), Christine Vlachos, Justin Altmann and Sue Sherban.

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Questions

Editor's Note:

Stouffville Connects would like to apologize to Wayne Emmerson.In setting up logins for each candidate there was a glitch with Wayne's login that prevented him from logging onto our forums. That has been corrected now, so hopefully you will be getting answers from him soon!
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Mr. Emmerson,

The debt that this town has accrued has been largely under your leadership. How do you feel you can lead this town out of debt? Also, you stated during the all candidates debate that the decision to purchase the Cook Canada building was a "business decision", what about a building located in an industrial area, tucked back out of main street say "good business" to you?
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Thank you for asking this question. It allows me to clear up some misinformation and rumours that are circulating in our community. I want to be clear. Whitchurch-Stouffville is in great financial shape, now and for the future. Our debt is under control.

Currently, 78% of the town's debt is paid for through development charges (fees developers pay to the town when they build any residential or commercial property in our municipality).

Also, because of solid and respected relationships the current council has established with other level of governments, we were able to secure financial funding from the provincial and federal governments to help fund some of last term's major initiatives. Approximately 66% of the costs for the enhancements to the Stouffville Arena, soccer fields, Memorial Park and the museum and community/visitor centre in Vandorf were financially supported by the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

Due to length restrictions I will respond to the second part of your question regarding the purchase of the Cook Canada building in a second comment.

I maintain an open door policy and have no hidden agendas. If you have any questions about my response or would like to discuss this issue in more detail, please call me at 905 640-2987.

Please remember to exercise your right on Monday, October 25th. Re-elect Mayor Wayne Emmerson. -
To respond to the second part of your question regarding the purchase of the Cook Canada building, this purchase means that we will be paying less for a mortgage then what we would be paying if we continued to lease for town office space. Owning the building also allows us the opportunity to lease space to other organizations; in turn offsetting some of the building’s costs. The York Region District School Board has already committed to leasing approximately 6500 square feet.

Our town is growing and this building has the space to meet our expanding needs for many years to come. With plans in the near future to extend Saniford Drive from Main Street to Hoover Park, it will allow easy access to this building for all residents. We are also hopeful that our seniors will consider using a portion of this building for a newly relocated Seniors' Centre.

Many other municipalities across York Region have town offices that reside in similar locations that are not on the main street.

If you have any questions about my response or would like to discuss this issue in more detail, please call me at 905 640-2987.

Please remember to exercise your right on Monday, October 25th. Re-elect Mayor Wayne Emmerson. -
Congratulations to the current mayor and council.You have managed to add valuable assets to this Town using developer's money and Federal and Provincial funds. Assets that will serve us well for the next 30 or so years. You are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and are growing this Town much like a growth business. This low interest rate environment is the ideal time to borrow money. My question is, why are projects so badly mismanaged? The firehall and the works department are comming in at double the original budget. Who is responsible for the original projections and why have they not been fired? I would also like to hear from all candidates their position on 24/7 service for the ballantrae firehall given that the Ballantrae life style community pays at a minimum, $3.6mm/year in taxes. My final question to all, would you support corporate tax reduction to attract new businesses and jobs. Thank you in advance.
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Dear Wayne,
As the government draws its income from much of the population, government debt is an indirect debt of the taxpayers. When will we be out of debt? In which year exactly? That is when we should book the party at the legion, not now!
Sincerely,
Elizabeth Tracey
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Dear Elizabeth Tracey,

To answer your question, residential taxes in Whitchurch-Stouffville have and will remain stable. In fact, Whitchurch-Stouffville has one of the lowest tax rates in York Region.

Currently, 78% of the town’s debt (including interest) is paid for through development charges. (Development charges are the fees that developers are responsible for paying to the town, when they build any residential or commercial property in our municipality)

An additional $2,500 for each new house that is built will be charged back to the developers to help with Town’s remaining portion.

In 2010, current council was able to add $4 million into reserves. This can be applied to future day-to-day operating expenses.

Also, because of solid and respected relationships the current council has established with other level of governments, we were able to secure financial funding from the provincial and federal governments to help fund some of last term’s major initiatives. Approximately 66% of the costs for the enhancements to the Stouffville Arena, soccer fields, Memorial Park and the museum and community/visitor centre in Vandorf were financially supported by the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. Response continued in next post …
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We will come out of debt when we are full build out. Future councils can change the current 10-year plan and go in other directions; increasing the debt even more.

We have accomplished a lot in the past four years but still have more to do. We must stay to the course of reducing our debt and investing back into the community through smart controlled spending and accountability.

I maintain an open door policy and have no hidden agendas. If you have any questions about my response or would like to discuss this issue in more detail, please call me at 905 640-2987.

Please remember to exercise your right on Monday, October 25th. Re-elect Mayor Wayne Emmerson.
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Christine,

Similar to what I just asked Mr. Altmann what involvement in Whitchurch Stouffville Politics have you had in the past? Attended Council (# of mtgs)? Sat on any town Committees? Council presentations? I am unaware of your involvement other then putting your hat in for mayor.
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Thank you for your question.
If you base your decision on meeting attendance then you will not vote for me, or if you are searching for my non existent signs. I have no gimicks. I have not had a regular 9 to 5 kind of life. I have worked 3 to 5 jobs at a time; was forced into an 11 year custody court case which I was self represented and the sucessor; and I spent the rest of my time being a mom. When I was a kid I knew one day I would have to get involved in politics, this is my path. I am naturally talented and highly trained to deal with high stress situations, budgtes, laws, processes, interaction with people, researching, analysing etc. My life and work experiences have prepared and mastered my ability to confidently champion each responsibity of the Mayor role. I Hope you are open-minded. -
Christine, I appreciate your honesty in answering my question in regards to your involvement in town affairs. I think honesty is an admiral character traits and something that a lot of politicians lack! You seem to have a wealth of experience in all walks of life! Thank you for your answers and goodluck! -
I moved to Stouffville years ago, because I wanted to get back to the small town way of life, just like when I grew up on a farm in Oakville in the 70's and 80's. Many of my family members live in this town and they love it. But it seems that this once small town is growing and growing, with so many new houses popping up everywhere you look. Sadly, not much of a small town anymore. Can anyone tell me if this is going to continue?
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Hello jesi74 - You are able to log onto the Town website (http://www.townofws.com/Phase2.asp)and you will be able to read through the future proposal for the phase 2 lands that were approved to be developed starting this year in the 2010 Council meeting. The population is to add as many new homes and residents as it did in the phase 1 lands now completed. My platform is that we slow down the growth and have resonable building permits. In order that our services can catch up and we can reduce our debt. We also need to build our community outreach. As I have been knocking on doors I have been very sad to hear that a number of new residents don't think the older residents have any regard for them. I know it is only that the growth has been to fast for them to welcome the new residents in an old fashion neighbourly way ... bring a pie! So when I am Council again you will see more events and community festivals in the downtown core to bring us together...but don't forget to bring your pie! Sincerely Sue Sherban Candidate for Mayor -
Is there anyway to stop development? -
Hello Ms Smith
Thank you for the question ... development will happen and that is not a bad thing... but it needs to be controlled. We need to get back to our historic norms of 200-300 homes a year not 600-1000 as has been happening for the last 4 years. Growth is good but as long as we are in the drivers seat. There is many missing links to the recent growth but the most outstanding is jobs/business/corporate taxes that will help with our residential issues of a bedroom community/no work/heavy residential tax increases due to over spending. I will work on attracting new business in the eco-tourism and the ego-industry that will help to work with the vast rural community we have and love. Sincerely Sue Sherban Candidate for Mayor -
Well its quite sad that it keeps growning. We need to save our small towns in this Province. I understand that growth is good. But not the amount that has happened, and is going to continue to happen apparently. I completely understand why some of the older/longer term residents of Stouffville aren't welcoming with open arms. They live there because its their small town. They like the quiet, slow paced, family type of town it was . If they wanted to live in Toronto or Markham or another big city, they'd move there. Why must all our small towns blow up into cities? There is a way of life in small towns that people from big cities just don't get. Stouffville needs change, get someone in the drivers seat that will slow this down and put an end to this constant growing. -
Current council has allowed for only a maximum 600 housing permits each year for the next three years. This is consistent with the Town’s growth plan.

Areas for growth identified in the Town’s plan include south to the Markham-Stouffville boundary line, east to the York-Durham Townline, north to Bethesda Road and west to Hwy. 48. All other area’s within Whitchurch-Stouffville are protected by the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Growth in a community depends on a number of factors including economic stability. 600 is the maximum number of permits that will be allocated for the next three years.
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Stouffville's business owners are enjoying greater than ever exposure and community openness to the advent of commercial enterprise.

What initiatives and opportunities should local businesses look forward to under your leadership?
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Thank you for your question.
I would like to meet with each local business and get their direct input of what they feel would best encourage business their direction. I am willing to take part in a "Mayor Day" type of event like a meet and greet. I hope to encourage more exposure on the Town website with a direct link to your own website however I am not sure of all the rules and regulations and firewalls etc.
I sure will help get the word out any legal way possible, within budget. -
Claudiu..thank you for your concern regarding how our businesses can look forward to change. I know there is a wealth of professionals who live in the town that are more than willing to work with our community to help attract new corporate offices. I would reinstate the Economic Developement Committee so we can draw on their knowledge to focus on what corporate industry should the municipality going out after as opposed to what is happening now. We cannot afford to leave it up to the commercial real estate developers to bring the companies that are best for our town. There is a huge opportunity to work with the biofuel business with the large farming community we have that should be researched. -
Mr. Altmann,


Can you tell me what involvement in Whitchurch Stouffville politics you have had in the past? Attended Council (# of mtgs attended)? Sat on any town committes? Council Presentations etc.?

I don't know you that well and would like to get a feel for your political involvement other then running for Ward 2 Councillor and now for Mayor?
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Mrs. Sherban,

I have heard around town that you are do not support low income housing? I would like to know you position on this matter as I feel it is important for a community to welcome and support all income levels.

Also I noticed in the paper an article was written about election signs being destroyed, this article did not comment on your signs, why have none of yours been destroyed?
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Yes of course I support social housing in W-S and maybe you can inform me as to where this information is coming from. I was Vice Chair in the Region of York of the Social Services and Housing Committee for 3 years.

Yes I have had signs missing, broken, put on other peoples lawns...but I was not called or asked for any input on this article from the local paper. -
Successful governance required leadership and team buildng expertise. What is your track record in that area and how will you make sure that the Town runs effectively, if you are elected?
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I have been successful in every team building event I have been responsible for over 20 years. As Manager of Implementation, Development and Training Liason Bell Canada and Actimedia, I championed a huge transformation, created and trained processes, supported reps throughout Ontario and Quebec, opened businesses offices, coached and monitored reps individually, difused irrate clients, created and presented power points, participated in VP meetings, researched and supplied solutions, and so much more. I am approachable and friendly. I have been trained with the highest qualitiy of training of interpersonal skills and defusing irrate clients on an ongoing basis while I worked ay Bell. I am a Certified Corporate Coach. Team building sxpertise are evident in my career at Bell as well as in the Construction Project Management positions I have held. Construction sites require many trades and timed scheduling to avoid delays and wasted money. As a single mother being dilligent with my budget would make or break me. I will utilize all of these skills along with my natural free spirit to work together with the staff and the community. Listening to the needs and assess each situation. I hope to increase the speed of the pace of unresolved issues that keep going before council. We must maximize meetings and include more interaction with the community. Open the meetings via webcam and provide the meetings at times when the hihest precentage of home owners are not at work. -
Thanks, Julie. I couldn’t agree with you more. Leadership Matters and Experience Counts – and especially in the political realm – at the municipal, regional, provincial and federal levels.

I am very proud of my 19 years of political experience in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and the Regional Municipality of York including:

•Six years service as Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville ward councillor (1991-1997)
•13 years as Mayor and CEO of Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
•Chair of all Whitchurch-Stouffville Council, Committees and public planning meetings
•13 years as member of York Regional Council including Chair of the Region’s Transportation Committee and member of the Finance and Administration Committee

Response continued in next post …
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During the past four years, Council, town staff and residents have worked together and accomplished many things including:

• New fire station 51 with 24/7 firefighters and ambulance service
• New and upgraded sports and recreational facilities including Clippers Sports Complex, Bethesda Park, Rupert Park, Memorial Park, new tennis courts in Ballantrae and 130+ acre park at Mussleman's Lake
• Support of local arts and culture including the new arts and entertainment centre (Nineteen on the Park), additional funding for enhancing Latcham Art Gallery and a new museum and visitor/community centre in Vandorf
• Annual Mayors community events including the local Food Drive, New Year's Family Celebrations and Golf Tournament. To date, the Annual Golf Tournament has raised more than $250,000 for local youth and community projects
•Downtown revitalization and expansion projects including a weekly farmers market
•Leash-free dog park
•New comprehensive zoning by-law
•New Public Works Operations Centre
•Implementation of a municipal-wide green bin program to reduce amount of garbage in the land fills

Response continued in next post …
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This selected list of accomplishments demonstrates my proven track record for strong leadership and ability to effectively run a municipality.

I maintain an open door policy and have no hidden agendas. If you have any questions about my response or would like to discuss this issue in more detail, please call me at 905 640-2987.

Please remember to exercise your right on Monday, October 25th. Re-elect Mayor Wayne Emmerson.
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Because of all this growth, the town is busting and with that brings traffic headaches. Trying to cross Main Street at the Go Station is nearly impossible. There needs to be a crosswalk put in there for people trying to get across to the Bus or the Train or for whatever reason. Back when this was a small town, people would see you and stop their car to let you by. The new people that have moved here...won't do that for anyone.
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Hi Jesi74,

In response to your question, Council has recently asked staff to bring back a report in the New Year identifying recommendations for an appropriate crosswalk location near the Stouffville GO Station. Once the recommendations have been received, they will be presented to the Downtown working group for further action.

If you have any questions about my response or would like to discuss this issue in more detail, please call me at 905 640-2987.

Please remember to exercise your right on Monday, October 25th. Re-elect Mayor Wayne Emmerson.
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