Hello Ward 2,
This month all County of Brant candidates from the last election had the financial records from their campaign released. They sit on our County website and are often missed though available. I believe strongly in not just passive transparency but active transparency and open government. Here is the direct link to my full financial statement from the municipal election: https://www.brant.ca/en/county-government/resources/Elections/2018/Financial-Statements/ele—laferriere.pdf
Thank you to all those who chose to donate and to all the vendors who did paid work on the campaign as well as volunteers.
Time to Tap The Brakes on residential development in Paris? I think so.
I wanted to try something a little different this month for the bulk of this update. As many of you know myself and Councillor Howes have been asking Ward 2 residents for letters regarding their thoughts about a proposal we have at council to “tap the brakes” on residential development in the urban settlement of Paris. There was a staff report by our head of planning Rob Trotter that suggested we pause new applications for development until we received information from a variety of sources. I support “tapping the brakes” and slowing development and spoke to this along with many concerned residents in an Expositor article you can view here: https://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/news/local-news/tap-the-brakes-or-press-the-gas
The motion was deferred to tighten the report, clarify some issues some of the non-Paris council members had with wording and to get feedback from community and industry. The vote for this will come back again on May 7th. Counc. Howes and and I have received a number of amazing and thoughtful letters about this from concerned Ward 2 residents. I’d like to share one as a great representative example of the excellent feedback we’ve received from a members of our community. It is my hope that council as a whole will read and consider the large number of letters like this one:
I am sending this message to my mayor and all county councillors.
It is regarding a recommendation by Rob Trotter, the county’s director of planning, at the April 2nd, 2019 council meeting that the county “pause” any further development within Paris until necessary infrastructure, particularly sewers and waste water treatment, can catch up with the thousands of homes already going forward.
I am frankly disturbed at the apparent disregard for residents of Paris displayed by councillors outside wards 2 and 3. The comments made during the meeting by councillors for wards 4 and 5 in particular only served to reinforce the divisions that appear to exist within the county.
When county staff – the CAO, the director of planning and the county’s solicitor – put forward a recommendation that development in Paris is progressing at an unsustainable pace without large expenditures on infrastructure to support it, I believe council should listen very carefully. Perhaps the feeling among councillors representing wards outside Paris is that over-development does not exist or that it is something that Paris residents simply have to deal with. As a Paris resident I wholeheartedly disagree.
Paris needs roads, bridges and transit to allow all our current and expected new residents to move around. The county will also have to supply services – water, sewers, waste management, recycling, street cleaning and snow removal – to accommodate all the new residents. In cooperation with the province, schools and health facilities must be built. Community services such as parks, trails, recreation facilities and libraries must be maintained and expanded. Emergency services such as fire response and police protection are absolutely essential. All these items and many more will continue to require funding long after developers have made their profits and moved on.
I am in complete agreement with Mr. Trotter. Development in Paris must be slowed.
UPCOMING EVENTS OF PUBLIC INTEREST
May 7, 7 PM, County Council Chambers: Planning Advisory Committee regarding “Tapping The Brakes” on Residential Development in Paris.
May 9, 5 PM, Paris Fairgrounds: Public Information Centre on Grand River St Environmental Assessment
May 10, 9 AM, Fire Admin Office (Paris): Review of Developmental Charges
May 11, 9 AM, Burford Community Centre: Parent 2 Parent Sale
May 14, 7 PM, 36 Main St S, St. George: Public Forum on Opiods
May 27, 6 PM, Paris Branch: Library Annual General Meeting
May 27, 7 PM, Brant Sportsplex, Paris: OPP Townhall
May 29, 5 PM, Paris Fairgrounds: Downtown Paris Master Plan Public Open House.
A highlight of some of the activities I’ve attended this month beyond regular council meetings:
• Consultation session with public housing staff regarding the next 5 years of the 10-Year City/County Housing Stability Plan.
• Community Legal Clinic SOS Town Hall session.
• Sojourn Church Family Easter Celebration at Syl Apps Community Centre
• Paris Agricultural Society Volunteer Social and Award Evening.
• Our Future Brant Strategic Planning Day – all three sessions Noon – 9:30 PM.
• Maple Syrup Festival organized by the Lions Club of Paris
• Bite of Brant in Burford Ontario supporting the work of local agri-businesses who help to educate children about local food.
• Day of Pink for anti-bullying.
• Tour of neighbouring infrastructure site.
• Safe-drinking water management training.
• Friendship Fair organized by the Grand River Community Health Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University, The Community Legal Clinic and The Brantford/Brant Muslim Association.
• Paris District High School Alumni donation reception in support of the renovation of the high school’s library.
• Guest Lecture at Conestoga/Laurier Campus regarding the intersections of social work, social justice and politics.