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Time to go to school on election issues, Stouffville


Time to go to school on election issues, Stouffville.

Town hall

YRMG file photo

Stouffville Sun-TribuneWe asked voters across York Region last week what are the biggest issues in this year’s municipal election.Maybe it’s too early –  election day isn’t until Oct. 27.

Maybe the region’s electorate truly isn’t interested in municipal politics – less than 50 per cent vote every four years.

Maybe there are no issues ­— unlikely, bordering on impossible.

Whatever the reason, most taxpayers were stuck for answers.

It’s time to do your homework, Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Not this fall, when candidates will already have their platforms down pat.

Now.

Get out to a council meeting — available Tuesday at 3 p.m.? — and go to school on local politics.

Is council a good working unit? Do they play well with people making deputations, those in the audience and our town staff?

Get out in your neighbourhood. Are there facilities lacking? Perhaps a dangerous intersection?

How about that vacant lot? What is to become of it and how will those plans affect you and your neighbours?

This town’s history has been written with stories of residents who waited too long to jump on an issue.

Exhibit A? The growth spurt that turned Stouffville into Canada’s fastest-growing community during the past 10 years was bemoaned by many as happening too quickly with too many hiccups.

Where were those critics when growth proposals first went to the public in a series of poorly attended visioning exercises?

We know Stouffville will see more growth, particularly to the north of the urban core. We know rural development, especially of the estate variety, won’t take place, at least in large numbers.

Are you happy with your hometown? Do you receive fair value for what you pay in local taxes?

What’s on your wish list, Stouffville?

What will you put to council candidates ­— only one has officially declared — when they knock on your door or you have the floor at a pre-election meeting at your local community centre?

Get on that homework, Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Tick, tock.

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1 Comment

  1. NOTE: I don’t usually add ‘news’ from my local town but I sent a response to this editorial…
    __________________

    Re your Feb 13 editorial, Time to go to school on election issues, Stouffville.

    I believe there are a number of reasons most people don’t involve themselves in politics a lot more than some might hope. Not least among the reasons are the time constraints and responsibilities of family and careers; plus I believe there exists a significant loss of faith in our political system at all levels, municipal to federal, particularly amongst our young people.

    That being said, I have two challenges for the current Council, the next one, and any after that that may ignite some discussion; one more practical in nature, the other more symbolic. One requires no cost to taxpayers while the other will require a rethinking of how the Town ensures resources for its citizens. Both send a strong message to people that Council is concerned about them and the Town’s future.

    First, begin implementing policies that reflect sustainable practices. Not ones that depend upon continued, unsustainable growth. By sustainable practices I’m referring to ones that require no increase in physical inputs (i.e. ever more resources/money) and move towards greater self-reliance. Self-reliant means using one’s own local resources as much as is physically possible, resources for food, water, and energy, lessening third-party risk (i.e. depending on someone or somewhere else for something). As it stands, the Town relies on no local, self-sustaining resources in any significant way; everything is dependent upon a distant supply chain or inventory over which we have no control or management.

    Second, our Council needs to make a symbolic commitment to protect the privacy of its citizens. It needs to declare that the Town is opposed to both drone and digital surveillance. While neither of these privacy issues is within the Council’s purview to completely halt, I believe it is an important point to make to the citizens of the area that our ‘leaders’ believe government intrusion into privacy is wrong. Several Canadian organizations are already suing our federal government for Charter rights violations because of drone and digital surveillance. A simple statement from the Council that it respects the privacy rights of its citizens and does not approve of digital communications surveillance or the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) within the Town borders would suffice.

    Let the discussion begin…

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