There have been 2 recent opportunities for candidates running for council to provide answers to questions posed to them, state their platform, and to either defend their record or propose what they would do in the coming term.
The 1st venue was at the Guelph & District Home Builders Association Dinner & Election Discussion held Tuesday 30 Sep 14 at the Delta Hotel. While the incumbent mayor and councillors touted their self enumerated accomplishments in flowery prose, I took a more straight forward approach. I provided my platform as well as answering questions that directly concerned home builders and developers. I stated that a Value Stream Mapping of the development approval and building permit process was required to decrease the time required from the now reported 5 year long journey, often with doubling back to re-assess elements covered in previous years. This would help to counter the Guelph Factor that blocks timely and cost effective housing development. I further stated,I would put a stop to the social engineering of the current council whereby they are attempting to coerce residents to move into pricey downtown condos (rather than single family homes) under the guise of working, living, and walking in a high density urban setting as I have yet to see a factory, distribution centre, or the like work place built in a downtown setting.
The 2nd venue was the Chamber of Commerce and Rogers Cable sponsored debates at City Hall on 3 Oct 14. The articles reporting on the debate varied somewhat based on whether or not it was in the Guelph Mercury or Guelph Tribune which are known to support Farbridge and her like minded tax and spend cohorts. By the way, both papers are ultimately owned by the Toronto Star. I reiterated my position that Guelph’s “future has been affected by unsustainable tax increases ,,, and the use of taxpayers’ wallets as ATM’s by the city council cannot continue”, as quoted in the Tribune. Similarly I was quoted as stating that I have “serious reservations about the social engineering ” involved in trying to get people to live in downtown condos and walk most places.
The Guelph Mercury was slightly more objective in reporting my position, though it failed to quote my platform which I stated in my opening remarks. The Mercury said “On the fiscal responsibility side, Glen Tolhurst took the practical road. He referred often to the “social engineering” exercises that he believes the city has engaged in, attempting to put into reality concepts such as walkable neighbourhoods. Tolhurst clearly is not a fan of social engineering, seeing it as a focus on wants more than needs. Tolhurst said such plans are not always fiscally responsible, and often undercut the infrastructure work that is more urgently needed. He said citizens should not be subject to unreasonable tax increases, and that using “taxpayers wallets as an ATM” cannot continue. The next council will need a “fresh set of financials” before it can decide to address needs or wants, he said.
The Rogers debate was video taped and is to be broadcast several times in the future with times available on the Chamber web site. By viewing the video you will see how the incumbent councillors were defensive and failed to nail down any significant worthwhile accomplishments during their terms that did not drain the city financial resources. Remember, one of the incumbent ward 6 councillors has been in office for 11 years during which a majority of the unsustainable tax increase were implemented and he also sat on council during the Urbacon debacle which has now cost the city more than $8 million.