Improving Community

Stratford's size and sense of community, to me, mean our city is poised to meet the challenges of the next four years.  A one size-fits-all approach to building community won't work.  There will be multiple elections; municipal, provincial and federal.  With those shifts, we may very well be faced with a loss year in terms of funding.  Stratford will need to be creative and invest in itself.  Emphasizing a strong core and need for social infrastructure makes good sense. Inclusiveness, accessibility, housing, transportation, health, recreation, green spaces and the environment are key areas to focus on. Accessibility in terms of where we put facilities and who is able to get there, not just in terms of an individual's needs.  

As your Councillor I will:

  • Seek to move our seniors back in to the core.
    • Being in the core means connection to the community and other support services.
  • Proactively seek to support our aging population.
    • An example would be putting in  more bus stops, closer to the people who use them and less walking distance.  Looking at creating space for scooters and motorized wheelchairs. The City of Barrie has a longer walk time for their crosswalks at traffic signals.
  • Effect how we think about supporting our youth.
    • This includes youth today and tomorrow.  Developing recreational activities like city basketball court or recreation spaces.  How do we get youth to stay and or encourage them to return from post secondary?
    • Youth are important - what about a Youth Council to help inform changes and decisions they will pay for?
  • Proactively work toward creating an age friendly community.
    • Housing options could include a new trend seeing groups of people sharing space.  Each with their own suite and a common space.  
  • Allow for and plan for more centralized access rather than pushing amenities and groups to the periphery. 
    • Having the new soccer pitch (the turf field) more centralized would have allowed for increased community use.  A good place to ensure we do this, is the Cooper Site and The Hub within and what goes on these sites. 
  • Consider how planning and design impacts our community.
    • Look at how issues impact Stratford socially, economically and environmentally. 
  • Encourage and explore offering affordable and accessible Arts & Culture opportunities.
    • Part of improving overall mental health of our community.
  • Seek to have an impact on police services.
    • Come up with creative solutions to help with the divide between police and some community members.
    • Find ways to get police more involved with community building and positive outcomes for vulnerable populations.
  • Emphasize our debt and debt servicing must be reasonable.
    •   At one time we were leading all municipalities (per capita with a figure of $2000 per head) - is also important. Infrastructure is an issue and at the same time servicing that debt must be reasonable.
  • Recommend moving towards no waste - wet/dry recycling. 
    • More widespread textile recycling. Reuse and Repair programmes. Educate about contamination. 
  • Challenge cart before the horse decision making.
    • Seemingly piece-meal planning takes away from a cohesive, well integrated community. This includes what we do with the more senior members of our community, our youth, the Cooper Site and the Hub.   

The world is watching us as we tackle some of these issues. 

Discourse and critical thinking are essential tools when it comes to securing progress in a democratic society. But in the end, unity and engaged participation are what make it happen.
— -- Aberjhani