Candidate for Councillor, Ward 3

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Strong Town Responses

Question 1

New Tecumseth is forecasted to grow by 35,000 people over the next 30 years (an almost 80% increase to the current population of 45,000). The maximum amount of land to accommodate this growth is 450 hectares. The next Official Plan will be re-written in 2023 assigning where to put these new residents.  What is your vision for where and what kind of housing should be built to accommodate this growth? Should we consider reducing the amount of land required?

Response from Paul Foster

To accommodate the mandated population increases I have been and continue to be a strong proponent of intensification as well as targeted increases in the urban settlement boundaries. I believe that a range of housing should be considered. The preservation of green space is a top priority as is the design of future communities.

Question 2

What are your thoughts on building ‘complete communities’ where people can have their basic needs met within a 15-minute walk from their house such as access to retail, green space, school, a range of housing choices and safe modes of transportation (biking, walking, public transit)?  How can this be achieved?

Response from Paul Foster

This all comes down to the town having a more complete vision of how we want to look years down the road. Currently I believe we are not pro-active enough in first designing how we look and having development that fits our model. A better planned municipality is very much achievable.

Question 3

How do you suggest that downtown Alliston, Beeton, or Tottenham are revitalised after the pandemic has taken a toll on local businesses?  How can we increase economic activity without adding to the traffic congestion and more sprawling parking lots?

Response from Paul Foster

The 3 downtowns are vital to the success of New Tecumseth. We need more collaboration with the BIAs (Business Improvement Area, ed.) to focus on the one town solution versus the individual solution. We need to continue to strengthen the CIP community improvement program. The newly hired ED (Economic Development Officer, ed.) director Becky Breedon is very aggressive in marketing the downtowns which is a refreshing change. More and bigger events that are centered in the downtowns are needed. With respect to parking in Alliston we need to look at multi level parking or co-ordination with future development for underground parking.

Question 4

The 2019-2022 TNT Strategic Plan has a Pillar of “Environmental Sustainability: Lead in promoting and preserving our unique physical environment.”  Climate change is not mentioned in this plan.  What are the biggest threats to the local environment and what are your proposed solutions?

Response from Paul Foster

The biggest threat locally to climate change is the paving over of all the greenspaces. My previous answers speak to how intensification and a larger vision of how the residents want New Tecumseth to look 20, 30, 40 years out will help to address climate change in a small but meaningful way.

Question 5

The price of home ownership or rent for many in TNT is unaffordable. What can be done municipally to increase housing affordability?

Response from Paul Foster

This is the most difficult question and quite frankly very few answers. Currently the federal government charges HST which is non recoverable on purpose built rentals. The cost of municipal infrastructure to support growth is at unprecedented levels. Asking the municipal government to help financially will result in tax increases that are not feasible. I believe where municipal governments have a part to play is in land use planning. For example zoning that permits tiny homes, zoning that allows for home renovations to accommodate multiple seniors living under the same roof but in separate units. This is a much larger conversation involving the County, province and the federal government.

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