Candidate for Mayor

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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 Richard Norcross

One of my biggest priorities is ensuring every resident of New Tecumseth has a roof over their head. Our community requires more affordable housing to combat rising rent/ownership prices and accommodate population growth. However, it is important that we preserve our agricultural lands and do not fall victim to isolated suburban sprawl that fails to serve the needs of residents. I speak more about affordability in question 5. By considering low-rise, affordable units in busier town centres, we can support growth while also minimizing our growth footprint.

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 Richard Norcross

While “complete communities” are an excellent concept, we must be cognizant of the limitations to implement them within rural areas such as TNT. However, within town centres, complete communities could be an effective tool in reducing suburban sprawl and limiting traffic congestion. This model could prove particularly beneficial for our seniors living in long-term care, as it would increase independence and quality of life. The redevelopment of Simcoe Manor is a great example of an upcoming complete community, and I will be watching and learning from it for future opportunities within TNT.

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 Richard Norcross

Our local businesses are a vital part of our town’s identity, and the crippling impact of the pandemic has shown us that we need to invest in supporting our local economy. By collaborating with local business owners and the Alliston and Beeton + Tottenham BIAs, we can find effective solutions that are inclusive of our community needs. Developing an online business model that advertises the diversity of our local sellers would be one possible way to increase economic activity without contributing to congestion.

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 Richard Norcross

Unmanaged and poorly planned development are easily the largest threats to our local environment. Our community is incredibly blessed to support critical ecosystems and waterways, such as the Nottawasaga River, Beattie Pinery Nature Preserve, and Tottenham Tract. I am committed to preserving these important areas, as well as our farmers’ agricultural lands.

Although our town is growing, we must ensure we do not compromise the environment, our town’s identity, or the necessary oversight. Construction and aggregate extraction must be weighed against any possible environmental impacts to ensure the best decisions are made for the health and longevity of our community.

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 Richard Norcross

The housing and homelessness crises are widespread issues across Ontario – including New Tecumseth. Our town requires a housing strategy that puts the best interests of our community and its residents first, rather than developers.

As Mayor, I will advocate to upper levels of government to reduce red tape, hold developers accountable, and encourage support of a sustainable funding model for additional Community Housing. I will also seek out opportunities to encourage new builds to include a percentage of lower-cost units for the vulnerable members of our community.

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