Candidate for Councillor, Ward 5

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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 Tony Phekoo

I believe the  town should make housing affordable to low income individuals. Perhaps building apartment buildings, townhomes, condominiums or smaller detached homes to handle this anticipated growth. I do not think reducing the land size is a good idea but possible reducing the size of the homes themselves.

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 Tony Phekoo

I believe,  in theory, complete communities is an excellent idea. Having open space, attractive neighborhoods, good schools, and a healthy environment, etc would be an amazing achievement.  However, each community needs to create its own vision of the future.Therefore, creating a complete community starts with local comprehensive planning where visions for a community’s future are created and general guidelines for managing growth and development are crafted. Some way of achieving this goal would be to identify key assets and build local plans based on preservation and enhancement of these assets. It should incorporate, conserving farmland, open space and resources. Comprehensive planning is essential to achieving this goal. Unlike conventional subdivisions, neighborhoods should be designed to create a sense of place and community identity that encourages social interaction, walking, and connectivity. Sensible land use planning practices will be the foundation to achieve a vision as a great place to live, work while supporting the environment that supports business growth and preserves critical, natural, and fiscal resources. Planners must create a process for development proposals and choose the best among development proposals. Also, use education, private sector incentives, and voluntary initiatives for non profit organizations and not simply to rely on the government. The plan should completely incorporate  the needs of both homeowners and the community at large. The plan should factor in such concepts as community appearance, economics, and ecology and recognize the link between land use and transportation.

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 Tony Phekoo

Businesses should look at new ways of marketing and selling their products. We should provide incentives for new and existing businesses to assist in their survival. and growth.  Also, we should promote the idea of buying locally. Partner with the local Chamber of Commerce and other businesses to determine what the needs of their members require.

This is where businesses must find creative ways of marketing and delivering their products to the public at large. Perhaps set up pick up times or to come in by appointments.

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 Tony Phekoo

I believe the biggest threats is air pollution and carbon emissions. Here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage residents to Drive less, bike or walk.
  • Encourage Electric Vehicle Use
  • Reduce dependence of  fossil fuels
  • Reduce food waste.
  • Encourage the Use of less plastic
  • Implementing energy efficient steps at home, from fixing air leaks to replacing thermostats.
  • Cutting down mileage by car-pooling, using cycles, walking, proper planning, working from or near to home, can reduce air pollution suggests
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. What’s even more powerful than reusing or recycling is reducing your consumption.
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 Tony Phekoo

Here are some suggestions I have uncovered:

  • Build more well-designed, affordable, purpose-built rental housing that suits the needs of the tenants.  
  • Remove barriers to developing apartments.
  • Provide housing subsidies to low income families
  • Freezing urban boundaries, so communities don’t continue to sprawl.
  • Updating laws to allow zoning and regulations that permit a minimum of triplex and fourplex construction in all residentially zoned areas.
  • Offer low-interest loan and grant program available to municipalities for the redevelopment abandoned, vacant, derelict or underutilized properties.
  • Advocate for the province to fund municipalities to accelerate the development of new housing supply by supporting new technology and methods
  • Consider whether adopting a Community Planning Permit System would meet the needs of their local communities, and advocate for provincial funding to implement and review how this would impact the Ontario Land Tribunal.
  • Revisit zoning best practices to explore planning solutions that could include zero-lot-line housing, community improvement plan (CIP), reduced parking minimums, tiny homes, laneway housing, flex housing, shared housing, and other types that reduce land costs and increase density.
  • Work with the province to raise awareness among municipalities about the potential benefits of as-of-right zoning and inclusionary zoning bylaw that reflect a diverse mix of
  • Ensure that zoning bylaw are up to date with official plans and reflect best practices for development that respects local decision making while prioritizing housing development that best meets local needs.
  • Have the flexibility to attract development in accordance with local municipal objectives without prescribed one size fits all solutions that don’t work.
  • Ensure their zoning by-law and planning processes reflect the requirement under Bill 108 to permit additional residential units (secondary suites) in single, semi-detached and row homes and in accessory buildings or structures, for a total of three residential units on a property.
  • Consider and implement inclusionary zoning by-laws to increase housing affordability

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