Open Kingston questionnaire

As a municipal candidate, I periodically receive questionnaires from a variety of groups. I’ll be posting my responses here throughout the campaign.  This is from Open Kingston, and you can also see responses from the other Lakeside candidates here.
Q: Will you put Affordable Housing and Homelessness at the TOP of Council’s agenda?

Yes
My top priority, if elected, will be to focus on the Housing First program, building additional social housing units to be managed by the city, and getting our vacancy rate to a sustainable level of around 3%. The City also needs to keep shelters open and make more shelter beds available in the short term while we find more permanent housing for Kingstonians in need.

Q: Should Innovation and Job Creation be City Council’s TOP priorities?

Yes
More jobs in tech, trades, manufacturing, creative services, healthcare … let’s continue to diversify our labour market, grow our tax base, and keep Kingston’s economy growing.

Q: Are you in favour of using Ranked Ballot Voting to elect the mayor and councilors?

Yes
In Lakeside there are six candidates. According to my math, and based on voter turnout in previous elections, I only need 700 votes to win under our current system, which would be less than 10% of the Lakeside electorate. I’m not certain yet if the Ranked Ballots system is perfect, but it’s definitely worth trying so we can have a more representative elected government.

Q: Are you in favour of high-rises above the “human scale” of 6-9 stories in the downtown core?

No
I’ve travelled recently to places like Dublin, Galway, and Derry in Ireland, and Quebec City where the most historic areas of those cities have been preserved. Kingston has a such a unique and vibrant core that I suspect tall buildings would be detrimental to our tourism industry, which contributes over $1 billion a year to our local economy and is responsible for more than 7500 jobs. That said, there is a real need in Kingston for intensification over sprawl, and the more people living in the downtown area, the better, but I would prefer to see tall buildings in the Williamsville corridor surrounding downtown over building right in the core.

Q: Should the City locally fund the Green ON home retrofit program recently cut by Ford?

Yes
Dependent on cost and criteria, yes. This is a great program that makes important renovations more affordable. More energy efficient housing is a benefit to us all, plus there is the added bonus of the program creating work for local trades.

Q: Should Kingston ask the province to adopt a Basic Income for all Ontarians?

Yes
Although testing of the Basic Income Pilot Project was never completed, by many accounts it was making a real impact on those who were involved in the program, and certainly similar programs in other regions have shown that it really works to reduce the effects of poverty. And while we don’t yet have a clear picture of the total cost of Basic Income, I would support asking the province to instate the program.

Q: Will you vote to implement the 2018 Active Transport Plan on foot, bike and bus transport in your district?

Yes
Yes. Kingston has long been known as a car culture. Nearly every resident in Lakeside that I’ve spoken to has raised concerns involving cars: speed, road conditions, noise, idling, etc. Reducing the need for cars in all areas of the city would benefit Kingstonians in so many ways.

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