Town Council Priorities for 2019

by Lisa Queen  Stouffville Sun-Tribune

Creating unity on council and developing a sense of team at the town hall is the top priority in 2019 for Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Iain Lovatt.

Council and top officials will also develop a strategic plan for the next four years and beyond, looking at every department, setting goals, counting financial costs and then bringing the goals to the public for input.

Pursuing business lands, especially along Highway 404, would create $1 billion in new tax assessment for the town, Lovatt said.

The town will put together a delegation to learn how Innisfil is using Uber to provide public transit, Lovatt said.

He also wants to create a strategy aimed at bringing broadband internet services to rural areas of the town.

Ward 1 Coun. Ken Ferdinands’ first priority in 2019 is to develop a strategic plan for the town.

“The plan will be one that can be implemented by this and subsequent councils that recognizes the limitations contained in our budget envelope,” he said.

“We (also) hope to continue with the expansion of fibre-enabled broadband services in the rural area so that 21st-century economic opportunities will be available to all residents as opposed to limiting these essential tools to specific geographic areas. The servicing of some lands along the Highway 404 corridor is an urgent undertaking and we will be working with our municipal and provincial partners to move the yardsticks on this highly complex initiative.”

Implementing the 10-year fire master plan with an eye to providing round-the-clock fire and EMS service from the Ballantrae fire station is Ward 2 Coun. Maurice Smith’s top priority “by far.”

“The demographics and increase in population of the Ballantrae area warrant this coverage,” he said.

Improving the town’s financial future is on the mind of Ward 3 Coun. Hugo Kroon.

“With economic realities of ever-increasing costs, including upper tier governmental responsibilities, and the expectations of residents for new and expanded services, it is now necessary that the town look for new sources of revenue,” he said.

The town must push the provincial government to consider allowing business development along Highway 404 in Gormley, while at the same time protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt, Kroon said.

Farmers should have a right to use their lands as they see fit, said Kroon, who sits on the York Region agricultural advisory liaison group.

He also wants better broadband and fire services.

Ward 6 Coun. Sue Sherban is focused on completing an updated corporate strategy, which would include plans for attracting industries and creating good jobs.

“Traffic concerns are (also) certainly a big priority, from a legal crosswalk at the GO station on Main Street, to speeding concerns in our local neighbourhoods and community safety zoned surrounding our schools,” she said.

Ward 4 Coun. Rick Upton and Ward 5 Coun. Richard Bartley could not be reached for comment.