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Highlights from the Bronte debate

Parking, coyotes and climate change were on the agenda on Thursday night as voters gathered to hear from Ward 1 council hopefuls.

A meeting organized by the Bronte Village Residents Association (BVRA) saw candidates responding to a series of rapid-fire questions on a range of pre-determined topics.

What you need to know

Each ward elects two councillors. One sits only on town council, while the other sits on both the town and Halton regional councils.

Ward 1 has four candidates – John Florio, Jonathan McNeice, Beth Robertson and Oliver Vadas – vying for the town council seat.

Two candidates – JD Meaney and Sean O'Meara – seek the town and regional seats.

(Read complete information on all Ward 1 candidates here.)

The election will be held on October 24. Advance polls are now open.

What town council candidates had to say

On development:

Jonathan McNeice and Beth Robertson sparred over how effectively Oakville's current official plan – known as Liveable Oakville –manages development.

Robertson assured the audience that the Official Plan protects the community from inappropriate development. "Developers may ask for more for Bronte, but the power of the OP should be your assurance that the town, including me as your councillor, will not entertain the request," she said.

But McNeice said he thinks the growth plan needs to be updated. "Is Liveable Oakville delivering the results that you want for Bronte Village and Palermo? Lakeshore Road is only 30 per cent redeveloped. There's still 70 per cent coming. If we don't make the changes that need to happen now, it might be too late," he said.

On coyotes:

Oliver Vadas suggested that bylaws and plans aren't likely to help deal with coyotes as they can't read. Instead, he said people need to be educated not to feed them and how to deal with them. In his case, he says he picks up his dog when he sees a coyote because "I'd rather it bite my leg than kill my dog."

On promises:

  • John Florio promised to provide ward residents with an annual progress report.
  • McNeice promised to create a Ward 1 advisory committee to hear from residents in advance of development and to hold planners and politicians accountable.
  • Robertson said she would be advocating to bring an ice rink and local library programs to Bronte, as well as working on transferring the Bronte Village Heritage Park from the federal government to the town.
What town and regional council candidates had to say

On affordable housing:

Sean O'Meara said the province should return the town's right to force developers to build a certain amount of affordable housing as part of a development, a policy known as inclusionary zoning.

JD Meaney noted that the Village, a Bronte apartment tower with $5,000 per month rental units, is sitting half empty. "If we're going to put in new development, we have to make sure it's going to be used properly."

On traffic and parking:

Meaney said he wants the town to introduce smart traffic sensors to reduce speeding and better manage traffic flow.

Sean O'Meara said he wants to see a parking garage built in Bronte over the next term of council.

Grebenc a solo act again

For the third time in a week, Andrea Grebenc was the only regional chair candidate who showed up at a debate.

Grebenc has been a Halton school board trustee for eight years and chaired the board for most of the last four years. She said she's ready to move from managing educational priorities to managing regional priorities. (We outlined her platform in this story.)

"If my opponents are not showing up to ask for your vote, are they going to be there when you need them?" she asked the audience.

Mayoral candidates Rob Burton, Julia Hanna and Jack Kukolic also took part in the evening. (We talk about their campaigns in this story.)