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Ward 5 candidates outline their priorities

Town of Oakville
Town of Oakville

There's a bit of something for everyone in Ward 5.

Town of Oakville
Town of Oakville

At the geographic heart of the town, the ward is home to Oakville Place, Sheridan College and the communities of Oak Park, River Oaks and College Park, single-family homes in its southern portion, highrise apartments along Trafalgar Road and the town's first experiments with dense, pedestrian-oriented residential design.

Ward 5 is bounded on the north by Dundas Street, on the south by the QEW and on the east by Trafalgar Road. Its western boundary follows the Sixteen Mile Creek.

Each ward elects two councillors. One serves on town council only, in a $53,964 position considered part-time. The other sits on both town and Halton Region council, earning a total salary of about $114,000.

The candidates for both town council and town and regional council seats are presented in alphabetical order. All live in ward five unless otherwise noted.

Ward 5 town council candidates

Marc Grant

First elected as the ward's town councillor in 2003, Marc Grant seeks his sixth term on council.

A freelance writer and marketing consultant, Grant says he has the knowledge and experience to ask the right questions and resolve constituent issues in a timely fashion.

"While Oakville will always face large issues, I never lose sight of the fact that the most important work comes down to an empathetic, personal level: being there to help resolve issues that directly affect people and their families," he says.

He says his priorities for the ward are to create better parks, deter careless drivers and control growth.

"I want to continue working with my neighbours and town staff on revitalizing older parks in the community to provide safer, updated amenities – including some splash pads.

We need to continue examining realistic, effective hindrances to speeding and vehicular noise in our local communities. New technologies and practical measures from other municipalities need to be investigated because initiatives such as 'lower speed' signage only create a false sense of security instead of providing real security.

When it comes to vehicular noisemakers, the current low fines mean nothing to those who have spent several thousands of dollars modifying their cars; we need better deterrents.

The public generally agrees that we need to prevent sprawl into farmland and wild/open spaces by securing a hard urban boundary, which means that to fulfil ever-changing provincial growth targets, we need to focus within Oakville.

Now, more than ever, we need to protect our older stable neighbourhoods by focusing any development within the Council-approved' growth nodes', and along major transit corridors."

Michael Reid

A law clerk at an Oakville law firm, Michael Reid says his professional skills will allow him to be an effective advocate for ward residents. He has also sat on the boards of the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre, Trafalgar Township Historical Society, the Heritage Oakville Municipal Advisory Committee, and the Oakville Conservative Party of Canada riding association.

"In addition, my dedication to bring transparency, trust and truth to town hall will lead to the change that is desperately needed to combat groupthink at town hall," he says.

Reid says his priorities are town financial management, control of development and addressing crime.

"It is paramount that Oakville is fiscally responsible by carrying out a long overdue complete independent audit to confirm Oakville's actual financial picture. The complete audit will help control property taxes and eliminate overspending.

Development controls are required, and uncontrolled developments need to be halted because they are causing the floodplains to increase every day, which in turn causes building restrictions and a decrease in property values for existing downstream residents. We must work on the fix to the increasing risk of flooding because that increase leads to increased risk of property damage and loss of life.

Address the increased crime creeping into our communities by working with individuals, Halton Police Services, and community organizations to ensure that Halton remains one of the safest Regions in Canada; we must not take this status for granted; vigilance is needed. I will support more and better street lighting and increased patrols as a starting point."

Pierre Sauvageot

A professional accountant and retired internal auditor who worked for the town from 2007 to 2019, Pierre Sauvageot says he has the experience to evaluate issues, ask insightful questions and make informed decisions. His priorities include re-establishing an internal auditor, updating the town's official plan, reducing speed limits and installing HOV lanes on Dundas Street and Trafalgar Road.

"The following are my top three issues (opportunities) based on the town's most recent citizen surveys:

Creating more affordable housing: Council must implement a strategy for affordable and attainable housing in the town; and not only play an advocacy role.  A housing strategy would establish a roadmap and act as a guiding document for the town to expedite actions and work towards meeting housing needs of our community.

Keeping Oakville livable: Council must balance pressures of growth while preserving existing housing stock and mix.

Improving safety and traffic flow: Council must reduce the speed of our local roads from 50 km to 40 km to increase the survival rates in a collision; increase the frequency of public transit on Trafalgar Road during rush hour; dedicate High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Trafalgar Road to encourage residents to see "public transit as the better way"; and promote the synchronization of the traffic light system to improve the flow of traffic throughout the town."

Angela Parsons

Angela Parsons told Oakville News that she no longer seeks the councillor position. Her name will remain on the ballot as it is too late to withdraw officially, but she says she will not be campaigning.

Ward 5 town and regional council candidates

Alicia Bedford

Alicia Bedford did not respond to our questions. She ran as a candidate for the Ontario Party in the last provincial election but does not appear to have campaign material related to this election.

Jeff Knoll

Jeff Knoll has served as the Ward 5 town and regional councillor since 2000.

He has sat on various committees and boards and currently chairs the Oakville Public Library and the Halton Police Services Board.

Founder and CEO of Cinemas, Knoll, says his experience as a local entrepreneur, community volunteer, father and grandfather gives him "a wide breadth and depth of skill and life experience to effectively represent my constituents with empathy and understanding."

He says his three priorities for the ward are coping with housing affordability, managing planning and development, and keeping costs under control.

Jeff Knoll
Jeff Knoll

"Soaring purchase and rental prices put Oakville out of reach for many people, including children and grandchildren who grew up here. I remain committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government to help provide more affordable housing options for all community members.

Moreover, the town's official plan must be respected and not treated by developers as a vague concept that can easily be dismissed. That official plan is the guide map to how the ward, the Town and the Region should grow. We must do everything we can to mitigate growth impacts on existing residents, services and established neighbourhoods and be prepared to defend our community's interests when our community's will is tested through appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal. I have done that before. And I will do it again.

Over the past several years, my fellow councillors and I have kept the overall tax increases at levels that do not exceed inflation. But that is now a challenge for the upcoming budget, with costs in areas like construction and fuel putting significant pressure on our finances.

That means members of the next region and town councils will have to do three things this fall and beyond. First, they need to strategically utilize financial reserves that we maintain for extraordinary expenses or pressures such as the ones we are facing now. Second, they should leverage and expand other revenue sources, such as growing the town's dividends from Oakville Hydro as a result of its new partnership with Enbridge. And third, they must carefully manage all spending to continue to deliver on previous commitments to deliver tax increases in line with inflation."