NOTE: You can read more details on each point by scrolling down to the "Background Information" section under the graphics on this page.
I've been knocking doors for 8 years in Ward 9. Even between elections, I often knocked doors to provide residents updates on school board activities and other matters. Five months ago, I started a new journey, knocking doors for my City Council campaign. I've now knocked 15,000 doors across Meadowvale and Central Erin Mills over the past few months.
The main question I asked every single person is, "what are you priorities for our neighbourhood?, do you have any concerns or issues that you would like the next councillor to work on?". Based on the feedback I collected from those conversations, and email surveys, I've developed a 20-Point Plan for Ward 9.
Some of these points are ones I can do by myself (i.e., local office hours), while others may require the entire Council to support (i.e., changes to programs or freezes to salaries). For each point, my commitment is to do my very best to advocate for these priorities and report back on the outcomes to Ward 9 residents.
These are not my personal priorities. These are the priorities of Ward 9 residents! They told me to work on these issues.
After knocking 15,000 doors in Ward 9, the one message I received loud and clear is that we need to do a lot more to tackle the increase in crime. Neighbours are concerned. We have had at least 7 shootings in Ward 9 this year alone. Over 200 cars were stolen in a 30-day period from July to August in our City. Words of sympathies aren't enough. We need real action.
1. Pressure the Police Services Board to bring back our Meadowvale community police station that shut down in 2016
- In 2016, Peel Regional Police shut down a community police station in Meadowvale Town Centre. It was part of a broader effort that led to the closure of many satellite police stations over the years.
- Many residents told me they support the return of our police station in Meadowvale. Residents believe that shutting down the station was a mistake. It did not appropriately account for the deterrent value of a physical station in the neighbourhood.
- The logic I heard was simple, "if I'm a criminal, I'm less likely to target a neighbourhood next to a police station to steal cars at night or do drug deals that could get violent". They will pick another area.
- Getting a community police station is not impossible. In fact, a few weeks ago Peel Regional Police announced the Gore Meadows Satellite Police Station. How did that happen? Their local election officials fought for it.
- Read my statement calling to bring back the police station here.
2. Work with local residents to expand Neighbourhood Watch programs in Meadowvale and Central Erin Mills
- Neighbourhood Watch is an organized way residents can work together to maintain safety in their neighbourhood. The program is supported by Safe City Mississauga and the Peel Regional Police.
- It is a no-cost program that includes a crime prevention audit of your neighbourhood, a sign that notifies potential criminals that this area is under a watch , email notification of suspicious activity, monthly bulletins sent by Safe City Mississauga, access to crime prevention resources, etc.
- What I heard during my journey knocking 15,000 doors is that neighbours want more Neighbourhood Watch programs setup in our community. I'll work closely with neighbours to support them in setting up these programs all across our community.
- You can find out more about Neighbourhood Watch programs here.
3. Work with Peel Regional Police to increase police patrols in areas prone to car thefts and other crime
- Almost everyone I spoke with supported more police patrols in our neighbourhood. Not only police cars driving around on our local streets but also on bikes at our parks and trails.
- A few neighbours mentioned several problem areas where periodically parking police cars could help drive away illegal activity.
- These patrols could help deter drug dealing that sometimes leads to violence and car thefts from our community.
Traffic safety came up as an issue on most streets in our community. It was especially prevalent when I was talking to neighbours on arterial streets (ones where the inner crescents branch out from) and around school zones.
4. Host community workshops in each area where speeding is a problem to co-develop mitigation measures with local residents and traffic experts
- What I learned quickly is that there is no "one-size fits all" solution to traffic safety. Each street is different, both in terms of what measure makes the most sense and also what the local residents would actually support for their street.
- Even on individual streets, neighbours have different opinions on how to make their street safer. Some support physical mitigation measures such as speed bumps / humps, some want more signage like stop signs or slow down signs, others want more enforcement to target speeders. I ran into one situation where some of the residents want one side of their street closed off due to a dangerous exit onto a major road.
- The way to address the uniqueness of each situation is to host community meetings in each areas where speeding is an issue. The meeting would serve as a workshop where we bring traffic experts and local residents together to co-develop solutions.
5. Advocate for more enforcement against street racing and loud vehicles at night (ones that remove mufflers)
- Many neighbours who live around major streets such as Derry Rd, Winston Churchill Blvd, Britannia Rd and Erin Mills Pkwy raised loud noises from cars and street racing at night as a major nuisance and safety concern.
- These major streets are not places where we can put physical mitigation like speed bumps. Almost all residents in these areas agreed that more enforcement against this behaviour is the right approach.
6. Better utilize automated speed cameras, including on major streets where speeding can lead to fatal accidents
- Most neighbours I spoke with support the use of automated speed cameras in school zones. They are an effective tool to make our local streets safe for children walking to school.
- However, neighbours have asked if we can better utilize existing speed cameras on major streets when schools are closed during the summer. We have had deadly accidents on some of larger streets due to speeding. Targeting habitual speeders through these cameras and imposing strong penalties can help make a difference.
Another theme that came up in my conversations over the past 5 months was around maintaining our neighbourhood. This included everything from snow clearing to coyotes to parks and trails, and even addressing rat infestations in our community.
7. Extend and improve the Region of Peel's Rat Control Subsidy pilot program
- Many neighbours raised rat infestations as an increasing concern in our community. To be honest, it is an issue I heard more frequently than I originally anticipated.
- The Region of Peel currently offers a program that provides a 50% rebate for hiring a Region-approved pest control company. However, the program is a pilot and set to expire on November 30, 2022.
- Residents support the concept but raised challenges with eligibility. Many want it extended and made more accessible.
8. Explore expansion of Driveway Windrow Snow Clearing Program
- Windrows, or the pile of snow on the edge of your driveway after the City plows the street, is another concern I heard from many residents as I knocked on doors for five months.
- The City has a windrow snow clearing program for seniors and people with disabilities. Many neighbours asked me to look into options to expand the program to more residents.
- There are cities that offer this service to all residents in the GTA. Vaughan clears windrows from all residential driveways. You can find details of their service here.
- To respond to what residents have asked me, I will ask City staff to report back with a feasibility of offering the same service and internal offsets. This is the same approach I used at the school board. We had a fixed revenue allocation and could not just raise taxes to pay for things. If we wanted something new, if residents asked us to consider a new investment, we had to review our budget and find savings to reallocate towards the new priorities.
- Once options are available, I'll take it back to the community and ask them if they support the trade-off.
9. Explore options to resettle aggressive coyotes away from our neighbourhood
- Some residents raised concerns with coyotes in our community. They are worried about the safety of small pets and young children.
- Our City has tried many different strategies, including public awareness efforts to improve coyote safety. However, nearly 600 coyote sightings have been reported in Mississauga so far this year. Increasing coyote attacks in neighbouring cities have also raised concerns among our local residents.
- Neighbours have asked to reassess whether we can relocate aggressive coyotes away from our City. I know this exercise has been done in the past. But, when residents raise more concerns, it is our responsibility as local elected officials to take another look at it and ask staff hard questions on why it can't be done. Saying, "no, it can't be done", is a very easy way out.
- You can find more details on coyote sightings in your neighbourhood here.
10. Provide more benches for seniors at local parks, trails and lakes
- Our neighbours generally think our local parks, trails and recreation facilities are in good shape.
- However, one key point that has been raised by some seniors is the need to have more benches in our outdoor recreation areas.
- Many seniors enjoy going on walks, but may not be able to walk long distances. They need more places to sit down, take a break, relax and enjoy the scenery.
- The seniors I spoke with appreciate that there have been some new benches added recently, but they would like to see more along our trails, parks and lakes. This is a low cost investment we can make to improve the quality of life for seniors in our neighbourhood.
11. Call for better service standards for city maintenance of sidewalks, parks, snow removal, etc.
- While I was knocking doors, some neighbours raised concerns with service standards associated city maintenance.
- One of the more frequent complaints was about how long it takes to plow inner streets. Some neighbours said it could take up to 4 days for their street to be plowed. Another concern I heard from was around lack of adequate and timely sidewalk repairs on some streets in Meadowvale.
- Neighbours asked for better standards for city maintenance and repairs in our community. I'll press City Staff to create better service standards and fight to ensure repairs happen promptly no matter where you live in Ward 9.
As I knocked on doors over the past 5 months, Ward 9 residents asked me to work on many things that will cost us money. However, I don't support excessive tax increases. Residents want more services, but they also want us to keep taxes low. We need to think out-of-the-box to find savings and more efficient ways of delivering services so we can prioritize the extra money on the new investments our residents want.
12. Save taxpayers $85 million by advocating for Mississauga to leave Peel Region and become an independent city
- Mississauga taxpayers are subsidizing Brampton and Caledon through the Region of Peel structure. In fact, recent financial analysis showed we overcontribute $85 million to the Region. This number is increasing. It used to be $32 million 2004.
- As an example, Mississauga has 29% of the Region of Peel's roads, but pays 60% of the tax levy.
- There is a great deal of duplication and waste due to this structure. Both the Region and the City have their own departments for Planning, Legal, Communications, Roads, HR, IT, etc.
- If you are interested, you can read the City's report on this issue here.
13. Conduct a line-by-line review of City budget and call for a third-party service delivery review of City operations
- During my door knocking and in my email surveys, many residents told me they think the City can run more efficiently. They feel that there is duplication and waste within City operations, and the City needs to find more efficient ways of delivering services.
- As an example, one resident told me there were multiple dead / damaged trees on his street. When the City was called, they came and addressed one tree and didn't address others right beside it. Residents had to call them again to address the other trees.
- Many cities regularly conduct service delivery reviews to improve outcomes and find more efficient ways of delivering city services. We need regular third-party reviews to force us to become more efficient in how we deliver our services.
14. Call for a 4-year freeze on councillor salaries (current salaries are much higher than City of Toronto councillors)
- The Councillor you elect will sit on both Mississauga City Council and Peel Regional Council. In 2021, the base salary for a Councillor was $150,407 excluding benefits and other perks. Entire compensation packages have exceeded $200,000 for some Councillors in recent years.
- As a comparison, in the City of Toronto, where many Wards are double the size of Mississauga Wards, a Councillor has a base salary of $120,502 in 2022.
- Residents told me that at a time of high inflation where public officials need to show restraint in spending, they want their Councillor to take individual leadership and hold the line on their salaries.
- City Council froze salaries in 2021 as a move in the right direction. We should extend the freeze for the entire upcoming 4-year term.
15. Call to reduce councillor perks such as the $17,000 per year car allowance
- Mississauga City Councillors long received a car allowance of $17,304 per year (or $1,442 every month) since 2006. This is a cash allowance with no questions or need to track any invoices.
- In 2021, Councillor Pat Saito tabled a motion to temporarily reduce the allowance to $11,500 for 2021.
- Residents think $1,442 per month for a car allowance is excessive and should be permanently reduced. And, I agree!
At the end of the day, the job of a councillor is about customer service. The councillor works for you! They are your voice at City Hall. They need to be accessible to you and ensure you are kept up-to-date and engaged on key issues. Many neighbours told me they appreciated our previous councillor's prompt responses and availability. They asked me to not only continue that but also proactively reach out and try to engage all groups in our community.
16. Hold office hours in Meadowvale & Central Erin Mills for those who cannot come to City Hall during work hours
- Many of our residents work 9:00 am to 5:00 pm or even longer hours during week days. Coming to City Hall for meetings with their local Councillor may not be feasible for them.
- To provide opportunities for regular access to the Councillor, I will hold "Councillor Office Hours" outside of regular work hours in both neighbourhoods of Ward 9, Meadowvale and Central Erin Mills.
17. Provide regular updates to residents by sending quarterly newsletters
- Keeping our residents informed is a key part of a Councillor's job.
- Some of our seniors still enjoy reading physical newsletters that come in the mail. While others are comfortable with email newsletters in their inbox.
- I'll continue the practice of mailing and e-mailing a regular newsletter to all residents in our community.
18. Develop service standards for timely responses to questions from residents
- Residents expect timely responses from their Councillor's office. Our previous Councillor was appreciated by many residents because of how prompt her office was in responding to residents.
- I'll setup service standards for my office to respond to every single call or email that comes in.
- I'll hold our team accountable for meetings those service standards.
19. Encourage residents' associations for Meadowvale and Central Erin Mills
- Both neighbourhoods in Ward 9 do not have active residents' associations. Mississauga Residents' Association Network is a collection of engaged ratepayer groups in the City and none are listed in Ward 9 as part of their coalition.
- This is why there has been no debate organized for our Council race. We have no active residents' association to organize one.
- I've run into many neighbours who want to get involved in an active residents' association.
- As Councillor, I will support and encourage individuals to setup and get involved in residents' associations.
20. Create "Ward 9 Advisory Councils" for seniors, youth and women
- As I was knocking on doors, I realized there are unique needs and perspectives from different groups within our community.
- Residents' associations are great but there must be also be special forums for certain groups to make their voices heard at City Hall. For example, seniors may not be able to organize and get elected in a competitive race for Executive positions on a residents' association.
- To ensure groups like seniors, youth and women have appropriate forums to share their priorities with the Councillor and provide advice to the Councillor on key decisions at City Hall, I will create "Ward 9 Advisory Councils" for each group that would meet regularly with the Councillor.
These 20 priorities are a start of a conversation. They are not meant to be the only issues I would work on if I'm fortunate to be elected as our next City Councillor. They come from the thousands of conversations I've had at the doors over the past 5 months.
I want you to reach out to me if you have any other priorities. Or, even if you disagree with any of these priorities, I want to hear from you! Both now, and if I'm fortunate to win on October 24th.
Please email me at [email protected] at any time.