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Ward 5 councillor candidates debate housing issues

October 11, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By Joshua Santos

A number of contentious topics were discussed at the Bolton Ward 5 and mayoral candidates debate Tuesday night.

Highway 50 traffic congestion, downtown revitalization and a proposed asphalt plant were among the issues councillors addressed at the Albion Bolton Community Centre.

Incumbent regional coun. Annette Groves opened her remarks sharing her priorities. They include boosting economic development by attracting businesses in the area while keeping the ones already there.

“Businesses need to stay open in Bolton. We have experienced far too many closures in the past few years. A business sustainability plan needs to be developed,” said Groves.

Regional coun. candidate Angela Panacci shared her experience working in the private sector for 16 years. She said she dealt with budgets, projects, strategies and leadership. The crowd applauded her when she said 14 years is enough time to get things done.

“If we don’t want to look at the last 14 years, why don’t we just look at the last four years because at the end of the day, I would say we can all agree that our downtown core, our business sector has been going downhill,” said Panacci.

Area coun. candidate Tony Rosa said his campaign is all about putting heart back in the community. He said he went to residents to find out what needs to be priorities moving forward. He said it was clear the community was looking for change.

“I quickly learned that many of you are feeling that Ward 5 has been ignored. It is my mission to change this. I want to make it very clear that I’m committed to implementing an improvement plan for the Bolton community,” said Rosa.

Area coun. candidate Joe Luschack said the election is critical for the future of Caledon, as the new council will consist of a minimum of four potential new faces. He said there are issues facing residents in the town.

“We need to find a way to create affordable housing not only for our seniors but young families that are being forced further, further away from where they’ve grown up and would love to stay,” said Luschack.

Area coun. candidate Steven Conforti said he is a business owner in Bolton assisting other local business with their marketing needs. He said he would be a councillor first if elected. He said downtown was active and plazas were full.

“I can remember growing up in a safe and friendly village that had a lot more community spirit than it does now. We had a downtown that was active and our plazas were all full. I want my kids to enjoy growing up in a similar place. I want visitors to come to Bolton to eat and shop, not just drive through town. I want businesses to thrive and work together to build a ‘choose local network. I want our residents to be able to play in town, whether it’s sports, arts or entertainment. I want our seniors to be able to downsize and our first-time home buyers to be able to continue to live in Bolton,” said Conforti.

Groves addressed development and housing. She said their needs to be a secondary plan. She said through it, roads, infrastructure and inclusive communities are built.

“Those inclusive communities include a mix type of housing. Not just your cookie cutter 2,400 hundred square foot house. We need that mix type of uses, which will include those senior developments where they have much smaller square footage, and also for those first-time homebuyers,” said Groves.

Panacci discussed Highway 50 traffic congestion with respect to the impending Amazon warehouse.

“Now that we changed (provincial) governments, it is our opportunity to continue to champion with the Minister of Transportation and with our MPP for that extension to happen from 427 to Highway 9. We already know 427 to Major Mackenzie is scheduled to complete in 2019 to 2020. That’s the information the government has provided to us,” said Panacci.

Rosa said he is prepared to ask questions about the proposed asphalt plant. He said he is concerned about the odor the plant will create and how it will affect the surrounding neighbourhoods.

“I’m concerned about the gases that will be emitted from the plant into the air and any other environmental issues that can go along with that. I’m concerned about the transportation of hot asphalt and the increased trucks on our roads. This is already a massive road safety issue. I’m concerned about the overall plant safety. In the research I’ve done, safety is a huge concern,” said Rosa.

Conforti took on the issue of the downtown core. He said they all have good plans.

“Thursday night at Main Street Station was the place to be. As soon as Main Street Closed, downtown Bolton went downhill. We need to get rid of Main Street Station, put something new in place and let’s rebuild downtown,” said Conforti.

Luschak discussed better job opportunities in Bolton with the Amazon warehouse.

“I think what we should be doing is looking at the economic development of council in the Town of Caledon to see what they can do help promote what we have in our community to companies like Amazon, not for warehousing but for headquarters and also to large corporations to tell them what the benefits are of establishing a facility here in Bolton,” said Luschak.

Incumbent area coun. Rob Mezzapelli was not in attendance



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