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Written By JOSHUA SANTOS
Caledon's future is now.
Those were the words re-elected Mayor Allan Thompson emphasized as the new Town council was officially sworn in during the inaugural meeting at the Caledon East Community Complex.
The Town of Caledon Council 2018 to 2022 features four incumbents, four new councillors and the second-term mayor.
“Tonight, in front of my family who I deeply love, my trusted and loyal friends and a community I'm so proud to be a part of, I re-affirm my commitment to serve the citizens of Caledon, Thompson said. And, continue the work of creating a connected, financially responsible and environmentally sustainable Caledon.”
Thompson said there will be a lot of obstacles in the way and sacrifices that will have to be made but despite that he believes the Town and it's future is worth it.
The new council is comprised of Ward 1 regional coun. Ian Sinclair, Ward 1 area coun. Lynn Kiernan, Ward 2 regional coun. Johanna Downey, Ward 2 area coun. Christina Early, Ward 3 and 4 regional coun. Jennifer Innis, Ward 3 and 4 area coun. Nick DeBoer, Ward 5 regional coun. Anette Groves and Ward 5 area coun. Tony Rosa.
Thompson asked his council to come together after a long and tough campaign where they endured slings and arrows.
“To me it means that Council should be a safe place where we debate issues and share our thoughts with respect and integrity, said Thompson.
“I would like to challenge each of us to commit to listen, to frame our responses and comments with respect, and keep our eyes fixed on our common purpose of serving the best interests of Caledon.
One of the incoming councillors is Ward 5 area coun. Tony Rosa. Rosa believes they have a strong group that's all committed to working collaboratively with the best interest of the people in Caledon.
“This is a confident group of individuals from various backgrounds, various business experiences and we're all going to bring our expertise to the table to help bring our community forward, said Rosa.
Rosa said he is going to listen, learn and try to do the best that he can do to serve the people.
“As an educator myself, I feel I'm in the classroom every day, said Rosa. I think we need to learn from each other. We need to learn from our experiences, but more importantly we need to learn what is in the best interest of our community so that we can serve the people correctly.”
For Ward 5, Rosa is going to focus on beautification, revitalizing the village and trying to bring better paying jobs to the community.
“We need to look at some issues around trucking, traffic and warehousing, which is a huge concern from citizens I learned at the door as I was campaigning and we're going to set some prioritizes and trying to champion those over the next four years, said Rosa.
Re-elected into Ward 2, Regional Coun. Johanna Downey feels excited about the next term of council. She thinks there's a lot of great and intelligent personalities on council.
“The last term on council was fantastic, said Downey. I have a great community, a lot of active and engaged residents that really work towards building the community up and I look forward to carrying that momentum on and getting some work done, absolutely.”
“We have a lot of good initiatives in Ward 2, a lot of good tourism opportunities, a lot of good recreational opportunities, with our new community centre, libraries, a lot of different things coming down the pipe in Ward 2, so we're excited.”
She highlighted the new senior's residence opening in Southfields Village and the new neighbourhood of Mayfield West Phase 2 on the west side of Highway 10.
“We have some tourist opportunities with the connectivity of our trails through the Badlands through to our Conservation Authority Parks like Terra Cotta and Forks of the Credit, said Downey.
Thompson hopes to achieve a connected, financially responsible and environmentally sustainable Caledon by providing affordable high-speed internet broadband, support for small businesses, enhanced connectivity for seniors to programs, services and housing among others.
He said they'll have to build strong partnerships with stakeholders, businesses and citizen groups to help grow and support town initiatives.
Being financially sustainable, to Thompson, means residents having access to good paying, long term employment, a thriving agri-tourism industry and a healthy industrial and commercial tax base to keep residents' rates affordable while sustaining protected areas.”
“Caledon is well known for being clean and green, we are the heart and lungs of Peel Region, said Thompson. Our natural heritage, parks and trails are a key reason why we are such a desirable municipality.”
He said Caledon is not so far off into the future, noting their partnership with SWIFT that has provided access to millions of infrastructure dollars.
“This money together with our broadband levy is funding the construction of our main lines providing high speed access to every corner of Caledon, said Thompson.
He also pointed out the Caledon Business Innovation Zone (CBIZ), attracting world class large employers like, Canadian Tire, Amazon and UPS, community investments with the construction of the Southfields Village Community Centre, the expansion of the Caledon East Community Complex and the LED replacement program for town lights further greening the town's fleet of vehicles and installation of electric charging stations.
A soft-spoken Thompson mentioned his family and their support. He credits his wife Anne, their children, his father, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews and solemnly mentioned the grief of losing his mother in their past term.
“My mom taught me so much about family and community, said Thompson. To her community was about people helping each other, families and friends breaking bread together. And it was about volunteering and being there for each other.”
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