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“Caledon is on the cusp’ said Mayor Allan Thompson

December 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By CONSTANCE SCRAFIELD

There is plenty going on at Caledon Town hall and lots to anticipate, as Mayor Allan Thompson is re-elected to lead council and the town. Whatever lies ahead for this town and this region, Mayor Thompson is determined that he and Council will handle it with “with respect and (keeping) our eyes fixed on our common purpose of serving the best interests of Caledon,” as he remarked in his inaugural speech, delivered on Dec. 4, at the inauguration.

We were sitting with the Mayor and his executive assistant, Sandra Sharpe, in his office, to talk about the new year to come and the challenges it might bring.

Our conversation began with the proposed construction of the Highway 413, a new route from Vaughan to Guelph slated to go through the southern edge of Caledon. Although there are definite environmental concerns, the Mayor felt that the trail of it ought to run through the line of old mining sites in the south end of the Niagara Escarpment.

“That is what has happened in other municipalities and it is the best way here, said Thompson. The highway will bring real benefits to Caledon, giving people easy access to come here to work, so, encouraging businesses to set up here.”

An Environmental Assessment (EA) on the highway and other issues around road building and maintenance begun by a collaboration of counties, including Wellington, Halton, Peel and York a couple of years ago and just as it was ready to draw conclusions, it was paused.

The purpose of the highway study was to also include all the bridges and culverts that need to be maintained and built and it was thought it be would be more efficient to do an overall study with all the counties involved at the same time.

“There’s $14.4 million worth of studies, said Thompson. That’s the status at the moment; we need to finish it, not start over. The Green Belt was created to stop urban sprawl – that was the purpose but the intensification numbers are unrealistic – they want us to create housing for 80 people per hectare. There’s no sense – they’ve gone way overboard.”

“We have no choice, with the economic growth. Caledon is on a cusp, as I said in my inaugural speech; people are coming here. Eighty percent of Caledon is protected. We have to have our growth tax base through employment and satellite colleges.”

The tender subject of a performing arts centre came up of a possible theatre and gallery.

“We’ve been looking and trying to do it,” said Thompson. Fire codes in gymnasiums make them poor venues. Mayfield Secondary School is blessed with its own theatre but try to find a time there for an outside production and it’s always busy with musicals and shows. Peel has its own music festival.”

“I do believe arts and culture define a community, said Thompson. One particular Councillor is pushing for it. The Old Brick Yards on Mississauga Road, have been suggested as a possible site. We could put in a loop from a Brampton bus line for it. An arts centre is a reasonable ask,”

He discussed the issue of amalgamation stating it is pure speculation at this point.

“This new government in Queen’s Park seems to think elected officials are expensive, said Thompson. They reduced the size of Toronto’s council by half but then they had to hire twice as many employees and they’re using volunteers for committees – let’s see how long that lasts.”

With his mind very much on the future, Mayor Thompson observed, “We’ll be making Caledon connected through a town-wide access to affordable high-speed broadband. Telecommuting is happening now, just in time manufacturing. Government moves too slow; ideas are motion in months. Governments can’t learn to understand. How do you foster that?”

“Even if we can’t understand it all, we can get out of the way to enable, said Thompson. “What I need to do is all I can do to serve the community the best that I can. Caledon has a population of 75,00 people – that’s a big community.”

At the Inauguration, Thompson assured everyone of support for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurism; better connection for seniors to programs, services and housing, and youth to recreation and jobs by building strong partnerships with stakeholders, businesses and citizen groups.

He was definitive about “sound fiscal municipal planning.”



         

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