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Ricciardi says he feels residents' concerns are not being addressed
By Zachary Roman
Rob Ricciardi said a Councillor is the ears of the community.
“You're not the decision-maker, you're the ears. Everyone likes to think that you're the mouth, the voice of the community,” said Ricciardi. “You're not; the community is the voice, you're the ear to listen. You, as an elected official, the only time that voice comes into action is when you have to translate what the community is saying.”
Ricciardi has been living in Bolton for about a decade, initially Downtown and now in the South Hill area. He's married and has three kids, and moved to Bolton from Vaughan. Ricciardi is an operating engineer for civil works, and also runs a small business where he sells safes.
He decided to run for Ward 5 Councillor because he caught himself saying, “If I had the opportunity to do something, I'd do it this way.”
Ricciardi said a lot of people have those thoughts but never act on them, and that he wanted to try and better his community. He first got involved with the Bolton Village Residents Association, working on projects such as advocating for the revamp of a park and road repairs. After a few successes, Ricciardi said he realized he could make change on a larger scale by running for office.
Ricciardi said the two biggest issues Ward 5 residents face are traffic and taxes, and that they're both of equal importance.
“That's what everybody is saying, and I don't disagree with them,” said Ricciardi. “Taxes have been raised three out of the past four years from this past Council. Traffic, as you know, has never been great here in this ward, let alone all of Caledon.”
Ricciardi said he will never make a promise unless it's one he's 100 per cent sure he can keep.
He said, if elected, what he can promise residents is that they will always get a response and an answer from him, even if their issue is not one that can be resolved right away.
“You need to follow through with what you're saying, and if you don't have the means to follow through, then don't promise it,” said Ricciardi. “We have that issue here in Caledon, we have a lot of Councillors who say one thing and do nothing, and we need to fix that.”
Accountability as a Councillor is important to Ricciardi, and he said there's not enough of it when it comes to mistakes. He said in the social media age, people are quick to post successes but are silent if a mistake is made. Ricciardi said if we teach our children accountability, but do not practice it ourselves, it sets a bad example.
“To piggyback on accountability, the other biggest change we need is… resident service, you need to service your residents,” said Ricciardi. He said a Councillor should be the middle person between a resident with an issue and the appropriate Town staff member that can resolve it.
Ricciardi said it is a Councillor's job to guide residents through the process of bringing their ideas or issues to the Town.
If elected, Ricciardi said he's going to be voting no to any tax raises for Caledon residents, and even introducing a motion to try and freeze taxes for the entire 2022-2026 term.
“We will come up with a very creative way to make up that money, there's a lot of other ways to create money,” said Ricciardi. “There's a corporate tax rate that can go up, the corporations that thrive in Caledon can help the residents that live in Caledon… that's the way it's supposed to work.”
Housing in Ward 5 is a touchy subject, said Ricciardi, since there are still places left to put housing, but not many. He said a balance needs to be found in the amount and type of houses built, as well as the proper infrastructure being implemented before their completion. He said creating walkable communities is important, as simple things like walking down to the grocery store to get a few things and saying hello to people on the way make people feel good.
“That's what we're striving for: community, simple life,” said Ricciardi. “We have to be the boss with how our land is developed. There is obviously a give and take… without developers, you're not going to get homes…. [but] we can't just keep putting up homes and not have anything accessible to those people that live in those homes after.”
With regards to traffic, Ricciardi said he would like to look into more bypass roads being created for the safety of residents and truckers alike. While he said there's no magic solution for traffic issues, there's ways to alleviate the danger that Bolton drivers face.
At the end of the day, Ricciardi said being a Councillor is all about community and supporting everyday community projects. He said there's a lot of opportunity in Ward 5 to use up space that hasn't yet been used for housing or commercial projects.
One thing he said Ward 5 desperately needs is a dog park in the South Hill area to accommodate the large dog community. Ricciardi said people move to Caledon because they love the green space and nature, so it's only natural there's such a large amount of pet lovers in Town.
Ricciardi also said existing parks in Ward 5 could use a revamp, adding a total teardown is not necessary. He said the parks have been well-loved and now need to be freshened up so a new generation can love them as well.
Ricciardi said he also sees opportunities for green spaces attached to parks to be used for things like tennis courts rather than just big empty spaces. Ricciardi said these spaces could also be used for community gardens, which are a great asset to a community.
He added any extra produce grown in the garden could be donated to local food banks to assist those in need.
“You're helping more people just by using up space we already have,” said Ricciardi. “Gardening, it gets people together, talking with each other and getting to know each other.”
Having people come together as a community is of utmost importance to Ricciardi.
“Leaders, in my opinion, listen. My leadership style is I take in information, I ask questions, and I don't jump the gun. I take my time, I understand what the actual issue is from residents, then [I'd] bring that to Council,” said Ricciardi. “There's a time to be loud and fight against injustices, but when we're talking about every day Ward 5 issues, it's all about listening to what (the constituents) want. They know what's wrong with their ward, they live it every day. As a resident, even me, I felt I was never listened to.”
Post date: 2022-09-21 19:13:20
Post date GMT: 2022-09-21 23:13:20
Post modified date: 2022-09-21 19:13:23
Post modified date GMT: 2022-09-21 23:13:23
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