Municipal Candidate Survey:

Helping you make an informed choice

The Municipal election is this coming Monday October 24th. There are over 120 candidates vying for 22 positions, 1 for Mayor, 10 for Regional and City Council and 11 for school board trustee.

Two weeks ago, the Brampton Environmental Alliance posted a survey to measure candidates’ opinions and positions on environmental issues facing the city. 102 invitations were sent to those who had available contact information. 28 have responded so far.

The first survey question assesses candidates’ knowledge and commitment to the 2040 Vision. The visioning exercise was a project initiated in 2017 under the previous municipal Council. The City hired Larry Beasley, a well respected international urban planner, and his team to head up the project.

Mr. Beasley, who is also a “Distinguished Practice Professor of Planning” at the University of British Columbia, spent months visiting every part of the City, engaging more than 11,000 residents, businesses and other stakeholders in interviews, charrettes and other events to understand what is important to people living and working in Brampton. He discovered that Bramptonians wanted the city to have its own identity, with sufficient jobs, culture and recreational activities all within city boundaries. The area receiving the most consistent feedback related to environmental sustainability, the preservation and restoration of the city’s naturalized elements that would support a , “lovely, languid, green lifestyle,”

The output document entitled, “Living the Mosaic – Brampton’s 2040 Vision”, was designed to set an example for suburban cities across Canada trying to remodel themselves into self-sustaining urban centres, and bring in the best features of a developed urban centre while preserving the qualities of suburban life.

After more than a year of development, the vision was endorsed by Council in May 2018. Unlike many municipal plans that are shelved and forgotten, Brampton’s 2040 Vision survived the election in the fall of 2018 and the new Council began making changes that would see parts of the plan emerge.

The City created the Brampton Arts Organization to incubate, advance, connect and advocate for Brampton’s arts, culture and creative industries. Council lobbied for and received Federal and Provincial funding for the Riverwalk project that will remove the flood threat and help protect naturalized areas in the City’s downtown as well as open it for more intensified development. The Heritage Heights Plan was created that would allow for a complete, sustainable community in Brampton’s northwest. Other sustainable development projects, including the “uptown centre” on the site of the existing Shopper’s World plaza have been encouraged and are all moving forward.

On the environmental front, the City initiated a one-million trees project, approved an Urban Forest Master Plan, and is currently producing a plan for an interconnected city-wide eco-park that will help maintain biodiversity and protect natural habitat. This is all part of a revitalized Grow Green Environmental Master Plan.

On the energy side, the City launched its Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan with the goal of reducing the city’s carbon emissions, 50% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. It also created the Centre for Community Energy Transformation, a not-for-profit organization which will assist in making Brampton’s homes and businesses environmentally sustainable.

On the transportation front, Council put funding into an expanded transit network and a “Streets for People” campaign that encourages cycling and walking. Council passed an active transportation master plan and, in a bold move, put a moratorium on expanding city four-lane roads to six lanes. This recognizes that traffic congestion cannot be abetted by building more traffic lanes.

City building takes time. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to move forward. Yet, despite the recent chaos in Council and the senior staff turnover at City Hall in recent months, the City has made significant progress towards implementing Vision 2040 since this Council started at the end of 2018.

As you consider candidates to vote for this coming Monday, take an opportunity to read the 2040 Vision document if you haven’t already and think about the kind of city you want Brampton to grow into. Then, check out the BEA survey results and vote for the candidates who will maintain the momentum and help make that vision a reality.

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