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Meet your City of Brantford Mayoral Candidates

City of BrantfordMeet your City of Brantford Mayoral Candidates

Brantford residents will head to the polls on Monday, October 24 to elect a new City Council, highlighted by the race for Mayor. Four candidates are vying for residents’ votes to lead the municipality over the next four years. The following are profiles of each of the four candidates running for Mayor for the City of Brantford.

Kevin Davis. Photo courtesy Kevin Davis.

Kevin Davis

Why did you choose to run for mayor for the City of Brantford?

Four years ago, I saw that the city was not addressing some important challenges and opportunities in several areas: transportation, housing, the drug crisis and more.

I wanted to meet them in a concerted way and give the city the foundation it needs to be ready for tomorrow. Despite the challenges of coping with Covid-19, we’ve made great progress in the last four years. Now I want to complete the job.

How has your campaign gone to date? Are you canvassing door-to-door to meet voters?

The campaign is going well. I have a great team of volunteers who are helping with canvassing, literature, putting up signs and all the other jobs that need to be done. I’ve been knocking on doors since early summer. We’re reaching about 1,500 doors a week. The reception has been positive.

What issues from residents have been most prominent?

Voters are talking to me about: Traffic issues such as speeding and vehicle noise. The drug crisis, homelessness and housing prices, particularly for parents who are concerned about their children being able to buy a house.

In your opinion, what are the four most pressing issues for the City of Brantford?

In the next term we have work to do on these issues:

Transportation. We need to improve our road network to reduce traffic congestion, particularly at the Lorne Bridge-Brant Avenue and Colborne-Clarence-Dalhousie intersections. Residents of West Brant need better ways to reach Highway 403 and travel to other parts of the city.

Drugs and homelessness. Homelessness and substance abuse are being met with a revitalized anti-drug strategy, supportive housing, expanded outreach services, a new residential detox centre and a pilot safe supply project. We have to continue to improve and expand our programs to help those who need it.

Developing the Expansion Lands (north of Powerline Road). This area will eventually be home to 50,000 people and 20,000 new jobs. The development has to be managed so it benefits newcomers and existing residents alike.

Redeveloping Brantford General Hospital so we get the health care we need and deserve for our growing community.

If elected, what would your top priorities be and why?

My top priorities are:

Transportation: Reduce traffic congestion, particularly in southwest Brantford. Work with Brant County and nearby municipalities on a new regional transportation plan.

Brantford General Hospital: The province requires the community to contribute a share of the cost of the building and equipment. This could be as much as $200 million. The city must support the Brant Community Healthcare System in raising this money and be a major contributor.

Continue to build our relationship with Brant County, and the Six Nations and Mississauga First Nations. There are many areas of common interest and shared issues that we can address by working closely together.

Improving our downtown: We need to ensure the safety and security of the area, make it a livelier and more vital area and get more people living downtown.

How would you improve the relationship between your municipal neighbours, the County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River?

County of Brant: During the current term of council, Brantford and Brant have negotiated new agreements on shared costs for social services and affordable housing. We need to build on those successes and begin discussions in areas where we both have interests: transportation, sewer and water services, waste disposal and others.

Six Nations: We have been strengthening our connections to Six Nations in several ways. We’re encouraging a stronger connection between the administrations of our two communities so our officials can develop better approaches to communications and consultation. We have stood with Six Nations in their efforts to resolve their long-standing land claims. I have worked closely with Elected Chief Mark Hill to lobby the provincial and federal governments on the land claims and other issues. For example, we are working together to convince the federal government to finance a public transit system connecting Brantford to Six Nations.

How would you improve the affordable housing situation in the municipality?

Over the past four years Brantford and the County of Brant developed a joint program to build more than 500 new affordable housing units (rent-geared-to-income) in the two municipalities. Some have already been built and more are under construction right now. These units will serve seniors, families and individuals who can’t afford to pay market rents.

There is also a role for the city in helping to make housing attainable for people buying homes or renting. A streamlined approval process for housing will get more homes built sooner at lower cost. Several city programs encourage construction of rental units. We also need to develop the area north of Powerline Road to add to our housing supply to meet the growing demand.

How would you describe yourself to the residents of Brantford?

Brantford has been my home almost all my adult life. It’s the city where I built my career as a lawyer. It’s the city where I raised my family.

During all those years I’ve tried to give back to the city I love. I’ve been a part of community groups and charities helping children, families, seniors and those at risk. I’ve led organizations building our economy and creating jobs.

As a lawyer, I’ve developed mediation, negotiation and problem-solving skills that can be applied to the pressing problems facing our city.

I’m optimistic about our city’s future and ready to seize the opportunities that are coming our way.

John Turmel. Photo courtesy John Turmel.

John Turmel

Why did you choose to run for Mayor for the City of Brantford?

Couldn’t run anywhere else. 

How has your campaign gone to date? Are you canvassing door to door to meet voters? 

No, I don’t do door-to-door. I attend debates and answer questionnaires. 

What issues from residents have been most prominent?  

Price rises. 

In your opinion, what are the four most pressing issues for the City of Brantford?

1. Inflation

2. Homelessness 

3. Transportation inefficiencies 

4. West Brant 403 access

If elected, what would your top priorities be and why?

Not letting voters be tricked: They’ve been suckered by: 

–  http://SmartestMan.Ca/c19 Covid Mortality False Alarm 

–  Supporting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 

– the scam that raising interest production costs gets passed along in lower prices. 

– cutting food production to prevent global warming/cooling. Was warming but when warming stopped, the switched to “change” either way. 

How would you improve the relationship between your municipal neighbours, the County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River?

Giving everyone an interest-free credit card.

How would you improve the affordable housing situation in the municipality?

Interest-free financing. 

How would you describe yourself to the residents of Brantford?

http:SmartestManOnEarth.Ca http://SmartestMan.Ca for short

Can’t hurt to have someone smart enough not to fall for every scam they push. 

Dave Wrobel. Photo courtesy Dave Wrobel.

Dave Wrobel

Why did you choose to run for Mayor for the City of Brantford?

In 2014 and 2018, I sought the support of our community to be Brantford’s next mayor. I was raised with the loving heart of a mother and the strong hands of a father. They both reinforced a basic philosophy “If you’re not happy with something, don’t complain about it.  Do something about it.”  And that is exactly what I am doing. Everything I have done to this point, the work, the education, the experience, was to prepare me for the job of a lifetime…  To be the best Mayor for you and the City of Brantford.

How has your campaign gone to date? Are you canvassing door to door to meet voters?

 Our campaign is moving forward and serving the community well.  We are working steadily from neighbourhood to neighbourhood delivering literature, knocking on doors and making connections that will have a positive impact on accountability, transparency, democracy and Brantford’s future. 

What issues from residents have been most prominent?  

Each Ward has key concerns and issues that impact families and businesses.  From a city wide perspective most common and consistent concerns raised focus on Affordable Housing (rentals, transitional and first time ownership); Intensification ( growth, commercial services in new developments, infrastructure and traffic); Community (the most vulnerable – seniors/homeless, mental health and addiction, downtown connections); Democracy (council accountability, transparency and inclusiveness)

 In your opinion, what are the four most pressing issues for the City of Brantford?

Affordable Housing for seniors, first time buyers and transitional housing for the homeless;  Residential development and intensification and the associated pressures on infrastructure, traffic and neighbourhoods; Community impacts relating to the most vulnerable, seniors, homeless, mental health and addictions and our downtown core; Sustainability of maintaining home ownership and daily living resulting from increasing pressures of taxation, user rates and service fees.

If elected, what would your top priorities be and why?

Restore and rebuild public trust in the Mayors office and City Council through legitimate accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and an open democratic process.  It has been seriously lacking during this term.  Proof is in the cities ranking of 29/32 on the democracy index. This is an easy fix that starts on October 24, 2022.  Affordable Housing and housing that is affordable is a must.  It provides a place to call home.  It’s a place of warmth, safety, security and a fixed address for employment opportunities or other community needs and services.  

How would you improve the relationship between your municipal neighbours, the County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River?

Listen and learn.  Each community is unique in character and diverse in culture.  Use the opportunity to ask what the needs are for their community and how we can help them achieve their goals.  If we all do the same for each other, and do it in a respectful manner, we can improve upon what we all share together as stewards to the lands and our people.

How would you improve the affordable housing situation in the municipality?

There were affordable housing opportunities that were overlooked by our Mayor and Council.  We can begin to address affordable housing without the added chaos of selling off valued community green spaces.  There is a tried, tested and proven “Made in Brantford” solution at the John Noble Home.  The project was constructed by Vicano.  It was built on time and under budget.  This project format can be implemented again to build up to 10 more apartment complexes (approximately 480 units) on lands owned by the city.  This type of project is sustainable with 3 variations of rental revenues, fixed market, geared-to-income and affordable rents.  With accountable and transparent community consultation and industry partnerships, I believe we can work together to meet this goal during the next term of Council. I also believe we can modify this model to address other affordable housing options and opportunities throughout the city that will benefit individuals and families alike.

How would you describe yourself to the residents of Brantford?

Democracy, Teamwork, Transparency, Honesty and Integrity are key to my leadership style.  I’ve been told I have a warm and inviting smile and a wonderful sense of humour.  I am approachable and open minded.  I love challenges as they create opportunities for solutions to overcome the last roadblock.  I am goal driven, task focused, undeniably determined and visually rewarded.  Make no mistake, I am that focused and determined to make a difference, here, in this place I call home. Our City. Our Brantford.

Ryan Smith. Photo courtesy Ryan Smith.

Ryan Smith

Why did you choose to run for Mayor for the City of Brantford?  

As Brantford Batman, I have had the opportunity to meet people from every corner of the city, every ability, and every economic level. This has allowed me to see and hear the vast differences in lifestyles from one person to the next. The common feeling of “the city doesn’t care about us” is prevalent in most of the city. 

I chose to run for Mayor this term because I saw a great lack of proper communication, openness, honesty, and actual care for the people of the city over the last term. The focus has been lost on the city as a whole, and the feeling of pocket-lining and personal gain from those in office has taken a strong hold in the minds of many citizens, including myself. 

I am not one to sit back and hope someone else steps up to fix any problem, so I chose to make the effort myself. 

How has your campaign gone to date? Are you canvassing door to door to meet voters? 

Unfortunately, I do not have the amount of free time that the other candidates do to go door-to-door. I work 3 jobs on top of running for mayor, not including Brantford Batman charity events that I attend. This, plus the (never enough) time I try to spend with my family takes all my time. I don’t feel this should reflect negatively on me, though, as this shows my dedication to my family and to my jobs, and proves that I am willing to do what is necessary to get the jobs done properly. 

Our current Mayor has openly stated that he and his team dedicate 4-7 hours every day to go door-to-door, which, to me, brings the question of why should we vote for someone who will skip work in order to ask us to let him keep the job he isn’t doing?

What issues from residents have been most prominent?  

Affordable housing, 100%, is our biggest problem. Homelessness is on the rise, addiction is on the rise, and it stems from not being able to afford a safe, happy place for you and your family. Our focus should be reflected internally, not looking to grow bigger, and proper care and consideration should be given to those in most need. 

In your opinion, what are the four most pressing issues for the City of Brantford?

Affordable housing, first and foremost. 

Second would be homelessness, which is a byproduct of lack of affordable housing. 

Then would be drug and alcohol addiction, and  lack of proper mental health care, which are often overlapped. 

And lastly, transit problems. Bus routes and times, choke points in traffic causing delays. Construction in areas that should have been completed long ago, and other issues make travel to, from, and through Brantford much lore difficult than it needs to be.

 If elected, what would your top priorities be and why?

I seem to be repeating myself here, but there are many options to tackling the affordable housing crisis we have. Getting affordable housing will greatly help lower the homeless population, which will give a decent footing into rehabilitation of drug and alcohol issues, and allow those most vulnerable to take steps in the right direction for self-improvement. 

How would you improve the relationship between your municipal neighbours, the County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River?

The fact that these relationships need to be improved in the first place should tell you that our current system isn’t working, and we should avoid giving second chances. Open and honest communication is key in every relationship, and it would be no different with Brant County or Six Nations. 

I already have both great working and personal relationships with many people and business owners from Six Nations, and feel that improving them, and starting others would be simple with proper communication.

 How would you improve the affordable housing situation in the municipality?

I have spoken with many people about this, and even reached out to other cities, provinces, and even other countries to ask for more information on how they helped their own crises. 

My first goal would be to start tiny-home communities, some geared to student housing, others for the elderly, and more for the current homeless. All these communities would be near or include easy access to care facilities and other necessary support, grocery stores, etc… 

The communities would be similar to the co-ops that we have now off Stanley Street across from Arrowdale, or off Henry Street between Rawdon and Stanley, only with tiny-homes for single people, couples, or smaller families. 

By having communities like this, and giving many more options for people to live, it would force rental landlords to lower their prices to compete, which would then force home sellers to also lower prices. With lower house rentals and sale prices, those looking to “upgrade” from a tiny home to a full size one could do so much more easily.

How would you describe yourself to the residents of Brantford?

This honestly is the hardest question to answer, personally. I like to think of myself as someone who cares for others and tries to help in any way I can. I feel I know the difference between right and wrong, and I think that what’s best for the community should be the goal, not what’s best for 1 person, or a small group. I know I’m an intelligent person, and I feel that no matter what issues come up, I would be able to handle it, with the team that I’d be working with, as efficiently as possible.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed are those of the candidates and do not reflect those of the Brant Beacon, it’s staff and management.

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