Nick Hutchins is a candidate for Ward 3 Town Councillor in The 2010 Oakville Municipal Elections.
Oakville.com: What are the platform issues that you are addressing?
* Ensure that the vacated hospital land remains public space for all residents. Ward 3 is very short of parks, so when the hospital moves out, we need to turn it into a park for all the generations to come; a Gairlock gardens with a pond for skating!! Some of the buildings may be used for long term care, but the rest of the land should be a park, a memorial to the hospital, and most importantly something to attract visitors to keep the Downtown stores and restaurants vibrant and healthy!
* Lobby for a recreation, athletics, swimming, and arts Community Center for Ward 3. Due to ever increasing MPAC property assessments, Ward 3 pays some of the highest property taxes in Oakville, yet has almost no facilities. We need to have some of our tax monies spent in Ward 3 for a community centre and updated rinks, to attract families, so that more schools are not closed.
* Schools: To build community wide consensus to enhance and prevent school closings; and to fight for community goals at the School Board. Having up-to-date facilities like modern ice rinks and community centre to encouraging families to move back into the old neighborhoods is important, so that we do not lose any more.
* Try to ensure that any surplus school lands remain as public spaces. Three schools are closing. We must buy them to own them. First to control any growth; to try to keep them as public space; and then, if the budget is not there and we have to sell one of them to save the other two, then that’s what we will have to do.
* Improve Town efficiencies to reduce waste, so tax dollars are saved. Politicians will confuse you with all sorts of statistics and say thing like “We must do everything we can to reduce waste and improve Town efficiencies so that are tax monies are spent wisely and so we can reduce them.” The facts are that the Town’s budget is increasing by 3% this year (inflation in Ontario in July 2010 hit 2.9%), so the Town’s budget is slight higher than inflation. I certainly believe with some savings, that we should be able to reduce the Towns spending, however, with Global warming the Town will have to do things differently, so some costs will also rise as we switch to more effective sustainable applications. For example busses can be hybrids or better, reducing pollution and the use of gasoline, but these types of vehicle will be more expensive than the older diesel or gas ones.
If offices and clean modern energy industries can be induced to move to Oakville, then taxes from these can help alleviate residential taxes. The issue is that all communities want these types of industry, so we have to compete.
Other Town revenue schemes can also be developed, the $40 million Blink monies can be invested in clean solar energy etc., again reducing tax burdens, but this takes time.
* Enhance the environment and natural areas. We need to keep planting trees to soak up the CO2 as well as making the landscape more attractive. Unique natural habitats and species need to be protected as does any linkage areas between them, so the environment is important.
* Review; mass transit; bicycle paths; and traffic efficiency; to minimize neighborhood traffic congestion, noise and pollution. As a businessman engaged with producing and selling devices for improving traffic management, traffic safety and traffic efficiencies, I have some expertise in this area and would like to suggest we use roundabouts instead of signalized traffic intersections.
Having lived and travelled in Europe, where there is much more traffic on narrower, often winding roads, traffic still moves! Signalized intersections are the last thing any European traffic engineer wants to introduce, since once the traffic exceeds the space between the signals, gridlock ensues. Instead, traffic circles or roundabouts are used to; improve safety for both vehicles and pedestrians; to improve traffic flows; to conserve vehicle momentum, reducing gas use; to reduce the waste of gasoline at signalized intersections; to reduce pollution by avoiding stagnant stopped traffic, concentrating the pollution; to reduce energy use and Town road maintenance since signals are usually not required; to produce traffic calming; and to enhance the look of towns, since trees and shrubs can be planted within the roundabout, so they provide a way of increasing the urban forest, moderating temperatures etc. They have only been around a few thousand years, so why aren’t we using them here?
* Fight to control urban sprawl and direct growth to designated areas. The Province has mandated that Halton take some 170,000 people in the next few years and Oakville’s share is some 60,000. As such, the Town must provide for areas to grow. It has and in ward 3 that is the Mid-town section where some 20,000 people and jobs are envisioned. The point of this is that developers trying to break the 4 story height limit in the Downtown heritage district should be directed to the Mid-town are for high-rise development.
* Fight to ensure that developers pay for development, not the taxpayer. I do not understand why this is a controversy, since I believe it is self evident that if a developer wants to build that they should also build in the roads, sewers, hydro and other facilities that with allow them to build. Why should the existing tax payers pay for such infrastructure?
* Oppose inappropriate development. This could be anything from too high condos in the Downtown heritage area, to power plants or other industrial facilities being too close to homes and schools.
* Enhance the community by supporting actions to reduce speed, vandalism and crime. Policing is important, as is traffic calming measures (roundabouts), but so is community awareness and it is in these areas that solutions will come.
* Maintain proper funding for roads; sewers; water; tree planting; and their maintenance. Neglecting the repairs and maintenance of roads, bridges and other infrastructure is an immediate way of reducing taxes, but this costs you in the end, since when they finally have to be fixed, the costs are much, much higher. I believe in preventative maintenance, so that this does not happen.
I also believe in lifetime costing of Town’s purchases, which might increase initial capital costs, but drastically reduces maintenance costs.
* Consult and respond to Ward 3 residents. Having worked as a volunteer on the Trafalgar Chartwell Residents Association (TCRA) for 10 years I know how important it is to listen to the residents. Therefore, I will undertake to have regular meetings with all the Resident Associations in Ward 3 and will be contactable via e-mails, web site, phone and mail to anyone, so that I keep on top of Ward 3 issues.
* Provide an effective voice at council to keep Ward 3 a vibrant, wonderful community for all. Why does Ward 3 not have modern ice rinks, a community center etc. when we pay some of the highest property taxes in Oakville? We need better, stronger representation on Council!
Oakville.com: What is your unique position in this election
Nick Hutchins: The hospital with its visitors, administrators, nurses and doctor, and doctor offices presently provides a large income steam to the Downtown stores and restaurants. However, I believe that when the hospital moves from its downtown location, to Dundas and Third Line, that the Downtown stores and restaurants are going feel its loss. If we are to keep the Downtown healthy and vibrant then we must provide an alternative attraction to keep visitors coming to the Downtown area. A park on the hospital and the old OT high school site would provide such an attraction and being so close to the Downtown area, any visitors would visit both, hopefully shopping and spend money in Oakville’s restaurants, thus keeping them all healthy.
Great Towns and Cities are known for their parks and no one would ever suggest they be torn down and developed! Stanly Park Vancouver; Hyde Park London UK, High Park Toronto; Buena Vista Park San Francisco; Central Park New York etc., all these parks are treasured as all act as retreats from hectic city life, encouraging all to go outdoors, to experience and to exercise. I believe Oakville has an unprecedented opportunity to do something great for all the generations to come, by creating such an all season park, with a large pond area for skating when frozen, in the upcoming downtown vacated hospital lands.
Being close to downtown, shopping and restaurants, such a park would encourage visits from all over Oakville, from both residents and visitors. In addition, the old Oakville Trafalgar High School, (OT), a heritage building, dear to many with fond memories, (yet presently a boarded up eye saw being demolished by neglect), could then become a vital part of such a park as a; cafe and restaurant; a summer and winter skate rental facility; an art gallery; community class room; exercise place, etc. And, being part of the park would give it a solid reason to be there, to be used and become a downtown meeting place for all. Therefore, in the next council session, I am hoping to persuade Council to pursue this dream. After all, these days, how many Towns or Cities get the chance of creating such large, (I believe some 14 acres), first class park in the middle of the old downtown neighborhood and in a local area which lacks public park facilities?
lastly, Oakville’s population is pushing some 200,000 people and the small Town square is no longer big enough to hold city wide celebrations, having a park facility so close to the Downtown could accommodate such celebrations.
Oakville.com: What do voters need to know that will compel them to vote for YOU?
* A Family Man, Dedicated Father of two daughters, Resident of Oakville since 1986.
* Graduate of University of Maryland BSc.
* Nick Is a 10 Year Volunteer in the Trafalgar Chartwell Residents Association (TCRA) and Its President for the Last 3 Years, so Has Been Fighting for Ward 3 Issues at Council for 10 Years.
* Volunteer Committee Experiences Include: Parks and Rec. Tree Subcommittee; Livable Oakville; OPA198; Downtown Strategic Review; Hospital Land Use; Anti-power plant C4CA; Plastic Bottle & Plastic Bag Use; a participant in the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) meeting for Melrose Place and Rosehaven Developments attempt to break the Downtown Heritage Area 4 story height limits etc., Being Only Some.
* A Businessman, Entrepreneur, Nick is an ideas Man with a Joint Patent for LEDline®, His Product.
* Director, Joint Owner of HIL-Tech Ltd.
* Has Effective Management Skills.
* Has Expertise in Improving Road Safety, Efficiency and Traffic Management.
* Is a Committed Environmentalist.
* For 10 Years, Nick Has Fought To Improve The Charm, Character, Attractiveness and Feel of The Community, And When Elected, Nick Will Continue To Do So!
As a C4CA Resident Committee member, it’s great that the power plant was cancelled! Everyone worked long and hard towards this end and all should be congratulated.
The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.