Mary Asselstine: Ward 4

If elected, what would be your top 2 priorities for King Township and how would you work to address them?

Engaging Residents

My first priority is to engage residents in Ward 4.  I ran a targeted survey through my campaign website with a question: “Do you feel you have a say in local decision making?” A single response summed up the communication problem: “There is opportunity to comment but I am not sure anyone is listening”.  This concern was echoed at the door.

Residents deserve every opportunity to be informed about what is going on in their communities and to be able to give meaningful input into how their communities grow and change.

I want to provide the opportunity for effective engagement for Ward 4 and be that crucial link between residents and the Township.  I will write a monthly email newsletter that will curate general information, and provide a blog that gives more detail.  As Councillor I will host open houses and workshops to discuss concerns and opportunities, focusing especially on youth, marginalized communities and seniors.  I will advocate for youth days at Council when young people can give deputations on the topic of their choice.  I am considering the viability of a permanent constituency office that will provide a meeting place to discuss questions, ideas and concerns.

Complete Communities

Secondly, my vision for King Township and more specifically Ward 4 is a community of “Complete Communities”. A Complete Community offers a more walkable vibrant lifestyle by providing employment, services and commerce closer to home and is expressed in a more compact urban form. It is a low-carbon community that reduces climate change impacts, protects green space, promotes physical activity and builds community connection.

In practice, a “Complete Community” is a community that strives to provide all the resources needed for every individual regardless of their age, economic status, political ideology or cultural background. I will advocate for this through land use planning that addresses housing, transportation, economic development, food security, health services and employment needs.

To our advantage the Township already has the planning tools in place to achieve complete communities.  The philosophy of Complete Communities will benefit each village and hamlet and will protect our rural areas. I am committed to moving this concept forward.

 

  1. Do you support encouraging future employment growth within King Township and, if so, what kind of jobs would you like to see coming to King and how would you propose to attract them?

I totally support encouraging employment growth in King Township and believe there are many opportunities to support this sector while maintaining the character of the Township that we love.

  • I have spoken with youth that are worried about jobs.;
  • The majority of respondents in my survey agreed that it can be difficult to find meaningful local employment;.

,Local meaningful employment is essential if the concept of complete communities is going to be successful..

Sitting just north of Toronto we have an amazing opportunity to promote the development of the tourist industry with a focus on passive recreation, eco-tourism, agri-tourism, and associated services and public transportation.  Within our growing communities and with support of the Township there are opportunities for small businesses and local services to provide employment.

We also need to protect our designated “employment lands” from conversion to residential lands and allow commercial, light industrial and office uses to remain close to our communities providing local jobs.

We can attract employment by

  • ensuring that employment lands are fully serviced
  • improving cellular and internet access
  • putting more resources into the Township’s Economic Development office to attract new business and to support the existing business community through events, workshops, grants, networking, etc.
  • supporting the Chamber of Commerce to attract business

There are so many great opportunities in King and as councillor in Ward 4 I will support local businesses in venturing into those opportunities.

  1. What, if anything, do you think the Township of King could be doing to better serve and support our existing business community?

 

I have been chatting with several small business owners in Ward 4 and they all have ideas that could be implemented by the Township of King to serve the existing business community better.  Their concerns include lack of convenient parking, poor internet and cell phone connections, weak networks among business colleagues and a disconnect with events and activities the Township is hosting.

In order to address their concerns and support their ideas I would advocate the following:

  • The Township needs to deal with the specific needs of businesses in a positive and efficient manner by providing more resources to the Economic Development Office and using that office as the gateway for questions, concerns, support and activities
  • The Township needs to consider the support of Business Improvement Area’s (or some similar networking group) in well-defined business communities. Under a BIA additional grants and supports are available.
  • The Township needs to continue to support the expansion of internet and cellular networks.
  • The Township in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce needs to support workshops in marketing, building a business, computer skills, etc
  • The Township needs to provide more and effective messaging directly to the businesses about what is happening in King Township.
  • The Township needs to provide broader and themed advertising of the businesses and activities in King Township
  • The Township needs to involve and support the Chamber of Commerce in attracting new businesses to King Township.

I have heard the concerns from business owners in Ward 4 and I believe that with Township support we can strengthen our local business community.