|Early campaign issues taking shape|
Comment Chris Simon Innisfil Scope July 14 2010
Already, there seem to be several key platform issues being developed by Innisfil's municipal election candidates.
While the summer campaign will be unofficially kicking off shortly, several candidates have already begun to make their views known on a variety of subjects. In total, 14 people have formally entered the municipal election in Innisfil. All nine council seats have at least one candidate so far, and surely others will be coming forward within the next few weeks.
But those who have entered the race are already formulating thorough opinions on issues, or seeking public input through surveys, telephone conversation and websites. It's going to be a hotly contested campaign.
So far, it seems three specific issues may define the early stages of this campaign. Public transportation has been mentioned by several candidates, especially for the northern section of the municipality. This is probably the simplest area of the town to start a transportation network, since the City of Barrie is open to expanding their current system. Ideally, public transportation would need to extend initially to Innisfil Beach Road, to help the majority of the town's population get to places of employment in Barrie, and access the Innisfil Recreation Complex and services in Alcona's downtown core.
Municipal water and sewer servicing is also a key issue facing the town. Most candidates agree that securing servicing for the area will be one of the defining moments of the next council term. Any agreement will be expensive, with a large portion of the funding coming from development charges, but the payoff could be significant for residents, especially if it helps attract a core industrial sector to the municipality. Innisfil Heights could provide a stable tax base for the municipality, and generate thousands of wellpaying jobs for residents throughout the County of Simcoe.
Candidates are also discussing the environment, with good reason. In the next council term, elected officials will be tasked with implementing the core values of the provincial government's Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. They will need to put the technology and policies in place to meet phosphorus and pollution targets, while potentially allocating millions of dollars towards the expansion of water pollution control and treatment plants. Conforming to the province's plans, without driving the municipality further into debt and financial difficulties, will present a difficult challenge.
Each of these issues are the direct result of pending growth. Innisfil will be one of the main growth centres in the county over the next few decades, making the decisions of the next council term incredibly important. Like this current crop — which were faced with annexation, Official Plan, Alcona settlement area expansion and the Innisfil Beach Road reconstruction issues — the next council will help define Innisfil's future. Residents will need jobs, inexpensive methods of travel, and clean and affordable drinking water.
So talk to a candidate, and learn more about their views on some of the critical issues facing this municipality in the coming years. Their answers could be defining town policy within the next few months. Visit their websites, send them an e-mail, or have a frank discussion over the telephone. For a complete list of election candidates, including their contact information, visit www.innisfil.ca.