Action Plan for Oakville
Where We Live vs. Where We Belong
Being connected and welcomed into our neighbourhoods and the larger community engenders a feeling of belonging and a sense of pride and identity. It is the difference between Oakville being a thriving home and community versus simply a bedroom town. It is the difference between enjoying the very human psychological benefits of feeling connected versus the mental stress of social isolation.
Fostering Belonging Through Community Engagement
Being engaged with your community is one of the strongest determinants of a sense of belonging. Control and decision-making has been systematically centralized away from residents and community groups, to bureaucrats and the Mayor. This is the wrong approach. Oakville is home to one of the greatest populations in Canada. We have incredibly well-educated, talented, motivated and capable people who want to contribute to our town. That’s why as Mayor I will encourage councilors to facilitate Neighbourhood Associations and create them where they do not already exist, to engage residents and give citizens greater say in their community.
Citizen Advisors = Greater Engagement at Community & Cultural Centres
The YMCA of Oakville is a model of excellence. The YMCA has a board that is broadly representative of the community and as a result provides outstanding services that people want, along with a deep sense of community engagement that extends well beyond the footprint of its Rebecca Street building. Far beyond its programs, the YMCA is a meeting place where community organizations explore related interests as a springboard to future collaborations. Developing a strong connection and engagement with the communities it serves is foundational to the Oakville YMCA’s success and the high participation rates of its programs. I believe our community centres could also benefit from advisory boards. Neighbourhood facilities should reflect the interests of the neighborhoods they serve. Oakville communities have rapidly changing demographics, and the programming at our facilities doesn’t always reflect these changing needs and interests. As Mayor, I will ask Council to find an appropriate governance structure for advisory boards at our community and cultural centres to ensure greater relevance in programming and use by all community members.
- Oakville Performing Arts Council
- Tapping into Oakville’s Tech Experts
- Enabling BIAs to Bring People Back
- Age Friendly Seniors Council
North Oakville Needs a YMCA Now
There is a real need for recreational and community engagement facilities in North Oakville. With thousands more families calling North Oakville home every year there is an ever-increasing pressure to serve the increased population. The cost to build community centres is high, and the Town is unwilling to look at solutions until after 2026. I know Oakville can do better. The Mayor has had a proposed partnership to build a new YMCA in North Oakville on his desk for six years. The Town loses more than $1 million on each of its recreation facilities every year. The YMCA was proposing to eliminate ALL of the Town’s operating risk in North Oakville for a 40-year period, plus pay 15% of all capital costs. With the huge influx of new residents in the North, it’s hard to understand the Mayor’s priorities. As mayor, I will ask Council to fast-track the YMCA partnership proposal for North Oakville.
Meaningful Work for Autism and Special Needs
I am passionate about creating an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of their ability. I have worked closely with Community Living Oakville to offer meaningful work in my business. As Mayor, I will work with Council and the Town to help identify opportunities for those with different abilities to participate in meaningful employment.
There are many families in Oakville raising children with autism. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that 1in 66 children between 5-17 is on the autism spectrum. And it’s no secret that raising children with autism can be very expensive. As Mayor, I will work with Town staff, Project Autism and other family support groups to make Oakville an Autism-Friendly Town.
Making It Easier to Access Town Facilities for Community Meetings and Celebrations
The Town’s facilities belong to all of us. Too often I’ve heard how hard it is for community groups, faith groups, arts and cultural groups and families to access Town parks and recreational facilities for community meetings and celebrations. As Mayor, I will work with Town staff and Council to create a web portal of all available Town park and recreation facilities, so community groups can easily find and book space for their activities. I will encourage other organizations that have available space to join our portal, making it a one-stop-shop. And, I will invite Parks and Recreation and Facilities Management to Council, to review all of the Town’s policies, fees and the processes required to access Town facilities, with the goal of make it easier for local groups to access and enjoy Town facilities, parks and green spaces.
Increasing Citizen Leadership of Local Festivals
Many community groups used to be engaged in community festivals and events, but there has been a trend for many of those festivals to be taken over by the Town. I believe citizen involvement is critical to building a sense of belonging and to the vibrancy of our town. As Mayor, I will encourage local community groups to be more involved in the leadership and organization of festivals.
Regulation-Sized Cricket Pitch
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world and a passion of many of our residents. However, the Oakville Cricket Club does not have a full Cricket pitch; its pitch is 75% of regulation size. As Mayor, I will work with the Oakville Cricket Association and our Parks and Recreation Department to help find an appropriate new regulation-size cricket pitch.
Enabling Indoor Field Sports in Oakville During the Winter
Oakville is home to many outstanding not-for-profit sporting organizations that enrich our community and help foster healthy bodies and minds through the development of physical activity and lifelong habits. But many of these sporting organizations are forced to travel to Mississauga and other regions during the winter due to a lack of indoor field access. Our children and athletes deserve better. The Oakville Crusaders Rugby Club has formed a coalition of more than 20 Oakville sporting associations working to create an indoor field at the Oakville Rugby Club. They’ve raised the money and forged a partnership to create a year-round practice facility that will cost the Town nothing, and will provide much-needed indoor-outdoor winter sport field capacity, but the Town is forcing this not-for-profit sporting coalition to jump through the same hoops as commercial developers. As Mayor, I will direct the planning department to proactively steward not-for-profit organizations’ applications to minimize costs and speed up processes. I am also committed to prioritizing the Oakville Crusader’s-led sporting coalition application and work to steward their application through the Town’s processes.