Action Plan for Oakville
Getting Oakville Home for Dinner
It can seem like our work day is never done, especially for stressed out moms and dads rushing to make it home for dinner, or to be with their families each work day.
As the founder of a not-for-profit that delivers proactive intervention programs focusing on nutritional literacy through the development of life skills, I’ve spent countless hours advocating for bringing families together for meals – and the important physical and mental health benefits of this important family time.
But Oakville is a commuting suburb where 52% of Oakville’s employed population (Source: Stats Canada 2016) are commuting over 30 minutes to work; a third spend over 45 minutes on their work commute.
Not only does commuting have a social-economic impact on the health and stress of families, but traffic congestion is a significant drag on our economy and is bad for the environment, too. The most sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly communities are those where people can live and work close to their homes.
Enable More People to Work Close to Home
For the past 12 years, economic development has been paid lip service to, and Oakville has developed a reputation as a difficult and very costly place to locate a business. Our Town has the highest office space vacancy rate in the GTA and has suffered the departure of major companies such as: Tim Horton’s, Manulife, Shredit, Mattamy, as well as many small and mid-sized businesses.
As Mayor, I will champion economic development that attracts more professional, high tech, office employers and businesses to Oakville so more people can work closer to home.
Help Existing Businesses Create More Jobs
As the Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, I had a chance to meet and learn about a wide array of businesses. One of the issues I heard over and over was that businesses wanted to expand and create more jobs in Oakville, but their plans were curtailed or abandoned because of the onerous regulations and punishing fees levied by the Town.
As Mayor, I will demand a full review of all Town fees levied against business expansion.
Enable Local Companies to Compete Equally for Town Contracts
Oakville has some of the best, brightest and most innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Canada. As Mayor, I will work with Council and Town procurement to stop small entrepreneurial companies from being shut out of Town business, and enable them to compete on an equal footing with major multi-nationals. These businesses benefit the whole community – strengthening local business, creating local jobs, paying Oakville taxes and providing the Town the benefit of local knowledge and expertise.
Smart Traffic Technology Investments
Many proactive communities around the world are benefiting from improved traffic flow through smart traffic management systems. These systems can provide centrally-controlled traffic signals and sensors that regulate the flow of traffic through the city, in response to demand.
Investing in Smart Traffic 2.0
The time to start investing in the next wave of Smart Traffic technology is now. Systems are being established that will not only synchronize traffic lights but feed real time data to apps and even the navigation system in cars. These Smart Traffic 2.0 systems look “upstream” to find traffic headed toward congested areas – 2, 3 & 5 km away – to guide them around the congestion problem areas. They’ll even tell you where to find the closest available parking spot too.
Oakville needs to invest in smart traffic technology to improve traffic flow. As Mayor, I will champion early adoption of smart traffic technologies and ask Town planners to bring forward proposals for the implementation of smart traffic technologies more quickly to reduce congestion and increase traffic flow.
Better Traffic Management
Oakville needs to manage growth before the growth happens. With almost all growth planned a decade or more in advance, and with the Town of Oakville levying some of the highest development fees on new home construction in North America (on average a new home owner will pay the town in excess of $73,900 in municipal development charges. Source: Atlas Group Report, April 2018), the Town should be able to better anticipate and manage traffic congestion on Town roads.
As Mayor, I will support increasing capacity on Oakville’s arterial roads to keep people moving. I will support the implementation of smart traffic technologies. And I will work with Council to improve the Town’s planning process to ensure we align the implementation of congestion management strategies with future development.
Fewer Cars on the Road at Peak Times
Standard work hours are too restrictive for many employees balancing children, parents and their competing schedules. Some businesspeople can perform all their tasks without going to the office at all. Technology and modern management practices are making staggered hours a common option at many businesses. Often popular with staff, staggered work hours also have the added benefit of reducing the amount of traffic on the road during peak hours. It may not solve the problem, but every bit helps.
I recognize the challenge of balancing the competing needs and schedules of work, children, parents and even grandparents. As Mayor, I will challenge the CAO of the Town to develop a plan to stagger office hours of Town staff to reduce Town staff’s contribution to peak drive time congestion, and will encourage Town entities and local businesses to do the same.
Advocate for GO Transit Improvements
GO Transit is a vital link for thousands of Oakville residents every day. Metrolinx has been making significant improvements to the frequency of service and the infrastructure supporting it to make service more reliable. As Mayor, Oakville’s GO riders can count on me to be a tireless advocate at every level of government to continue this progress. Fast, reliable public transit is one of the best ways to get people home in time for dinner.