Allan Thompson – Mayoral Candidate (Town of Caledon)
If elected how/what would you do to improve Active Transportation within Caledon and how would you improve existing connections between communities?
I will build on our past efforts and the success we’ve had in developing active transportation throughout Caledon. We are investing in more bike lanes on our roads and with the creation of the Cycling Task Force we are raising awareness and promoting the benefits of a cycle-friendly community. We will continue to invest in and take advantage of funding opportunities for trail enhancements across Caledon that will connect both our rural and urban communities.
What will you do to bring in new business that can thrive in Caledon and how will you help existing small businesses succeed?
I will continue my focus on bringing good-paying, long-term jobs to Caledon because I know that those types of jobs support small businesses and grow our local economy.
I have a goal to convert the old fire hall in Bolton into an innovation hub where business people and the community can connect, collaborate and create.
Enhancing programs like the new Caledon Business Innovation Zone (CBIZ) introduced this term of Council and the business resource section in our libraries give our small business owners and entrepreneurs access to tools that will help them grow and thrive.
There has been a lot of discussion with respect to truck traffic in Caledon and the danger it poses on our main roads. If elected what do you plan to do to address these concerns?
The truck ban in downtown Bolton is a good example of how we can divert trucks away from residential neighbourhoods and onto a by-pass. In our smaller communities without a by-pass we need to work with our partners at the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) and MTO (Ministry of Transportation) to ensure that trucks are adhering to speed, safety and load restrictions.
What will you do to ensure council works together in the new term?
Team dynamics are like family dynamics, each and every member is different. One thing I believe in is empowering Council. We don’t always have to agree but let’s be respectful of everyone’s opinion. Demonstrating the value of our differences as a strength and not a weakness is key to creating a cohesive working team. Building a collaborative team has been my strength and something I will continue to focus on this next term.
Previous Questions and Answers:
How long have you been a Caledon Resident?
I’ve been a Caledon resident my entire life. Born and raised here.
What would you change and/or improve in Caledon?
There is absolutely no doubt about it. Caledon is an amazing place to live and we have so much to be proud of here.
I’ve said it time and time again when I’m out and about–aside from our natural beauty it is Caledon’s network of incredible volunteers who consistently go above and beyond each and every day to make our community a better place.
It’s our local businesses–large and small–that support our community and volunteer projects to help fund those resources that make our community a better place.
We are being recognized by media outlets and bloggers from beyond our borders as a great place to visit, live, work and play.
But despite all the good news for Caledon, it seems there is a human tendency to focus on the negative.
As someone said to me recently: if you are driving down a beautiful road and there is this magnificent, majestic tree on your right-hand side that catches your eye…it will be the something terrible on the left that is more likely to leave the impression in your mind.
We have so many good news stories happening here in Caledon.
Can we improve in areas? Absolutely.
But only if we do it together.
Only if we reach out.
Only if we ask questions instead of criticize.
Only if we offer solutions instead of problems.
If you were to receive a million dollar grant for the Town of Caledon, what would you do with it and why?
There are always many needs for our Town and we would really need to assess how we could best serve our community with the funding and explore how to bundle with other dollars and opportunities to make it go even further to have an even more significant and positive community impact.
The first thing I would say is that there will always be “needs” for any community and there would be many ways that could be found to put a million dollar grant to good use here in Caledon.
But the answer isn’t as simple as what would I do with it…because the one thing I’ve learned is that there are almost always a set of conditions tied to any funding, and while I have appreciated every grant and funding opportunity Caledon has pursued or been granted, it is absolutely critical before we go down that path that we have a full understanding of the expectations of the money and how it came to us.
There are so many needs and priorities for the town that make living in Caledon very special, yet reasons for each resident or business can differ, and so we really need to assess how we could serve our community best.
That’s why a critical consideration when reviewing funding opportunities is you need to ask the question, “what other funding opportunities can we bundle this with to make our money go further?” That’s important so that we can leverage as much benefit for our community as possible from an opportunity.
And here in Caledon we have some great examples of infrastructure projects that were realized because of the “bundling” concept.
One example is the arena complex in Caledon East.
The first ice-pad at the Caledon East complex was built as part of a three-way partnership between the Town of Caledon, the Province of Ontario and the Federal government.
Council had–and still has–a vision and long-term plan for the arena complex and we know that the first ice pad was just the beginning of the amenities that could potentially be available there.
Together with former Mayor Morrison and others, I was part of the team that met with MP David Tilson to get the ball rolling for the second arena build there; that happened through a partnership with a Federal government infrastructure program.
What you see there now is just part of what our Council sees as the overall project, scope and vision for what will continue to grow into even more of a thriving community complex.
The most recent example is the partnership between the Town of Caledon and Peel District School Board to revitalize athletic facilities at Humberview Secondary School in Bolton. Similarly, Mayfield Recreation Centre improvements were completed under a revitalization grant.
But all that said, let me be clear. A million dollars can absolutely make a huge impact in our community.
A good example is the Caledon Council Community Golf Tournament (CCCGT), this year marking the 15th edition. That event was the brainchild of then Ward 1 Councillor Jim Wallace and launched in my very first year of Council. Since that inaugural edition, your Caledon Council—with the support of our very generous community partners—have raised over one million dollars. Each year there is one major grant recipient from the tournament proceeds, with community projects from every ward in Caledon picked each and every year to benefit from those funds. All money that has collectively made a huge impact in our community.
But to your question, if this is a new influx of a million dollars, it will go a lot further and give our community more bang for the buck when we pool that resource. It all comes down to working together and collaboration. So whether it is to source funding or making decisions I’m always of the opinion that’s when we get our best results. And that is why I am such a strong advocate of community engagement and working with our staff to come up with the best solution. The best solution for all of Caledon. Because together we are stronger and better positioned to safeguard what is important to Caledon.
What is your favourite place in Caledon and why?
Well, my favourite place will always be with my family.
But if you are asking me to pick something in our community, I have to say there are many places in Caledon that I could name, but our Caledon Trailway is something that is particularly near and dear to my heart.
Having that connected, well-maintained trailway that travels from one end of our great community to the other is an absolute gem for Caledon.
And for hiking enthusiasts and fans of The Great Trail, our Caledon community has the distinction of delivering some important milestone moments in the Trail’s history.
Our Caledon trailway was the first officially designated portion of the Trans Canada Trail (now known as The Great Trail), and we are the home to the very first Trans Canada Trail Pavilion in Caledon East. The Great Trail is an incredible success story that spans our country from east to west and it’s exciting to know how visionary our Town is to be able to say we are the first, recognizing and celebrating Caledon’s beautiful, outdoors and nature’s landscape.
But beyond that, to me it is a great story because it’s an excellent example of how a Council decision can make a positive difference to community.
It’s also a good example of how things just don’t happen over-night–they take time, painstaking work and a vision. I’ve always believed that with the right focus, working both hard and smart, investment and commitment, good things can and do happen.
The trail land was purchased almost 30 years ago by the Council of the day and when I was first elected to council 15 years ago the Capital Budget was what I will call a bare bones budget. The trailway was in desperate need of repair and there was nothing allocated for maintenance.
I still remember the day that Wayne Noble, a Caledon resident and trail enthusiast, took Councillors Beffort, deBoer and myself for a tour of the trailway network, from start to finish across Caledon. We saw for ourselves–and shared his vision–of what the trail network could be and I’m really proud to say that over the last ten years our Town and your Council (with help from the Region of Peel and the Federal government) has made significant investments into the Trailway network to make it what it is today—resurfacing from start to finish, improved accessibility, twice-a-year grass cuttings, tree trimming, the bridge over Highway 10, the cross ride in Caledon East, and the brand-new cross over at Highway 50.
It’s a great made-in-Caledon success story.
Allan Thompson and his family are lifelong residents and volunteers in the Town of Caledon.
Prior to serving as Mayor, he served one term as Area Councillor progressing to two consecutive terms as Regional Councillor Ward 2, prior to being elected Mayor in the 2014 Municipal Election.
Allan has experience leading two important portfolios at the Regional level, including the billion-dollar Public Works portfolio and as a provincial government liaison through the Intergovernmental Affairs committee. His current involvement as an elected representative on the boards of each the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA), and SWIFT (the collaborative effort funding the construction of #broadbandforeveryone) means he brings experience, credibility and a strong, experienced voice for Caledon to both the Region, Queen’s Park and across the province.
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