Christopher Gilmer – Area Councillor Candidate for Ward 2 (Town of Caledon)

Christopher GilmerIf elected how/what would you do to improve Active Transportation within Caledon and how would you improve existing connections between communities?

As our community continues to grow, so do the communities around us. Not only does this cause extra strains on our town and regional roads, but it opens the doors to more questions about smart transportation alternatives. Serving on the Board of Directors of Caledon Community Services has also made it more clear for me over the years that having access to reliable transportation for disabled or senior citizens is crucial for our community – and an initiative the CCS team works hard for.

The Town has done an amazing job of connecting our communities through a variety of trail ways and green spaces – and there are always more opportunities on this front.  Libraries are the hub of any community. Contributing to society by being something more than just books. Not only do they provide a gathering place, they are enablers of creative and artistic expressions, as well as a place to share and learn together as a community. As a member of the Caledon Library Board of Directors, I believe that we have an opportunity to grow our network of libraries into not only an advocate and launch pad for economic growth potentials, but as all encompassing hubs of communities for all ages.

What will you do to bring in new business that can thrive in Caledon and how will you help existing small businesses succeed?

A new wave has begun in Caledon. Companies like Amazon and Canadian Tire have (and will) continue to move in, with the goal of offsetting our tax base, attracting job seekers and increasing local spending. People are working from home and starting new businesses off of their dining room tables and off of their families lands. We have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to make sure that we are doing what it takes to support the responsible economic growth of our town. Learning what our existing small business require in order to succeed, and working with them to find solutions and offer advice. It could be promotion through Town channels, accounting, marketing or sales training programs, or guidance in location targeting. This also includes high speed broadband connections, and includes sourcing potentially good business partnerships, and of course supporting our local home grown business talent as much as we can. As a business owner who consults on the building, development and growth of companies, we have a lot of room to refine and grow responsibly in this area. Our town is begging for it.

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?

Transportation on main roads will forever be a challenge. As Caledon and our surrounding towns and cities continue to grow, so does the traffic that runs through and around us- including heavy truck transport. Smart transportation alternatives like the GTA West Corridor might happen one day – but in the meantime we’re at a pivotal point where something has to be done to slow down and manage this traffic. We’ve seen far to many accidents within the past short while. Investigating and implementing ideas from other regions could definitely have an impact – load restriction, load restriction areas, operating times and alternative truck routes. As would a heavy truck traffic study that includes escalation of accidents and violations over the past 5-10 years to force change.

What will you do to ensure council works together in the new term?

It is my hope that new council has open and effective communication. Respect. A strong passion to serve. History of serving the community. First and foremost being able to have open dialogue and communicate in a civil and constructive manner is highly important. Council will come together from all parts of Caledon- essentially at times seeing things from different perspectives. Being able to have respectable dialogue and clear lines of communication are highly important. A passion to serve the people you represent before your own interests. And a background of being involved in volunteering to unite the community and guide the town to evolve and grow responsibly.

Previous Questions and Answers:

How long have you been a Caledon Resident?

My family’s roots run deep in the Caledon area. My great grandparents settled on the south west side of Caledon, Terra Cotta, during the early 1900’s, started a farm, and raised a family there. When it was time to hunt out the perfect location to raise my family, I couldn’t imagine a better place. Living in Valleywood for the past 13 years, a short drive away from where my ancestors grew crops and tended to animals feels very nostalgic for me – and it’s nice to be so close to where it all started for my family in this great country of ours. Now the proud parents of three daughters, we continue to help in the growth and connections within our community, by serving on the Board of Directors of two great Caledon connectors, builders and strengtheners of our community, Caledon Community Services, and the Caledon Public Library.

What would you change and/or improve in Caledon? 

Everything is in place now because of what the residents and communities before this present moment planned. Their insights and actions led to what we know today. Things are now a little different than they use to be. There are many unique perspectives across Caledon, from the rural side and family farming businesses across our community, to the newer community residents that now call Caledon home. Times are rapidly evolving across our once quiet community. People are once again taking big journeys and settling here to raise their families in the many growing communities across town. As we grow, so does our reliance on transportation. Whether its roads and infrastructure, or transit and bike routes – these are vital components to how most of us conduct our daily lives. Our town also has a large population over the age of 65 – serving these residents, many of whom have lived here their entire lives, is much more important than it has ever been before if we want them to stay and enjoy life within our regions boundaries – as they should have the opportunity. And lets not forget our reliance on our good friend “high speed internet.” Being connected to what’s happening in the world is something most people do not think twice about – except for large amounts of Caledon residents that are not a part of our Broadband pipe connections. Its great that we have a public library system that is able to support them, but spending 8 hours in one of our libraries day in and day out might not be for everyone. Also, with large numbers of work from home individuals, this connection is more vital than ever before if we want to foster and adopt small and large business growth.

If you were to receive a million dollar grant for the Town of Caledon, what would you do with it and why?

We have extremely smart and dedicated people that work for us at the Town of Caledon, and they all have nice long lists of amazing things that can be done to invest in improvements where we live. Whether its decor and landscaping to spice up our hamlets and villages, making the town accessible with feasible transportation options, adding more connections between our communities, extending and expanding trails and connections between our growing communities. And best of all, most of these ideas have been submitted and recommended by residents. Caledon is very diverse, and very different depending on what area you’re in. Different areas require different things to help them improve and grow – from dog parks to community hubs as gathering places. Caledon is also home to many organizations that work tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of residents. Places like CCS, Bethel Hospice, Caledon Parent Child Centre, Meals on Wheels… I would love to help expand these programs and touch the residents that need them the most. A little goes a long way with some of these organizations.

What is your favourite place in Caledon and why?

I get around this town of ours. I would like to say I have a favourite place where I go without thinking, but thats just not the case. There are three things that I do consistently, so I will let you in on those. The Trailway. Neighbourhood walks. Forks of the Credit. Anyone that know’s me, knows that I adore the Caledon Trailway (I can’t count the number of pictures I take on it every season.) Not only because it connects our villages and hamlets, but because of the serenity and peacefulness it offers its visitors. I love nothing more than to start off my mornings in Terra Cotta where my family settled, stopping in Caledon East for a break, and touching down in Palgrave where my inlaws settled, raised a family and started a business. It really gives me a chance to peddle, think and be thankful about my background and what I have done to get where I am today, and get glimpses of the vast green farm fields we’re known for. Neighbourhood walks through Valleywood and Southfields are also high on my favourite places list. Although not one spot, its a great way to get out, talk to neighbours and others who have made their homes in Caledon, who value quality of life, family and fresh air over the hustle and bustle of our neighbours to the south. And lets not forget the Forks of the Credit! This heritage spot is one of my families favourite destinations to hike. With many different types of terrain trails, there are endless amounts of routes one can take to explore this naturally wondrous area thats right in our backyard – literally for some lucky residents.

Thank you for reaching out to ask me these questions Mira! I look forward to speaking with you further as we both share the love and admiration of this great community of ours!

PS. Hope to see you, and your readers out for the inaugural CCS Velocity Ride supporting Caledon’s Seniors on Caledon Day, June 16th! Its going to be a great way to explore Caledon on a variety of ride lengths for kids and the newbie cycler to the most advanced road rider. Everyone can register now at ccsvelocity.ca

Biography

As a committed member of the Caledon community, Chris serves on the Board of Directors of the Caledon Public Library, advocating for library programs and services, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Caledon Community Services. His advocacy for travel, tourism and enjoyment of all things Caledon has not gone unnoticed. Last year the National Ballet of Canada asked him to show off all that Caledon has to offer through a photo series featuring a pointe shoe across town, in their 150 pointes campaign, Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.

Gilmer’s family roots run deep in Caledon. His great grandparents emigrated to Canada and settled in the Terra Cotta area in 1904, soon making their way south down Winston Churchill to set up their farm and raise a family (which included his Grandmother) on the edge of what we now know as Ward 2 in Caledon. Even though the family moved out of the farming business before he was born, Chris grew attached to the Caledon area, and together with his Caledon born and raised wife, Yvonne, choose to settle and raise their family close by the old homestead in the growing diverse community of Mayfield West.

Professionally, Chris helps companies use media and community to earn customers through Digital Marketing and Social Media. He has worked at top Canadian telecommunications company BlackBerry; tax, auditing and consulting practice PwC (PriceWaterHouseCoopers); Canada’s largest lab provider CML HeathCare/LifeLabs; global building insulation manufacturer ROCKWOOL; and with such clients as Ford, Nestle, McAfee, Microsoft and Kraft.

Connect with Chris and follow his journeys across Caledon:

www.ChristopherGilmer.org

Twitter: @chrisgilmer

Instagram: @chrisgilmer

Facebook: Facebook.com/christophergilmercaledon

For a list of all the registered candidates click HERE.

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