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PLATFORM

Sault Ste Marie is facing multiple crises. The need to drastically change our city has never been more urgent. My campaign will be relentless in showing the dire cost of maintaining the status quo. Ozzie is who we need now to lead our city- an everyday person to lead everyday residents that deserve much better.
 
If elected, I will focus on improving the city’s infrastructure – including roads and sewers, increasing safety, protecting residents, holding the line on taxes, supporting economic development that creates jobs and attracts investments, and positioning Sault Ste. Marie as a destination of choice for those looking to build homes, careers, and families. 
 
I  will make the following commitments to the residents of Sault Ste. Marie:
  • Continue to put community safety as a critical element of our future plans.
  • Consistently support development projects that align with our Official Plan, provide positive growth opportunities for the city, and fit in with the neighbourhoods they impact.
  • Ensure that, as we grow as a community, we remain committed to a sustainable and healthy environment.
  • Consistently promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as the foundation for building a community that welcomes and provides opportunities for everyone.
  • Ensure our city departments effectively and efficiently deliver a broad range of services that support our communities.
  • Provide positive leadership through collaboration between Council, Staff, Community Groups, Residents and Business Owners.
It is the role of the Head of Council (Mayor) to:
     a.      act as chief executive officer of the municipality;
     b.      preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and                      effectively;
     c.      provide leadership to the council;
     ●       c.1) without limiting clause (c), to provide information and recommendations to the                      council with respect to the role of council described in clauses 224 (d) and (d.1);
     d.      represent the municipality at official functions; and
     e.      carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act.
LIST OF ISSUES
Taxes and spending

I would like to conduct a third party forensic audit on the spending in all the various city services/departments so we know where all the money is being spent and implement the efficiencies identified from the report. 

 

One obvious way to help struggling businesses and families would be to reduce their property taxes. The City is heavily dependent on property taxes, so to freeze or reduce taxes, we will need to make tough decisions and reduce spending. This is not a process we will enjoy but it needs to be done. 

Fortunately I believe there are many ways to reduce expenses without cutting essential services, like policing, fire-fighting or fixing potholes. 

 

Spending restraint must start with leadership at the top and we must Lead by Example. The most impactful decision would be to address the largest spending envelope at city hall: salaries and benefits of senior management and Councillors. 

We need to focus on our priorities, it is important to spend only on the essentials, such as fixing potholes. Unfortunately in the past, there have been numerous examples of our Mayor and Council spending taxpayers’ money on frivolous expenses.

Selling all surplus land and assets needs to be a high priority as we don’t need to let valuable assets sit idle for years before being sold.

 

New technology needs to be adopted and utilized to save money;  I want to look for ways to save money while improving services at the same time. Over the past two years there has been a shift for employees to have hybrid work arrangements where they work from home, savings can be found in this area, as City Hall can attract new tenants to occupy some of the available space that was created from allowing some employees to work from home and share workspaces when in the office.

Infrastructure

Sault Ste. Marie roads are in really bad shape, and they have caused considerable damage to vehicles and resulted in additional costs to taxpayers to fix them. We haven’t invested in our infrastructure properly over the last decade and our road conditions are now showing us the effect of those poor decisions. 

Efficient, modern infrastructure is critical to the health of our community. Transportation, education, health, energy, water and wastewater infrastructure, information and communications technology and community infrastructure are the building blocks for economic growth.

We need to align and co-ordinate infrastructure investments to support its economic development priorities, and to meet the needs of existing and future residents. This requires working closely with partners including the provincial and federal government and ensuring we take care of our key infrastructure. 

Safer Sault Ste. Marie

Downtown needs to be a safe and inviting place for people to gather. We also need to have a mix of residential, retail and restaurants. Our downtown is too large of an area, it needs to be condensed and have all the businesses, restaurants and shopping in the same blocks so that when residents and visitors come to our downtown they can walk less but visit an area filled with shopping and eateries. We need to organize more festivals and events downtown that encourage residents and visitors to gather. Continue and grow the use of outdoor patios and even encourage rooftop patios. Offer financial incentives and seek financial support from the federal and provincial levels of government. We also need to look at 2 way traffic on Queen Street to make it easier for people to get around.

Sault Ste. Marie needs more eyes and ears on the street; foot patrols, social workers, police, bylaw officers, security guards, who can proactively help people in need, as well as arresting those who are breaking the law. I am very concerned with the way addiction and crime is increasing. Residents have the right to be free of crime and have a safe City to live in. We need to move the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre (on Queen Street) out of the downtown core, we need to have homeless shelters but not in our downtown core.

Long term, we need all levels of government to collaborate to provide safe and adequate housing for everyone who needs it, addiction and mental health programs for those who want them and stiffer penalties for those engaged in criminal behaviour. Most of the crime and addiction issues need to be fixed by the federal and provincial levels, including amending the Criminal Code provisions on possession of illegal weapons, introducing a minimum sentence for firearms offences and changing the Catch and Release provisions of bill C-75. I will work with the provincial, federal and local law enforcement to take steps to reduce crime and build resources and support for the people suffering with addiction.

For your consideration, I offer the following ideas:

I propose that we subcontract multiple local security companies to be the eyes of police on a much broader scale. These firms can assist and back up homeowners and businesspeople in time of need until the police arrive. This cost-effective plan would bring greater security efficiencies  and allow police to perform their duties with greater precision.

I propose that a Community Action Network be struck and invite all citizens that want to work the problem to actively participate to develop local workable solutions. A good starting point would be to review existing methods already in place, such as the Alberta’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhood program. This grassroots community initiative that I am proposing would research and become knowledgeable on all other Ontario actions to aid us in finding solutions using the legislative tools needed to combat this problem. This active group of citizens would further network with other northern communities in lobbying for changes in provincial legislation and practices that are needed to effect required changes.

Economy

There is no magic recipe for economic diversification and attracting new businesses to SSM, however it is inextricably linked with economic development and poverty reduction and it is crucial for us to attract more industry and business so we can increase the number of quality jobs. Sault Ste. Marie needs to be recognized as a smart, growing, high quality-of-life community that is the home of multiple industrial sectors.

I believe that the city should look at a wide array of industries, particularly ones that are tied to the steel industry since that is our main industrial business in SSM. We need more small industries similar to the Flakeboard Plant on Base Line and the SIS Manufacturing Facility on Peoples Road.

I will do everything that I can to attract businesses to Sault Ste. Marie, make phone calls, presentations, and position this City as the place to do business.

Other key points

Taxes and spending

  • Strive for a zero per cent tax increase in next year’s municipal budget by finding savings and efficiencies in every department at City Hall

  • Freeze wages for Senior Management and block City council wage increases 

  • Reduce user fees/ permit fees (ice rental fees, building permits etc.)

  • Utilizing technology to be able to email city tax statements and accepting e transfers as a method of payment 

  • Stop wasting money on non-essential purchases such as (property – old Studio 10, downtown plaza, relocation of the bus terminal, new DSSAB building when there is so much vacant space in offices downtown, extension in the P-patch from Princeton Drive to Northern Avenue)

  • Sell all surplus property which includes property owned by both school boards

  • SAY NO to development charges and stormwater management fees

Infrastructure

  • Invest in the City’s roads, they are in rough shape and need repairs

  • Investigate alternatives to using salt and sand on City Roads 

  • Fix our sidewalks to reduce barriers to those with mobility issues, look into shaving down the sections of sidewalks that have lifted, using sawcuts instead of sections that continually lift

  • Reduce red tape for construction projects and make it easier and quicker for projects to get started

  • Aggressively seek out financing for infrastructure projects from various levels of government 

  • Modernize the transit system - add smaller busses to the fleet, look at ridesharing options

  • Make investments in schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, transit and other critical services that make a difference in people’s daily lives.

  • Make strategic investments to create good jobs, boost the economy, and protect our environment

  • Respect taxpayers by maximizing the life, performance and value of existing infrastructure, and the services that infrastructure provides

Downtown/quality of life

  • Re-open Pointe Des Chenes Campground in 2023

  • Increase policing and have satellite police stations in areas with high crime rates

  • Free downtown parking which would attract some more retail and restaurants to the area 

  • Establish affordable housing in the downtown and other areas.

  • Enhance quality of life by improving what Sault Ste. Marie already has

  • Expand the Hub Trail west of the city

  • Investigate setting up bicycle/walking trails along railways

  • Increase the usage of Bellevue Park, turning it into a mini-High Park with more than just a splash pad and a playground

  • Support widening the roads to accommodate bike lanes 

  • Re-open Pointes des Chenes Campground

  • Expand recycling and penalize heavy polluters

Economy​

  • Attract more industry and businesses and diversify our economy so we can increase the number of quality jobs and reduce poverty

  • Continue to support the existing industries and businesses and welcome new business developments in all sectors and our post-secondary institutions

  • Attract companies that are involved with the electric car industry and alternative/ green energy

  • Make SSM attractive to businesses by:

    • Reducing and cutting red tape and make it easier for businesses to come to SSM; and existing businesses to grow

    • Developing appropriate incentive frameworks so we can be a competitive and attractive City

    • Promoting opportunities more aggressively with investors so they are aware of opportunities

    • Aligning the labour market to ensure that we have a match between workers and potential jobs

    • Focusing on improving infrastructure – roads, waterfront etc.