Town Council Meeting April 18 2011

Tonight is a full meeting of council.  The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

There will be a presentation from the Halton Regional Police Services, a recommendation for the company eSolutions Group as the company in charge of the website for the Milton Centre for the Arts, and a 2010 financial update from KPMG .

I’ll also be providing council an update on the ward 6 Milton Makeover team from last Friday and the all important update of the Grow Milton Rally from Saturday, which despite the weather was a great success.

As always you can view the meeting online by going to the WATCH ONLINE link at the right.  Hope to “see” you there.  If you have any questions on the items included in the agenda, feel free to email me mike@mikecluett.ca

Halton MPP Says Provincial Government “evasive” when it comes to MDH

Flipping through the online version of the Halton Compass, I came across an article in the November 11th edition about Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh asking the Health Minister Deb Matthews and anyone else involved about answers to Milton’s questions … when are we getting the hospital?

He wasn’t too impressed with the ministers answers during a committee meeting.  The video below the article is of the exchange (courtesy of Ted Chudleighs website)

Chudleigh Says Liberals evasive on Milton Hospital

According to Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh, Minister of Health Deborah Matthews has more moves than a prize-fighting boxer when it comes to dealing with the expansion of Milton District Hospital.

“She bobbed and weaved so much in answering a question (about the hospital) today that she again provided no concrete answer to a legitimate question.” fumed Chudleigh on November 2.

Chudleigh asked why the Ministry has been spending millions on consultants but has been pleading poor when it comes to providing the funds necessary to expand Milton’s small hospital.

“Minister Matthews dodged, went off topic and dodged again.” said Chudleigh.  “Her refusal to answer a legitimate question in the Legislature should anger Miltonians and all Ontarioians.”

Chudleigh explained that Milton’s hospital was built with a population of 30,000 in mind.  The town now boasts more than 90.000 residents and the population keeps rising, and is expected to grow more than 180,000 in another decade.

According to Chudleigh, the people of Milton have waited three years for action to be taken on the expansion of Milton’s hospital.  The money frittered away on consultants, as detailed in the Ontario Auditor’s Report, would have easily paid for the complete and necessary expansion of the Milton facility, he said.

“It’s pretty clear,” Chudleigh said.  “that the health care of Miltonians is less important to a Liberal government than transferring taxpayer’s money into the hands of their friends.”

Ted has spoken out many times over the last few years at the provincial level about the needs of Milton’s healthcare needs.  Here is an example of Ted in action.

During the last municipal campaign, the hospital was obviously one of the big issues.  I had stated, along with pretty much everyone who’s name was on a ballot, that the new Milton Town Council would do what they could to raise this issue with the provincial government.  I used the words “get off their duff” (believe me I wanted to use stronger words than that) when it comes to the expansion of our hospital.  Give us an answer either way so we can start planning at the local level when it comes to funding ideas for our portion.  This inaction isn’t helping Miltonians at all.

We need to put some more pressure on the provincial government.  Sending copies of reports and statements by council to anyone with an “@ontario.ca” email address isnt cutting it.  The provincial government spends its days telling municipalities like Milton and other surrounding communities that we have to grow by “X” amount in the next 10 years…but provides no financial assistance to get it done.  Just do it we’re told.

As this new council gets ready to go, we need to put together a plan that will help raise awareness of this inside the provincial government.  Many thanks to Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh for raising the issue in the provincial legislature on a regular basis.  Mr Chudleighs been known for time to time for ruffling a few feathers in the provincial government and I’m sure this isn’t the last time he’ll speak out about it.

Something has to be done.  A long time ago.  Its starts with a loud voice…then it turns into more. 

Today Is Election Day

Its been over 10 months since I began my campaign to become the local councillor for ward 6.  On January 11, 2010 I visited town hall and filed my nomination papers and started what was to become a tiring, yet satisfying campaign.

Over these past 10 months I have met many of you, a couple of times over, and heard what issues you find to be important.  In this time I spoke about 3 main things…responsible financial management, neighbourhood safety and accountability.

The first item of business for the new council will be to review the 2011 budget which has a projected 6.91% increase to the mill rate.  You have told me you want value for your dollar and you want your taxes spent wisely and this rate increase is simply too much.  Council needs to review line by line each item in the budget so we can see whats working, what isn’t working and where we can find savings.  I have made the promise I wont support the 2011 budget if the increase is over the rate of inflation.  I hope my council colleagues will work hard over that budget process to see if we can find the savings and give you value for your tax dollar.

We’ve talked about neighbourhood safety at length as well.  Im glad my opponent has been reading my blog since he started his campaign mid September and now understands this is an important issue.  Over the months and in fact the last few years, I have been talking about the importance of neighbourhood safety on our roads.  The town of Milton wants to become a pedestrian friendly town, but we need to look at options like traffic calming devices and other ways to slow down vehicles in the residential area so that all pedestrians are safer.  We’ve discussed the idea of a signalled crosswalk near Kennedy Circle and Thompson Road as there are people who would like to take advantage of the great splash pad and soccer fields on one side or others to go to Shoppers Drug Mart or Metro or the Dollar Blitz to shop without packing the kids in the car to travel less than 500 metres.  Over the next four years I want to bring these ideas forward and I need your input and help to get it done.

Last but not least, we talked extensively about accountability.  About being there when you call or email and giving you a quick response.  Ive promised, as I have done over the last 4 years, to update you on whats going on in Milton, at Town Hall, and how it affects you using this website/blog and other forms of social media like Facebook & Twitter.  During some important council meetings  you can find me sending updates through Twitter on what was going on, and when the decisions are made.  Its something I will do my best to continue as councillor, even though I’ll be sitting at the table, Ill make sure you can follow along.  Either by Twitter or what we hope to do is stream the meetings online so you can see whos working for you and asking the questions that need to be asked.

So now the brochures have been delivered and the doors have been knocked on and I’ve done my best to meet as many of you as I could over the last 10 months.  I leave it in your hands to make the decision on who you feel is the best candidate to represent all Miltonians at the council table.  If you havent made that crucial decision yet, I ask that you review my website and that of my opponents and see who has the plan for a better Milton.

You can vote today starting now at 10AM to 8 PM tonight.  If you live north of Clark Blvd in Ward 6 you will be voting at Guardian Angels on Bennett Blvd – and if you live south of Clark Blvd you will be voting at Hawthorne Village School also on Bennett Blvd.

If you have any last minute questions, call my cell (647) 888-9032!

Thank you everyone for making this a fun campaign.  Ive enjoyed meeting everyone and discussing the issues and while some of us disagreed we still came to the conclusion that the dialogue needs to continue and we need to work together to make Milton a better place.  I am humbled by the support I’ve received and the pledges of support and the volunteers who have worked endlessly to help me get the message out and for that Im eternally grateful.

I’ll update the blog once the polls close and the results come in.  Afterwards I will be at Ned Devines celebrating with other candidates, supporters, friends and family so feel free to drop by tonight (I’ll be there roughly after 9ish) and say HI!

Until then….I’ll see you at the polls.

All Candidates Meetings

Yesterday was quite the busy day for many of the candidates for Milton Town Council.

In the first meeting, 32 candidates lined up along several tables to speak about seniors issues in the Town of Milton and what can be done by council to help improve the quality of life for what I called the ‘builders” of our community.

As many candidates have stated over the course of the campaign, my wife and I  were first drawn to Milton by its sense of community spirit, openness and warmth from the people in town.  That doesn’t happen by accident or overnight.

That sense of community is built by the people who have lived here long before we were Miltonians and many of those people are the seniors in town.  They may not have built the town in a bricks and roads sense, but they are the ones who have and continue to bring that sense of  community spirit.

A lot of ideas were shared and there was almost unanimous agreement from everyone around the table that our seniors need to be heard and action taken on a lot of their concerns.  From the Bruce Street Library to what we can do about long term care and hospital services topped the agenda.

Then after a quick dinner break with the family, I headed back to the seniors activity centre for another all candidates meeting, this time specifically for wards 1, 6, 7 & 8.  The turnout was lower than expected but from some of the comments I heard, they liked our “informal” style of speeches.  Each candidate was given 10 minutes to talk about themselves, their platform and other issues raised by posters on the Hawthorne Villager forum.

It was great to meet some new people and get an idea of other issues they face outside of the “top” ones most candidates talk about.

I spoke about my platform of responsible financial management, neighbourhood safety and accountability.  Other topics discussed ranged from hospital expansion, infrastructure development, Milton Education Village as well as the Derry Green Corporate Business Park. 

One of the funniest stories came from Brian Penman, candidate for Regional Council Wards 1, 6, 7 & 8 back when he was first elected as councillor.  He got a call from a constituent who reported a horse running around the intersection of Derry Road and 9th Line (you have to imagine what that area looked like 30 years ago…nothing like it is now.)  He jumped in his truck and headed down to “solve the problem”. 

When he got there he spoke with a police officer who asked “Who are you?”  With pride and chest puffed out, Brian mentioned that he was the councillor for the area.  The officer then smacked the horse and moved it over to the Milton town limits and said, “Well, now its your problem!” and drove off.  LOTS of laughter in the crowd with that story.

All in all, it was a good meeting with some interesting discussion afterwards with voters from all wards and we did get a chance to clarify our stance on certain issues.  Many thanks to Steve and Kelly who organized the event, brought snacks for everyone and accepted Food Bank donations as well.  My donations went to the Food Bank the day before through Miranda’s daycare so it all went to the same place.

I have some new brochures made and I will be sending them out to as many homes as possible over the next 3 weeks as the election day approaches.  Remember that there are also a number of opportunities to vote, if you cant make it on election day so keep that in mind and get out to vote.

I look forward to speaking with more of you and I invite you to ask me any questions at all through this site, or my email mike@mikecluett.ca

Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.

AMO Status report

Keeping in tune with a previous article by Christina Commisso from the Milton Canadian Champion last week about elected officials and candidates being “online & connected” it made me wonder about the AMO conference that is going on this week.

She had also written an article about our 5 councillors who are attending the AMO Conference in Windsor this week.  She spoke with a number of them and they all mentioned they would be pushing for the expansion of Milton District Hospital.  You can read the article here.

Seeing how this is an important issue to many Milton residents it would be helpful if we got some updates from those councillors at the conference.  Problem is, we dont know whats going on.

Just imagine if they posted updates on Twitter for instance saying “discussing Milton hospital with provincial officials at the AMO Conference…things going well” or something to that affect.  Those of us who follow on Twitter or on the candidates/councillors websites can from the comfort of our home get an understanding of what is happening and the status of those talks.

I know that at least one of the attendees at this conference is on Twitter so hopefully they will get the message and let us know how things are going regarding the Milton hospital issue.

One of the most common concerns I am hearing at the doors during this campaign is making sure residents are kept up to date on issues that face Milton.  Does it have to be instantaneous?  Not at all.  But something is better than nothing.  My promise to you as your councillor after Oct 25th is to keep that flow of information going so that residents are kept in the loop. 

It doesnt take that long to post a 140 character message on Twitter or quickly update a website/blog so that people know their concerns are being looked after.  I know its summer and the last thing on the minds of many residents is politics but quick postings here and there can go a long way.

I look foward to the councilors report on this conference at the next council meeting and how discussions went with other municipalities about a united front to lobby the provincial government to allow the use of development charges to fund the local portion of the hospital and discussions with provincial officials that are there about the importance of and the need for expansion of Milton District Hospital.

Maybe a quick update from one of the attendees is in order.  I’ll keep checking Twitter and see.

Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.