All candidates for Aylmer mayor, deputy mayor and councillors were submitted the same six questions by the Aylmer Express. The three candidates for mayor are Jack Couckuyt, Greg Currie and Bob Habkirk. The three candidates for deputy mayor are Doug Avram, Mary French and Gerry Richer. The nine candidates for coucnillors (five to be elected) are Sheri Andrews, Pete Barbour, David LaPointe, Barbara Ann Laur, Ted McDonald, Bill Murch, Arthur Oslach, John Vandermeersch and Judi Wright. Here are unedited answers to one of the questions in order of candidate:
The following question was submitted by Susan Graves who wasn’t able to ask the questions at the all-candidates meeting:
What can you do to cut all of the red tape that is forcing would-be developers to give up or go elsewhere?
Couckuyt: Red tape is at every level of government. Many of our regulations are provincially dictated. We have several aids online to help developers work through the process. We have done very well with developers (ask IGPC or people using the Business Resource Center). Can we improve? Yes. We are doing all we can to speed the process of any development.
Currie: One of the first things I would do is examine the process used to offer town services in a user friendly manner. For example, I would consider such things as appropriate property designations, prices, and affordable development fees.
Habkirk: There are pretty clear rules and legislation on what you can and cannot do as a developer. Any that have said they were forced to give up and leave will likely face the same issues elsewhere, as the rules are pretty uniform. On a personal level, it may be in the manner of communication where the problem is.
Avram: First and foremost would have to determine what “red tape” we are talking about; federal, provincial, municipal. We have an Official Plan and a Zoning Plan, which was created with public input that guides developers and staff.
French: Take a close look at the procedure that is now in place and streamline it to make it more user friendly. An easier system could possibly encourage more development such as a condo community in the Town of Aylmer.
Richer: Susan Graves……cut red tape for developers!…….I would need to know her meaning of red tape?….Every municipality across Ontario have Official Land Use Plans combining with the zoning bylaws including the building permitting process as governed by the Building Code…..All of these standards are as defined/required by provincial legislation specifically the Municipal Act, the Planning Act provided to municipalities to implement. I would ask Ms Graves to please provide Aylmer council with a list of her Red Tape issues and if the municipality has the ability to change/amend then council may choose to support it.
Andrews: I’m not sure it’s red tape that is forcing would be developers to go elsewhere. I have been involved with the Economic Development committee through the Aylmer Chamber, and at our meetings the Town of Aylmer representatives could not give solid answers as to what their involvement in development has entailed. If we want would be developers to seriously look at our community for future use, we have to make our town attractive.
Barbour: Policies and guidelines for development need to set a basic level of compliance expectations. Our focus should be to encourage growth, “what can we do to help” is positive,” do this or don’t do that” does no one any good. Help applicants to achieve their appropriate approvals and in a timely manner.
LaPointe: I can only assume developers are facing the same red tape in every municipality due to most of the red tape is driven by the province not the municipality. During this term of Council I do not recall a developer coming before council with a issue of red tape.
Laur: Aylmer needs to adopt a service minded protocol for all our staff (to include Council members) with a clear mandate to offer assistance and find solutions as expediently as possible. The road blocks which are placed on potential business are unacceptable. Review of Job descriptions, regular personal performance reviews, and setting expectations through leadership will all aide in improved customer relations.
McDonald: I believe we should seriously look at what other communities are doing to attract and draw new development and adopt similar incentives as long as they make sense and are legally allowed.
Murch: We have all experienced excessive regulation or rigid conformity to the rules. To be truly progressive the town must always be willing to consider alternatives and make changes where appropriate.
Oslach: Business can make decisions quickly I should know. Government has to answer to the the people and be open and transparent on all projects. Communication with developers to make quick and informed decisions, less Bi Laws and better interpretation of existing ones.
Vandermeersch: There is no more “red tape” here than anywhere else, red tape being defined, I assume, as the regulations and/or requirements for opening a business.
Wright: I cannot answer… I would need examples of ‘red tape’she is referring to. We meet ‘red tape’ every day.