Vicki will continue to work on these top constituent concerns:
1. Good return on investment for city taxpayers.
Vicki says: “I know that it is hard on many people when city taxes go up. I have been working with my Council colleagues to keep taxes to a reasonable level and am pleased that during my four years on Council tax increases have continued to fall. My goal is to see industrial and commercial growth in the city pay for more of the cost of city services so that residents do not have to carry so much of the tax burden. I am always looking for ways to control city spending and make sure taxpayers are getting good value for their money.”
2. Safer roads.
Vicki says: “Residents have two big complaints – the condition of the city’s roads and sidewalks, and the speed of traffic on residential streets. Council agreed to a three-year construction plan that meant savings to the city and more work getting done. I argued that money needed to be spent on sidewalks and cycling routes, as well as on roads, and I am pleased that Council agreed with me. You can see the results on Bath Road and Taylor Kidd Boulevard. As for speeding, it is an on-going struggle to get drivers to respect the rules of the road and slow down. I have brought traffic concerns up repeatedly to Police Chief Closs (now retired) and then to Chief Tanner. Increased police enforcement is having some positive results judging by a reduction in the number of traffic-related complaints I am getting.”
3. Affordable housing.
Vicki says: “The vacancy rate in Kingston is under 2%, much too low to give people much choice in rental housing. Rents are very high here and it is very difficult for someone working at a minimum wage or low-paying job to find a nice place to live.
There are over 1000 people on the city’s waiting list for subsidized housing. We need to help increase the number of available places to live and to make sure that existing apartments and houses meet property standards. As a member of the Appeals Committee, I have been shocked to see the types of housing that some people have to accept because there is nothing else available.”
Vicki’s other commitments for 2010-2014:
I will continue to work to:
- develop a city that is attractive for business investment
- strengthen neighbourhoods by providing well-equipped parks and pleasant spaces for all residents to enjoy
- provide access to the waterfront and a connected waterfront trail
- improve and expand Kingston Transit
- increase service for riders of the Kingston Access Bus
- continue to monitor the K-Rock Centre’s return on taxpayers’ investment and its performance against business plan promises
- protect the city’s green spaces
- reduce the effects of poverty in Kingston.
- do more to get the provincial government to increase the amount of money it gives the city instead of property taxes for Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and the hospitals. The “heads and beds” amount has been frozen since 1987 at $75 per student and per patient. The city estimates that if this amount were adjusted for inflation the city would be receiving over $5 million more. That would be $5 million that Kingston taxpayers would not have to pay.
- support the city’s Sustainability Plan. www.cityofkingston.ca/pdf/cityhall/sustainability/SustainableKingston_D5-1005F.pdf I am particularly interested in increasing the amount of food and energy produced in the city so that we can become more self-reliant locally.
- promote development within the city. We need to see more building and growth in under-used parts of the city. For example, mid-town — Princess Street between Regent and Division Streets — is under-used. If there was more housing there, it would bring in more retail stores. The city’s Official Plan calls for ground-floor commercial uses along the Princess Street corridor. The area between Division and Montreal Streets south of Elliott Avenue would also benefit from development. This type of development would use land that already has city services and bring in more property tax revenue for the city.
What Vicki accomplished on Council
It takes at least 7 members of Council to pass a motion at Council. That means that no one can claim credit alone for actions Council has taken.
Vicki’s leadership has helped to make these changes happen:
- lowest tax increases in 10 years
- improvements at Rideaucrest, Kingston Frontenac Housing Corporation, and Kingston Access Services
- green garbage pick-up
- new sidewalks and cycling routes
- the city’s first leash-free dog parks
- improved and connected sections of the waterfront trail
- a new Official Plan for the whole city of Kingston
- a community garden policy and more community gardens
- the Princess Street Promenade (July 31, 2010)