I am told that every candidate needs to have a platform. Is a platform simply a list of the candidate’s promises? Can a candidate for local council really promise anything, knowing that if elected they will have one vote on an eleven member council?
I would rather share my hope and vision for how our next council will function and what they will achieve.
I want to be part of a council that:
1) Works well together
Your next council must set personal and partisan sentiments aside in favour of debating and deciding on issues and policies that will improve our city. Council will and should include people with different perspectives and will not always achieve a consensus. I will challenge our next council to limit our disagreements to matters of policy, and not personality.
The task of building a better Oshawa is much more important than our individual differences.
2) Is Accountable and Transparent
I am not the first and I will not be the last to say that your next council must be accountable and transparent. This almost seems too obvious to warrant a mention, but it has not been obvious to all. I will challenge our next council to ensure that a Freedom of Information (FOI) request will never again be required for a taxpayer, a member of the press or a councillor to determine how and where your tax dollars have been spent.
Part of accountability is availability. How can I be accountable to you if I am not available to hear your concerns and your perspective? My City Hall phone will be forwarded to my cell phone. I will continue to maintain an online presence, using social media, and email. My website www.RogerBouma.ca will change from its current form to an information sharing site with a “Page Roger Now” function.
I will meet any concerned resident in their home, at their business,
a coffee shop or at city hall at the earliest available opportunity.
3) Commits to reduce the property tax burden
If you own a home in Oshawa you are paying higher property taxes than you would if you owned that same home in a neighbouring community. That’s not competitive. It not only takes more money out of your pocket each month, it also hurts the value of your property.
Reducing the tax burden will not be easy or quick. This must be a deliberate process by a council that first acknowledges that the problem exists.
I will challenge our next council to identify this city’s core values and priorities and then dare to measure every decision made and every dollar spent against these values and priorities. Council must develop and commit to a plan that will reduce this burden over time while maintaining an appropriate level of service. At the same time your next council must be intentional about reducing Oshawa’s debt and continuing to grow our reserves funds, so that we do not simply pass the tax burden on to future councils and our future residents.
You deserve a council that remembers that every dollar they spend
is a dollar that you
the residents of Oshawa first earned
and then entrusted to the city to spend wisely.
4) Plans for Oshawa’s future
The character of Oshawa is changing. The new Oshawa will continue to include automotive and other industry, but it will also include a thriving college, two growing universities, faculties and student residents in our downtown. The recent harbour announcement will finally give this city an opportunity to create a destination waterfront. Imagine a waterfront that includes condos or other residential development, overlooking a recreational marina, with shops and restaurants and more.
I will encourage our council to plan for this future, rather than to simply react to it one development application after another. I am excited about Oshawa’s future and eager to be part of a consultative planning process that engages the residents of our city in a discussion about what the new Oshawa will be.
Oshawa’s slogan is “Prepare to be Amazed”. When it comes to
future let’s “Prepare to be Engaged”
5) Promotes Oshawa as a great place to live, to work and to play
Oshawa has a rare opportunity to recreate its image. Imagine a radio campaign that promotes the new Oshawa as an affordable family friendly city and finishes with an invitation to visit the city’s website.
Let’s rebuild www.Oshawa.ca by moving the current function of the site behind easy to find tabs and using the homepage to showcase all that Oshawa has to offer. Our website could feature images of a young family enjoying our bike trails, seniors walking along the waterfront, university students enjoying our downtown, a couple on a restaurant patio, pictures of Lakeview Park, Lakeridge Oshawa, Parkwood Estate, our college and universities and more. Why not invite our residents to submit pictures of what makes Oshawa the city they choose to call home? We could provide (and exchange) links to local business websites that help to promote our city.
Let’s use industry publications to promote Oshawa as a great place to establish or grow business. We need to let the world know that we have the skilled workforce, the serviced land and unparalleled access for moving goods and people in and out by road, by rail, by air and through our port.
I want to be part of a council that looks for every opportunity
to promote Oshawa
as a great place to live, to work and to play.
I truly believe that we can build a better Oshawa, but I need your help, I need your vote. Please also take some time to get to know the other Oshawa candidates and on October 25th choose some good men and women to represent you for the next four years.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my hope and vision for our next council and our city.