Candidates in Brantford’s mayoral race believe they can make a difference.
There are seven candidates running for mayor in the October 22 election, each one with a plan to create a more affordable, safer city.
“If you op to do better and you believe you have the strengths to do that- run. That’s the most important detail. If you believe there is a need for change, you put your name on the ballot and you run for council or mayor,” Dave Wrobel said.
Wrobel, a tradesperson and Mohawk College instructor, who seved nine years as a Ward 4 councillor is throwing his hat in the ring for the second time to make changes he thinks will help families in the city.
He wants to institute a four-year budget with annual audits to help families and businesses plan for the future and bring down the city’s debt and debenture load and then focus on affordable housing for families, low income earners and seniors. He also wants to increase the council’s accountability by making the mayor’s schedule public, recording all municipal meetings, including in camera meetings, schedule two planning meetings a month and keep council working through Christmas and the summer.
“I’m a believer of being at work every day and having reports to council letting council, staff and the community know where I am and what we have accomplished each month is important,” he said.
Five-term incumbent, Chris Friel is running for his third-consecutive term in office with a plan to bring a new hospital the north end of the city on Powerline Road with affordable housing for families and seniors nearby.
“We have a history of home-ownership in our community, and there is no reason that we can’t create the same opportunities in our very near future,” he said on his website.
He also wants to create a business concierge service to help serve business owners’ needs by having someone to help them navigate the red tape.
On Friel’s website it says that between 2014-2018 more than 800 companies have opened in Brantford creating almost 2,000 jobs.
He helped implement the Safe Brantford plan four years ago and hopes to lobby the government for more finances and resources to help police reduce crime, to provide services for those with mental health and addiction challenges.
Kevin Davis, a lawyer and former city councillor for six years has chaired and championed more than 10 local organizations.
He wants to make housing more affordable by keeping property taxes as low as possible, promoting the city to families and businesses, keep the city senior friendly, as well as making new city land available industrial, commercial and resident development
“Brantford is a great place to live and raise a family. But as house prices rise, young families are looking for new housing options and good, reliable jobs to pay for them,” he said on his website.
He wants to make financial priorities and stick to them, get the most for the city’s money and control costs, while making sure the city’s most important needs are met and stick to the budget.
“City Hall runs important services you use every day: sewers, sports venues, libraries and much more. City services keep people safe and healthy. They help us travel in and around the city. They support private sector job creators,” he said on his website.
He will maintain roads, build a new road into West Brant, improve inks to other cities and build a stronger relationship with County of Brant and Six Nations.
John Turmel, a former professional gambler and engineer, who holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for most elections lost, has run in and lost, 90 elections.
The Brantford resident wants to institute a Bus Bucks program for youth, which will offer youth and those with precarious housing situations buss passes for cleaning up litter, animal waste or other menial tasks six $2 bus passes per hour.
He also wants to create a timeshare program for single mothers and low-income families. The free babysitting program would allow families to log and swap hours of babysitting to create anytime free childcare.
He also wants to remove fluoride from the city’s water because he says, “it’s poison.” As well as trying to fix the traffic situation by removing poorly timed advances.
“I’m John the engineer. I’m kicking ass to get it done or I’m going to fire them,” he said. “You get an engineer who is gong to make stuff work again as apposed to a layer or politician who is just going to talk about it.”
Michael Issa a retired business executive, who served on the Toronto Catholic District School Board, wants to help the aging population by taking a serious look at options to increase the attention given to the rising population or seniors.
He believes creating more jobs will help those in precarious housing situations better afford housing and help families get a handle on their finances.
“By providing employment, providing shelter over one’s head will not be a problem. Brantford will continue to be an affordable and desirable place for accommodation and raising a family,” he said on his website.
He wants to encourage diversity, be accessible to community members and support all of the United Nations resolutions to reduce carbon emissions.
Barbara Berardi, a 63-year-old Ontario Disability Support Program recipient is running and, if elected would serve as the second female mayor. The first was Karen George, who was appointed in 1987 and elected for another term from 1988 to 1991.
Berardi wants an open door policy as mayor.
And will donate half of the mayor’s annual salary to the Brantford food bank.
Friel, the current mayor of Brantford made a little more than $100,000 in 2017.
Berardi’s plan includes an amphitheatre along the Grand River and replacing the casino with a cultural centre for local artists and performers.
She said she also wants to fix the city’s budget process. She doesn’t understand how life became unaffordable, but she wants to help families get back to a time when it was.
Wayne Maw, a disability pension recipient and volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society did not return calls for comment.