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Q&A: What do BSOM hopefuls see as top priorities this election?

BarrieToday contacted Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte candidates to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election

Editor's note: BarrieToday contacted all of the candidates in the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) riding to hear what they have to say on a series of topics ahead of Thursday's provincial election. Each candidate was asked to provide a 150-word response. Here is what they had to say about what they see as the top priorities this election. 

Beverley Patchell, NDP:

I believe now is a critical time in decision making to ensure that our community is a safe and affordable place to live, now and for future generations. 

To accomplish this, we need to get the cost of housing under control and when making decisions on future growth and development, the impact to our natural resources needs to be a primary consideration. 

We can't continue to allow the social fabric in our community to erode.  Investing now so that everyone in our community has their most basic needs met,  will only make our community stronger.

Gerry Auger, Ontario Party:

The Top Priorities in this riding are:

A. Education both addressing issues around the curriculum agenda and funding infrastructures for facilities. Currently we have schools with 170 per cent attendance above capacity.

B. Environmental considerations versus urban development. We must have a responsible and transparent approach to determining how development should proceed in our region to protect, preserve and prosper from the unique and world renowned ecological jewels we have in our region including the Elmvale spring/aquifer and the precious family farmland.

Elyse Robinson, Green:

I think there are a few top priorities that need to be addressed in this riding. 

First is increasing the availability and stock of affordable housing and clamping down on speculation in the housing market. 

Second is stopping the construction of the Bradford Bypass in order to protect Lake Simcoe from road salt pollution and save important wetlands from being paved over.  

Third is implementing a Grocery Code of Conduct to protect local farmers, food producers, and consumers from rising food prices and price gouging by big box-stores.  

And fourth is protecting our freshwater and farmland by placing a moratorium on all new gravel mining pits as well as any extensions of existing ones and freezing all urban boundaries.”

Hayden Hughes, New Blue:

Health care and overall affordability are top priorities. Additionally, I would love to see our senior citizens have better access to the community. I think an excellent way to help our seniors is to teach those who struggle with technology.

I believe that by providing this aid to seniors, it will give them a higher level of independence in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on functioning with technology. I would like to see our community be a trail run of government funded intergenerational teaching.

School-aged adolescents would work one-on-one with elderly in the community to help them foster a better understanding of technology.

The teaching, in turn, would go both ways as I’m sure both the adolescent and elderly participants in this program would learn a great deal from one another  things that they may not have the opportunity to learn without this type of program.

Doug Downey, Progressive Conservative:

A top priority for me in BSOM is necessary investment in critical infrastructure. We are committed to investing over $158 billion in key infrastructure over the next 10 years, including $20 billion in 2022-23 alone.

Our government has a plan to build new highways, road and other key infrastructure so the people of this province can spend less time in gridlock and more time doing important things. By investing approximately $2.6 billion in the construction of the Bradford Bypass, and making new investments in our highway rehabilitation and renewal program, we are getting it done for Ontarians.

Beyond transportation, key broadband infrastructure is also important. In the 21st century, having access to the internet has never been more crucial. Unfortunately, in far too many corners of Ontario, many Ontarians do not have access to a reliable internet connection.

As a part of the 2021 Budget, our PC team is making a historic investment of $2.8 billion for broadband infrastructure, ensuring that every region in our province has access to reliable broadband services by 2025.

Jeff Lehman, Liberal:

Housing and affordability has been the top concern I’ve been hearing at the doors. An Ontario Liberal government will work to build housing for everyone – including rental apartments, housing for seniors and vulnerable populations.

We will also work to strengthen protection for tenants through bringing back rent control and building the missing middle.

We’ll also establish the Ontario Home Building Corporation which will work with local partners and communities to build and maintain affordable homes of all types – helping our first-time home buyers reach their goal of owning a home closer to their support systems.