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From Sandycove to schools, Reinio says climate dominates conversation

'We need to address sprawl and we need to address people moving further and further away from their roots in order to find a home that they can afford to live in or to rent'
2019-10-02 CARP debate RB 4
NDP candidate Pekka Reinio is shown in a file photo from earlier in the campaign. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

BarrieToday is running profiles, in alphabetical order, on each of the five candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil riding. For more campaign coverage, visit our election page.

Pekka Reinio, the NDP candidate in Barrie-Innisfil, says he hears a common refrain when he talks to people at their door. 

"The top issues would be housing affordability and climate change in our riding," said Reinio. "Those are the two biggest issues I see at the door, by a long shot. People are having a hard time getting into the housing market, but having a hard time paying their rent."

The teacher-librarian, who also ran for the NDP in last year's provincial election and finished second to Progressive Conservative victor Andrea Khanjin, said people are worried for their children and future generations. 

"It's an issue when I go to Sandycove, it's an issue when I go to schools, it's an issue for everyone," he said. 

Reinio says the NDP has policies to address both.

"These two issues are intertwined," he said. "We need to put in place measures to make sure that we are addressing the effect on climate change with that many houses."

Barrie is expected to be home to 210,000 people by 2031, a jump of some 60,000 residents from present-day figures of around 150,000 people. By 2041, it's expected that the city will have 253,000 residents.

With the growth coming to south-end Barrie, which is poisted and prepped for a housing boom, Reinio says that influx of people needs to be well thought out as it relates to climate change. 

"All new housing communities should be walkable, high-density communities using passive heating if we really want to tackle climate change," he said. 

Reinio says urban sprawl is the main contributor to climate change in southern Ontario.

"We need to address sprawl and we need to address people moving further and further away from their roots in order to find a home that they can afford to live in or to rent," he said. 

"If we do nothing, we're going to see unchecked development and sprawl, which will put pressure on our watershed, it will eat up our greenspaces and our farmland, and will cause an increase in phosphorous levels in our lake," Reinio added. 

If he was elected, Reinio says the first four years would involve planning meetings with municipalities and the province to set goals for 2030. He'd like to see GO trains electrified and high-speed express service.

Reinio says the NDP's platform is "definitely affordable," including putting aside $15 billion into a "climate bank" to be used to put climate-related programs into place. They would also pull subsidies from the fossil-fuel industry and redirect the money in renewable energy, he said.

The NDP would also introduce a "super wealth tax" of an additional one per cent on people who have more than $20 million in assets, while also creating a foreign buyer's tax for people who live outside Canada and own investment property.

Reinio's campaign office is located at 110 Little Ave. For more information on Reinio's campaign, click here

The federal election is Oct. 21.