Candidate Info

General Info

Matt Alexander

Ward 1
Contact info:

Telephone: 705-988-2261
Email: electmattalexander@gmail.com
Website: electmattalexander.com
Facebook: MattAlexanderWard1
Twitter: @WestEndMatt

Biography:

Provincial Planner

“Started  @SudburyLives to help promote live music, arts and culture in the city”

from http://www.electmattalexander.com/aboutmatt.html, last checked July 3, 2014


Transportation


Platform Statement:

“Safety First
Prioritize safety for all road users when we rebuild roads and approve new development.

Life-Cycle Infrastructure Costing
We can’t build new roads without a plan to pay for on-going maintenance. We need a new comprehensive approach to infrastructure.

The 8-80 Approach
Our streets should be safe and comfortable for everyone aged 8 to 80 years old.

Grow Transit Ridership
We can improve the cost-effectiveness of our transit system and reduce congestion by implementing strategies to encourage more people to ride the bus. What would it take for you to want to ride the bus?

Safer Cycling for Smoother Driving
More people will want to bike to work over the next four years. We need to improve cycling safety along the routes that will see the most new cyclists to ensure traffic keeps moving smoothly.”

“Work and Shop Closer to Home
Facilitate development of walkable, attractive public spaces to encourage sustainable transportation.”

“Improve Foot Traffic for Ward 1 Businesses
I’ll work with business-owners in the West End and along Regent to make these retail areas safer and more comfortable for pedestrians.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to get more people on underused bus routes, even if you never ride it.

More riders: make our transit system more cost-effective; reduce the number of cars on our roads; and increases the safety of passengers and drivers (Assaults on crowded buses are much less likely than on mostly empty buses).

If I’m elected as councillor for Ward 1 my priority for transit will be to increase ridership.

I’ll bring a motion to council directing staff to development of a ridership growth strategy with input from you. We’ll establish annual targets based on long-term strategies and low-cost, easy-to-do quick wins.

We can make transit work in Sudbury, but we need a real strategy for attracting new riders. This will be my priority for transit over the next term of council.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/blog.html, last checked Sept. 18, 2014


Transportation Survey Responses:

1. What does sustainable transportation mean to you?
Sustainable transportation means walking and cycling are safe and effective means of getting around the city without increasing congestion for residents who need their vehicles on a daily basis.

* 2. How are you going to support it in our community?
I’ll work with developers to ensure new subdivisions and commercial developments are designed to accommodate walking and cycling because it is more cost-effective and easier to include sidewalks, appropriate crossings and bike lanes when a neighbourhood is first built then to try to add them later. I’ll also encourage business-owners to install bike racks and pedestrian paths through parking lots in existing areas.
I’ll ensure new development includes accommodation for pedestrian and cycling facilities. I’ll support a transit ridership growth strategy and earmarking roads funds to achieve walking and cycling targets.
* Above includes answer to Top Public Question 3. What are you going to do to enhance walking, bicycling and transit usage in Greater Sudbury over the next 4 years?


Level of support for:

(a) Dedicated annual funding in the municipal budget for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure
I will champion that
(b) Adopting a Complete Streets Policy that details how to implement streets that are designed for all users
I will vote in favour
(c) Improvements in transit service and fares to meet the needs of citizens
I will champion that
(d) Implementation and coordination of Transportation Demand Management
I will vote in favour
Explanation:
A – Our roads budget should commit a percentage of funding for cycling and walking to match the percentage Sudburians we would like to see cycling to work every day. We need active transportation targets and a committed strategy to achieve those targets. B – Motor vehicle traffic is prioritized on our roads for a reason, but our major arterial roads are often the only way to get from one part of the city to another. For example, there is no way to get from the West End in Ward 1 to the Four Corners without travelling on Regent St, which is not a safe or comfortable route for pedestrians, cyclists or transit users. To focus primarily on motor vehicles we limit the economic potential of businesses along these routes and across the city. C – The city needs to devise and implement a ridership growth strategy for transit. This may result in schedule adjustments, new fare structures and route adjustments. This must happen with deep public consultation, including consultation with people who currently don’t use transit. D – A transportation demand management approach to new development and redevelopments will help ensure major traffic generators don’t have a negative impact on adjacent roads and neighbourhoods. It will also help ensure our transit lines are more cost-effective and attractive for residents.

Water Quality


Platform Statement:

“Ensure Responsible Shoreline Development
Adopt a Development Permit System to manage development of lakefront properties and direct new development to areas where environmental features won’t be impacted;

Reduce Run-off (and Landscaping Costs)
Install native-species rain gardens to reduce run-off into our stormwater system and reduce maintenance costs.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014.

Water Quality Survey Responses:

1. In your view, what are the most important steps the city needs to take to protect water quality?
The most important steps for protecting water quality is to reduce run-off into our stormdrains, renaturalize our shorelines and over time work towards replacing septic systems on Ramsay Lake with piped municipal services.

* 2. How are you going to support it in our community?
I’ll move these forward by working with residents in Ward 1 to build rain gardens on public and private property, support the creation of a development permit system similar to that in place in Lake of Bays to require shoreline rehabilitation as a condition for planning approvals, and support long-term infrastructure planning.
I’ll support increased public access to shorelines to encourage a broader sense of ownership of our lakes and increase “eyes on the water” so spills, contamination, blue-green algae or other risks are immediately reported. I’ll support programs for re-inspection of septic systems.
* Above includes answer to Top Public Question 1. What plan do you have to protect and sustain our many lakes? What actions will you take to support your plan? What resources will you devote?


Level of support for:

(a) Requiring larger shoreline buffers
I will champion that
(b) Dedicated annual funding in the municipal budget to complete priority watershed and subwatershed studies
I will vote in favour
(c) Rejecting development in floodplains and wetlands
I will champion that
(d) Adopting higher standards for storm water management, and expanded capacity in vulnerable areas
I will vote in favour
(e) Support for the Vermilion River Stewardship’s opposition of proposed modified run-of-river hydroelectric dams on the Vermilion River
Unsure
Explanation:
A – I would support wider shoreline buffers and policies to require shoreline rehabilitation as a condition of development on waterfront properties. I’d also work with developers to ensure public access to shorelines through parkland dedication to bring more “eyes on the lake” so blue-green algae or other threats to water quality are reported immediately. B – We’re proud of being a city of lakes, but without a comprehensive watershed study we don’t really know what we’ve got, or what the impacts of development are on our lakes. We need a coordinated strategy to get this done. We should pursue options for non-municipal funding for these studies, but we need to meet targets for moving towards this goal. C – There’s an old real estate scam involving Florida swamp land. We don’t need developers falling for that here in Sudbury. Development in floodplains and wetlands is more costly for developers and ultimately more costly for the city. We should explore options for acquiring privately held floodplains and wetlands or providing tax relief for lands that aren’t suitable for development. E – I do not know enough about this proposal, and its potential impacts to take a position.

Natural Environment


Platform Statement:

“We can work as a community to ensure new development has a positive impact on our environment.

Secure Public Access to Ward 1’s Undeveloped Hilltops
Let’s be pro-active about setting land aside for neighbourhood use and create a plan to make our scenic hilltops accessible.

Ensure Responsible Shoreline Development
Adopt a Development Permit System to manage development of lakefront properties and direct new development to areas where environmental features won’t be impacted;

Reduce Run-off (and Landscaping Costs)
Install native-species rain gardens to reduce run-off into our stormwater system and reduce maintenance costs.

Work and Shop Closer to Home
Facilitate development of walkable, attractive public spaces to encourage sustainable transportation.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014.

Natural Environment Survey Responses:

1. How will you balance development with protection of the natural environment?
I’ll work with developers prior to the submission of a development application to identify areas that are appropriate for recreation and conservation uses. We can use parkland dedication policies in collaboration with residents and stewardship groups to set aside sensitive lands from development.

2. How will you champion opportunities in your ward to fill gaps in parks service and to protect unique natural areas (identified by the Green Space Advisory Panel)?
Ward 1 is lucky to have several undeveloped hills in our neighbourhoods. These hills provide scenic lookouts, but they are not accessible to all residents. I’ll work with property owners to set aside areas for public enjoyment and install ramps or stairs to improve accessibility.


Level of support for:

(a) Dedicated annual funding in the municipal budget to implement the green space acquisition strategy
Unsure
(b) Policies in the Official Plan to recognize and protect important natural areas
I will champion that
(c) Removing the “Laurentian link” road from the Official Plan transportation schedule
I will vote in favour
(d) Re-assessing proposed roads on the Transportation Schedule that impact natural areas
I will vote in favour
Explanation:
A – There are instruments available to the city to require development proponents to protect or contribute funds towards the protection of green spaces. This means using municipal funds is not the only option, and I’d like to look at all opportunities to move forward with the strategy. B – The whole purpose of adopting an official plan is to identify the area that are most- and least-appropriate for development. We need to ensure we stick with the plan to achieve our objectives. C – The “Laurentian Link” would transform Loach’s Road from a residential street to a congested arterial road. For that reason alone I will not support punching a road through to Laurentien University. Instead, I would support improving Loach’s Road for cycling to provide a safe and effective alternative to Paris street for residents in the South End. I would also like to look at providing a bus-only roadway along this route to make transit a more viable option for students, workers and profs. D – New roads can only be justified where they support sustainable financial growth in the city. If a new road can’t pay for itself through increased assessment then it should not be built. Roads planned through wetlands, conservation areas or floodplains cannot be supported by development along those routes and should be removed from the transportation master plan.

Local Food


Platform Statement:

“Grow Your Own
Food brings people together. Support new community gardens, produce-sharing, and neighbourhood kitchens.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014.

Local Food Survey Responses:

1. How do you see the city’s role in food system sustainability, access to local food, and the connection to health?
Sudbury is lucky to have as much agricultural land as we have. We should work harder to preserve our farmland, support our farmers and attract new farmers. I’ll support new community gardens and produce swaps in Ward 1’s urban neighbourhoods to support food education, community-building and place-making.

* 2. How would you develop local agriculture and fresh water and forest foods?
The Sudbury Market should explore the feasibility of waiving vendor fees for farmers within the municipality. Lost revenue might be recovered by opening the market retail units during the week for sale of prepared food and non-food items.
I’ll facilitate new community gardens, backyard gardens, neighbourhood produce swap, canning workshops and other community events to encourage food education. I’ll work towards a farmland match-maker program to keep rural land in food production and encourage new food entrepreneurs to establish in Sudbury.
* Above includes answer to Top Public Question 2. What is your commitment to encourage a local food economy?


Level of support for:

(a) A food action plan for the city
I will vote in favour
(b) Developing targets for procurement of local food in municipal institutions
Unsure
(c) Providing support for urban agriculture initiatives
I will champion that
(d) Expanding the amount of land preserved for agricultural use and avoiding incompatible use
I will champion that
(e) Designating the market as a Farmer’s Market
Unsure
Explanation:
A – Any food action plan must have achievable targets and a strategy for implementation B – I would support giving a priority to local food suppliers in procurement policies, however I would like to know the feasibility of targets considering the relatively limited selection of local food options in the area. C – Food brings communities together. I intend to host community dinners, outdoor pizza nights and other events to bring people together over food. I’ll support new community gardens and food sharing initiatives. D – Development in our rural areas has devalued established neighbourhoods in Ward 1 and other parts of the city. I’ll support match-maker programs to find purchasers for farmland so our farmers can retire without turning their land over to suburban sprawl. E – My concern is that our market may be too small to survive on local food alone. I support this as an ultimate goal, but at this point I don’t want to have to turn away vendor who may attract new patrons.

Citizen Engagement


Platform Statement:

“Ward 1 Newsletter
Delivered to your door or email, I’ll keep you informed about city business, neighbourhood events, my meeting schedule and voting record.

5-Day Notice of Agenda Items
Meeting agendas should be released on Wednesday so you have time to form an opinion and respond.

Development Notice boards
You need to know what’s proposed on your street before it goes to council so you can tell me what you think.

Lobbyist Registry
Lobbyist registries in Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton help prevent backroom deals, something Sudbury has been concerned about for years.

A Meaningful Breakdown of Our Taxes
Broad categories like “Road construction and maintenance” and “Leisure, Libraries and Museums” don’t tell the whole story. We need an easy, interactive online tool to help explain the city budget.

Accountability isn’t a slogan to me, it’s the result of keeping the community involved in decisions.

Collaborative Planning and Development
New roads projects, subdivisions and city programs need to meet performance standards we set as a community.

Councillor Office Hours
You’ll know where to find me on a regular basis so we can talk about upcoming items at council, concerns about the neighbourhood or new initiatives you’d like to see.

Participatory Budgeting
I’ll hand over control of the Healthy Communities Initiative Fund to residents. An open process of proposals and community-wide voting will decide how money is spent. I’ll propose this system replace the “slush funds” city-wide at the first opportunity.

Review of Citizen Advisory Panels and Committees of Council
You’ve told me you’re unsatisfied with the input you have in decisions at city hall. I’ll push to make our Citizen Advisory Panels and Committees of Council more effective.

Turning NIMBY to YIMBY
We need development that can get enthusiastic support in established neighbourhoods so home-owners will say “Yes, In My Backyard”.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014.

Re HCI funds:  “Public funds should benefit the public and how that money is spent locally should be determined directly by the public. In cities across the globe residents are involved in setting the spending priorities for their neighbourhoods through the process of participatory budgeting. This is a practice I intend to bring to Ward 1 as councillor. …  As a result of participatory budgeting, residents are better informed about how their money is spent; they are involved in the decision-making process from the very beginning; and they have a direct influence on how their tax dollars are spent in their neighbourhoods..”

From http://electmattalexander.com/blog.html, last checked August 12, 2014

Citizen Engagement Survey Responses:

1. How will you ensure that community consultation is done effectively and openly, with productive dialogue from start to finish for municipal projects and decisions?
’ll provide a bi-weekly newsletter to notify residents of upcoming city council agenda items, development applications, roadwork, community events and programs. I’ll host regular office-hours during which residents can drop in to discuss upcoming agenda items and move to release meeting agendas 5 days prior to meetings instead of the current three day schedule.

2. How will you ensure a consistent culture of openness and support for public input across all city departments?
I’ll support open government and open data programs, a website overhaul to make staff reports more accessible and I’ll take the lead in bringing staff to the community to discuss local issues.


Level of support for:

(a) Adopting an enhanced system for resolving all issues and complaints, including tracking numbers and prescribed timelines
I will champion that
(b) Requiring proactive engagement of citizens and stakeholder groups when forming policies and developing projects
I will champion that
(c) Requiring agendas and background material to be publicly posted two weeks in advance, and minutes to be posted one week after meetings of Council and Committees of Council
Unsure
(d) Providing timely, fair and transparent support to citizens and citizen groups for community projects that contribute to the community
I will vote in favour
(e) Ensuring easily accessible, complete and searchable information on the City website
I will champion that
Explanation:
A – We’ll review the effectiveness of 311. I’ll support a 311 email and twitter account, and a procedure for providing a reference number for all 311 calls. I’d like to explore the option of having 311 find the answer to questions or complaints and responding to residents rather than forwarding the staff to a staff answering machine. As councillor this is how I’ll respond to constituent’s questions and requests. B – I’ll move to require notice boards at the site of development applications and proposed roadwork. As councillor I’ll meet with owners of large parcels and encourage collaboration with neighbours to work towards appropriate development of these sites. C – Two weeks is too long a timeline and could force items to be bumped down too far down the queue, slowing progress. I will move to release agendas 5 days prior to meetings, with minutes to be posted in a timely manner.

Climate Change


Climate Change Survey Response:

Implement a transit ridership growth strategy; protect wetlands and floodplains from development that will likely be affected by increased major storm events; support 30-year infrastructure planning and neighbourhood emergency preparedness plans for areas most susceptible to climate-related disasters.

Other


Platform Statement:

“Make Use of What We Have
Prioritize development in existing neighbourhoods to grow our tax base without growing servicing costs. Increase the use of revenue-generating public facilities like community halls, arenas, pools, transit or other services through targeted marketing and promotion.

Adopt “Economic Gardening” Strategies
Programs to help home-grown small and medium-sized business that are already here in Sudbury can be more lucrative than incentives to lure outside employers.

Retain and Attract New Professionals
Support and promote arts, culture and sports amenities that help keep young people in Sudbury and attract new businesses and talent.

Housing First
Partner with local agencies to find stable housing and employment for low-income and homeless Sudburians.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/platform.html, last checked Sept. 22, 2014.

HCI funds:  “Public funds should benefit the public and how that money is spent locally should be determined directly by the public. In cities across the globe residents are involved in setting the spending priorities for their neighbourhoods through the process of participatory budgeting. This is a practice I intend to bring to Ward 1 as councillor. …  As a result of participatory budgeting, residents are better informed about how their money is spent; they are involved in the decision-making process from the very beginning; and they have a direct influence on how their tax dollars are spent in their neighbourhoods..”

Re fiscal sustainability:  “I’d rather live in a city where I get value for my tax dollars, not just the bare bones.

  • I’ll work with our homebuilders and small businesses to re-invest in our existing neighbourhoods. This will grow our assessment without increasing the cost of providing the services we use.
  • I’ll work with residents and land owners in Ward 1 to establish a vision for future development we can all live with and support. This will pre-empt the kind of NIMBY backlash that has stalled assessment growth over the past four years.
  • I’ll work with staff to use development charges more strategically so small-scale redevelopment in existing neighbourhoods becomes more feasible.
  • And I’ll introduce a motion to direct all departments to improve performance measures so we know we’re getting better value for our tax dollars, not just arbitrary budget reductions.

This won’t be as easy as cutting daycare or increasing recreational fees, but it will help make Sudbury more financially sustainable while maintaining our quality of life.”

From http://electmattalexander.com/blog.html, last checked August 12, 2014

“a commitment to explore the creation of a lobbyist registry”

From http://electmattalexander.com/blog.html, last checked October 17, 2014


All information is directly taken from candidates’ public platforms and official statements, most often candidate websites. The source and date are provided. Blank areas indicate that the candidate has not yet provided any official statements on this topic.