Ask John A Question
During my 19 years as a Milton councillor, I have helped several thousand Miltonians with their municipal problems. My financial, people and government management experience, as well as my deep commitment to and understanding of our community is now needed more than ever.
If you have questions for me regarding my platform or political issues involving the Town of Milton, please submit a message with your contact information and I will get back to you shortly.
Sincerely, John Challinor II
405 Gowland Crescent
Questions Submitted By Our Local Ward 2 Voters
Q: When you indicate that property taxes should increase only at a rate that is favourable to the rate of inflation, does that mean 8%, which was the inflation rate for the month of July 2022?
Q: What are your thoughts on local transit?
A: One of the alternative forms of transit that I am going to ask Town staff to give consideration to investigating is a hybrid system that uses buses, cabs, Uber and Lyft across all four wards in a scalable matrix that is affordable for seniors, students, workers and others who rely solely on this system. Similar systems are currently in place in a few other municipalities across the province, with good results, so far, including some communities around the current Hamilton transit system. Innisfil is using an Uber system solely. Georgetown is using cab system solely. We need to hear what users have to say on this issue, but we also need to approach subject matter experts on this and other Town services. Greg Gormick, one of Canada’s foremost authorities on rail transportation and public transit, has been a close friend of mine since the 1970s. His work can be found here in my policy discussions on CN Intermodal and GO Transit.
Interested in learning more about GO Train service in Milton? Read the independent analysis here.
What I am proposing we look at would evolve to more buses than we have today as the user base grows. As I have learned from my learned friend Greg, transit systems just don’t happen, they evolve as user patterns evolve. There are no simple solutions when it comes to a transit system. And no solution lasts long. The system must evolve as ridership evolves. Milton Transit evolved from a privately run, family operation to a third party contractor to a contract with Oakville Transit during my time co-managing that service with staff and other members of Council. The routes changed every six months to a year, based on ridership patterns and GO Transit schedules.
Q: What will you do to attract jobs to Milton?
Q: Cycling, driving and walking around town is becoming more dangerous. What do you suggest the Town do to make its roads safer?
Q: When you indicate that property taxes should increase only at a rate that is favourable to the rate of inflation, what do you mean?
Q: I was told that the Town of Milton has red light camera and speed camera technology attached to poles at local intersections that has not been activated. Is that true?
Q: I was told that the Town of Milton has responsibility for air quality in Milton. Is that true?
Q: Which is more environmentally friendly, plastic lawn sign bags or coroplast signs?
Q: I was told that the current roadbed of some Milton arterial roads can be widened to accept both parking and bike lanes. Is that true?
Q: Climate change is the most significant problem that we encounter, what measures can the town of Milton employ to help combat climate change?
A: To reduce the Town’s carbon footprint, a key component of mankind’s impact on global air quality and temperature, as technologies evolve to the point where they can economically and technically support large commercial applications, the Town of Milton must consider electric vehicle deployment as well as use of solar and wind power to augment current electrical use. Further, new building construction should consider greater use of recycled materials, high R content materials and environmental management and control systems that minimize power usage, where economically and technically feasible. Public transit must be encouraged as ridership builds and steps must be taken to build ridership. The Town also needs to introduce public spaces recycling in all of its facilities, whether offices, recreational facilities, parks or streets, to collect recyclable aluminum, glass, paper, plastic and organics.
Q: One use plastic is a major pollution issue, as well as a killer of wildlife, what measures can Milton employ to battle this pollution problem?
A: Today, about 50 percent of the recyclable PET plastic used by Canadians is recycled. While that is high relative to other plastics and other materials deployed in food, beverage, consumer goods and construction materials packaging, it is still unsatisfactory. Construction materials represent about 50 percent of the volume of all materials landfilled today, making them the most significant pollution issue faced by municipalities and industry. These materials have the greatest impact on wildlife and all life. However, I believe the establishment of a public spaces recycling program in Milton would greatly reduce plastics pollution as well as the challenges associated with aluminum, glass, paper and organics. In 2009, Manitoba recycled about 40 percent of its beverage containers. In 2017, that figure passed the 70 percent recycling mark through the deployment of public spaces recycling and intense public education. The Manitoba program is the most cost-effective and successful recycling program in the world and has, in the process, rekindled public enthusiasm in that province for more actively participating in its Blue Box Program. By comparison, the Ontario Blue Box Program has been stuck in idle at a less than 50 percent recycling rate for more than a decade. Ontario needs public spaces recycling. I led a successful pilot program in Sarnia in 2009, and Erin, Puslinch and Toronto in 2010 but was unsuccessful in convincing former Environment Ministers Jim Bradley and Glenn Murray of its value as a province-wide program.
Q: How can Milton transform its energy consumption from dirty energy (gas, oil and natural gas) to renewable energy?
A: As technologies evolve to the point where they can economically and technically support large commercial applications, the Town of Milton must consider electric vehicle deployment as well as use of solar and wind power to augment current electrical use. In Ontario, most of the power used for commercial and residential applications is generated by nuclear power rather than coal, gas, natural gas and oil. Further, new building construction should consider greater use of recycled materials, high R content materials and environmental management and control systems that minimize power usage, where economically and technically feasible. It’s not enough to just move from one power generation source to another. We also have to reduce our use of all power generation sources, where economically and technically feasible.
Q: Do you believe our current town infrastructure (schools, libraries, community centres, sports centres, parks, trails, etc.) addresses the needs of Milton youth effectively?
A: I believe the current Town of Milton matrix of athletic, recreational and social activity-based infrastructure meets the requirements of many youth. However, I am not convinced that it meets the needs of most young people in our community today. That’s why I called for a Core Services Review. It will engage Town staff and all Miltonians, including our youth, in a discussion, and later, a decision about the provision of infrastructure and services that are most commonly desired affordably and sustainably, moving forward.
Q: As a Town Councillor, what specifically will you do in your ward to make youth feel a greater sense of belonging within the fabric of Milton?
A: I would like to see the establishment of a one-stop guide on the Town’s website that lists athletic, recreational and social activity-based services for young Miltonians, volunteer and job opportunities for them in our community and assistance they can seek out when they are in need, for whatever reason. This guide would include Town services as well as youth-oriented services provided by private- and non-profit-sector organizations in the community, including the local bowling alley, cinema, swimming academy, etc. The biggest challenge we face today is poor communications between the Town and its citizens. Good communications will go a long way towards young people having a greater sense of belonging in the community as it grows and as they age, regardless of their individual needs.
Q: Most Milton youth find themselves having to travel outside of town for a satisfactory shopping experience. Given that Milton continues to have only one (small) shopping mall within its boundaries despite being a town of over 110,000 residents, do you have any plans to incorporate something ambitious (e.g., a new shopping mall that is more youth-oriented and easily accessible) into any Town Plan or study?
A: I am in agreement that Bentall-Kennedy has done a generally poor job of attracting and retaining a range of retailers, including those that appeal to young people, at Milton Mall. I was a member of Milton Council between 1991 and 2006 and was part of the Official Plan of 1997 and Retail Study discussion and decision that created a Central Business District where Milton Mall could thrive. As the community grew, Milton Mall ownership failed to take advantage of the planning opportunity it was given. As other retail nodes developed across the community, Milton Mall also failed to deploy the geographical competitive advantage it enjoys, that being in the centre of the community. However, to be fair to Bentall-Kennedy and other national retail property owners, online retailing has changed bricks-and-mortar retailing forever, with global competitors emerging like Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and Wayfair, for example. Despite my criticism of Milton Mall, if elected, I am prepared to continue to help it and all other retailers in our community become more competitive through a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a one-stop online guide on the Milton Chamber of Commerce and Milton Downtown Business Improvement Area websites to help all Miltonians, including youth, know of all of the local shopping and services choices in our community. As part of the Core Services Review I am calling for, if elected, an updated Retail Study will be requested that determines what additional retail presence is needed in our community, moving forward, including mall, big box, plaza, node or street-level options.
Q: It is often frustrating for Milton youth to get outside of town when a car is not an option. Many youth have to travel to a GO Station in Oakville or Burlington to get to Downtown Toronto because GO Train service is not available in Milton on weekends. Inside town, Milton youth walk, ride bicycles and take Milton Transit to get around, among others. How will your transit plan address the needs of Milton youth?
A: Whether the rider is a young person, a worker or a senior, our community is under-serviced by Go Transit and Milton Transit. I have had the good fortune to have a personal friendship with Greg Gormick, Canada’s foremost authority on commercial and passenger rail service, including public transit. Greg and I discussed GO Transit and Milton Transit last spring and he then wrote a think-piece about how GO Transit could better serve Milton. He is currently writing a similar piece about how Milton Transit could better serve Miltonians. The GO Transit piece is posted on my website as is the Milton Transit article. What Greg and I contemplated is the value of a hybrid system that deploys buses and Town-subsidized cabs and UBER and LYFT vehicles in a matrix that allows both rural and urban Miltonians to have 24/7 access to public transit. As ridership builds in certain areas of the community, the transit option would move to a bus-based system. The hybrid model we are noodling through would allow young Miltonians to get to and from school, get to and from work and get to and from recreational and social engagements safely and affordably.
Q: After your four-year term as Town Councillor ends, what do you hope your impact on Milton youth will be?
A: I had the privilege to be on Milton Council when we had to deal with the Province of Ontario’s dictate in the 1990s that our community grow in the way we are experiencing today. While I loved the Milton of those days, shopping choices were few, recreational and social options were somewhat limited and local youth had to leave the community when they became adults because housing choices were minimal. Today, we have more of these things but living in Milton is becoming less and less affordable. I want to create an environment in Milton where property taxation is affordable, where Town services are affordable and where housing options are affordable. And, I want it to be sustainable, such that the community never returns to the situation we are in today — 5 percent property tax increases, a housing supply that isn’t meeting local demand and Town services that are not ideally matched to current and future needs.
Q: What Can The Town of Milton do to Help Those Living Below the Poverty Line?
A: While the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the Regional Municipality of Halton either co-fund or have service responsibility for most programs for those in need, including income assistance, subsidized housing and child care, local municipalities can play a part in helping residents rise out of poverty. Keeping residential property taxes low helps to make home ownership and some apartment rental fees more affordable. Apartment buildings are commercial entities so keeping commercial property taxes low helps there too, but also helps to keep the cost of products sold locally lower because retailers and service providers located in retail, commercial and industrial facilities pass their tax burden on to consumers. Local municipalities can also identify and encourage establishment of non-profit agencies that support those in need through their various services. Having a hardship policy in place will also enable qualifying youth, young mothers and the elderly, in particular, to participate in key Town programs at no charge.
Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I attended Milton District High School, as did my two children. I served as Treasurer and a member of MDHS Student Council and I was also Co-Editor of the MDHS Astra Year Book. My wife and I are MDHS high-school sweethearts. I am one of Milton’s local historians and the co-author of three high-quality books of local history. I am an old car guy (triple-black 1972 Ford LTD convertible) and a die-hard Hamilton Tiger-Cats football fan.
Q: Where can Miltonians youth learn more about you and your campaign for Town Councillor?
A: I encourage everyone including students to either drop by my website, www.johnchallinor.ca, visit and like me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JohnChallinorW2 or reach out to me by phone at 905-878-7638 or by email at email@example.com.