“I will not sugarcoat it. We have a lot of work to do. There is a lot of fear and misinformation to
wade through, and there are many powerful corporate interests throughout the Region that will
constantly apply pressure against the public interest. But the work only gets done if we stop
looking away from the root of the problems. No politician can make the necessary changes on
their own. I am asking for your support not just during this election but everyday as we live and
work in this community together.”
- Jemma Lambert
Defund the Police.
Child Care Expansion.
Our Firefighters, Paramedics, and Most Municipal Services Are Underfunded And Under Staffed
Our poor city design has created a dangerous environment for our firefighters and paramedics, and made a number of our municipal services slow and unresponsive. While in the long term we can fix suburban sprawl to improve this, we need to immediately make up the shortfalls in some of these services to ensure our city is safe, and everyone is being served.
Painted Bike Lanes Are Not Real Cycling Infrastructure.
There has been a trend with North American cities slapping some paint on the side of the road and calling it bicycle infrastructure. It lets politicians check the box of bike infrastructure without actually making the changes needed to provide it. Painted bike lanes are not bike infrastructure. They are traffic accidents waiting to happen. They are places where we park cars despite the parking bylaws because they aren't enforced on those roads. Bike infrastructure needs to be physically separated from road crossings. It also needs to have very few steep inclines if people are to actually use them for their inter-city commute.
As an ecologically and economically effective alternative to local car traffic we should be investing in real bike infrastructure to reduce congestion and give people more effective alternatives for getting from point A to B. It would make life easier for everyone, whether you use your car or not.
Our Water Bills in Durham Region Should Be Using Equal Payment Billing
I have heard from a number of our residents that our water bills are unpredictable and large. I did not have an answer for this until one resident suggested "equal payment" billing. The basic Idea is that we average out the cost of water throughout the year so that your water bill is somewhat consistent each month. The first 6 months a year, your bill will be slightly higher than average to cover any inconsistencies and then it will be slightly lower the next 6 months.
This simple billing change could be a huge help to a number of residents living on a fixed income in addition to making everyone's financial planning easier.
We Need Accessible Housing
There is a lot of talk about affordable housing right now, and which is important, but we should also be focusing on accessible housing. We need to ensure that when our city is developed it builds a high enough percentage of accessible housing to serve the needs of our disabled and elderly population. This means every development should include buildings completely accessible by wheelchair, or other mobility aids as needed. We should be talking with developers to help provide this as a part of the building permit bargaining process.
Defensive Design Is Not a Real Solution to Homelessness
Our city has engaged in a number of cruel and ineffective ways of dealing with homelessness. When we clear homeless camps, hire private security to patrol downtown, stick bars on benches, and stick anti-sleep noise devices under bridges we are being violent. When we ban mutual aid groups from handing out food and water in public places we are sweeping Durham Region and Oshawa's problems under the rug at the expense of human lives.
In the last few years we have seen a huge spike in deaths among those suffering with homelessness and deep poverty. More than 35% of Canadians live under the Lim-At poverty line, any of us could become homeless. I know we are all scared because our politicians are not serving us at any level of politics right now, but using the people suffering the most in our society as scapegoats is unacceptable. We need to remind our politicians of that.
Information On City Hall, Our Municipal Services, and Our Councils In Durham Should Be Accessible and Transparent
The tools we have to explore our councilor's voting records, bylaws, council meetings and committee meetings are extremely outdated. We cannot keyword search our meetings or our bylaws and we have no organization system besides searching by date. There are a number of extremely simple and easy database tools that would make the process of combing through municipal information much easier to navigate. This information is so important to a functioning democracy so we need to put it into as many hands as possible.
Traffic Calming and Driving Alternatives Downtown and in Residential Areas Should Be Better Designed
In Canada and the US we frequently ignore basic traffic safety measures in favor of making our car infrastructure as convenient and fast as possible. Long straight wide roads, multi-lane "stroads" going through the centre of our cities, and a complete negligence of safe walking/biking infrastructure in many areas of our city. We resort to stop signs, refuse reasonable speed limits, speed bumps and many of the more creative methods of traffic calming seen around the world. This is mostly because traffic calming makes the first and last mile of car trips take an extra minute or two. No good residential development is completely car-dependent because it is not safe for kids, disabled people, transit-goers, and pedestrians in a city as populated as ours, let alone other drivers. It is wrong to arbitrarily make our streets unsafe for such a huge group of people in Oshawa.
While we can't fix our ridiculous roads overnight in this respect, I feel we should strongly consider the wide variety of alternatives available, and advocate with other levels of government where our road/street design has been taken out of our hands as a municipality. Being an auto town does not mean we should disregard basic safety practices--on the contrary, we should be a leader in safer traffic engineering.
-Insufficient Snow Clearing in the winter blocking driveways and sidewalks
-Infrequent Brush Path Clearing in greenspaces that aren't our major parks, which could be a fire hazard in the long term
-No Yard Waste Pickup In Fall after the leaves fall
-Broken Compost Bins due to rushed/understaffed garbage pickup crews
-Buses That Don't Show Up On Time either being frequently late or completely missing scheduled pickup times