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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Good vibrations: an assessment of Northcrest Ward candidates for Peterborough City Council

This is a simple, tongue-and-cheek assessment of the five Northcrest Ward candidates for the October 27 election to city council in Peterborough, Ontario. La politica has also done assessments, posted separately, for Monaghan Ward, Town Ward, Otonabee Ward, and Ashburnham Ward. Each post has the same introductory paragraphs provided below. So...you can skip those if you are clicking around.

Intro to the assessments

The ward assessments rely on two scores out of five for a combined score out of ten. The first score is based on a candidate’s vibe, with the second score assessing the stuff and things (stuff n’ things) that the candidate proposes for Peterborough. The vibe scoring is purely subjective, and the score for stuff n’ things doesn’t necessarily take a stand on issues (i.e. parkway, taxation), but simply attempts to assess whether the candidate has material proposals, or is campaigning on vague promises and areas of interest.

The total score out of 10 does not provide a breakdown of the category scores out of five, because stuff n’ things can have vibe, too, and some vibe is so off the charts it might even be called a vibe economy, with material effects on stuff n’ things.

You are confused, but not for long. At the end of the Ward summary we provide an assessment of who we think might win, and why. Remember: you get two votes, as there are two council seats for each ward.

Northcrest Ward

Northcrest Ward (also known as “Ward 5”) is Peterborough’s orphan ward in the north end, yet it is an area that is expected to see significant growth in the years to come. It has the most to gain or lose in the parkway debate, and has a significant voting block – 9,880 votes were cast in Northcrest in 2010 – yet it receives little coverage. The ward extends north of Parkhill, from Jackson Park and up along the northwestern edge of the Otonabee river. It is largely residential, though it includes the Chemong Road shopping strip. In 2010, Andrew Beamer took the first seat, with 3,201 votes (over 34%), and Bob Hall the second with 2,478 votes (just over 25%). Mr. Hall is not running this time around: he is instead throwing his hat in the ring for the federal Liberal nomination.

Bill Templeman

Mr. Templeman’s number one concerns are poverty reduction, employment, and transportation.

To reduce poverty, Mr. Templeman has a host of high-vibe views on affordable housing, rent subsidies, bridge funding to prevent evictions, a municipal living wage bylaw for city employees and contractors, co-op housing for seniors, free transit passes for low income residents, food vouchers, and micro-loans to promote self-employment.

On the jobs front, he has the usual high vibe language around “helping” and “attracting” business, but some stuff n’ things, too. These include streamlining the business application process, tax holidays for new companies, a focus on education for “portfolio careers”, and the development of a new “business brand” for Peterborough, such as film production or green technology.
Northcrest Ward (Ward 5)

He is anti-parkway – a crucial issue in this ward. His solution is for a route from County Road 19 to Fairbairn Street to Lily Lake Road to Ackison Road. From there, Brealey Drive can be straightened for a direct link down to the 115. He would like to take that money and invest in existing infrastructure, as well as a new community centre in Northcrest, and a multi-pad replacement for the Memorial Centre. Some of that money could also go to public transit and helping the poor. He would also like to make the building of multi-unit downtown residential units more attractive to developers.

Mr. Templeman has done a good job of tying his anti-parkway stance into stuff n’ things, including ideas for better traffic control. He is campaigning hard, despite having recently suffered a cycling accident that resulted in a hip replacement. However, his vibe is a little flat. He scores a 7.

Kathryn Eyre

Ms. Eyre is pro-parkway. A physiotherapist and kindergarten school teacher, she otherwise might be described as a progressive candidate, with concerns for peace issues, women’s rights and climate change. Her motto is “Peterborough, Peaceful and Progressive”, but other than that there doesn’t seem to be much to her campaign. She appears to support provincial Liberal MPP Jeff Leal, and to have taken a course on municipal finances. On October 9 she was in court facing two charges related to a domestic dispute: disobeying a court order, and failing to comply with conditions. So, she is working some kind of vibe here, but not sure about the details. She is also remarkably low on stuff n’ things. Combined score: 3.5.

Dave Haacke

Mr. Haacke, who sells commercial real estate for a living, came in third in the 2010 election, with 2,340 votes (almost 24%). That was only 138 votes behind second-place finisher Bob Hall (not running this time around). All told, Mr. Haacke has run for Northcrest ward on three occasions. Mr. Haacke is pro-parkway, citing safety concerns, but with a smaller bridge over Jackson Park, suggesting instead that a middle turn lane could be added along Chemong Road, with Hospital Drive extended out to Lily Lake Road and then over to Chemong Road. Otherwise he is a strong supporter of policies that support cyclists and pedestrians. A frequent attendee at City Council meetings, Mr. Haacke has a very strong “pro-Peterborough” vibe. For stuff n’ things Mr. Haacke, a pilot, is keen on seeing new growth at the airport. He also wants something to replace the Northcrest Arena.

Mr. Haacke is a Conservative. In 2011 he came in second place for the provincial Conservative nomination in Peterborough. He has also served as president for both provincial and federal Conservative riding associations. Community involvement includes having been on numerous boards, including the Civic Hospital, Peterborough City Planning Board, Peterborough Housing Authority, Edmison Heights Parent Teacher Council, and the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board parent involvement committee. At present he sits on Peterborough’s Arenas, Parks and Recreation Advisory board, as well as on the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce policy committee.

This is a competitive centre-right candidate with a combined score of 7.

Andrew Beamer

The sole incumbent now that Bob Hall is not running, Mr. Beamer was a newcomer in 2010 yet came in first place with 3,201 votes, over 32% of total votes cast. A former owner of a Petro Canada franchise in Peterborough, he is now the regional representative for Nestle Canada.

He is pro-parkway, and keen to find a replacement for Northcrest Arena. During his term he has chaired three committees:  Social Services; Youth Commission; and Joint Services. He is a member of the Peterborough County City Health Unit, the Peterborough Housing Corporation, the City Trent Liaison Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Arenas, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Mr. Beamer is also a former member of the Peterborough Public Library Board, the Arts, Culture & Heritage Advisory Committee, the United Way Hockey Challenge Committee, and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Club Laurus Committee.

That’s a lot of committees, which some might think adds up to respectable stuff n’ things, but were not sure how much Mr. Beamer has to show for his efforts. His job creation strategy is primarily focussed on keeping taxes low. He tips his hat to the need for investment in industrial lands, and expanding the airport. His vibe is unconventional, perhaps, in that his stated concern for maintaining “vibrant, safe, and healthy neighbourhoods” is mostly about “the need for strong visible police presence”.  Combined score: 6.5.

Stephen Wright

Mr. Wright came to Peterborough from Calgary ten years ago, and runs a home renovation business. Previously he was a self-employed computer hardware and network consultant and political lobbyist. As a lobbyist, he primarily pushed a low-taxes agenda. No surprise, then, he is running his campaign with an emphasis on lower taxes and value for services. He is against the parkway, noting that the projected traffic growth is dubious, and believes crime is best fought by better police deployment and addressing underlying social issues. Mr. Wright wants improved street and trail lighting for pedestrians and cyclists and, interestingly, “targeted, technology inspired responses to address the raft of car break-ins.” He is big on public transit, and would like to take savings from the parkway and invest there. Rare for a Northcrest candidate, he says that “intelligent urban development isn’t more suburban sprawl”. Like some high-vibe candidates in other wards, he is big on the shift away from manufacturing to the “creative class” as the source of entrepreneurship and economic growth. Mr. Wright has a pretty good vibe, but his stuff n’ things is not that ambitious. Combined score: 6.

Northcrest Ward Rankings

The Northcrest Ward rankings for the combined vibe and stuff n’ things score are, in descending order:

Bill Templeman: 7
Dave Haacke: 7
Andrew Beamer: 6.5
Stephen Wright: 6
Kathryn Eyre: 3.5

Northcrest Ward Election Assessment

For Northcrest Ward in this election, it’s all about the parkway. The pro-parkway contingent in this ward might be high, but it isn’t as motivated as the anti-parkway vote. Beamer had a strong showing last time, and is well-liked, so we expect him to take that vote and get re-elected. From there it’s really between Templeman and Haacke. The anti-parkway vote will converge on Templeman. For those voters only concerned with the parkway, the strategic move is to park their second vote with Wright. If they add on Haacke instead, they’ve effectively cancelled their vote, because it’s a natural for Beamer supporters to place a safe second vote with Haacke. That could then put Haacke over the top, knocking off Templeman for second spot. We don’t think Wright can take this, but he remains a reasonable choice. Ms. Eyre, barring a miracle, is not seen as a contender. So, we see Beamer being returned, with a close fight between Templeman and Haacke. You never know, though: there is a lot of anti-Bennett sentiment, and it’s possible Beamer could be tossed, with Templeman and Haacke as the new councillors for Northcrest.



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