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On Thurs., Oct 12, New Tecumseth councillors will hold a special meeting beginning at 7 pm when they are expected to vote either Ward 5 councillor Donna Jebb, or Ward 6 councillor Richard Norcross to serve the remainder of the term as Deputy Mayor. The seat became vacant upon the death of Jamie Smith on Aug. 1. Last month, council decided they would fill the vacancy from among themselves. The public will not have a vote. Free Press Online asked both Ms. Jebb and Mr. Norcross a series of questions, whose answers are published below.

Richard Norcross - Deputy Mayor Candidate

Posted October 5, 2017

: Please remind us of your council background, also please include other committees you have served on while a member of council.
I was first elected to the New Tecumseth Hydro as Commissioner in 1997 where I was the vice chairman till 2000

I was then elected to New Tecumseth Council in 2000 where I have been a ward councillor ever since

Over the past years I have been a very active member of Council serving on numerous committees, associations and community groups.

- past chairperson of the New Tecumseth library;
- member BTBIA;
- member Tottenham/Beeton chamber of commerce;
- past president of the Beeton Rotary club;
- past doctor recruitment committee;
- past Santa Claus parade committee;
- current chairperson of the official plan committee;
- other committees that are no longer active.

Q: Why do you want to be Deputy Mayor, of which most importantly for the remainder of this term, includes Simcoe County Councillor?
I genuinely miss my colleague and friend Jamie Smith. His guidance and leadership are sorely missed at the town and by myself.

My preference would have been to leave the position vacant and appoint a ward councillor to serve at the county and not to take the title of Deputy Mayor.

I am running for this position because it is not a caretaker position at the County. The county is continuously taking over more responsibility for day to day actions that directly affect our lives and quality of life. These include waste management, long term care facilities, ambulance services, roads and increasingly, they are becoming more involved in the long term planning of our town.

We need to have a strong voice at the county to join the Mayor advocating and ensuring that the interests of New Tecumseth as a whole are not taken lightly. This representative has to be vocal, engaged and not afraid to sometimes go against the grain if the best interests of New Tecumseth are not being realized or considered.

Over my last 17 years on council it is evident that I am not afraid to speak out, to challenge decisions, but most importantly to listen to the residents and be responsive.

Q: There are several important matters before Simcoe County Council that will have great impact on New Tecumseth. The two most critical at this time include the 15,000 unit Cappuccitti Mattamy proposed development between Alliston and Beeton that while dormant at the OMB, can be simply resurrected by the County. Please explain whether you support or are opposed to the development.
I have always been, and I will continue to be firmly opposed to the Mattamy Cappuccitti development. My voting record is clear; every recorded vote has declared my opposition to such a large development in New Tecumseth that would destroy our downtowns, our quality of life, and a loss of valuable agricultural land.

The County is currently in the early stages of developing a growth plan that will take our region through to 2041. We should pass a resolution to oppose this massive development.
Q: And, the other matter is Simcoe County’s desire to play a significant and direct role in water and wastewater infrastructure which is currently a lower tier authority. Please explain whether you support or oppose Simcoe County’s role in our water and wastewater infrastructure.

The costs of major water and wastewater infrastructure are huge; however, we must maintain control over our infrastructure if we have any hope of being able to control the future growth in our communities.  We should always be willing to listen, but I will go on record that I am firmly against giving up control of our infrastructure and the longevity of our communities.
Q: If you are elected Deputy Mayor, will you run for the position in the October 2018 municipal elections?
My focus at this point is trying to ensure solid representation at the County level to ensure the interests of New Tecumseth are being heard and appropriately met.
Q: If you do not plan to run for Deputy Mayor in 2018, why do you want to be Deputy Mayor?
The representation at the county needs to be filled. The county will be starting the process of a major planning study (Where the Growth Going to Happen ) that will impact New Tecumseth for decades. With the possibility of changing our community forever, it is important that we get it right. We need someone at the County not afraid to share concerns, to ask questions and challenge decisions that are raised by our residents. Simply, we need a strong advocate.
Q: Do you believe there is any benefit to the successful Deputy Mayor appointee gaining experience at the upper level ahead of the October 2018 elections? As opposed to only planning to serve the remainder of the term?
There is most definitely a benefit. Building the skill set necessary to effectively represent the residents of New Tecumseth is and will always be my priority. Providing a strong voice at the County level is not a caretaker position when there is just so much at stake. As I have mentioned, the current planning decisions are critical, and will shape this community for decades to come.
Q: Finally, how would you like council to deal with the Ward vacancy you’re creating? Do you support councillors appointing someone in the same manor as DM? Or do you support more direct input from residents in your Ward?
I would prefer not to fill the ward vacancy until the next election which essentially is a year away. But we do not have that option.

The process needs to be accelerated. A by-election is always my first choice, but due to costs and timing I do not believe that will be an effective option. The position should be advertised as vacant and all eligible candidates should be invited to put their name forward. Every individual should be afforded the right to make a presentation and the opportunity to answer questions from the public and council. Based on their answers and presentation the qualified candidate should then be appointed.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri