Ward 5 Candidate: Ken Acton

Ken Acton Ken Acton

Ken Acton

1816 Alexis Road, Windsor, Ontario, N8W 3Y8
Phone: 226-271-1148
Email: info@actonward5.ca
Website: www.actonward5.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Actonward5
Instagram: www.instagram.com/actonward5

2022 Windsor Election Rose City Politics Candidate Questionnaire answers:

1. What is your prior political experience?

I have been honoured to serve as an elected official and represent many diverse groups over the past 20 years. Since 2002, I’ve been elected and served as an Executive within the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) – Local 138. I’ve held the positions of Steward, Executive – Secretary, Chief Steward and now hold the office of the 1st Vice President within that Local. I have also had the privilege of being elected to the Executive Committee for the Windsor Region Society of Architects (WRSA) for over the past 15 years as its Executive – Secretary.

I’ve worked in the best interest of our community as a Board Member for the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation for the past four years and sat on the Development and Regeneration Committee, as well as the Submission Awards Committee.

As a member of the Windsor Bicycle Committee for the past two years, I’ve contributed to the creation of an action plan tied to Vision Zero, a Windsor City Council initiative meant to achieve zero road crash fatalities and serious injuries on Windsor streets.

In addition to these positions, I’ve represented both the WRSA and St. Clair College as a stakeholder providing input on environmental issues and the proposed National Urban Park – Ojibway Prairie Complex.

And finally, I’ve been elected to the Michigan State Board for the Congress for the New Urbanism, serving two consecutive terms and just recently secured another three-year term. An organization whose mission is to champion walkable urbanism and provide resources, education, and technical assistance to create socially just, economically robust, environmentally resilient, and people centred places.

2. Why are you running?

I’ve elected to run for the position of Councillor for Ward 5, as I’d like to gain the opportunity to give back to my community and build better neighbourhoods. As a lifelong resident of Ward 5, whose education and professional experience have been focused on architecture, urban planning and city building, I feel that I’m well suited to provide a holistic view of our city as it continues to evolve. My understanding of the housing sector, involvement in the labour movement and unique experience in development and construction has provided me with the tools required to ensure transparency, public consultation and accountability using a grassroots approach to enhance our city.

As my children are the 4th generation of my family to reside in Ward 5, I’d like to help secure both theirs and my grandchildren’s future.

3. What do you do currently for a living?

I’ve been employed at St. Clair College as a full-time professor since 1997 in the Architectural Technology Program. In this role, I’m responsible for educating post-secondary students in the fundamentals of Architectural Technology, specializing in design, construction documentation and urban planning principles with an inclusive approach to creating sustainable architecture and place. My position includes curriculum development, core course delivery, articulations, student recruitment and special projects.

4. What is the biggest issue affecting the ward you are running for?

Ward issues need to be vetted.

A lack of public engagement. Communication within the Ward could be enhanced by introducing a robust public consultation process to address development issues, traffic calming, and safety concerns.

5. What is the biggest issue affecting the city of Windsor?

Housing. The lack of accessible and or affordable units has had an enormous impact on our city. It’s contributed to the spike in real estate values, as well as the increases in rents.

6. Are you seeking any endorsements?

I applied for the support of the Windsor District Labour Council and received their endorsement.

7. Have you received any endorsements?

In addition to being endorsed by the Windsor District Labour Council, I’ve received letters of support from my colleagues in the construction, education, labour and active transportation sectors.

8. Will you continue the “hold the line on taxes” policy?

Public consultations and transparency must be used to establish our priorities. To create livable and vibrant neighbourhoods that allow our community to flourish, we must have those difficult discussions and establish a path to secure our future. City services should be the focus of those discussions. As a result, if our priorities call for additional funding, I will support a modest increase.

9. Do you support the mega-hospital location?

In October 2019, an appeal was heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) regarding the location of the mega-hospital. Part of the appeal process contained a report authored by the Windsor Region Society of Architects, which I supported along with the endorsement of the Ontario Association of Architects, calling for the site to be revaluated and that the new site be in a centrally developed area of the City of Windsor and not at its periphery.

The recommendations included
• investigating brownfield redevelopment opportunities or developed land that could be repurposed. • taking full advantage of all available existing utility and transportation infrastructure, • avoiding unnecessarily depleting productive agricultural land,
• continuing to support the viability of the urban core without sacrificing any service to the region • and that satellite facilities be located outside the City of Windsor to serve lower-density populations in the underserviced communities in Essex County.

In December of that year, an adjudicator dismissed the LPAT case. Later, a Divisional Court dismissed the right to appeal. In short, the location of the Mega Hospital has been ruled upon. Now we must turn our attention to the economics associated with the infrastructure required for building and ensuring the plan moving forward contains a concentration of medical services located within the city core. Undoubtedly, our City and Region deserve a new hospital, and I would work tirelessly to ensure that it becomes a reality.

10. Do you support strong mayor legislation?

I do not support the strong mayor legislation. As part of democracy, our responsibility as citizens and leaders is to ensure the majority’s will. Only through an open and transparent process which includes a discussion, debate and a vote, can our voices be heard.

11. Should the city use taxpayers dollars to bring jobs to the area?

Tax incentives that are tied to development can take on multiple forms. The initial expenditure of tax dollars is not always required to encourage investment. The offsetting or deferring of taxes can be a powerful incentive to attract development. This strategy can assist in building our economy, neighbourhoods, and city as we prepare for future generations. Used correctly and in collaboration with planning principles, we can create an equitable and livable city.

12. If you are running in a ward with an incumbent who is also running, why is change necessary, and why are you the person to deliver it?

I believe that my professional and firsthand experiences have provided me with a comprehensive understanding of city building and that I am prepared to assume the role of a public advocate. Our Ward and City are at the point in their development process where we require a progressive approach to planning. One that assures public consultation, transparency, and the input of a Councillor that is well-rounded, with the ability to critically assess the issues we will face as we plan for future generations

13. How many hours per week do you plan to allocate towards council business if elected?

In my current roles as an Executive within the Windsor Region Society of Architects and the 1st Vice President of OPSEU, Local 138, I have always gone above and beyond to represent the members to the best of my ability. Serving as Ward 5 Councillor and representing my community will require a firm time commitment. If elected, I would dedicate whatever time necessary to ensure proper public consultation and representation on all issues.

14. Do you live in the ward you are running for?

Yes, I’ve lived in the Ward my entire life. I’m the 3rd generation of my family to call Ward 5 my home and my children are the 4th.

15. What agencies, boards, or committees do/have you served on, and in what capacity?

Windsor Region Society of Architects
Executive, Secretary (15 years)

I’ve served on several ad hoc committees, taken the lead on / participated in planning several initiatives. These include the successful delivery of an Ontario Association of Architects Annual General Meeting, local professional education sessions, public outreach, member compliance, and community building events such as our involvement and sponsorship of the Windsor International Film Festival, Doors Open and Winter Wheels. I’ve also coordinated
the WRSA’s support of the United Ways, On Track to Success Program and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor Essex, Ride Don’t Hide initiative.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union, OPSEU Local 138
-Office of the 1st Vice President
(current for over 5 years)
-Chief Steward (5 years)
-Executive Secretary (6 years)
-Shop Steward (4 years)

As a Union Executive, I have had the opportunity to represent our membership in the following capacities: Chair of the Workload Committee, Chair of the Local Executive Committee, Member of the Stability Committee, Member of the Local Executive Council, and as a Delegate with the Windsor District Labour Council.

Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation,
Member of the Board of Directors (completing a 4-year term)

As a Member of the Board, I’ve supported policy and oversight to provide well-maintained, safe and affordable community housing in a respectful and fair manner.

Congress for the New Urbanism
Board Member, State of Michigan
(5 years)

As a Member of the Board, I’ve promoted the importance of New Urbanism in regional planning, community building and place-making, while advocating New Urbanism’s best practices amongst architects, planners, landscape architects and allied professionals. I’ve also taken the lead on and successfully coordinated the delivery of the Windsor components of its 24th Annual Congress, an international conference that promoted programming aligned with city building in both Windsor and Detroit Michigan.

Windsor Bicycle Committee
Committee Member (completing a 2-year term)

As a member of the committee, I’ve lobbied for the integration of cycling infrastructure and equitable transportation policies associated with active transportation.

Vision Zero
Stake Holder Committee Member
(completing a 2-year term)

As a stakeholder representing the Windsor Bicycle Committee, I’ve provided input regarding the Vision Zero Action Plan. This plan is currently being developed in collaboration with a Vision Zero Task Force, which is made up of staff across City departments and emergency services, and the Vision Zero Stakeholder Group which consists of community stakeholders and members of the public. Using a data-driven, equity-focused approach, the Vision Zero Action Plan will identify strategic priorities, recommended initiatives, and interim goals to further the goal of zero fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads.

Ojibway Prairie Complex, National Urban Park Initiative
City of Windsor, Focus Group

As a representative of St. Clair College (stakeholder), I’ve participated and will continue to participate in a focus group that’s been initiated by the City of Windsor. The City’s Project Team identified St. Clair College as a
stakeholder for a Proposed National Urban Park in Windsor and continues to seek input regarding the development of the Communication and Engagement Plan.

16. What person, animal or fictional character should be Windsor’s unofficial mascot?

Bomber, (The Windsor Spitfires)

Bomber, Windsor Spitfires
Bomber, Windsor Spitfires