Ever wondered how your city councillor voted on some of Brampton’s major issues over the past four years?
Many Bramptonians have already voted in advanced polls, but lots of people are still gathering information about various candidates in the lead up to voting day on October 22. If you’re interested in seeing how the incumbent in your area voted on some key issues, keep reading.
Elaine Moore, Grant Gibson and Gael Miles are retiring, but the rest of the councillors — minus John Sprovieri who has launched a bid for mayor and Gurpreet Dhillon who is running for Regional Councillor rather than City Councillor — will all be running to hold onto their council seats.
When it comes to scandals at city hall, the last four years were leaps and bounds better than Brampton City Council prior to 2014, which saw its fair share of bad decisions. Nothing too crazy happened, but there were a few votes that raised eyebrows.
Among the most controversial decisions this term was the Brampton Beast bailout and the purchase of Riverstone Golf course.
$1.5 Million to the Brampton Beast
Back in early 2016 city council voted 8 to 2 to give the Brampton Beast, a privately owned hockey team, public funds to stay afloat after they suffered $4 million in losses over the three years operating in Brampton.
Many residents weren’t happy about the bailout, expressing their discontent that taxpayer dollars were used to bail out a privately owned endeavour.
Linda Jeffrey and Gurpreet Dhillon, the only two to vote against bailing out the Beast, expressed similar sentiments.
The $11.6 Million failing golf course
Among the most controversial decisions was the purchase of Riverstone Golf Club and for similar reasons to the Brampton Beast — it appeared to many that it was another bailout with taxpayer money for a private business.
Council voted 6 to 5 to pay $11.6 million to buy Riverstone Golf Course, which wasn’t making money. Council said it was to be turned into a seniors centre.
Initially council appeared resistant to the purchase but made a complete turnaround and approved spending $9 million on buying the land, and approved an additional $2.6 million towards retrofitting.
There were allegations that Councillor Gael Miles, who was heavily pushing the deal behind the scenes, may have had connections to the developers and owner of the course, Gianpaolo Group, among other issues.
Voting no to $200 Million in transit funding
Perhaps the biggest controversy this past council was the Hurontario-Main LRT debate. In the fall of 2015 city council voted 6 to 5 to stop the Hurontario LRT project at Steeles Avenue, and not to bring it into downtown Brampton to connect to the GO station.
The project, which had an unprecedented full funding commitment from the province (usually municipalities have to pay at least one-third or major infrastructure projects) had been in Brampton’s transit planning since as far back as 2009. Had council voted yes, the decision would have brought an additional $200 million in transit funding to Brampton.
The majority of polls that floated around during the height of all of the whole saga showed that 60 per cent of Bramptonians were in favour of the project, and by voting no councillors were effectively voting against the wishes of the majority of constituents.
To top it off, council then voted 5 to 3 to spend $4.4 million to study LRT routes that had previously been examined and rejected in the early stages of the Hurontario LRT project. Those routes are currently still being looked at, and while the Hurontario-Main LRT project had a full funding commitment from the province, these routes have no such commitment.
Interested in how other votes fell? You can review the city’s council meetings here.