1. Candidate Bio:
Wesley Jackson is a lawyer and a married father of two who enjoys writing, cycling, photography, movies, and travel. Wesley has been helping the people of Brampton as a lawyer and volunteer for over 15 years. Wesley has volunteered his time with charities such as In Kind Canada and Buddys ‘N Bows, and raises money annually in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer to support cancer research, and the Ride for Heart in honor of lost family members.
Wesley Jackson first moved to Brampton in 1983, later moving to Heart Lake where his family would live until he finished school. The youngest of three boys being raised by a single mother, he worked his way through university, first earning an Economics degree from the University of Waterloo, and later his Law degree from the University of Western Ontario. Following his call to the bar, he practiced law with a full service Brampton law firm where he was active in a variety of practice groups. In September of 2009, he established his own firm, Wesley Jackson Professional Corporation, where he helps his client close their real estate deals, incorporate their businesses and plan their estates.
In his day to day work, Wesley sees first-hand how people are struggling with debt, household expenses, and struggling to balance their work with life, all while trying to afford to buy and maintain their homes. His clients absolutely need evening and weekend appointments, because they spend long hours on the roads to get to and from their out of town jobs just to make ends meet. He knows that public service is the best way to do more for his clients. Wesley Jackson wants to create a city where everyone has the same opportunities he had to pursue his passions in education and in life. His goal to build a “30 Minute City” will ensure people can afford to work hard, play fair and live well, all within the City of Brampton.
2. What are your three top priorities for Brampton?
Building a “30 Minute City” – where people will have the opportunity to have all of your amenities and needs accessible within 30 minutes of their home, be it your place of employment, your doctor and dentist, retail, entertainment, recreation, education and leisure. Addressing the shortfalls in our traffic, zoning, development and planning models brought about by rapid and unprecedented growth will enable us to respond to constantly evolving demands on our infrastructure.
Economic Development, including a focus on repatriating jobs and driving new investment from a broader range of industries into Brampton; completing The Riverwalk to lift restrictions on development, safeguard against floods and climate change, to create outdoor active living space, complete the connection of the North and South segments of the Etobicoke Creek Trail; and incentivize commercial and education focused developments in the Peel Memorial Hospital district.
Making communities safe again, so that we can enjoy our parks, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, be active and interact with our neighbourhoods without fear of having to deal with drugs, violence or the illegal sex trade. Helping those involved in non-violent crime get back on the right track, but making sure that violent criminals are dealt with swiftly and severely.
3. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you agree with?
The adoption of the Vision 2040 Document. I have long been a proponent of expanding our government’s focus to encompass all areas of Brampton in a comprehensive and strategic way, i.e.: working in Brampton’s Every Corner.
Larry Beasely incorporating such a significant level of public engagement into that very conversation will pay dividends in Political Will when it comes time to plan for and fund some of those initiatives. The Vision 2040 Document dovetails naturally with the 30 Minute City vision, and it reflects the desire of our residents to build a high standard of living above and beyond the four walls of their own residence.
4. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you disagree with?
I am disappointed by the limited an unimaginative scope of the Downtown Re-Imagined Project. Why does it not at least extend to and incorporate the university ;ocation? What better location for bike lanes and streetscaping then the University itself? Church Street, Mill Street North, and the area from the GO Station up to Rosedale Avenue could be a beautiful cycling area and a much more complete neighbourhood.
The area along Nelson over to McMurchy could be incorporated into the Downtown Commercial District in a way that is not entirely uninspired by the likes of Ottawa’s Byward Market, or Toronto’s Kensington Market. The decision is typical of the myopic view of Brampton that has permeated decision making. Luckily, it is a project that can be expanded upon in the future; but it would have been advantageous in my mind to tackle a much larger scale project all at once.
5. Are there any other ideas from other cities that you would like to see replicated in Brampton?
Edinburgh Castle overlooks Princes Street Gardens and Princes Street, which is a major commercial and retail corridor. Between Princes Street and Queen Street is a network of Rose Street and Rose Street lanes that create an outdoor pedestrian mall full of shops, restaurants and cafes, museums, galleries, and live entertainment venues. When I talk about a “3 Dimensional Space,” that is exactly the type of environment I am referring to, where you the environment exists in all directions around you.
Four Corners is largely an intersection, not a 3 dimensional space. The development of George Street and Rose Theatre Square has done some of the work to create a “Quadrant,” and we need to build on that by expanding outward. It should take a lot more than 20 minutes to see all of a Downtown, and by expanding the Downtown outward, geographically, there are real opportunities to create a dynamic and exciting space where people will come with the intention of being, and staying, downtown.
6. What are your top transportation priorities to ease congestion and gridlock in the city of Brampton and connections to other communities?
Transit that is fast, effective and reliable will get cars off the road. Guiding Brampton’s evolution toward a 30 Minute City will involve shifting commercial and employment development toward our higher order transit corridors. People can’t sustain 1.5 to 2 hour commutes in each direction. We need to drive employment in Brampton so that people can live here and work here. This will get cars off the road. Guiding Economic Development into clusters along higher order transit routes (ZUM and eventually BRT routes), will drive development in the City, attract employers, make jobs more lucrative for workers who can leave their cars at home, reduce traffic and congestion, and have many other spin off effects. Accelerating the integration of ZUM on Kennedy Road is one instance where I believe that, coordinated with economic development and streetscaping initiatives, we can drive redevelopment of Kennedy Road South, attract existing and create new jobs, and reinforce and support the existing business base in that area to create a thriving business environment.
We need to manage and accelerate the expansion of Sandalwood Parkway through Heart Lake. People are telling me it can take 30 minutes to get from the 410 to their homes. Between shifting mode share to transit and fixing the bottle neck, we can get people home faster and safer and drive more development along the Sandalwood corridor as a secondary or tertiary commercial corridor.
7. What are your thoughts on the Brampton 2040 Vision and how should the city proceed with the vision?
I love that it recognizes that our challenges can’t be solved with one solution. Re-development in Four Corners won’t address the needs of residents at Airport and Bovaird. By developing a variety of intensified economic activity regions, we can seed economic development in all areas of the City. This will help spread traffic loads out over a greater area and over multiple roads. Because the plan had such intense public input, it engenders the very political will necessary to fund and build the infrastructure necessary to see the plan come to fruition. As already discussed, accelerating ZUM on Kennedy from its current timetable, adopting “as of right” infill zoning and planning allowances in the identified redevelopment zones will remove risk and cost from the development side of things, and capitalize on the momentum created by Larry Beasely and his team.
8. What is your position on the city’s finances and how would you tackle demands for services and infrastructure renewal?
Much like amendments to the Condominium Act were required to ensure compliance with best engineering practices for Condominiums, so too were cities forced to tackle infrastructure in a meaningful and regulated manner. The various reports obtained by the City have been enlightening. The City’s infrastructure gap is considered to be well managed. Certainly, the fact that the gap is only for existing infrastructure and not new projects in process or scheduled is concerning, but the gap as a percentage of city assets is still quite low. And that is where more information is required. The first information I would require as Mayor is a full inventory of City landholdings. The City is by far the largest land owner in the City. But the City is neither a property developer nor a property management company. A value for money analysis has to be done in respect of the City’s landholdings.
The second piece of information I would require as Mayor is a full accounting of our land management and environmental management costs, listed as second only to Blue Mountain in the Province of Ontario. If the Province has unfairly downloaded environmental costs onto our city, I would advocate for adequate and proportionate funding for those costs. It is unfair to shift those environmental costs onto Brampton ratepayers when the benefit of those efforts flow out regionally and provincially.
Service and infrastructure expansion should be dealt with systematically, all in keeping with the dual ideas of a 30 Minute City and Transit Oriented Development. Only when services and amenities are easily and quickly accessible to residents can we begin to lower of living, through lower commuting times, lowering travel time and travel costs, which will have a proverbial snowball effect in lowering accident rates (which actuarially speaking occur on a per billion km basis), which will lower insurance rates, and improve quality of life. It will also increase the effectiveness and efficiency of usage, as each service and amenity will be accessible by a larger group of residents in a larger geographical area. Not all services are delivered this way, but where possible, by lowering delivery costs in one area, we can re-allocate resources to other areas such as services for seniors or services for people with mobility restrictions who have trouble or unnecessary expenses getting to services and amenities.
9. What are your thoughts on how the city/region should handle the alleged uptick of spontaneous youth violence and crime in the city?
It’s a fundamental job of government to protect people from crime, to make law-abiding people safer. For dangerous and violent offenders, we need long term solutions. Violence is about more than poverty or hunger. Violence is about control. We can’t let criminals control our city. We need to recognize that, and the province and the federal government need to look at solutions in the Bail and Sentencing phases of the criminal justice system. We need the help of the upper levels of government to address these problems.
For nonviolent and young offenders, we need to do everything we can to divert them away from a life of crime. Early intervention, community engagement, keeping kids engaged in education, anywhere along the spectrum from pure academics, to sales and business administration to skilled trades, making sure that everyone has opportunities to be successful That’s the goal, to make all of us safer and more secure. When people have opportunities, they are less at risk for engaging in criminal behaviours. Creating the opportunities for families to be together, to go to and participate in activities and sports together, will bring more stability to our at risk population. All of which requires that we drive social infrastructure as well as job creation and housing solutions around transit oriented developments and in keeping with the 30 minute city. For lack of a better term, when people have security, in the form economic opportunities, educational opportunities, when they have more responsibilities and stronger ties to their community, we know they are at a lower risk for criminal behaviours.
We also know that certainty of punishment is a stronger deterrent than severity of punishment, so when police are at hand to respond to criminal activity, this also lowers the risk of criminal activity. So again, complete neighbourhoods can justify the costs of the social and policing infrastructure necessary to deter criminal activity and to respond to it in a timely fashion, thus deterring the violence.
10. Why should voters vote for you?
I grew up in Heart Lake, the youngest of three boys being raised by a single mother with precarious employment. When I see that people are hurting, I know what that means. I’ve had a job since I was old enough to deliver the Daily Times. I’ve washed dishes, I worked in warehouses, I had to work part time all the way through school to make it all happen, and I still had around $80,000 in debt when I finally entered the workforce. I did what I had to do to make it. To build a better life for myself.
I’ve been a lawyer in Brampton since 2003. I’ve met so many amazing people. People who are buying houses, selling houses, writing their wills, going to court, getting married, every walk of life and every kind of circumstances. I am not the only one who had to struggle, nor was my struggle the hardest.
And people are struggling. People are wasting 1/3 of their day sitting in traffic, because too many of our jobs are in other Cities; we have housing shortages and people have to choose between rent and proper nutrition. People are getting sick, people are getting angry, and for a lot of people, things just aren’t getting any better.
For 15 years, I’ve been helping Brampton clients solve problems. Together, we can solve our problems and create real opportunities for people.
Candidate contact info:
Website: Link Here
Social Media: @MayorWes2018