Hello, everyone. Congratulations to Black History Month and congratulation to the Raptors on a 15-game winning streak. They give hope and joy to a lot of people and businesses in ward three. My name is Ram Faerber. I ran for mayor twice. I was born in Guyana, and I have a certificate in mechanical engineering technician. My wife and I have lived in ward three for almost 19 years. We have been married for almost 30 years. Our children were the first kids to attend Terry Fox Elementary School. We have four children: Samantha, Matthew, Amanda, and Michael, a daughter-in-law, Brittany and two grandchildren, Phoenix and Grayson. I own and operate an electronic recycling business, carpet sales and installation business in Barrie. I have single-handedly diverted more waste away from landfill than any one person in Ontario. All I’m asking from you tonight is to give me a chance in this election to serve as your next ward three councillor. Please note: municipal elections are not party politics. It is the only time you truly have a chance to elect someone who will make a direct impact on what goes on in your neighborhood and in your community. Barrie has declared a climate emergency. I will declare a property tax, affordable housing, transit, better-paying jobs, mental health, and drug addiction emergency if elected. Thank you. Vote Ram Faerber for your next ward three counselor and your voice will be heard.
Understanding that there is a homelessness and addiction crisis in the city of Barrie what services would you support to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including a supervised consumption site?
A lot of us don’t understand what the safe consumption site really is all about. I personally— and I would fight really hard not to have a safe consumption site in Barrie. Supervised drug consumption sites have resulted in an increase in crime and disorder in the surrounding area and have a negative effect on communities. There are many other ways to deal with this problem. None of us have really had the opportunity to go into a safe consumption site and see what’s going on in there. Think about you going in there and watching other people injecting themselves, passing out with drugs, and you’re watching them. There are other ways to do it. There are a lot of people who can’t handle it. Supervisors are themselves becoming victims of these experience.
What does culture mean to you, and how will you ensure that arts and culture remain a priority for the city of Barrie?
I think culture is very important for the city of Barrie. We are very diverse, are becoming more and more diverse. Each community have their own way of celebrating their culture. It shouldn’t be a burden on taxpayers to support culture in Barrie. We have seen it at the McLaren Arts Centre. It’s costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, millions of dollars per year, and it still needs more funding. We should stop that and we should encourage each community to do more for themselves.
In light of the city's recent declaration of a climate crisis, and plans to ban single-use plastic, what are some concrete actions council can take to reduce our contribution to the crisis.
Declaring a climate emergency in Barrie is a waste of time. Canada produces less than 2% of the world carbon emission. What we need to do in Barrie after they decided to to call the climate emergency, they have decided to ban the plastic straw or single use plastic. There are tons and tons of other types of plastic that are going to the landfill every day. Plastic picnic chairs and tables, kids’ toys, even the blue bins that we use as recyclable bins are not recyclable. All these things ends up in the landfill. What we need to declare an emergency in is property taxes, affordable housing, mental health, and an opiate crisis. Those are some of the things that we need to declare emergencies on.
Understanding the concept of induced demand how would you direct a shift towards sustainable transportation in our quickly growing city?
Traffic gridlock. How do we avoid having the same problem we are having at the South end? At the 400 and Mapleview? Ward 3 is a growing ward. There are a lot of new businesses coming in and the population is increasing because of new condos. We must find ways to avoid and build infrastructure to move traffic along in order to reduce carbon emission. Also with transit we need to move people around a lot faster by either having smaller bus sizes, more routes, more frequently.
What do you believe are the three highest cost services to the city and what would you do to mitigate them and help alleviate tax burdens?
Public service workers in Barrie have just got a recent increase of 5.2% wage increase. Subsidies the city are subsidizing too many things in Barrie. Also they are giving breaks to developers, and are not collecting enough of the development charges or permit fees, which is costing taxpayers a lot of money. Also, the city is in debt by almost $330 million. An we do have to find a way to reduce those debts, which is costing the city $33 million per year to service that debt. So we must stop giving subsidies and collect a hundred percent from wherever we can to pay that debt down so we can reduce our repayment.
Historically Barrie has built single story detached homes and has the highest per capita percentage of home-owners. How do you think this has affected our development as a city and what should be done to address this to provide affordable and supportive housing?
Affordable housing kept coming up all night. We have a situation where property taxes in Barrie have increased since 2001 by an average of 3.4%. We’re talking about the most, the highest rate of property taxes and affordable housing. It does not go together. If your taxes goes up and you’re a landlord, what do you do? You raise your rent, you pass it on to the tenants. If you’re a business owner, what do you do? You raise the cost of everything. You pass it on to the consumers. So we need to keep property taxes low. I will propose a 2% property tax for each municipal election cycle at the beginning of each municipal election cycle. So that would be a 0.5% increase yearly.
Do you have any political party affiliations and have you accepted any financial or equity support from a political party in this by-election?
No, I haven’t accepted any donation. I’m not going to. I have no party affiliation and I have a budget of $500 to spend on this election.
Do you believe recreation and sporting programs should be subsidized by the city or be fully paid for by the users? Should children have access to affordable programs?
I’ve said it earlier, but subsidies from the city, a city building and everyone, and we’re in so much debt and people are hurting in ward three. People are hurting, kids are hurting, families are hurting. We have seen an increase at the food banks. We have seen an increase of homelessness. I think Barrie should get out of the subsidies business and the provincial government should subsidize this type of a situation instead of municipalities. If there are families who need help, we should find ways of helping them as a community, not by subsidies to taxpayers’ dollars.
Do you have further political aspirations beyond our municipality?
In a time when the province is downloading work to the cities, how you work with the province to make sure services we need are available?
For me, when I get to that point, the circumstance will determine my approach. Sometimes the municipalities use downloading as an excuse to raise taxes due to their mismanagement and inefficiencies. It just makes it harder and harder for taxpayers in Barrie with the mismanagement at city hall.
Do you have any suggestions to reduce household food insecurity in Ward 3 and/or throughout Barrie communities?
The problem, and what’s causing people to use the food as much as they do. The cost of living increase and a shortage of stable employment and affordable housing in the area lead into a jump in the numbers at the food bank. So those are the issues we need to tackle, and we need to try and help people from not using the food bank as much, especially first-time users.
What motivated you to run for Ward 3 council and why should I vote for you?
I think I can make a huge difference on Barrie city council. I’m out and about and I have a lot to offer.
I have a different approach. Different is what we need at city hall. In the list of the best places to live in Canada our city is on the decline. In 2015 Barrie was 42nd and now it is 154. Everything has increased. The city average apartment rental rate is among the highest in Canada because of the consistent cost of living increases. People have no money for life in general. Taxes on homes assessed at $500,000 in Barrie is $6,162. Higher than Toronto, Ottawa, and 20 other cities. Property taxes have increased by about 3.4% annually on average since 2001. Elect me for your next Ward 3 counselor and I will fight very hard to reverse the trend of an annual tax increase. I will propose a 2% property tax increase as the beginning of every municipal election cycle. Barrie food insecurity is at an all-time high. We have seen record numbers due to job instability, housing and cost of living increase. Hope is essential for our physical and mental health. Hope is the thing that gets up out of bed in the morning and give us the energy to keep trying even harder. To be hopeful is to look at the future and expecting good things to happen. I promise I will take a consistent principal stance on the issues that are affecting so many people every day. Vote Ram Faerber for your next Barrie Ward 3 city counselor and I will not disappoint you. Thank you.