Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing Milton Ward 3 Councillor Candidate and current Regional Councillor for Wards 1, 6, 7 & 8 Mike Cluett. Mike and his beautiful family serve the community in a multitude of ways.
During the past ten years, I have encountered Mike and his wife Pat working in the community as volunteers and representing multiple charities including the United Way of Halton & Hamilton, the Milton Community Resources Centre (MCRC), the Halton Women’s Place – through Hope in High Heels Milton, which Mike helps to organize each year. He is also a volunteer with the Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation and helps with the Miracle on Main Street each year!
I asked Mike how other Miltonians can get involved in the community and make a difference. He suggested finding something that moves you as a starting point. If you find something that you believe it, it is really easy to get started. He mentioned Girls Inc as being a fantastic organization for girls and he loves how confident his own daughter is after attending one of their programs. He said that the Miracle on Main Street event which happens each year around Christmas time in Downtown Milton is one of his favourites as it touches so many of the charities that he strongly believes in! He suggested that the United Way of Halton and Hamilton is a charity that helps our community in a variety of ways and it is a great one to look into if you would like to make a difference in the community.
I echoed his suggestions and love of Girls Inc and added that there are lots of small ways that you can get involved in volunteer work and it doesn’t always have to involve a huge time investment. Give the time that you have to give and attend events that other people have organized! Girl Guides of Canada is an organization that I am personally involved with. It definitely inspires confidence and girl greatness. It is very rewarding to be an adult member and it has been wonderful being involved with my daughter’s units.
There are several great events coming up in Milton over the next several months. Here are a couple family-friendly events for you to consider:
- The Milton Malls Haunted House in support of the Milton District Hospital Foundation is coming up and is a really FUN family event!
- The Christmas displays at The Stonehouse In Campbellville starts in mid-November and they collect money in support of the children’s programs at the Halton Women’s Place.
“you get out of your community what you put into it!”
When I asked Mike about what first compelled him to get into politics, he replied that he learned when he was growing up, that “you get out of your community what you put into it!” Mike was a long time army cadet and had amazing parents who taught him that you can sit back and grumble and complain about things, or you can get up and do something about it.
Mike has spent a lot of time canvassing in Milton’s Ward 3. I asked him to share some of the top concerns he has been hearing from residents. He said some of the same concerns as he is hearing Town wide:
Milton’s Transit System – People who want to use the system are having a difficult time finding ways to fit it into their schedule. He went on to give an example of how long it would take for a resident living in the Derry and Trudeau to get down to the walking track at the Milton Sports Centre located at Derry and Santa Maria Blvd using Milton Transit. This route would involve multiple buses, a scenic route through town, a trip down to the Go station and about 45 minutes! The same trip would take a resident less than 7 minutes by car. But ridership numbers are growing. The Town is looking at ways to modify the transit routes to accommodate more users.
Mike Cluett, Councillor Duvall and a few others are working with MEDAC (Milton Economic Development Advisory Committee) to come up with some solutions to improve the usability of public transit in our community and have had some conversations with Uber. Uber has teamed up with Town of Innisfil to provide Canada’s first ridesharing and transit partnership. Milton hopes to create a hybrid Uber-like system here that would combine the regular transit system to accommodate rush hours, and then for the rest of the day offer an on-demand Uber-like system
Another major concern the residents has been talking about is the new Cannabis Legislation which will be coming into effect over the next few days. Residents have strong opinions about whether or not they support having cannabis dispensaries in the community and if so, where in town they would like to see them. The town is still waiting for more details about how the province intends to share revenues generated by dispensaries and need more detailed information in order to make an informed decision.
Mike hopes to hold a “town hall” style meeting with our provincial and federal member of parliament shortly after the election, to get public input. The topic of cannabis dispensaries is on the schedule for Milton’s December Council meeting and the Town of Milton will have a one time chance to decide if they would like to “opt out” of having dispensaries in their communities.
When asked what Mike believes will be the largest concerns for Milton over the next four years, he said: “Growth, jobs and growth!”
Based on the Places To Grow act, we will see tremendous population growth over the next several years. By 2031, Milton is supposed to have around 250,000 residents and by 2041 the populations should expand to between 350,000 – 400,000. Growth is not optional here in Milton, it is provincially mandated!
The town is working hard to try to grow our commercial side along with our residential side to create a complete community where people can live, work and play. We will start to see construction at Derry Green Business Park located off of James Snow Parkway is starting to expand and we should begin to see construction in 2019.
Infrastructure will continue to be a huge concern. Road construction projects to widen older roads will continue to be a priority. Our regional roads like Britannia construction should begin in late in the summer of 2019 and will take about three years to expand the road to Hwy 25. James Snow Parkway will also do extended down to Neyagawa to further alleviate traffic congestion – Mike would like to accelerate this project.
We also talked about many of the condo projects that are proposed for some of our urban growth centres as we “grow up”. Council has made recommendations for mid and high rise condo that will be given to developers to consider before submitting plans to the Town of Milton. Nobody in Milton really wants super skyscrapers, but we also have to keep up with provincially mandated population growth. Every couple of years the guidelines for intensification are changing. Currently, we are working toward 60% intensification instead of a previous 40%. He compared it to running a marathon and having the finish line constantly moving out further. Council is doing its best to work with proposals that fit the best with our urban growth plan. We have a University / College campus coming which will bring with it up to 5000 students, we also have younger people and seniors in our community who would like to continue to live in Milton and will need “affordable” housing options for them.
Mike is very well informed and does a great job at keeping the community informed. You can follow him through his website, through social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and through his audio podcasts.
Mike urges all of us to get out and vote! Municipal government and especially school board trustees have a HUGE impact on our daily lives. Get informed about the candidates and make it out to the polls! Look into what the candidates are up to and make an informed decision.
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