Thank You Tecumseh

Thank you wholeheartedly Tecumseh for your support in Monday's municipal election.  I was positively astounded by the level of support that you have given me and I look forward to contributing my skills, knowledge and experience in municipal government to provide an oversight ability, customer service and advocacy that is second to none.

AndrewDowie.ca is here to stay as a constituency portal.  Once I join Council in December, you will be able to find information about upcoming decisions and considerations.  I would very much like to receive your feedback on these issues, as well as your own, on this site.  Don't be shy, and make sure that you take advantage of the comments section.

In the meantime, this site will undergo some cosmetic changes as it evolves to a constituency portal so that it is ready and online in December.  You may see links appear and disappear during the testing process.  In addition to this site, you can reach me at @Andrew_Dowie, facebook.com/andrewdowie or call me at 519-962-8832.  Please do be in touch with what's on your mind.

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Voting Status

I had never really thought about how frustrating it would be to have an election going on and not be able to be a part of it before.

Like most of you, I have yet to receive my voting kit.   It is expected to arrive at the remaining doorsteps before Tuesday.  If you are still without by Tuesday, you may visit Town Hall to secure new credentials.  Town staff are on hand there to assist.

In the meantime I will be watching my own mailbox with eager anticipation.  I look forward to seeing you at the Tecumseh Legion on Monday night beginning at 7pm for the Meet the Candidates night.

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Voter Information Town Hall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ANDREW DOWIE TO HOLD VOTER INFORMATION TOWN HALL

October 14, 2014 (Tecumseh, ON) - Andrew Dowie, Tecumseh Council candidate for Ward 1, invites members of the public to attend a Voter Information Town Hall to learn about Tecumseh's new voting process.  The Town Hall will be held at 12222 Tecumseh Road East beginning at 7:30pm on Thursday, October 16th, across from Ste. Anne's Church.

Dowie has just reached a major milestone of his campaign, having now knocked on every accessible residence's door in Ward 1.  Throughout the election, Dowie has noted continuing uncertainty with respect to the voting procedure and minimal knowledge that voting has changed to a telephone or internet-based system for this election.

"Making sure residents are connected to their local government is a key priority of my campaign.  I look forward to helping my fellow Tecumseh residents become as comfortable as possible with the new voting process," says Dowie.

A special invite is extended to residents of Plaza East and Place Tecumseh apartments.  Mr. Dowie was declined access by property management during his visit on the afternoon of Saturday, October 11th, 2014, contrary to Section 28 of the Residential Tenancies Act which allows for access to municipal election candidates for the purpose of canvassing.  We are attempting to work with the property management company to obtain access to speak with voters.

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Shoreline Week Submission

Reprinted here is my submission to Shoreline Week for their candidate profiles:

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Dear Tecumseh Resident,

With voting now under way, I’d like to thank you for the terrific reception you have given me at the door. I’m proud to have knocked on every door in Ward 1 during this election campaign and to have engaged with thousands of my neighbours.

If elected, this dialogue will remain open. I was the first Ward 1 candidate to launch an interactive webpage at AndrewDowie.ca, Facebook and Twitter to solicit your feedback, and will continue to provide you with town information so that you can be informed of what’s happening within the town.

I will champion the completion and implementation of the Tecumseh Road Mainstreet Community Improvement Plan so that we can establish a walkable and accessible core establishing our downtown as a destination and economic driver.

You can count on my career as a long-time Civil Engineer for the City of Windsor to work for you. Having managed multi-million dollar capital projects, including basement flooding relief and traffic calming programs, as well as serving in the Chief Administrative Office and Mayor’s Office, I will deliver effective and responsible oversight at Tecumseh Town Hall. My experience also ensures for you informed responses and advocacy backed by a solid knowledge and understanding of solutions no matter what the issue may be.

I grew up on Coronado Drive and now call Centennial Drive home with my wife Kristin. I have served on Tecumseh’s Committee of Adjustment since 2006 and Property Standards Committee since 2010. You may have also seen me in the community as a leader with the 35th Tecumseh Scout Group since 2006, or representing our 1700 local engineers as the Windsor-Essex Chapter Chair of Professional Engineers Ontario.

It would be a true privilege to serve you and be your advocate for the coming four years.

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Lakewood Park

It was just over two years ago that the Town of Tecumseh celebrated the grand opening of Lakewood Park North.  For the first time in its municipal history, Tecumseh had a lake front public space that its residents could enjoy that was not the leftover property of a pumping station.  This really was a milestone for the town; despite being one of a minority of municipalities located on a body of water, our town lacked any meaningful way of accessing it.  It now serves as a community gathering place. I enjoy it most for sitting down with my e-reader and reading while listening to the crashing waves.  The property formerly housed the Lakewood Golf Course club house, and was purchased for $7.98 million in 2006.

The Town of Tecumseh purchased 2/3rds of the former Lakewood Golf Course (65 of 91 acres) as part of an agreement for $6.9 million.  The agreement resolved the Ontario Municipal Board appeals from the former owners to develop the whole parcel as residential lots.  The Town has posted the chronological information here.

The agreements remain incredibly controversial to this day.  The purchases of the two parcels of Lakewood Golf Course remain the number one issue being brought to my attention at the door.  The status of the remaining (undeveloped) property has been resolved through a master planning process that concluded a few years ago.  You can read the final report for the Lakewood Park South master plan here.  There are a lot of amenities being proposed that I find encouraging, including the innovative stormwater system (with meandering path), the naturalized wetland, the outdoor amphitheatre, and the paths.  For my part, I am pleased with the Lakewood Park South master plan and look forward to identifying a funding program to support its redevelopment in the way proposed.

I also look forward to supporting the development of a Splash Pad at Lakewood Park North as identified in the Town's Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  Splash pads are relatively inexpensive means of providing active recreational features to our parkland and, as I have come to learn over the last few months, would be an asset truly valued by the families of Ward 1.

Many residents have also observed the construction occurring at the foot of Little River Boulevard.  The work being undertaken is to provide upgrades to existing pumping station and to sewer capacity.  You can be assured that it is not a precursor to residential development on the town's retained portion of the former golf course.  The residential areas will be located on the south and east sides of the property (roughly opposite to St. Thomas St.), as well as on Christy Lane.

The use of the property as a golf course permanently ended in 2011 and its physical features have been transformed.  I look forward to working with you and to hearing your feedback as to what elements of the Master Plan ought to be prioritized for the property to ensure that it can best serve you going forward into the future.

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Windsor Star Trail Talk

Donald McArthur and Dylan Kristy of the Windsor Star hosted me as part of their Trail Talk series of interviews with municipal election candidates.

You can watch my interview here.  Enjoy!

 

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Tecumseh Road

There is a terrific facebook group called "Tecumseh, Ontario" that I discovered several months ago whose members pay tribute to the heritage of the Town of Tecumseh.  The town has undoubtedly changed over the years.  Traffic by-passes and plazas have been built, turning lanes added and buildings have been demolished.  Within the group are several photos of Tecumseh Road from years passed.

Back when it was Highway 39, Tecumseh Road was a vibrant place.  Inter-city traffic came through our core.  As the region grew lanes were added to let us get home quickly.  What is now County Road 22 took regional traffic away from the town core and left what was remaining to be reclaimed for its initial, local purpose.

Today's Tecumseh Road has many common elements of the downtown of yesteryear, but we've lost a key component.  We have lots of departing vehicle traffic but the corridor sees relatively little foot traffic.  Tecumseh Road is still designed to be Highway 39 and as a pedestrian it still feels as such.  Therefore, parking and walking the strip on a 4'-wide sidewalk is a less than pleasant experience when you're by foot, especially in the winter when there's a fair amount of ploughed snow drifts.

Looking at some of the quaint little towns that my wife Kristin and I enjoy visiting - Elora, Jordan, and St. Jacobs come to mind, as well as the Walkerville community - there is a lush, historic nature to them that brings us back.  The pedestrian connection is a key part of the street.  Your day includes a loop including each side of the street and visiting the distinctive shops of the area.

Bringing Tecumseh Road back is the community improvement that I would like to focus upon most if I am elected to Council.  I have been involved with streetscaping and other urban road design projects throughout my engineering career and have seen the positive results firsthand.  I look forward to seeing the results of the Tecumseh Road Mainstreet Community Improvement Plan that are so far unreleased to the residents of Tecumseh, although the findings of the 2012 workshop can be found here.  And once brought to Council for adoption I look forward to supporting and prioritizing this project.

There are numerous reasons why - employment, assessment growth, aesthetics.  For me it's a sense of pride in our Town and a way to recapture our history, to give our town some life and help to flesh out our back story.  Given the quality of life improvements we experience when we bring in active transportation, new businesses and services to the town, this would be an investment having a solid return.

I would very much appreciate if you can contribute your comments about Tecumseh Road to me through my new survey at http://www.andrewdowie.ca/tecumsehroad .  I look forward to reading about your ideas and your thoughts.  What kinds of corridor would you like to see Tecumseh Road become?  Let me know, and from the outset I thank you very much for your interest and for your information.

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A Place for Families

One of the most interesting revelations of the campaign has been our evolution as a town.  Our families are getting older and younger at the same time.  Young and old alike have expressed concern about the viability of the amenities and institutions that make our community.

We are in a period of evolution here in Tecumseh.  We've lost several schools in recent memory:  St. Anne's High School several years ago and this year's closure of St. Gregory's school and Victoria Public School.  These were core assets of our neighbourhoods and town fixtures for many years.  It pains me that we're beginning to see abandoned buildings in our town, especially for homes.  We're also seeing overcrowding at Tecumseh Vista School only a short time after it was opened.  The School Board's decisions suggest that the population of Ward 1 is aging while the population of Ward 3 is getting younger, which, when combined with the reality that fewer adults of my age range are having children, is leading to a smaller school population.

This school consolidation is challenging with respect to planning and traffic issues.  With schools further out of reach and outside of a reasonable walking distance, the congestion caused by the new reliance on travel by car to school results in weaving cars, hidden pedestrians, and diverted attention from drivers.  While schools remain in the domain of your locally elected trustee, there are consequences to the Town of Tecumseh and its long term future from these decisions and it is a fair expectation that your elected officials from the town speak to this impact.  Often missing from the discussion is that educational facilities also provide residents valuable access to recreational facilities, from tracks to soccer fields to playgrounds.  Speaking close to home, the 35th Tecumseh Scout Group relies on the school gyms of Tecumseh to ensure that its programming can proceed.

There is no clear age differential when it comes to demand for recreational facilities, especially year-round ones.  But demand is certainly there.  This is where the oft-cited "Regional Cooperation" mantra comes into play and is where the rubber truly hits the road.  For Tecumseh's population and ratio of residential to commercial/industrial taxpayers, I believe that the best opportunity to reach residents' expectations is in considering new recreation opportunities as a service that could be delivered with other municipal partners.  With new facilities being constructed in Lakeshore and in East Windsor, I am open to securing partnerships with adjacent municipalities to secure resident rates and to making use of our transit system to reach those facilities.

One recreational commitment that I would support is taken from the Lakewood Park Master Plan.  A splash pad is envisioned for that area, and based on reactions that I have witnessed so far, there is no doubt that such a facility will be well used, well loved and well appreciated.  Splash pads are a good choice for municipalities, as they offer low maintenance, minimal staffing requirements, and provide a place to visit free-of-charge for residents to quickly and easily enjoy in the summertime heat.   I will admit to some bias on this issue; I could have absolutely used it myself last Sunday when I visited the residents of Lesperance Road and it felt like we were destined to break heat records outside.

Tecumseh has performed well in selecting its projects over the year.  I am absolutely delighted every time that I am near Town Hall at the Skate Park, for example, and seeing the enjoyment intertwined with community care and concern for the facility.  Popular, well-used, and well-respected by users, it was a terrific investment to make.  There is absolutely a demand for providing these activities and attributes that families will consider when looking for their future home.

This remains an area that I stand to be informed on, however.  I would very much like to hear of your thoughts with respect to the kinds of recreation facilities that you would like to support in-town.

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How to Vote

The Town of Tecumseh will conduct the Elections using the VOTE BY INTERNET AND TELEPHONE Methods.  A demonstration of the Internet and Telephone Voting Methods will be given at a PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE [PIC]. Electors will be given the opportunity to cast a sample Internet Ballot. The PIC will be held:

Where: Tecumseh Town Hall
When: Wednesday, September 3rd
Times: 1-3 pm and 6-8 pm
Everyone is welcome to attend.


ENSURE YOU ARE ON THE VOTERS’ LIST!
You must be on the Voters' List to receive a Voter Information Letter [VIL] containing vital information about voting using the Internet or Telephone Methods. You may contact the Clerk’s Office to confirm you are on the Voters’ List. Eligible voters may attend the Tecumseh Town Hall to have their name added to the Voters’ List, to correct their information, add their date of birth, or to receive a new VIL should they have misplaced or not received one in the mail. Photo identification will be required.

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Voting Information at the Tecumseh Corn Festival!

Beginning today, visit the Town of Tecumseh tent at the Corn Festival between 12pm and 5pm on Friday and Saturday to learn more about Internet and Telephone Voting and to make sure you are on the Voters' List.

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