I took this photo on Yonge Street at the south end of town and from the looks of it M.P.P. Chris Ballard is wasting no time in making an impact at his new posts as both Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
It is hard to take Ballard’s ability to execute either of these roles seriously given his abysmal track record on projects during his partial term on Aurora council.
Take for example his futile fight against a celltower that wasn’t even in Aurora. Or proposing a youth center in the former Thompsons Funeral Home site which thankfully was instead repurposed privately into a large restaurant adding to the town’s tax base.
It’s also hard to forget his unwaivering support for a lawsuit that was ruled a SLAPP lawsuit.
The sum of his involvement on the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee was an unusable microsite that has had no measurable impact on the town’s ability to attract or retain business.
Ballard continued to champion the Cultural Services Agreement that was identified by the town’s solicitor as broken and required council to intravene to overhaul it. As a result the Aurora “Cultural” Centre remains unsustainable to this day.
Considering Ballard was the one who identified that changes needed to be made with respect to the illegal clearcutting that happened on a large property at the south end of town one would expect that he would have actioned on this change upon stepping up when elected M.P.P. but, no that hasn’t happened.
So exactly what confidence do the residents have when faced with a headline that reads:
Ontario vows to eliminate homelessness within a decade
This 10 year goal isn’t “ambitious”, it’s downright laughable.
No scratch that it is insulting, and what makes it so is Ballard’s quote that reads:
The numbers will be published every year…..If the numbers aren’t declining, we can tweak the programing or funding.
Yes, because the complex issue of homelessness can be eliminated in 10 years simply by tweaking a spreadsheet.
Something the Provincial Liberal Government has been so successful doing over the past 10 years.
Focusing in on the homelessness issue in York Region we heard in an article earlier this year that speaks to 10 year waiting periods and other barriers:
“I think people recognize there is a significant barrier to addressing their housing issues, so they don’t even go through the process of applying because they figure it’s a futile effort because it just takes so long,”
When you narrow in on just one municipality in the region, like Vaughan we understand that a great part of the poverty issue is hidden:
As residents wait for affordable housing, multiple families are cramming into one house. Vaughan has beautiful big homes, but in those homes we have two or three families sharing this space. The Community Wellbeing Report confirms that the number of multiple family homes has increased by 65 per cent between 2001 and 2011, now making up 5.5 per cent of all households in the region.
There is only one person whose housing became more affordable with the recent cabinet shuffle, and to everyone else that’s no laughing matter.