Brampton has a date with its future

In 2018, city residents enthusiastically embraced the Brampton 2040 Vision. It’s a plan that sees the design and development of a modern urban city in the not-too-distant future.

City hall unanimously endorsed the 2040 Vision concept. Since then, however, the political landscape has radically shifted. Ontario has a new government at Queen’s Park, led by a new premier sporting a majority mandate. Brampton has a new mayor, four new council members and six veterans, altogether making for a youthful picture that reflects Brampton’s population. With federal elections on the way, what does it all mean for Brampton’s 2040 Vision?

New Brampton is a group composed of some of the municipality’s most prominent business leaders. Its mandate is to help Brampton realize its vision. With that aim, New Brampton holds occasional town hall meetings to promote their message.

John Attrell, a member of New Brampton’s board of directors, made room for the December public town hall at his Toyota dealership in Brampton. New Brampton provided bites and beverages, and board chair Dave Kapil familiarized the audience with the group’s purpose and progress. He introduced a video of a very ambitious plan for Brampton. The message was clear: whatever becomes the future, it begins with imagination.

However, imagining the future is one thing; realizing it is another. Before anything can happen, infrastructure must be in place. That means the city has to make decisions on transit, floodplain remediation and muster a strategy for gaining funding commitments.

Regarding the new municipal and provincial political landscape, New Brampton’s December town hall message struck a mostly optimistic tone.

“With the new mayor, Patrick Brown, we’re very happy that he loves the [2040] vision,” said Kapil. “He is thinking along those lines. The mayor, city staff, council, they’re all thinking along the same lines.”

But a note of urgency cautions, though the year 2040 may seem far off right now, in city building time, it’s just a blink away.

In his campaign for the mayor’s chair, Patrick Brown promised to hold the line on property taxes. But realistically, sustaining current city services will require increases unless there’s something to offset the residential tax burden.

With that in mind, New Brampton’s formula aims to attract commercial and industrial businesses to set up shop in Brampton.

Brampton’s amenities and its young educated workforce, along with its convenient proximity to major transportation routes, fulfils many of the most important selling points. But it isn’t enough. Brampton needs infrastructure surgery. It needs more efficient transit and better development potential. As for bricks and mortar development, without downtown floodplain remediation, Brampton will languish while other municipalities capture all the sunshine.

Officially Ontario’s fourth largest city, Brampton may be growing its way to becoming third largest after Ottawa and Toronto. With a current population estimated at more than 700,000 and with the youngest demographic profile in the GTA, Brampton’s voting base has major political clout. Any political party looking for a win had best pay attention. But getting the right kind of attention depends on Brampton residents coming together with a common voice to fight for its budget share.

New Brampton’s message highlights that other GTA constituencies have greatly benefited from the provincial coffers while the province has consistently overlooked Brampton.

Two federal Progressive Conservative candidates for the 2019 election attended the New Brampton town hall. Brampton East candidate Ramona Singh was there, along with Brampton North candidate Arpan Khanna. Both indicated their enthusiasm for bringing Brampton’s message to Ottawa’s attention.

To participate in Brampton’s future, and to make your vote stand for something important, visit newbrampton.com.

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