In conversation with Steve France

The Journal sits down with municipal candidates for the Sydenham District

Journal staff

Why are you running?

Not sky-rocketing, but steadily climbing rental rates. That will be addressed a lot [with] all the new developments in Williamsville because there are many high-density buildings going up. There are probably eight or ten that are multi-unit buildings with 350-400 units. That will alleviate the rental squeeze but to try to put a cap on taxes will do that too. I know some of the other candidates have concerns about students’ safety and security on the streets. I lived in B.C. for 18 years and there they installed a number of police satellite stations that were small offices that were located in key parts of the city. I think the city needs one in the north end. 

What do you see as the most pressing municipal issue facing students?

I think the [town-gown] committee should be expanded to perhaps 100 people, not 100 at a time but a pool of 100 people, so there’s a forum for presenting a grievance to the committee, instead of going to [campus security] or the police about it. And some way of redress to issue a student fine if there are people urinating on the streets, for instance. Or to help people that have had damage from vandalism on their property. Some of it is just noise concerns. Of course, that takes the AMS and the Queen’s principal to get involved,but I think that would help a lot. 

How would you effectively manage town-gown relations?

There’s an all candidates meeting that the AMS is sharing and I’m going. I [also] know a great many students through our business. We have a small deli business, it’s over on Barrie and Clergy [Street] and we have hundreds of student customers. I’m hoping I can appeal to them. I’m hoping there might be a few hundred student votes for me. I’m fighting against students, so it might be difficult, but the last election 2,900 people voted and it’s very small. 

What is your position on the University District Safety Initiative?

I know that was initiated by the principal. I think that’s good. I mean when you come to University it’s much more than just coming to get a degree, it’s part of the whole process of maturity and people that answer in court to something, I think that’s good. I don’t think a lot of tickets have been handed out during frosh, there was just a few, so it’s already much better than it was. I think the police do a good job. It’s a common-sense approach. 

How will you bring out the student vote?

I think it’s pretty nice as it is. We have a business here and been here nine years, so I think it’s a pretty good atmosphere. It’s got a real community that I like. We have a great rapport with students and residents.

What do you do in your spare time?

We work about 60 hours a week. Our spare time is we have a farm property that’s North of Kingston so I work there. We work so much, you have to with a small business.

If you had one final thing to say to students, what would it be?

I’m obviously the oldest candidate but I think I have a good rapport with students and I want to try and make this situation better in the neighborhood for both them and the residents that live there. I know one of the candidates say that students are treated as second class citizens. I really don’t know if that’s the case, but I think that to foster better rapport is the main issue. 


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