Milton Mayor’s Race Gets Real

What led to a sub 30% voter turnout in Milton's municipal elections? At some point the impression council stopped listening.

By: Laura Steiner, Milton Reporter

For the first time since the 90’s Milton has a real Mayor’s race. Canada’s longest-serving Mayor Gord Krantz is facing off against Zeeshan Hamid, a councillor who has been serving since 2010.

A win for Krantz is no guarantee. I’ve had conversations with people who think it’s time for the Mayor to step aside; it’s a group that’s been growing in size the last couple of election cycles. Looking around Milton there is a solid argument behind that. Growth without rhyme, or reason in some cases. Single family homes with garages barely wide enough for a min-van, lining streets not wide enough to park along. Transit that doesn’t yet fit with the oft-repeated “live-work-play” mantra of a community that wants to be more than a bedroom for larger cities.

On the economic front, it’s tough to push past the image of Milton as a warehousing community. And it’s going to get worse with the potential arrival of the CN Intermodal, although the issue is before the courts. The big chance of changing it is with the Milton Education Village, home to both a satellite Wilfrid Laurier University campus, as well as a Conestoga campus. Post-secondary brings the higher-paying jobs. It should help balance things out, but will it change the image enough?

Hamid is the guy with new ideas on transit, and growth as well as business, and preserving green space. But he’s also sat on a council that approved much of the growth, that is now causing so many problems. He spoke of being a tie-breaking vote on a pair of developments, approved in 2019 in a recent interview. The developments are the towers beside the GO Station, and a development at the southeast corner of Derry and Ontario. His very first priority says to achieve growth without high-rises. The question begs to be asked: Why didn’t he break the tie going the other way?

Krantz has done the most to keep taxes low, pushing his colleagues to find new ways save. Hamid recognizes modest increases will be necessary to pay for new infrastructure that will keep up with growth. Krantz was one of two votes against the 2022 budget with a 5.47% increase to the Town portion ($19.99/ $100,00 in property taxes). With inflation increasing causing pressure on housing prices, labour shortages in most sectors, how much more can Milton residents take?

The Mayor’s Race is here, and it’s real. Do we take the risk on a known commodity in Hamid trying for the higher office? Or do we stick with a man who we know well? The decision comes in three weeks on October 24, 2022.