How New Tecumseth deals with growth will be one of the main focuses this term for the newly elected council, says newly-elected Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross.
Increased population numbers range from 55,000 to 60,000 people and that rapid growth in Beeton, Alliston and Tottenham is expected to continue until at least 2031. That’s nearly double the 34,242 population (2016).
“We have to take a look at our infrastructure,” said Norcross. “I think we have to slow the growth down. Slow it way down. Take a look at what we have and collectively, as a community, decide if want to grow, and how we want to grow. We can build new bridges, new subdivisions, roads and pipes, but what are we doing about the existing stuff that’s in the ground now? To me, it is paramount that we have to deal with that.”
Norcross believes the council is in place to deal with it and a host of other important issues they will have to get to work on. He believes they are all on the same page when it comes to moving New Tecumseth forward.
“We have returning members of council that have long service and we have new members of council that very enthusiastic,” he said. “But they are also community champions in their own right and are well aware of the issues, so there’s a lot of knowledge sitting at the table.”
A longtime Ward 6 councillor with more than 18 years of experience, Norcross was elected deputy mayor with 4407 votes, edging Ward 3 Coun. J.J. Paul Whiteside and real estate agent Peter Barbati. Norcross says he is both humbled and honoured by the faith voters have shown in him. His strength, he points out, is his ability to listen to the residents.
“I’m a consensus builder and I believe in going forward together and discussing issues, and having open and honest dialogue on what’s coming down the pipe,” he said.
There’ll be plenty of work to get down to starting in January. One will be revisiting the proposed $15-20 million administration centre site and see what other options are available.
Norcross points out that it’s also “ultra imperative” the water pipeline to Tottenham is extended, as will be taking care of water drainage at Beeton.
“As quick as we can,” Norcross said of getting going on with the work. “I know there’s a process and a level of ministry government provincially that we have to deal with, but I’ve always been a firm believer in just don’t take the heat off. Keep people’s feet to the fire and rattle them every week that we need to get this done. Let’s get the hard stuff out of the way.”
Norcross knows all this comes at a cost and council has to make sure they explore every option open to them, whether it’s partnerships or with other levels of government.
“There’s no money tree out in the backyard,” he said. ” It’s the ratepayers and the taxpayers, so we have to make sure we balance that. There’s ways to save money, ways to do things cheaper.”
Photo: Newly elected New Tecumseth Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross wants to get the hard stuff out of the way. Dealing with the rapid growth of the area will be key for newly elected council. VoteNorcross.com photo