London Free Press

Ward 11: The candidates in their own words


We asked Ward 11 candidates in the 2018 municipal election to answer a survey to help illuminate their stances on key issues.

Stephen Turner


1. The basics:

a) Age: 43

b) Occupation: Director of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases, Middlesex-London Health Unit

c) Family: Married to my wife, Karen, loving parents to our 12 yr old daughter.

2. What’s the most pressing problem you’d tackle, if elected?

Affordable Housing.  I have been pushing to leverage all the tools that we have available to us as a city in order to address this before it becomes a crisis.  Currently, we have a vacancy rate of less than 2% which allows prices to be driven up.  I would like to see us use inclusionary zoning, bonusing, community improvement plans, and our recently created Housing Development Corporation together to increase the affordable housing supply a lot faster than we have done in the past.

3. Do you support the current BRT plan, yes or no?

I support BRT.  Our transit system has one of the highest riderships in the province and is bursting at the seams. It’s time for a major retrofit and this plan has been evolving with significant input from Londoners over the past decade.  It is not only a way to help move more people across the city faster, it is also an essential piece of the puzzle that helps us curb urban sprawl and slow the rate of property tax increases.  It is a massive economic stimulant, as well, providing over $250M in jobs, increasing our GDP by a similar amount, and increasing property values along the route between 10% to 25%.  There are so many benefits to London and Londoners that I believe this is an imperative project for our city.

4. What leadership skills could you bring to city hall?

Several years ago, I went back to school and enrolled in the Masters degree program in Public Administration at Western.  The program focused on local government.  I took this program because I wanted to be as prepared as possible to serve on council.  It has given me a very strong footing in municipal finance & law, program evaluation, organizational behaviour, human resource management, and theories of public administration.  I have relied on these skills daily over the past four years on council to help build stable budgets, ensure we are on the best footing with our contracts, and provide robust services to Londoners.

5. How would you bridge divides between Londoners?

I believe I bring a down-to-earth, common sense approach to debates and am often able to find a way to bridge opposing views.  Taking the time to speak with residents helps to find what people’s interests are in the issues of the day.  Finding the common ground has been key to success in addressing these issues.

6. Which past or present city councillor would you hope to emulate? 

I’ve long admired Joni Baechler’s passion and thorough knowledge of how our city runs.  Her grasp of city planning was unparalleled and I work very hard to bring that level of understanding to the issues we face at council.

7. Who should have the final say in how London grows, city hall or developers?

While developers play an essential role in the growth of our city, it is the people of London who are the ones who have the say in how our city grows.  The city’s official plan, ‘the London Plan’, was developed from the direct public input of thousands of Londoners and was one of the largest public engagement exercises for an official plan in the country.  From the input from our residents, the London Plan lays out how our city will grow, and councillors are elected by Londoners to represent their aspirations for the future of our city.  City Hall and developers must work together to help achieve those goals.

8. What sets you apart from other candidates?

I’m very prepared.  Before arriving at City Hall, I volunteered extensively with community associations developing a thorough understanding of the issues that were affecting Londoners every day.  I got involved with several advisory committees to learn even more about how the city worked.  I then went further and completed a Masters degree in Public Administration and Local Government before being elected for my first term.  I come to every meeting having read my agendas and having done my homework, ready to tackle the issues of the day head-on.  Yet there’s always more to learn so I try to learn everything I can to be as strong a councillor as possible for our ward and our city.

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  • Stephen Turner
  • Stephen Turner