Caledon Regional Ward seats restructured as of 2022; Eight vie for two seats within Peel
Residents of the Town of Caledon will be voting in a different way for Regional Council on October 24. A bylaw passed last year updated the seat and ward structure for the first time in 27 years. The changes to the regional wards have now come into place for the 2022 Municipal Election.
The Region of Peel council consists of 25 members from the Town of Caledon, and the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, including the regional chair, the three mayors, and council representatives for each ward.
Caledon residents can find their ward here.
Previously, the Town of Caledon had five seats at Regional Council, Brampton had seven, and Mississauga, twelve. Under this structure, Brampton has a ratio of one elected official for every 99,743 residents while Mississauga has one for every 59,831, and Caledon has one for every 15,317.
Now, two of those seats have gone to Brampton, leaving Caledon with three – changing the ratio for the Town to one elected official for every 25,527 residents.
As of fall 2022, one Regional councillor will represent Wards 1, 2, and 3; another will represent wards 4, 5, and 6; and the last regional seat is for the new mayor.
All of those elected will have big decisions to implement once they are sworn into office. In April, the Region of Peel voted almost unanimously in favour of the Settlement Area Boundary Expansion that will be in place until 2051 which is set to replace a minimum of 11,000 acres of farmland – approximately one sixth of the Region – with urban development. The only Councillor to vote against the expansion of the urban boundary is mayoral candidate Annette Groves who is promising smart growth with the protection of agricultural land and greenspaces.
Located in the south end of the Town, Wards 2, 3, and the new ward 6 are predicted to be the hubs of future growth for Caledon.
Running for one of the new Regional seats is Christina Early, Area Councillor for Ward 2.
On October 11, a ‘Meet the Candidates: Town hall style public engagement with Mayoral; Regional Ward 1, 2 and 3; and Wards 1 and 3 Area candidates who will be fielding resident questions from the floor regarding key Caledon issues’ was hosted by Friends of West Caledon. In attendance were mayoral candidate Groves, Regional candidates Early, Ramat Gill, and Tom Sweeney, and Ward 3 candidates Doug Maskell, Arjun McNeill, and Anna Murray.
Located at the Alton Legion, Branch 449; Candidates had two minutes for opening remarks, followed by receiving questions from some residents in attendance. Multiple topics were brought up repeatedly, like the GTA West Highway (Highway 413), population, infrastructure, developing smaller housing for seniors, and aggregates.
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)
“In Ward 1, where we sit today, I’m very cognizant of the truck traffic – you just have to sit at Dolce’s and see how many aggregate trucks are coming through, back and forth, and that we need to have a solution,” Early said. “I’m very aware of the aggregate issue, I’m very aware of St. Mary’s, I’m very aware of all those issues, and I’m very aware of the fact that we are lacking recreational activities here. In Ward 3, Caledon East, it’s the same issue with the truck traffic.”
She mentioned that the newly elected council will have crucial responsibilities that will decide the future of the Town for the next decade or so. The Official Plan, which has not been revised since 2008, will likely be the first matter voted on.
“We’re going to have four brand new councillors and a brand new mayor, and it’s going to be critical that you do your homework make sure you pick the right candidates because there is a significant amount of work that needs to be done at Council table for this next term council,” Early said.
“Please do some homework. Call the candidates, have a conversation with them, email them, see what kind of responses they have to your questions – it’s really quite important.”
In a February 2020 Planning meeting, Council voted on the James Dick Pit which they titled the ‘Erin Pit Expansion’. This approved expansion doubled the size of an existing pit in the town of Erin, that has now encroached into Caledon – which is why the Town of Caledon had the say, with Early being one of six who voted ‘yes’ to approve it.
Annette Groves and Ian Sinclair were the only two councillors to vote no to the James Dick/Erin Pit Expansion.
A reporter with The Pointer asked Early how she could claim (on her campaign website) that the climate and the environment are a priority of hers if she voted for the approval of the Erin Pit Expansion, to fast track the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Highway 413, and many MZOs throughout Caledon.
Early made a general statement about the EA being a ‘potential good decision’ while ignoring the mention of her voting on the fast tracking of the 413. She also mentioned that she later recused herself from voting on any matters related to it, though this was after she voted 'yes' to fast track.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever voted on an Erin Pit,” Early said in response to the mention of the James Dick Pit or Erin Pit Expansion – which she did, in fact, vote to approve just two-and-a-half years prior. She also stated she ‘wasn’t aware of what happened in Erin because she doesn’t work in Erin’.
As Early mentioned, it’s important to make sure elected representatives are engaged with residents and to pay attention to how they answer questions, so it’s unclear why she talked about not living in Erin and then quickly moved onto talking about an unrelated proposal in Cataract Village.
It’s unusual for a proposal that crosses jurisdictional boundaries to be labelled as an ‘expansion’ and not a new project, it’s also very uncommon to cross those boundaries in the first place – so it’s unclear why this unusual vote, which contradicted her environmental claims, could not be recalled by the councillor.
Kathleen Wilson, a resident of Caledon and third party advertiser for the 2022 Municipal Election, created the website abettercaledon.ca to keep track of councillors voting records. This ‘report card’ shows that Early did in fact vote on a matter related to the 413 – the fast tracking of the EA – but then later recused herself because of a “conflict of interest” since her and her family’s properties are so close to the proposed route and stand to benefit if it goes through.
The reasons for the changes to regional council composition, initially brought forward by Brampton members in a Special Council meeting in December 2020 after public consultation, are related to population growth and distribution. Brampton has been calling for more seats since its population exploded.
“The current representation at the Region of Peel is not equitable for the City of Brampton,” Patrick Brown said during the meeting. He noted that representation by population is a fundamental, democratic principle in Canada and that Brampton is requesting fair representation. “Two additional seats for Brampton would be a step in the right direction.” The City has pursued this move for almost two decades.
Elected municipal council leaders will be responsible for protecting some of the most unique biodiversity in all of Ontario, including a portion of the Niagara Escarpment: a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The Cheltenham Badlands (pictured above) are within the Escarpment, and are said to have been formed at the base of an ancient sea over 450 million years ago.
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)
In a protest against the decision, Mayor Allan Thompson and Regional Councillors Downey, Innis, and Sinclair attempted to walk out of the meeting, to disrupt the vote. Regional Councillor Groves stayed in the meeting to cast a vote against the bylaw, but her presence and participation representing Caledon allowed the vote to pass.
The changes cannot be reviewed again until 2030, which will be after a minimum of three election cycles.
Regional Wards 1/2/3
Christina Early is currently the Area Councillor for Ward 2.
Early and her family have been on the same farm for five generations.
“She is a leader and community-builder. Following a 30-year career as a business executive, Christina ran for public office and was elected Area Councillor for Ward 2 in October 2018,” her website states.
“Christina is driven by a desire to contribute to creating a healthy, resilient, and inclusive Caledon. She sees the tremendous potential of a future Caledon that balances growth with its responsibility and commitment to environmental leadership.”
Early has served on town committees and boards, including:
The Caledon Community Services Board (Vice Chair)
The Caledon Public Library Board
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Regional Watershed Alliance
The Headwaters Tourism Board
Accessibility, Audit and Procedural By-law committee
Ramat Gill and his family call Caledon his home, and he says that he cherishes ‘everything about our vibrant rural community, including the heritage of Caledon's small villages and hamlets’. He says the town requires strong leadership as it enters into the future, noting that he hopes cherished rural heritage is maintained alongside balanced growth.
“As far as I can remember, helping others has always been a part of me. Whether it was family and neighbours growing up or assisting a wider group of people with more significant community initiatives,” Gill tells Caledon voters.
“One of the best things life has to offer is giving back to the communities that have supported your journey and helping your neighbours succeed. My passion for providing quality public service for the last 13 years as a police officer has refined my leadership and interpersonal skills while connecting with diverse community members.”
Contact information: 416.829.1987
Tom Sweeney’s family emigrated from Ireland and settled on their family farm in the 1840s, with two sons being the sixth generation to live on the property.
Sweeney was born and raised by a farmer and school teacher in Caledon, who now works in the masonry industry holding a degree in History and Philosophy from Trent University.
“Since 2005, my masonry business has provided all kinds of challenges including physical, logistical and those from a customer service standpoint. I enjoy working with my hands, but more so I love a challenge and love to fix things that are in need of repair – I see that sort of challenge currently in Wards 1, 2 and 3,” Sweeney says.
Working as a Cub Scout leader for the 1st Caledon and 1st Alton Scout groups, and a member of the Caledon Lions Club for 12 years, sitting on the executive for eight, Sweeney has always been active in the community.
“I was drawn by the comradery and work ethic such a small group of Caledon residents showed in raising funds for local and international initiatives,” his campaign website states. “Service clubs seem to be a dying thing in our part of the world and I’d really like to see that turned around in Caledon. Service clubs and not-for-profits help a small community to thrive when it does not have the tax base to get everything on its wants and needs list.”
“Each little hamlet, village and sideroad in west Caledon has its challenges and I’m ready to work hard to meet them.”
Contact information: 519.278.0678
Contact Information: 416.704.4802
Regional Wards 4/5/6
Anthony Caputo has been a resident of Caledon for over 32 years.
A father, local business owner, and past president of the Caledon Chamber of Commerce, his campaign website states he will remain committed to ‘growing and uniting our Caledon community’, and has been involved in or supported the following:
Current Board Member of Meaghan's Music Room; an organization that provides music lessons to children with special needs
Proud sponsor of the Bolton Italian Culture Centre; a non-profit community organization that promotes the well-being of seniors in Caledon
Continuous contributor to multiple non-profit organizations, such as the Caledon Senior Centre, Caledon Hockey Teams, Sick Kids Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Foundation
Caputo says, “once elected as your Regional Councillor, I will work towards ensuring local business owners get the representation they deserve for the prosperous future of Caledon.”
Frank Di Cosola
Frank Di Cosola is an elected official as Trustee for the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board, representing the Caledon/Dufferin County community including Wards 4, 5, and 6, for nearly 20 years.
He represented the community in a school board capacity and at the Town of Caledon, “continuously upholding the concerns of our community at the forefront with fiduciary responsibility, accountability and transparency,” Di Cosola states on his campaign website.
25 Years of Experience
Extensive Technical Knowledge
In-depth Academic and Professional Development
Educational Development & Training
“Over the next four years, I understand the challenges and needs of our community will be complex, impactful, and critical,” Di Cosola tells his constituents on his campaign website.
“Therefore, I have decided to represent Wards 4, 5 & 6, and hope that you will entrust me to ensure our community remains a resilient, safe and vibrant place to live, work and play.”
Contact information: 437.972.4034
Mario Russo, his wife and three children are proud Caledon residents. He is active in his roles as a board member of both Caledon Community Services & Boys and Girls Club of Peel, as well as various sports organizations. Mario’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology from the University of Toronto, as well as post-graduate certificates from Kikkawa College, R.M.T (Registered Massage Therapist), and CSNN as R.H.N, Holistic Nutritionist.
“Mario knows the value small businesses bring to the community and has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, having owned and operated multiple food and dessert businesses throughout Peel over the past twenty years,” Russo tells Caledon voters.
He has over twenty-five years of experience in various roles in real estate consulting and advising, property management, construction supervision and management, and recently resigned from his role as a sitting Member of the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the LPAT and OMB).
Russo has served as Chair of the Committee of Adjustment for the Municipality of Brampton, in the Region of Peel, as well as citizen-based panels for Parks and Rec Master Plans and OP reviews, and the Trillium Grant Review Team for Halton-Peel and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
“Mario has extensive experience in the private sector and the world of small business as well as a proven track record in public service.”
Manjit ‘Bhondhi’ Saini
A servant of his community, Manjit ‘Bhondhi’ Saini describes himself and his family as proud residents of Caledon. He has “witnessed Caledon and the Peel Region transform in remarkable ways”.
Saini says he is a proponent of responsible and sustainable development. He is presently serving as a member and Chair for the Registration Committee at the College of Medical Radiation and Imaging Technologists of Ontario.
He has owned and operated a convention centre, restaurant, and various stores in addition to the mortgage brokerage he has been operating for over 20 years, his campaign website states.
“While enabling development, we must consider the impact our decisions have on our environment and communities,” Saini says. For Manjit, the sustainable path forward is the only path that will benefit our generations to come.
Manjit hopes to ‘use his years of experience in business and government to help move Caledon forward for everyone’.
Email: [email protected]
COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you
Submit a correction about this story