Six questions with Joel Thompson, candidate for Collins-Bayridge District

Joel Thompson, candidate for the Collins-Bayridge District in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Submitted photo.

Editorial note:

Across the province, Ontarians are getting ready to cast their ballots in every city, town, and county as the 2022 Municipal Election is fast approaching. With election day on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, Kingstonist has reached out to all candidates within the City of Kingston to create profiles allowing voters to find a brief overview of each candidate in one place. As response comes in, more and more candidate profiles will be added here, which you can access through our Municipal Election 2022 section (with the tab on the homepage), or through our ‘Candidate overview landing page.’

With 45 candidates in total for Kingston City Council alone – and with only one district acclaimed (Countryside District will once again be represented by Gary Oosterhof) and six districts without an incumbent – our goal is to provide as much information as possible leading up to the elections. Thus, we will endeavour to collect response from as many Kingston candidates as possible, with the hope of providing similar coverage for Loyalist Township, Frontenac County, and the Town of Greater Napanee moving forward. All relevant links will be available under the Municipal Election 2022 tab.

For more general information on election process in Kingston, including details on electing Board of Education Trustees, ensuring you are registered to vote, etc., visit the City of Kingston Municipal Elections webpage.

Candidate profiles are being published on our website in no particular order.

Joel Thompson comes from a military family, and has lived in Kingston since 2007. A REALTOR® and team leader with the YGK Homes Group at eXp Realty, he is running to represent the Collins-Bayridge district in the upcoming municipal election.

Thompson shared that he spends the majority of his free time volunteering: “I am currently the Treasurer of the Kin Club of Kingston (formally known as the Kinsmen Club of Kingston) and the advertising and marketing director of the annual Kin Club of Kingston Dream Home Lottery. Last year, we raised $690,000 with a record sell-out of 12,000 tickets through our 100 per cent volunteer-run lottery. Funds were distributed to local charities, including BCG South East, YMCA, Partners in Mission, Girls Inc., and more.”

New to the political arena, Thompson follows City Council and the planning committee closely “to better understand the City and future development,” he said.

When asked to share a “fun fact,” Thompson said, “I hiked 100 km over six days and five nights in the Northern Purcell Mountains in Golden, BC last summer with the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation to raise funds for Girls Inc. Limestone and Kingston Interval House. My favourite dining experience is Days on Front, three courses pre-fix with wine pairing!”

How would you describe your personal political ideology and/or affiliation?

Municipal politics are bi-partisan and as such, I have no political affiliations.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

We are in the middle of a housing crisis. Pre-covid, the average home price in Kingston was approximately $380,000. In February of this year, the average home price was $700,000. We are doing a great job as a City advertising the benefits of calling Kingston home; however, we are not building to keep up with the growing demand for housing. I decided to run for Kingston City Council because the time for change is now. We can not prioritize trees and turtles over growing the tax base and purpose-built development for social housing, young professionals, first-time homeowners, and retirement living.

What are the three most common issues voters are bringing up to you as you campaign?

  1. Housing affordability and availability — “Affordable housing” is the hot topic. There is a growing concern for our homeless, and residents understand it is a crisis within a crisis. We also need social services and social housing for the homeless and vulnerable populations. It is simply not just about putting a roof over their head, the City needs to take a leadership role in social services, rehabilitation, and housing.
  2. Road maintenance and traffic calming measures — Laneways in subdivisions have become unsafe, with speeding cars, and roads requiring significant maintenance, and many communities not having sidewalks.
  3. Cost of living — From gas prices, groceries, rents, property taxes, and interest rates, life has gotten very expensive for residents.

What three issues are most pressing/important to address locally, in your opinion?

  1. Housing — As the costs of providing current municipal services and introducing new services continue to rise, we need to focus on growing the tax base to increase revenue without raising taxes for existing residents. As we continue to attract new residents, our universities and colleges continue to grow and accept more students, and with an aging population, we need more purpose build housing for all.
  2. Health care — Most doctors do not want to be self-employed clinic owners. The City needs to take a leadership role in owning and operating walk-in clinics and hiring family doctors on staff to meet the growing number of residents without access to a family doctor.
  3. Outdated policies — City staff and council are handcuffed by a number of outdated policies, procedures, and bylaws.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Collins-Bayridge is lacking a strong voice on City Council. For the last 16 years, we have had a single-issue BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) councillor whose only priority is saving the trees and turtles. We need advocacy for capital investment, transportation, housing, social and community services, arts and culture, fire and rescue, emergency services, and more.

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

Kingston City Council needs fresh, new perspectives. The time for change is now. I bring a wealth of knowledge and negotiation skills to the table that can be put to work on representing the district of Collins-Bayridge, and working on sub-committees including planning, heritage, tourism, and more.

For more information on Joel Thompson, candidate for Collins-Bayridge District in the 2022 municipal election, visit his website. He can be contacted over email at [email protected] and by phone at 343-333-8412

With files from Cris Vilela.

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