A business-first approach to local politics
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Oct 01, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

A business-first approach to local politics

Stratford Gazette

Jeff Heuchert editor@stratfordgazette.com

Roger Black likens municipal council to a board of directors of a corporation, where each taxpayer is a shareholder who expects a certain return on their investment.

The comparison also reflects how the city council candidate, who’s no stranger to local politics having previously served on council for four terms, likes to approach his duties and responsibilities.

“I bring a business-like attitude to the job at all times,” he says.

Black says council needs someone like him who can be a “watchdog” to make sure the city spends its money wisely.

“I have always said that if we watch our pennies, the dollars will look after themselves.”

Black is an advocate for more pedestrian-friendly streets, and supports the city’s practice of collecting development charges with new builds to support sidewalk construction, among other things. But he would like to see the city rethink how it spends some of those dollars, noting there are streets around new industrial developments with full sidewalks while roads like Romeo, Lorne, and O’Loane- which are regularly used by people either walking or cycling- have limited accessibility.

“They are really busy, arterial roads. But we don’t have a continuous sidewalk on any one side of those busy thoroughfares. It’s quite dangerous,” he adds.

Black, who has owned and operated Window Doctor Inc. in Shakespeare for 20 years, sat on Stratford city council for 12 consecutive years in the 1990s and early 2000s (terms used to be three years). He narrowly missed out on a fifth term in the 2003 civic vote, when he says he finished 11th on the ballot.

He says he is a devoted supporter of Stratford, and his track record supports that claim. He is a Rotarian, has chaired a United Way campaign, and was past chair on the city’s Police Services Board, which he sat on for 17 years. He is also currently a member of Stratford’s committee of adjustment, a tribunal appointed by council to adjudicate matters related to minor variances to zoning bylaws and land severances.

Black also cites the Cooper site and Market Square as priorities, and says council needs to resolve both projects as soon as possible.

“My attitude is, if we’re not going to do these projects, then let’s move on. Put them on the back burner and stop spending money studying them all the time.”

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