Mayor Justin Altmann’s annual dinner presented by the Whitchurch – Stouffville Chamber of Commerce, proved to be a sell-out success with hundreds joining the mayor at Spring Lakes Golf Club for a municipal update that covered Go Train developments, population dispersal, economic development as well as excellent food and networking. He also took the opportunity to put forward his vision for growth.

Pointing to the current council’s wise fiscal management plan, the mayor noted that the area is relatively undertaxed but efficient in it’s spending.

“Whitchurch-Stouffville is one of the lowest ranking areas of all of Ontario of 444 municipalities, we ranked 8th for taxes in the lowest percentile. The $5000 you pay in tax, $1000 comes back to the municipality, the $2000 to the school board and $2000 to the region.”

“We do a very good job of taking care of the community. The problem that we’re going to have in the future is when I said that 90% of taxes we collect are residential and 10 % is commercial/industrial, we would like to have that 60:40 We need to get more commercial investors.”

That, however, the mayor noted, is a tough job given provincial restrictions on building within the boundaries of the Oakridges Moraine, which happens to be most of the municipality.

“We are sort of in an identity crisis. We were known as the flea market or the country close to the city. But we need to change our branding and we need to change our motto. Who are we, what are we, how can we be different from everybody else?

Altmann went on to say “one of my biggest roles, is when we begin to look at the Gottardo lands and the corridors lands and the areas behind town hall. We need to do something entirely different. So when you begin to look at Markham, Markham is an IT sector, you look to Georgina and that’s tourist.

My goal, my dream, my aspiration for our municipality is to make us a medical area. So what I would love to see is to bring medical IT, more jobs and such to the area.

The evening finished with a wrap of current and imminent developments including commercial, condo and single-family housing developments.