Tyson Tame - Brandon Council Candidate for Riverview

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Staff and members of the Canadian CED Network – Manitoba (CCEDNet-MB) called on 2014 municipal election candidates to share their position on policies that support our collective vision of fairer and stronger local economies, reduced poverty, and more sustainable communities. This is Tyson Tame's response:

1. Are you in favour of this policy practice? If yes, how will you work to implement a procurement strategy that takes into account the added economic, social and environmental value of purchasing from businesses that generate community benefit through the inclusion of Community Benefit Clauses in contracts and purchases?

I am in favour of having multiple types of value considered during the procurement process. By including economic, social, and environmental benefits during bid review we have a broader lens to capture a more inclusive representation of the overall “value”. Purchasers often use the words price and value as synonyms, which is incorrect. Sometimes a social benefit can outweigh a monetary benefit? Perhaps the “standard quality” of a certain procurement has a social benefit that would make more sense than simply choosing the highest quality which may actually be better quality than what was required in the first place and with no social spin off? Maybe there is an environmental plus to a certain provider being used? Do we have a community organization which can keep the procurement local?

In my past occupation as a Technical Sales Representative for a large manufacturer of resin bonded abrasives based in Buffalo, NY, I spent much of my time presenting different types of value to end users of the product that I was representing. Hard and soft costs were considered. Purchasers looked at price per unit, while I presented price per unit in conjunction with labour savings. A longer lasting product which would keep the producers producing turned out to be a more valuable metric than the price per.

I was once employed as a Territory Manager by a large industrial distribution house catering to the safety, industrial, and welding channels. I prepared many bids in answering RFPs from prospective new clients. The distribution house that I was associated with was revolutionary at presenting value and often the price became irrelevant. Price is not the only measuring stick. Even with a price that is higher, a bid may have a better “value” by considering who is completing the work.

I would work towards having a section in the city’s RFP outline that addresses “value adds” such as social, economic, and environmental impacts. It would still be for the bidder to “sell” these items through a short description. As a council we would have to agree on a weighting system, but having the fields included in the RFP package would at least highlight the added values and begin discussion on more than just price, delivery time, and quality.

2. Which planning tools and powers would you ensure the City of Brandon acted upon to encourage the creation and preservation of affordable and social rental housing?

As I have said before, I believe that the affordable housing issue is larger than what this city can shoulder on its own. I think the provincial and federal governments need to prioritize and embrace this important neighborhood renewal initiative. Having a council that will adequately lobby these governments for various forms of assistance becomes the task. The last statement was not meant to “pass the buck”; there certainly are decisions that can be made at the municipal level which can expedite results.

In my full-time occupation, I am a real estate agent. I see the challenges upon us with regards to affordable housing. During my candidacy announcement in the Wednesday, August 6th edition of Brandon Sun, I stated that “allowing secondary suites in existing homes could certainly help with our vacancy rate and affordable housing.” Currently, in section 2 of Brandon By-Law No. 6917 you will see a financial assistance program comprised of two categories; one time grants or a tax credit. Section 3(b) goes on to say that “the construction project must be located within the boundaries of the City of Brandon and must be new construction and not completed at the time of application”. Perhaps, instead of just new construction, owner occupied homes (these would be two suite operations in contrast to the 3 suite and up that the mentioned by-law pertains to) could be included in the program? Firstly, I know many seniors on a fixed income that would welcome some additional and much needed income for previously unused space in the basement. Young families could get ahead by subsidizing their mortgage payment. Finally, and most importantly, the grant guidelines could be drafted in such a way as to see the grant dollars used to create safe (emergency lighting, egress windows, fire separation) and affordable basement suites with a stipulation that secondary rental suites making use of the program must stay at median Brandon market rent or less.

3. Are you in favour of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for Brandon with targets and timelines? If yes, how will you partner with community-based organizations and other key stakeholders to create and implement one?

I am most certainly in favour of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy! We cannot continue to promote growth without also considering the well-being of our current population. When you ask, “how will you partner with community-based organizations”…I do not have all of the answers as I have not seen exactly all that current council has done or is working on in these regards.  My plan is to gain a more inclusive knowledge of the need in the community and then dig into specific program deficiencies. Candidates may type answers that you would like to hear and often with every intention on completing their promises. I have learned to under promise and over deliver. What I can say confidently is I have the desire and skills to serve at a high level of proficiency. I am a very compassionate person who reaches out to others and always stops to assist. I know that more eloquent answers will be given in response to this question, I chose to be real and state that I need more information and understanding before I can come up with a game plan. I know that if I am elected, I WILL pay attention to the poverty portfolio, as many of the residents of the Riverview Ward and throughout Brandon as a whole, need and deserve advocacy on this issue.