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Enrich Magazine

Nick Giovenco chats with Councillor Doug Whillans at the New Year's Levee held at Brampton's city hall on Saturday January

Kyle Seeback, Member of Parliament, Junever Mahilum-West, Governor General of the Philippines and John Sanderson Regional Councillor

Doug Whillans & Shannon Denny From Coca Cola

doug speaking to bbot corporate challenge participants

City TV Breakfast TV for Earth Day Clean Up At Madoc Public School

Clean City Float

Loafers Lake Cleanup

Doug Helps to clean Loafers Lake


 

Mount Pleasant MovieNight

Mount Pleasant movie night in the Village of Mount Pleasant in Ward 6. Doug was instrumental in bringing this to the square in his first year on Council.

It has been a tremendous success with 400+ residents coming out during the months of July and August to watch their favorite movies with family and friends and as well get to know their neighbors.

Community building at its finest!

 

 

Enrich Magazine recognizes
Doug on City Hall Roof

Enrich

Urban farmer Councillor Whillans

For years we've heard how farming in Brampton has been ruined by urban sprawl. But, on a rooftop patio, a community garden has "popped up" in a prominent Brampton building – City Hall.

Urban Agriculture is more than a buzz phrase. It includes community
gardens, farmers' markets, shared garden plots and edible
landscapes. It involves growing our own food in backyard gardens,
container pots and shared spaces like parks and schools. So why not
City Hall?

City Councillor Doug Whillans is a farmer at heart, and a green thumb
by nature, who loves to garden. Whillans believes any concrete jungle
can be softened with a garden, and admits that this is his first venture in
container gardening. Since occupying their offices in December, Councillor Whillans and City Councillor Jeff Bowman have been eyeing the adjacent concrete rooftop patio.

"All winter, we've been talking about building a garden up here.
Originally, it was going to be garden boxes but, over coffee one day, it
came to us – recycling bins are being phased out at the end of this year.
As councillors, we visit schools and talk to kids about waste and cleanups, and one of their questions was about the blue bins. This is a perfect way to answer that question."

Last year, Brampton-based Boreal Agrominerals created an urban farm
from 250 repurposed milk crates at the 2014 Green Living Show. With
Peel Region preparing to phase out its blue bins, Councillors Whillans and Bowman adapted their concept to incorporate 30 plus blue bins along with repurposed construction buckets, broken storage bins and discarded flower pans.

Contained plants require more watering than those in the ground and
do best in an open spot with 6-8 hours of full sun and lots of air
circulation. Currently Whillans and Bowman run a garden hose from an
interior sink and are exploring using a rain barrel with a spigot. Their
patio has ample sun from 8am until shade creeps in around 4pm. They are looking for some type of wind block as gusts across the 4th floor patio are very strong. "We tried to get plants out here while still young, so they could adapt to these windy conditions," said Whillans.

"Some seedlings came from my personal garden, but most of the plants
are from Lakeside Garden Gallery, purchased with personal funds," and we want to assure everyone that no taxpayer dollars were used in this pilot project. The blue bins were repurposed. "There are broken storage bins from moves and mortar pails saved from past renovations; we just drilled holes," and as the deeper blue bins already have drainage holes, Whillans shows off how they wedged plywood to raise each container's
bed to conserve soil.

"We're really enjoying the garden; this is something we've been
missing for a long time," says Ingrid Jagtoo, administrative assistant for
the last 11 years to Regional Councillor Gael Miles and now to City
Councillor Pat Fortini. "It's very relaxing; the guys put the hose on and
we water the plants. I have never grown a garden, but I find myself going out there just to see how the plants are doing. It's not just a concrete patio anymore; it's nature, and soon we will be able to reap its rewards!"

"Nothing like this has ever been attempted; it's quite a change, and a
breath of fresh air," adds manager Linda McGuiness who has worked
with councillors since 2000. "These new councillors are different; they
all have their own uniqueness. I have to admit, this is the first time one
has ever approached me saying, 'Smell this!'"

Not only are staff laughing more, both Linda and Ingrid are amazed
by how much they are learning. "I never knew garlic grew like green
onions," shares Ingrid. "I'm from South America, and there are three
plants in this garden which are from my part of the world, including
bitter melon. Once they start growing, I'm going to cook for everyone," and she's beginning to figure a way to wheel in a BBQ!

Will this be more work, maintaining two gardens, one at home and another at work? Whillans offers, "This is a community garden, giving people like Ingrid the opportunity to have a garden, and it's maintained by
everyone in the council offices. It's also a personal challenge, to see
what can and can't grow. I like to try things; if it fails, I won't do it again.

We have over 35 different vegetables and herbs out here. Let's see
what happens!"

And how adventurous is his palate? Whillans' ancestors have been in Canada since 1697 so, theoretically, his taste preference should be bland. "My father was a third generation farmer in the Ottawa Valley before moving to Brampton in 1958. He was always big on multiculturalism as he recognized the need for it. Even back in the 60s and 70s, with the
Portuguese, Italians and early South Asian settlers, he encouraged us to
try new things. I'm always interested in the ingredients and the spices
used with every new dish I try. I'm not saying I like all cultural foods,
but I do try everything." Conversation turns to the importance of "the two bite rule" and how parents today should encourage cultural food
experimentation with their children. "I never had callaloo. I heard about
it in songs and from Caribbean friends. Now, I grow it in my home garden along with okra, which I lightly batter and fry in light oil; I love it!"

"Some of the peppers we've planted are unique. I have to compliment
Vince, Dominic and Mike at Lakeside Garden Gallery – with all their
Caribbean and South Asian clientele, the selection of peppers alone is
incredible. Five years ago, the hottest pepper would have been habanero.
Today I have a tough time picking between scorpions, ghost peppers and
Carolina reapers. In this garden we've planted chocolate 7 pot chili
peppers."

So, how will this urban garden grow throughout the summer season? Will the strong gusts of wind become unmanageable? Could we incorporate
milk crates and other non-traditional containers?

Link to Article


Brampton councillor looks to build on family's political legacy

Nick Giovenco chats with Councillor Doug Whillans at the New Year's Levee held at Brampton's city hall on Saturday January 2015

Brampton Guardian

BRAMPTON— New Brampton Wards 2 and 6 councillor Doug Whillans sat down with the Brampton Guardian following his first New Year's Levee as a city representative last Saturday to discuss his goals on council, his father's legacy and the city's future.

The Whillans family name is well-known in Brampton politics. His late father, Ken Whillans served as mayor between 1982 and 1990, before passing away in a drowning incident while on a family vacation in Prince Edward Island during the last year of his second term in office.

"He was a people person for sure. He was well known around town being a teacher; he was here since '58," said Whillans of his late father.

"I think his biggest legacy was bringing City Hall back downtown where it belonged. He fought hard to get it here, but unfortunately he never got a chance to see it open."

"It's pleasing to myself and my family that even after 25 years there are still a lot of people who remember my dad. Today (at the Levee) there were probably three dozen people who told me they remembered my father well and said they thought that he was a great mayor."

After a few failed bids in previous elections, Doug, a lifelong Brampton resident, is now following in his father's footsteps into city politics, winning his seat by a wide margin after incumbent John Hutton chose to run for regional council. Hutton lost to Michael Palleschi in last October's municipal elections.

"When dad was around I was intrigued with municipal politics. I've always believed that municipal politics is the most influential level of government of all the levels. It's all about what you can do for your community and you can't really do that at other levels. I've always been community-minded," he said.

Like his father and late mother, Edna, who were strong supporters of Peel Memorial Hospital and a number of other community initiatives, Whillans has a long history of community involvement.

He is a former chair of the Brampton Clean City Committee and sat on the City of Brampton Sports Hall of Fame selection committee. He has also been active in youth sports as a coach and referee and is a longtime champion of youth community sports.

"I think Brampton is going to be back on the map. I think it's gone through some rough times but I think industry is going to grow. Even though it's not part of my ward, I really want to see the downtown grow, that was part of my Dad's plan and I want to see that happen for sure."

Whillans says that while the city has gone through a rough patch, he is optimistic for the future and believes the new council, which sports seven new faces, is the right team for the job.

"I don't think (the last administration) was as open and transparent. We have a great staff at city hall, fantastic staff, they're doing their best, but in the past number of years they haven't been given any direction … I think in the past what happened was that there seemed to be a lot coming down from the sixth floor that was not what the rest of council wanted."

"It's gotta be a big circle, everybody has to work together and I think this council can do it. I'm very confident. We have a good council. There's gonna be some bumps and arguments and not everyone will get the votes they're after all the time, but I think this is going to do very well," he said.