Collingwood Councillor Bob Madigan wants to get involved in decision-making at the county level, which is part of the reason he is running for deputy mayor in his third municipal election campaign.
“County is where most of the major decisions are made,” said Madigan.
Both the mayor and deputy mayor of Collingwood, once elected, also serve as councillors at the County of Simcoe council table.
“Running for deputy mayor allows me to be an advocate for the Town of Collingwood at the county and that’s really where the social housing and the green initiatives come in,” said Madigan, noting he wants to work on both issues over the next four years if he’s elected.
The most pressing issue, he said, is housing.
“There’s nothing more important and nothing more stressful,” said Madigan.
He admitted he doesn’t have the solution to the current housing crisis, but said he’d like to see the town working with developers and local corporations on multiple solutions.
“If the world knew how to fix it, it would be fixed,” said Madigan. “There is, in my opinion, not enough power in local government to force a developer to put in attainable housing to the point where it will truly make a difference.”
However, he’d like to see the town and county do what it can to bring in tiny homes and local corporations interested in partnering on attainable rental units.
“I think if we got into those partnerships, the town would be destined for even greater success than it already is,” said Madigan.
The other issue he would like to be involved in at the county level is encouraging tree planting and preservation.
The Town of Collingwood has an urban tree canopy policy that sets the goal of maintaining 30 per cent tree coverage town-wide. Madigan said he’d like to see other municipalities set similar targets.
“The tree canopy is really important to me … I think Collingwood is already kind of a forerunner in this, we’re proactive, not reactive. I want to see more of the county involved because we can’t do it alone,” said Madigan. “If we can inspire other communities to do it, and the whole county can inspire other counties, then maybe we can get better. It all starts somewhere.”
Madigan was born and raised in Collingwood and has been the owner of Mad Dog’s Coffee and Vinyl cafe on Hurontario Street since 1995. He is the president of the corporation that owns BRGRZ restaurant on Hume Street.
He said he made it a priority in his businesses to use compostable products like paper bags and cardboard straws.
“I’m very much a capitalist, but I have very green personal thoughts,” said Madigan. “That’s kind of where my advantage is. Because I can show how going green can actually equal ‘green,’ as in money. We can save money in the long run if we spend a bit on infrastructure now.”
Locally, he’d like to see Collingwood build a new recreation centre.
“I believe this town needs a one-stop-shop to play hockey, tennis, basketball … I want one place for people to recreate,” said Madigan.
Overall, Madigan said input from residents is what drives his decisions at the council table.
“My top priority is to listen to the people,” said Madigan. “Everybody is going to get up there and say what they want to see and what they think is needed. This is where municipal politics lacks, in my opinion. It’s not about what I want to see, it’s what the people want to see.”
He said he’s received lots of feedback over his eight years on council, whether that’s at his cafe, or through emails or texts.
“I’ve always been blessed enough that people have taken the time to share with me their opinions, and sometimes it’s totally changed my mind,” said Madigan. “I may not have that perspective, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what my personal thoughts are, it’s what the public desires.”
As a councillor, Madigan had high hopes for the last term of council, but he said COVID-19 prevented them from reaching that potential but not from accomplishing some things.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is that we got to save the terminals at no cost to the taxpayer, that was brilliant,” said Madigan.
The town has announced a partnership with GTA-based developer Streetcar and Dream Unlimited Corp. for a proposal to redevelop the Terminals building into a hotel, restaurant and event space, and an update to Millennium Park.
The details of the project have not been finalized, but it will preserve the facade of the Terminals building. There will be a public consultation on the project once the town and the developers sign a memorandum of understanding.
Madigan was first elected as a councillor in 2014, and was re-elected in 2018.
Madigan is running against Tim Fryer for deputy mayor in the upcoming municipal election. Jordan Fleming will also appear on the ballot, but she announced shortly after the nomination period ended that she will not be running for deputy mayor because of family commitments.
The Collingwood Chamber of Commerce will be hosting all-candidates events on Sept. 27 for mayor and deputy mayor candidates and on Sept. 29 for councillor candidates. Both events will be at the Collingwood Legion starting at 7 p.m. Questions can be submitted in advance to Trish Irwin at the Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com.
This year, Collingwood residents will have the option to vote online anytime between Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. There will also be paper ballot voting available at the Collingwood Public Library on Saturdays and Wednesdays in October leading up to and including voting day on Oct. 24.
You can confirm you are registered to vote in the Town of Collingwood for municipal and school board elections online at voterlookup.ca.