When Tina Comi decided to run for a councillor seat in the municipal election, she encountered those who thought she was applying for an unwanted job.
“It was both discouraging and concerning to hear, ‘Why would you ever want to do that?’” said Comi.
She’s hoping to change that perspective.
“It’s apparent that taxpayers do not currently feel as if their priorities are in line with council,” said Comi. “We can change that sentiment by ensuring we are, if anything, over-communicating when it comes to decision-making.”
Comi was born and raised in Toronto and Mississauga. She earned a degree in public administration from Carleton University and was recruited into the tech industry working as a liaison between cell phone companies and municipalities.
She has been visiting Collingwood since her childhood and when the time came for her family to settle down somewhere, she and her husband remembered a great childhood in Collingwood and wanted the same for their children.
This is her first time running for Collingwood council.
“I’m a firm believer in ‘think globally, act locally,’” said Comi. “Municipal politics provides a wonderful opportunity to work with people in the community to affect change as it’s the governance that is most often closest to daily life.”
And speaking of change, Comi said one of the first necessary changes for Collingwood is the relationship between council and residents.
“In the short-term we need to change perception of our local governance to one of trust and openness and strengthen our relationship with our neighbouring communities,” said Comi. “In the long-term, we need to ensure we have effective policies that will steer our town towards becoming a leader in strong local governance.”
Comi said it’s her experience, as a candidate and as a resident, people want practical and modest things for the town as a whole. Things like dining and shopping on the waterfront, places for their kids to play – like a splash pad – and things like washrooms at local sports fields and parks.
She said the town is “past due” on bringing the waterfront and harbour to its full potential. According to Comi, the town should be focussed on encouraging multi-use developments and embracing things like marine tourism in waterfront development.
“My dream for Collingwood is to embrace its full potential as a vibrant waterfront community and to be regarded as a leader in sustainable development and entrepreneurship,” she said.
In addition to the waterfront, Comi said the town has other “incredible” attributes such as an unique heritage, the natural environment, and passionate community leaders.
“We preserve that passion and commitment by electing councillors with the willingness to act on the recommendations brought forth by our town staff and community groups,” said Comi.
When it comes to the town’s heritage, Comi said it’s important to curb demolition by neglect.
“We can hold our developers to a higher standard to ensure architectural aspects of new developments are in line with our town’s heritage and avoid monolithic structures that impede our waterfront vista.
Comi is one of 19 candidates for councillor in the upcoming October municipal election. Voters may choose up to seven candidates on their ballots for councillor.
The Collingwood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a meet-the-candidates event for councillor candidates on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Collingwood Legion. Doors open at 6 p.m. The last event was at capacity and some residents were turned away from the meeting.
The chamber will be posing questions received by members of the public to each of the candidates during the meeting. Click here if you have a question you’d like included.