One of Collingwood’s candidates for deputy mayor joined the race to make sure there was a contest.
Ian Chadwick has served as a councillor for three terms (12 years) and ran unsuccessfully for councillor last term. He’s running for deputy mayor in the October municipal election.
“I’m very passionate about democracy … and political engagement,” said Chadwick. “It’s my fervent belief that no position should go acclaimed, no position should go uncontested. I feel that everybody should have to stand up in front of people and state their policies and make their case. I thought if nobody else is going to do it, I’ll put my name in it.”
At the time when Chadwick filed his nomination papers, only incumbent Councillor Tim Fryer had submitted a nomination to run for deputy mayor. Close to the filing deadline, former councillor Keith Hull submitted a nomination for deputy mayor. On deadline day, Fryer changed his nomination to run for reelection as a councillor, leaving the contest for deputy mayor between Hull and Chadwick.
Chadwick moved to Collingwood in 1990. He worked for the Enterprise Bulletin on the editorial staff and was a local correspondent for CBC radio. He is currently a freelance writer for Municipal World magazine and is the communications coordinator for the Ontario Municipal Water Association.
Chadwick was first drawn into municipal politics after serving as a volunteer on advisory boards for public places such as the Simcoe County Museum and Collingwood Public Library.
“People tend to work collaboratively toward common goals [on a volunteer board],” said Chadwick. “On council, it tends to be far more adversarial … more argumentative in cases. But I wanted to be part of the policy-making; part of the decision-making.”
He considers municipal politics the “best” level of politics because, for the most part, it’s non-partisan.
“In municipal politics, you’re supposed to be able to vote as you believe and not along party lines,” he said. “You’re on the ground. You talk about things that are day-to-day living experiences and everybody can relate to it.”
Chadwick said it’s important for both the mayor and the deputy mayor to have a lot of time to devote to their roles, and he has the time. He also likes to read, and said that will serve him and the rest of council well if he is elected.
“My strength is in process, in reading, in the documentation and the communication,” said Chadwick. “I’m an avid reader. For me, that’s part of it. I want to be the informed person. I want to be the person [the rest of council] turns to and asks, ‘what does the bylaw say about this?’”
Heading into the next term of council, Chadwick said planning will be important for Collingwood’s future. His strategic goal for the town over the next four years is sustainable, financial planning.
He would also like to see the Collingwood Terminals restored and for the town to find a better solution for the site.
“But you can’t do that unless you’ve got sustainable financial planning,” said Chadwick. “Everything you do at this end, you have to ask the question, ‘where is the money coming from?’ Strategic-level thinking has to be collective. It has to be collaborative.”
Chadwick places a priority on preserving green space and access to trails and parks, and he sees growth as a “double-edged sword,” where, on one hand, it brings in more revenue in the form of taxpayers and consumers for the town, and, on the other hand, it brings in more people, which puts a greater demand on the town’s infrastructure.
“Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen’s Race, when you run as fast as you can to stay in the same place – that’s what Collingwood is doing,” said Chadwick. “And we can’t stop it. In effect, we are very limited in how much we can control. We can control density and some of the timing of it, but you can’t tell people they can’t come here. In fact, I don’t want to. I want them to come here and love the community.”
However, according to Chadwick, that community needs some work.
“There’s a divisiveness in the community that I think we have to heal, but I don’t honestly know how we can best do that,” said Chadwick. “There’s a certain toxic element in the community that’s making it difficult for people to know what’s factual. And that’s tough for voters. They’re voting without knowing people. How do they get to know the candidates? How do they know the issues?”
He said the place to start in this rebuilding is to set priorities and stick to a clear and open process. Chadwick proposes more communication through more mediums for Collingwood residents. He also would like to see council holding more public meetings outside of those required by the municipal act and proposed bringing back public committees beyond the existing library and museum board committees in the interest of more public engagement. Chadwick considers Collingwood’s water – including its source water, water treatment and waterfront – crucial and would push for it to be at the top of council’s priority list.
He said he would like to see an arts centre built in Collingwood soon, geared specifically to large performance arts events and conferences. He also suggests a stronger push to promote Collingwood as an events destination and suggested council give the economic development department more funds to recruit and attract tech-based companies to the town.
"Most importantly,” according to Chadwick, the next council has to look forward.
“The next council has a few things to rebuild. It has to rebuild trust with the public and it has to rebuild our relationship with our neighbours,” said Chadwick. “But let’s not spend our time looking backwards and blaming, let’s move forward. Let’s look at what we have to do to make things work here … I really don’t want to spend four years, like this group has done, looking backwards. I don’t want a judicial inquiry about what they did. I don’t want people calling OPP investigations into what they did. That’s done, let’s go forward and build the future.”
Chadwick has been blogging during the current term of council and some of his posts have been highly critical of council, suggesting there’s an alliance he calls “the block,” which involves some members of council and the public. He refers to them as bullies, dimwitted, "Trump Mini-mes," and accuses them of “paranoid conspiracy theories.” He has named current Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson as part of “the Block.” Saunderson is a candidate for mayor in the upcoming election.
“I didn’t say anything about this council for the first six or eight months,” said Chadwick. “Then I finally couldn’t not say something because they went off process … that’s why I got angry.”
However, Chadwick said if he’s elected, he’ll make sure his blogging is done respectfully.
“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives us the right to have an opinion,” said Chadwick. “The [Collingwood] code of conduct says it has to be respectful.”
Chadwick said it’s important for a member of council to be collaborative.
“When you lose the vote, you don’t sulk, you don’t go into a rage, you don’t write nasty blogs, you live with it because that’s what it is, that’s democracy. You win some, you lose some,” he said.
Chadwick is running against Keith Hull for deputy mayor. Watch CollingwoodToday for a profile of Hull.
The Collingwood Chamber of Commerce is hosting a meet-the-candidates event for the mayor and deputy mayor candidates on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) at the Royal Canadian Legion. There will be a separate event for councillor candidates also hosted by the chamber on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Collingwood Legion.
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.