Collingwood's town council, elected in 2018, is entering the final year of its four-year mandate. The next municipal election, slated for Oct. 24, 2022, is less than one year away.
With that in mind, we canvassed Mayor Brian Saunderson, Deputy Mayor Keith Hull and all seven town councillors to answer six key questions heading into the home stretch of their tenure.
They were given a limit of 150-words per response. Their responses are published verbatim.
Coun. Steve Berman, Coun. Bob Madigan and Mayor Brian Saunderson declined to participate.
Are there any decisions you've made so far this term that you regret or matters that, in hindsight, you might have approached differently?
Deputy Mayor Keith Hull
“It relates to a decision made at county council and that is the implementation of the new waste collection cart system. First, I am pro-cart. The vast majority of residents have embraced the concept and are looking forward to using the new system starting the first week of November. However, it was the failure of county council and staff not to offer alternative sizes from Day 1. I believe that the majority of households will benefit from the larger size carts. However, the county is very unique in terms of demographics, topography and built form and the 'one-size-fits-all' approach simply does not work across a county as diverse as the County of Simcoe. We are moving to introduce an exchange program to give residents an option in size but this will not come into effect until the New Year. We got it wrong and this is a decision I regret.”
Coun. Tina Comi
“As a new councillor, I wish earlier in my term I spoke out more about the runaway costs of the judicial inquiry. The inquiry was initiated by the previous council and the taxpayers of Collingwood were provided estimated costs of $1.5 million. Today the costs total over $8 million. I’ll always think about how far that money could’ve gone in our community.”
Coun. Deb Doherty
“While not everyone will agree with my voting record, I have acted upon what was in my heart and have no second thoughts about the decisions I have made.”
Coun. Yvonne Hamlin
“Top of my list is doing something, starting very early on in our mandate, to encourage those on council to get to know each other better and appreciate what each of us brings to the table. I am thinking of informal gatherings where no council business is discussed. Many councillors don't know each other well beyond what is in the election literature. We need not be best friends. Yet we are given the task of governing together and making it work. To do so, we must together strive to hear each other.
I believe council could do a better job if we took steps to ensure we had a chance to start out as colleagues. Many private sector businesses manage this well."
Coun. Kathy Jeffery
Did not submit a response to this question.
Coun. Mariane McLeod
“Early on, I was challenged on how I had voted on a particular item, and I could not articulate why. I learned from that humbling experience that not only should a councillor closely read the provided reports and think about them, then listen to any argument with an open mind, but, before any vote, be sure we’re getting all the information, and correct information, to be clear and confident we are doing the right thing for the community. I aim for that standard every time I raise my ‘yes’ or ‘no’ card.”