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.
"For the first time in my term as mayor, I am declining to answer questions from the media. I think the timing and nature of the questions are unfortunate. They are inviting councillors to campaign for an election that is many months away at a time when there remains months of work ahead for this council," said Saunderson.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Saunderson will be running for MPP of Simcoe-Grey as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the June 2022 provincial election.)
Click here to read their answers to our first question. Click here to read their answers to our second question, here for answers to the third question, here for answers to our fourth question and here for answers to the fifth question.
Do you intend to run again? Why or why not?
Deputy Mayor Keith Hull
“In 2014, I filed to run for a second term as a municipal councillor. However, prior to the filing deadline I withdrew my papers which was the right decision for me and my family at that time. Being a member of a municipal council (in any capacity) is a significant commitment. In 2018, I was ready to run again and am honoured to have been given the opportunity to serve for a second time. With that said, I am focused on the year ahead and will officially make my intentions known sometime in the new calendar year.”
Coun. Tina Comi
“Here’s what I know for sure: we need some savvy folks to come forward who aren’t afraid to take on some of the massive issues facing this town – our water crisis, our affordable housing problem and the need for deep, concerted effort to dig into fiduciary responsibility. You know it doesn’t cost a nickel to encourage civility and welcome visitors to our beautiful town. It does however take approximately $100 million to run the town and it would be great to see some people come forward with the skills to make efficient use of it.”
Coun. Deb Doherty
“I am considering all of my options for the future, but today I have to say that my primary focus is to work through and deliver on our most important community priorities.”
Coun. Yvonne Hamlin
“A question I often discuss with my loved ones! I do anticipate there will be unfinished business at the end of this term including approving bylaws to implement the new Official Plan; getting provincial approval to add family doctors to our town and then recruiting; making sure we have rules in place to guide new development including infill while protecting existing neighbourhoods; ensuring that the $500,000 gift made by Julie DiLorenzo to fund the purchase of trees in town is completed; and making some significant headway on environmental issues within our control. Yet, I never anticipated that this part-time position would in fact be more than full-time. Did I mention that I have a beautiful three-month-old grandson?
Although guiding a growth community has a lot of moving parts and responsibilities, I have been so encouraged by the kind words of support from members of the community.
Lots to think about.”
Coun. Kathy Jeffery
“This is not the time to be looking in the rear-view mirror, patting ourselves on the back and/or worrying about our future political aspirations.”
Coun. Mariane McLeod
“It is an honour to serve and I’m grateful for the opportunities that come with this work, but let’s not be distracted from the important year ahead. This is serious stuff: the town is a 100-million dollar corporation allocating taxes levied from the people it serves, and councillors are its board of directors.
Media plays a vital role in a democracy, even more than I understood while working in it. I urge your publication to take your responsibility seriously and refrain from printing comments, praise, or attacks on council decisions without identifying when Letters to the Editor etc., come from people affiliated with municipal or other campaigns, past or present. It can be misleading to provide commentary from current or former CFOs or campaign managers without disclosure of such connections, as has been happening recently.”