Melanie Seeley is running for Deputy Mayor of Grey Highlands because she would like to see change in direction for the community.
Seeley is a single mom and lives in Markdale, she has a diploma in journalism and grew up on a farm in Badjeros.
She said she has always been an avid follower of national and international news, but in recent years shifted her focus to local matters.
“Everything was getting worse and worse and it started to affect me. I started to focus on my local politics,” she said. “I started getting interested in municipal politics and had lots of conversations with my neighbour.”
Seeley said she didn’t like the direction Grey Highlands was going and decided to step up and run for council in this election.
“I thought I should do something about this,” she said and after attending meetings of the Grey Highlands Municipal League, she decided to jump into the race for deputy mayor. “I felt very empowered. A lot of people feel the same way, we’re ready for a change.”
Seeley says when she talks to local residents she doesn’t see their views or needs being tackled by council.
“I hear a lot of complaints about issues that the present council doesn’t seem to want to address or they don’t feel they’re important enough to address,” she said. “People want to be heard.”
She is focusing on a number of issues including: finding reasonable solutions to waste management issues, long-term solutions for housing, protecting wetlands and farmlands, finding suitable and innovative ways to resolve C4 zoning issues, long-term solution to community needs for facilities for youths and creating an age-friendly Grey Highlands. She also feels council should make a better effort to reach out to the public.
“I would like to see a travelling council. Every month, have a meeting in a different community in the municipality,” she said. “People would be very accommodating to that, they would feel their community is being heard.”
If elected deputy mayor, Seeley will be a member of county council and she said the county level is a great forum for her to address concerns about road safety and speeding on Highway 10.
“Highway 10 is a major issue in the summertime. Something needs to be done about the people speeding,” she said, and promised to advocate for passing lanes and speed bumps in urban settings to slow traffic down. “It’s something that seriously needs to be addressed, I would have a strong voice for this.”
She will also push for the redevelopment of Grey Gables to move forward.
“Why do they want to close it? They just built the new hospital behind there. All these people are moving to Markdale. If you move Grey Gables out of here, there goes a bunch of good jobs,” she said.
She promised to be a keen advocate for the needs of local youth.
“Has anybody ever asked the youth what they want for the future? They should be deciding,” she said.
As a resident who rents her home, Seeley says affordable and attainable housing will be a top priority on her agenda.
“I understand the struggles of needing affordable housing. I couldn’t imagine trying to find a place,” she said.
The municipal election is Oct. 24, 2022. To confirm you are on the voter's list, or to find out about advance voting options, visit the Grey Highlands website here.