It has been an honour to serve as a Ward 1 Councillor for the past four years.
I moved to Orillia in 1979 and have resided in Ward 1 since 1987. My wife, Julia Bailey, who practices family and children’s law in Orillia, and I live in the Villages of Leacock Point.
During the 1980s I served as a director and chair of the Orillia Economic Development Commission. I was subsequently elected Mayor of Orillia for a three-year term.
During the 1990s, I was twice elected a commissioner of the Orillia Water Light Power Commission. After retiring from Hewitt Associates in 2010, served for five years as a director of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and three years as a director of OSMH Foundation.
I made two commitments when I ran for council in 2014. One was to help return decorum and civility to the deliberations of city council, and the second was to encourage council to make decisions that would have a long-lasting, positive impact on our city.
My first commitment was, for the most part, accomplished thanks to the courtesy and thoughtfulness of my colleagues.
In fulfilling my second commitment, council made three significant, long-term decisions. These were:
• The construction of a new aquatic, gymnasium and fitness recreation centre on West Street South.
• The redevelopment of our waterfront, including the Metro Plaza and railway lands, which are already a catalyst for private-sector commercial and residential investment.
• The potential sale of our electric distribution utility to Hydro One, which has committed to building three new facilities in West Orillia, creating economic stimulus and significant future employment opportunities.
I believe the next council will be challenged to not only bring these projects to completion, but improve day-to-day services while keeping tax increases to a level of inflation, improve support for social assistance and health care, and explore city boundary adjustments to permit future economic growth.