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Community Connection Guide

Engage Barrie Organization was one of several co-authors of the Community Connection Guide for Municipal Leaders in the Simcoe Region.  It was put together in part to assist local municipal candidates in developing their campaign platforms, but also to help local leaders and community understand some of the concerns facing our region, and give them some specific steps available to address those concerns.


A downloadable PDF is available here.

Better yet, visit the Community Connection Guide website, which is a "living document", and updated regularly!

The issues addressed directly affect the health, resiliency and well-being of our community, including:  Increasing Democracy (our favourite), Housing Affordability, Social Housing, Reducing Poverty, Household Food Insecurity, Local Agriculture and Community Food Access, Building 15 Minute Communities, Equitable and Safe Communities, Protecting Lake Simcoe, Protecting Groundwater, Climate Action, Protecting and Expanding Natural Heritage, Youth Issues, Indigenous Rights, Transportation, and Community Art.

Simcoe County Food Council Municipal Election Toolkit

Engage Barrie Organization is proud to have been one of the Simcoe County Food Council's community partners in helping to create this toolkit, along with Barrie Housing, the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, and the Collingwood Climate Action Team, among others.

 

The Simcoe County Food Council (SCFC)'s 2022 Municipal Election Toolkit is released to help raise awareness about household food insecurity and community food access, in advance of the municipal elections happening on Oct. 24, 2022. From affordable living and reliable transportation, to recreation and waste management, municipal elections can have a significant impact on a community’s overall health and vitality.

 

The toolkit was created to help community organizations and members understand the role municipalities have when it comes to producing, accessing and learning about food in their community. The toolkit also provides an overview of the key issues, recommendations, and questions for candidates – to help ensure a sustainable, resilient local food system that is affordable and accessible for everyone living in Simcoe County.

A summary of the recommendations is available here.

Questions to ask your municipal candidates are available here.

The full toolkit is available here.

 

Better yet, visit the SCFC Municipal Election Toolkit page for full details

Community Connection Guide
Food Council Toolkit
CDPC Guide

Barrie Housing & Homelessness Justice Network Demands

 

The Barrie Homelessness & Housing Justice Network (BHHJN) is a multidisciplinary network of homelessness and housing advocates (including some of our Contributing Members) who have come together to advocate for the right to housing and the elimination of chronic homelessness in Barrie.  BHHJN seeks immediate action and long-term sustainable solutions to address the predictable yet premature and preventable deaths resulting from the inadequacies and injustices in the shelter and housing sectors. Responding to the homelessness crisis, they are demanding change as it relates to emergency shelter, social housing, and the protection of human rights.

Engage Barrie Organization has endorsed BHHJN's list of demands.

Download the BHHJN's Detailed Release (PDF) here.

 

Demands of the City of Barrie and County of Simcoe

  1. City of Barrie to pause enforcement of the “no camping” by-law in cases where individuals have set up alternate housing in the form of tents or other structures as a survival response to the lack of affordable housing options.  

  2. Barrie Fire to distribute fire safety supplies and provide fire safety training as needed in encampments. 

  3. City of Barrie to issue an inclement weather alert when necessary and City of Barrie/County of Simcoe to fund/open inclement weather sites during alerts.

  4. City of Barrie to work progressively toward 24/7/365 public washroom and drinking  water access. 

  5. County of Simcoe to conduct an external audit of all funded homelessness services and supports, including shelter providers, with input from people with lived/living  experience and/or shelter users. 

  6. County of Simcoe to use the results of the audit to review and update the Emergency Shelter Standards from 2003, to include harm reduction measures as the standard  within the shelter system, and in consultation with shelter providers, shelter users, and  other community homelessness and housing stakeholders, and conduct ongoing  external audits as needed to ensure standards are being met. 

  7. County of Simcoe to immediately increase rent supplements, rent-geared-to-income, and affordable housing options, and fast-track an overhaul of rent supplement and Housing Retention Fund process, so applicants get proof of entitlement to a specific amount before they start their housing search. 

  8. County of Simcoe to identify partners and funding to develop and implement a street  health program.

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition Municipal Voter Guide

We did not contribute to this guide, but it is appreciated and supported by our "Supervised Consumption Saves Lives" Committee.

Download the CDPC's Municipal Voter Guide (PDF) here.

 

"To support public health and human rights, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) advocates for full decriminalization of simple drug possession and necessity trafficking*, investment into social supports such as housing, expansion of safe supply and harm reduction measures, and legal regulation of all drugs under a single regulatory framework.

 

To forward key policy changes such as decriminalization, and to support harm reduction measures such as supervised consumption sites, having support from city council can make all the difference in implementing the changes needed to address the drug toxicity crisis.

 

We have the power to elect who we want to represent us—and to talk to friends, family, and community about the realities of prohibition and the need for life-saving drug policy reform. We encourage you to share this resource with your networks—and use your right to vote to enact meaningful, lasting change."

BHHJN
SCDSB 2

Candidate Profiles

City Council:  Ward 1     Ward 2     Ward 3     Ward 4     Ward 5     Ward 6     Ward 7     Ward 8     Ward 9     Ward 10

Simcoe County District School Board:  Ward 1 (City Wards 1-3)     Ward 2 (City Wards 4-6)     Ward 3 (City Wards 6-10)

Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board:     Ward 1 (City Wards 1-5)     Ward 2 (City Wards 6-10)

Conseil scolaire Viamonde     Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir

Need to know which ward or school board you can vote for?  Check out our at-a-glance sheets here.

*Last update, October 22

Mayoral Candidates

Andrew Gordon  (He/Him)

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  • did not participate in any

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  • none answered

Weldon Hachey​

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

For those that don't know me, my name is Weldon Hachey. I'm also known as the very thong man. I started early 2020 trying to raise awareness and wake people up as to what's going on with their government. Doug Ford said clothing was not essential and I said really well here you go. if clothing's not essential that's how the thong got started. So now for those of you who don't know why I did what I did.

For the introduction I'd like to leave this opening letter - this is from a retired Baptist Minister his name is Walter Hofman - one F in Hofman that's his joke not mine. I met Walter I don't know if you know who James Topp is..James Topp walks across Canada, he was a military person 30 years and he got a dishonorable discharge for his freedom of body autonomy. Anyway, Walter wanted to walk with him to Ottawa and this was my introduction to Walter. Walter Hawkins a family man and a man of the cloth at 70 he worked at walking every day in preparation for the final legs of James Topp walk across Canada Walter trained hard to meet James and Sudbury to accompany him on his final leg in Ottawa on foot. We went to support this loving family man and minister for standing up for a 30-year military person who served his country for his freedom of choice and was given a dishonorable discharge for non-compliance of an experimental vaccine. Walter is well-respected - rightfully so. With his wife Wendy and his two daughters to support him he's a man to look up to.  When we first met I was in my thong he was very taken aback a small flailing asset - nobody would take pictures with me in it. I understand and respected this great individual for standing up for our military and our freedoms.  After we met he inquired about me and made a point of every rally after that to personally come over and hug me and shake my hand regardless of the thong or not. We have remained friends and always will be. Today I am doing what I do dealing with the doubters just trying to do what's right, spread truth or education.

I've received from Walter this text: 

 “Is it good for you and the Freedom Movement while you win or lose you are making an impact on and that counts for a lot. You are fighting the odds and you wouldn't be the first one to come out on top.  you're creating a whole new image for yourself Weldon to keep moving in this direction.  There is much more to you than people realize and you are bringing all that to the forefront. I do believe your image of Thong man has made an impression which was irrelevant.  what you're doing now is so much more reflective of who you truly are Weldon.  a man to be taken seriously and to be respected in your own right.  All those who supported you with strong men will continue to have your back as well than the mayoral candidate. But now you will generate many more supporters as Weldon the candidate. very exciting to see some of these forwards. this is where you belong and this is where you will maximize your influence.  God has a wonderful plan for your life and I see it unfolding more and more every day as God it goes by. I bless you in Jesus name my friend May the wonderful calling of God be realized in its fullest as you march forward.  Do not underestimate the power of prayers as you strive towards your destiny. The Glorious hand of God is upon you Weldon, embrace it and I wish you every success moving forward. Love and peace Walter” Thank you.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

I'm in the sheet metal business - heating and air conditioning - so construction is a very big part of my background and part of that is keeping up on the innovations of construction and building. You know there are countries around the world that have processes - they can build houses in a matter of days, weeks - they're building entire apartment buildings. One of the things Gerry mentioned was going up on top of these other ones, that's a great solution. We just have to be careful that building is going to support that excess weight.  we may have to build brand new and go up.  I also believe that that if we look into these Technologies it's a fast solution for building quick homes. the zoning bylaws have been changing to help because of the shortage of housings we are now allowing one or more dwellings on a property.  This is where the tiny homes may come in. I've been looking at tiny homes for a long time I'm thinking about getting into that business.  Now that's kind of going into homeless and then you know Finding Emergency Shelters.  We could build small tiny homes in a very quick pace just to alleviate these people from being out in the in the harsh elements and give them some little safe haven for them to crawl into at night, getting into the weather.  You know portable ones getting them in some place safe.  We can do this for the elderly, the tiny homes - people that are in larger homes, you know it's very hard on the elderly to keep it up. I know it's a family home and if they're 90 years old 80 years old it's difficult to look after that large property, so it might look into an investment too to put them into a smaller home something more comfortable.  Maybe a whole subdivision where elderly can look after themselves, and we can you condone or contain in smaller homes and allow them to live safer instead of climbing up and down stairs.  Tiny homes I think is a way to look at things and the construction industry needs to grow faster needs to keep up with technology it's there. 

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Our education system teaches our children everything they need to know, but they don't teach them how to use it.  I suggest we have some kind of a Hands-On like trade school for entrepreneurs teaching them how to build businesses, how to educate themselves on providing for themselves and their family for the future. Not just for our youth though we've got a lot of people that are struggling daily working two jobs – 40, 60 hours a week - barely able to make their rent and pay for groceries. We need this open and available to everybody not just our youth. We need to teach and educate people on how to be self-sustainable. We need to have these implementations to help everybody. I worked during the day I went to school for evenings every Tuesday and Thursday or every Monday and Wednesday for 20 years. I put myself through education at night and raised myself my son as a single father.  It was difficult. We need to make it more accessible. Not everybody can do that.  I was traveling from Keswick every day to Toronto doing the commuting. We need to make things available and accessible here locally in Barrie. We need to have these schools and institutions in place with teaching staff who are coaches who are entrepreneurs themselves, to teach the valuable lessons needed to open up businesses and come up with brilliant ideas on how to make our city a better place.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Again, everybody's got some great points but this is going to cost taxpayers dollars. How are we going to fund all this stuff? One of the ideas that I have is beautiful city of Barrie we've got a waterfront downtown.  Instead of bringing in congestion of all the tours that we're getting because it is a tourist attraction why don't we develop it into an even bigger tourist attraction but instead of parking downtown we have outside of Barrie parking lots where we shuttle people in?  We encourage hiking and biking and cycling and rollerblading.  We want people out there kayaking and canoeing - maybe expanding our marinas - there's a lot of money in people with boats and marinas.  We bring in those Investments we bring in those dollars to help pay for all of these ideas that everybody wants to put in place - they’re all beautiful ideas - but how are we going to pay for this? These are all great ideas but it's going to come out of your pocket - taxpayers’ dollars. We need to make these things happen but we can't afford anymore. Who's going to pay for all this? You guys. how about we let other people come in, they’re coming to our city anyways. Let's keep downtown beautiful - we don't need all those parking spaces downtown - we keep a couple for the local residents but all the tours coming in we have a park and shuttle bus.  It's kind of like Rama does we ship them in, we have little bus tours maybe throughout the city we have all we turn it into a tourist town.  Bring in taxpayers’ dollars or in you know it build our infrastructure with other people’s money with the tours that are already coming here. they're going to keep coming because it’s so beautiful.  Let’s invite them, let's take their money and use it to make Barrie a better place and use their money to build our infrastructure.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Barrie vote for you?

Thank you everyone, I haven't been a very long time but I've made an impact quite already. A lot of people already know who I am. Give me a little bit more time and there's going to be a lot more I'm going to accomplish and I'd like to end this with the most powerful paragraph that I've ever read in my life that's changing me, profoundly.  

No wealth or position can long endure, unless built upon truth and justice, therefore I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects.  I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces that I wish to use.  I will induce others to serve me because of my willingness to serve others. I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism by developing love for all Humanity because I know that a negative attitude toward others will never bring me success. I will succeed because I will believe in others and I will believe in myself thank you

Rob Haverson​ (He/Him)

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  • did not participate in any

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  • none answered

Gerry Marshall

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Good afternoon everybody, thanks for coming out. My name is Gerry Marshall I'm running to be your mayor.  The role of Mayor is one of leadership.  My previous leadership roles both in corporate and political worlds provide me with the qualifications to lead our city.  I had a tremendous telecom career. Started out as a pole climbing lineman, got promoted through the management ranks over the years to the vice president level, and as vice president to had budgets in excess of 75 million dollars to look after, staff compliments and greater than 650 employees.  As my corporate career wound down, I became involved in local politics. I served for eight years as Mayor of Penetanguishene. I served four years as Simcoe County Warden. And for those unfamiliar, as Warden I was the head of a 32-member County Council.  County Council is comprised of 16 Mayors and Deputy Mayors from 16 different municipalities.   As a group you're responsible for a 500-million-dollar budget and 1850 employees.

I was also the chair of the Ontario Western wardens caucus and a board member of the association of municipalities of Ontario to look after the best interest of 420 Ontarian municipalities.  

In terms of priorities I have three: 

Starting out with homelessness - I have many thoughts on all these three - but with the time restrictions I'll be quick.  While there are many steps to be taken undertaken by his first step with homelessness is one of accountability.  I believe the city council of Barrie needs to care for all our residents including the homeless.  Currently the county of Simcoe and not the city of Barrie plan, manage and implement the homelessness portfolio in the city. This needs to change. 

Seniors well-being - I have several thoughts on this but here's two quick examples. We need to accelerate towards a community-based long-term care model, a model that would see multiple seniors receiving the care they need while residing in a smaller residential home. A home style setting located in a typical residential neighborhood.  We need to create a housing stock that will allow seniors to downsize from existing large homes to a smaller more appropriately sized home.  And I would also hold the province of Ontario accountable to install the air conditioning in long-term care facilities that they committed to. 

In climate change I guess we can talk on climate change for now are all of us in this room but my thought early anyways I believe as a city we need to be all in on climate change. It cannot be a portfolio that is merely added as a job function to somebody else's existing portfolio.  You need a subject matter expert on board, someone who sole task is to lead the charge and develop long-term corporate and community strategies. Someone who can provide counseling with solid advice and present thought out   recommendations for Council approval.  

In closing I'm not running for something to do like a planning to keep me busy.  I'm running to do something.  I'm ready to be your mayor because I have the experience the insight and the passion to make Barrie better for my children for my grandchildren and for you and your families.  Thank you.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

On housing, to my mind we need to leverage existing facilities.  If you look around the city you see the provincial Municipal and federal buildings, and they're all one and two stories tall.  Why do we not have a third fourth and fifth floor in those facilities that accommodate residential apartments and create more housing stocks?  We need to look at opportunities like that.  You also need to complete a land inventory. City of Barrie like any other city has a lot of vacant land unused.   so can that land turned over into some kind of Housing Opportunity, because  we want to have a look at those opportunities.

Zoning - I hear it all across the provinces I pay attention everybody talks about tiny homes, and Tiny communities.  No council puts a bylaw in place that actually makes that happen.   So, we have to stop talking about those ideas and actually come up with a bylaw that creates an onramp to make that a successful opportunity.    I'd also a champion of building of Homes for Heroes.  That's a great project.  I'm familiar with the one in Kingston.   I think it's an ideal fit here in Barrie and certainly something I would pursue vigorously to get into our city.

Also, I was proud to be a part of the creation of Lucy's place was the old motel that got turned into housing for harvest to house and so I want to see more of those opportunities taking advantage of.   So, do we have facilities and maybe abandoned facilities motels that could be retrofitted into creating more housing stock.   We need to look at those as well.   And if housing is essential part of our life we need to give it a preferred approval route we need to get approval through this system much quicker than we do today.    Very very rapid Pace that we're not currently doing.  And finally, we need to get bureaucracy out of the way.   Simply it takes far too long to plan and approve housing.  And red tape delays for home builders for renovators and homeowners looking to improve means extra cost on the final end user at the end of the final purchase. 

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

First of all, I think we need to survey existing youth.  So why are they here, what do they like, what is missing and what do they need. We need to understand from our current youth that live in Barrie, what was it all about, why are they here, what do they want and what do they need. 

We need to address housing. You start out in life making less money. In the early days of their career.  we need a housing stock that will give them a chance to weather the storm until they get to those higher income levels. This ties back to my smaller homes for downsizing seniors. Those same homes are entry homes for youth entering the imposing market. 

Social interactions are critical to the youth and we need places where they can enjoy life without having to spend the fortune.  we need to create a vibrant downtown as a destination place to go and be.  We need to ensure that we are inclusive, welcoming our BIPOC, LGBTQT and new immigrant communities and we need to embrace all the things that make us a wonderfully diverse.  

We need to leverage assets such as the Henry Bernick and sandbox centers.  We need to be active and aggressive in Economic Development.  We need to ensure our City's value proposition is current and positioned in the matter that best attracts business.  And you know we had a great tagline it was well connected.  Barrie is well connected we have Lake Simcoe airport 10 minutes up the road, Highway 400 series right here on our doorstep, s 45 minutes to an International Airport, and then one hour drive we have a Marketplace of 9 million people.  With an eight hour drive we have a Marketplace of 36 million people.  We are a great spot to open doors and drive business 

Finally, we need to embrace economic drivers such as leveraging and growing your arts and culture assets that are important to our youth coming into our areas. 

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

One of the largest challenges facing our city is growth.  It impacts us in every way. Traffic on roads, noise, sprawl, rising home prices, effects on Lake Simcoe and increased taxation. To me we need to look out 20 or 30 years to determine the needs, look and feel of our city.   Then we need to set short-term medium-term and long-term goals. With those goals we need to set targets and milestone date accomplishments.

 I will work with Council early in this term to identify where we need to be and put in place the on-ramps required so that our future can easily come on board. As we grow we will grow in all areas. we'll have some who will arrive at Good Health and financial stability, while others will arrive with being at risk of being homeless.  Some will face addiction and mental health challenges. We need to have a full 360-degree view of growth to be prepared for all that is coming is coming our way. Similar to the needs of youth we need to ensure that we are inclusive and welcoming to different cultures different religions our BIPOC, LGBTQ and new immigrant communities and we need to embrace all things that make us so wonderfully diverse.  As a city you need to plan, build, own, and operate and combine affordable housing. Including units dedicated to the hardest to house.  The net result is being a housing model that will increase the supply of app market affordable and special needs housing all of which need to be located in good locations.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Barrie vote for you?

Thanks everybody for coming out. It's been my pleasure to be here, to answer some questions and give my insight and some of my thoughts and different ideas on how the city looks and feels and where we go.  

I hope that my comments on the leadership resonate with you. I've got the background I've got the experience from previous roles in politics and my corporate experiences I bring to the table.  

I just simply leave you with this so my brochure is there it's got the high-level details on the back there's a resume attached and the website's got some really good stuff thanks for coming out.

Mike McCann

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Alex Nuttall

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Thank you to CARP and Engage Barrie for hosting everyone here tonight or today for the special election event. My name is Alex Nutall and I'm asking for your vote to be mayor of the city of Barrie.

My family moved from Liverpool England to Barrie Ontario in 1989. In 1993 my father went back to England seeking work and from then on, I grew up in a single parent home with my mother. my two older brothers myself and my mother moved into Mill Creek which is government housing in south Barrie.  I was 10 years old in 1996 when my mother was struck by a car walking across Wellington Street and Eccles, leaving her permanently facing both physical and mental disabilities.  I grew up in a family that paid 100 a month and rent geared to income housing on welfare and subsequently on ODSP. 

Today the most important question to answer for any candidate is why we're running. I'm running because the city afforded me every opportunity that could be imagined by a child living in poverty. I'm running to ensure that my children have a safe clean city to grow up in. A city they can get educated in. A city they have ample job opportunities in. A city they can create a business in or invest in. And a city they can retire.

Affordability is a huge issue. Last year my own mother identified she was having a very difficult time making ends meet.  When I sold my family home, I purchased a duplex where my mother  was able to have an apartment and my own family lives as well.  She was paying 1750 a month for rent as a senior on a fixed income, the exact same number of the poverty line that was just discussed by Gwen.  As mayor I will work to get a variety of housing stock to market to address the supply and demand imbalance.   Red tape can't be the determinant on when and if we can help people find housing, especially vulnerable people. Because of this we will institute a 90 day turnaround for applications to the city of Barrie.  But affordability is not an equation that only relies on expenses; it relies on revenue and income as well.  Barrie has approved residential road plans that vastly outpace our job supply.  With as many as 40 000 people commuting to Toronto daily, we need to help businesses create more jobs here and more well-paying jobs at that.   While Barrie could have 45 000 new people living in the annexation area, our current supply of employment will likely yield ten thousand jobs.  With intensification there's another 45 000 people moving to Barrie on top of that.  This means we have 90 000 people coming for ten thousand jobs. 

I would work to make servicing of employment plans as a priority in the annexation area.  This will allow Barrie residents to work here, to be in their homes at 7am and having dinner with the families at 7 pm.  

Finally, we need a city where people feel comfortable and safe.  As mayor, I will work with the province and the north and Central Correctional Facility to end the prisoner drop off in Barrie.  It is inhumane for the individual to be dropped off on the side of the road in a city they don't know, with the belongings they were arrested with.  If these folks don't get on the bus to go home and get support they become part of the homeless population here.  And that while it's unfair to the city of Barrie it is incredibly unfair to the individual.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak here today I certainly look forward to the rest of the debate.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

You know I have a unique perspective  growing up in affordable housing and  you know over time I I can honestly tell you I've realized that where we were in terms of rent geared to income was kind of one stop away from either a shelter or homelessness, and I think that that unique perspective I'm able to bring to the table  and the empathy with it will serve both the city as well as people who are facing these circumstances very well.  

Affordable housing it's a Continuum. It ranges from home ownership to rental to transitional housing Supportive Housing and Emergency Shelters.   we need a strategy that will address all of these types of Housing and for all citizens of Barrie.  As mayor I would work to remove barriers and roadblocks for affordable developments like Coral on Bayfield Street that's been there for six years and still not built, or what's currently being looked at proposed at Maple View Church.  When people come to Barrie with ideas we need to ask how we can get it done.  I support the recommendations of the housing affordability task force report, but we need action to actually get these recommendations done.  Many of these were outlined in the 2015 build forecast force report, but we haven't seen a lot of progress on them yet.

I'll waive DCs and permit fees on all affordable units in Barrie, commence a 90-day turnaround time and prioritize developments to bring affordable housing stock to market right here in Barrie.  One of the things that I think in the long term as we look at housing and certainly affordable housing, is breaking the cycle of poverty and one of the items that I've always loved to work on is high education which helps provide tools to children in government housing,  throughout the city,  and actually throughout the county so that they can have the tools to be successful in school and hopefully chart a beautiful path forward.  

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Young people are looking for a complete community with a great quality of life. They're looking for a city where they can live, they can work, and they can play.  They aren't looking for a city that they can sleep in and enjoy like a cottage on weekends.  It is so important that we right the balance between residential and employment growth over the next 10 years.  40 000 people on the highway weekdays commuting. Forty-five thousand people moving to the annexation area. 45 000 people coming through intensification.  Enough employment land for ten thousand jobs, this isn't adding up.  Young people don't move somewhere so that they can drive somewhere else every day.  As mayor I'll worked with Georgian College and the Provincial Government to expand University programs here in Barrie.  I'll work with organizations like Sandbox to develop local talent and attract talent to our city in our downtown.  We have a huge a huge Market of talented folks that are driving to the GTA every single day. I'll work with local employers to entice those folks to stay home right here in the city of Barrie and work their vocation.   

I'll showcase how valuable Barrie is as a hub for business with an airport seven miles to the north, a rail line that can get anywhere in North America, and 400 series highway to move people and goods around.  In short if we have the opportunity for young people to thrive in their chosen vocations they will choose Barrie.  They'll choose Barrie to experience our incredible waterfront, our proximity to the hills and our thriving community.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

I'd like to answer the second part of the question first. As you can tell we are dare I say three middle-aged white men, and probably a younger white man standing on stage, and so I think it's really important that we do everything we can to include as many people in this process, in the electoral process but also as Barry stated after - in terms of our committees in the makeup of our city.  I can tell you I have members of the Sikh Community, Hindu Community, Persian Community, Muslim Community on my campaign. My Campaign Manager, CFO and Director of Communications are all incredibly talented individuals whose leadership advice I take daily and they are all women.   I will bring the outlooks of these individuals and communities to the office of mayor, and work to improve daily on ensuring that our city and specifically our city hall is a welcoming place for all.

In terms of growth, I mean the reality is the growth doesn't pay for growth.  We've been saying that for many many years.  And then after that we go and approve more growth.  So, we know that the equation doesn't work. We know there's a deficit every time we build a home and yet we keep going down the same path.  We need to focus on ensuring that we bring to Barrie jobs and I know I keep saying it sounds repetitive.  The reality is the more jobs are going to Barrie the more employment that comes here the more buildings we build, they offset the cost of our residential taxes.  

You know one opportunity I see in the city of Barrie in our current capital plan is the southeast recreation center.  It's going to cost over 100 million dollars.  Every night and weekend we have school sitting there with gymnasiums that are not being used.  One of the things I'd like to do is work with our school boards to open those up open up for sports, arts, mentorship especially in places where we have vulnerable communities.  We can save money and we can also create a great Community atmosphere going forward.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Barrie vote for you?

I would take the opportunity to thank Christopher for moderating today, you did an excellent job.  I say that in faith because there's a couple more things to go here, but I also just want to thank all of you for coming out because obviously citizen engagement is key to a community and to a city, and I think it's incredible we've had the opportunity today.  Gwen from CARP, Engage Barrie and obviously the Salvation Army which is an incredible organization that does an incredible amount of work for the whole city of Barrie as well as at Christmas time.   It's always a lot of  fun to jump on that on and help the fundraising  there so just want to say thank you everyone  for coming today and if you have any questions  for me afterwards feel free to come up and ask

 

Barry Ward (He/Him)

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All-Candidates Meetings

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

awaiting transcription – please see video

Hi I'm Barry Ward, I want to be Barrie's next mayor.  First of all, thanks to CARP and Engage Barrie and the Salvation Army for hosting.  I am currently the city's Deputy Mayor, Councillor for Ward 4, which we are in today, and I filled in for Mayor Jeff Lehman when he took a leave of absence earlier this year.

A bit about myself.  I moved to Barrie almost 40 years ago to work at the Barrie Examiner, where I rose to City Editor.  I left and ran a bookstore in downtown Barrie for more than a decade.  I am now back as an editor at various national newspapers, along with my Council duties.  Marg and I have lived a few blocks from here for more than 25 years, it is where we raised our sons, one of whom is now back home and working in the area, the other son is away at University and it's their birthday on Monday, they're twins.

I want to be the Mayor of Barrie for the next four years to guide City Council through the planning needed to accommodate all the growth this city is going to see.  Forecasts call for us to almost double our population over the next 20 years.  I believe that I am the best one to lead this planning.  I have the respect of my fellow Councillors, I know the area politicians at the County, provincial and federal level, I know City Hall staff.  I would like to say that I will listen, learn and then lead.

My priorities are to protect the things that make Barrie great, our waterfront, our parks, our diversified economy and our neighbourhoods.  That doesn't mean there won't be change, it means I'll work to mitigate the effects of the growth that we're going to see.

Another priority is to preserve the services Barrie residents value, our emergency services, our recreation centres, our transit system.  That means keeping up with the growth, so citizens don't se a reduction in their service.

My final priority is to enhance those areas where we can do better.  Certainly affordable housing in support of housing, and we'll get into that a bit later during the questions, I know.  Our downtown, our infrastructure (including roads), our City Hall services - where I think we've made great strides in recent years, but I still occasionally hear from residents who said it should be, you know, five weeks or six weeks to get a building permit for my deck or something like that.  And I know those are exceptional cases, but I still think it's something we need to work on.

I can provide the calm, steady leadership to achieve these goals to make our great City even better.  Thanks to everyone for attending, thanks again to CARP, Engage Barrie, the Salvation Army and Chris Simon for hosting.  Thank you.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

Affordable housing is good for our health and good for our economy. In other words, it is good for our community. We don’t need to do more studies, although we should always be open to new ideas. We have started to implement the recommendations of our Housing Affordability Task Force – we’ve allowed housing as a right in all institutionally zoned lands and created a fund for faith groups to conduct feasibility studies on housing projects, something which has already drawn serious interest and proposals. We must continue to implement the recommendations, including dedicating a planning staff member to work exclusively on the affordable housing file: working with developers and organizations wanting to build affordable housing, guiding applications through the process and seeking out federal and provincial funding opportunities. We need to look at reducing or even eliminating parking requirements, or allow shared parking on commercial sites. We need to identify publicly owned lands that could be used for affordable housing – not parks, by the way, we need our green space. Allow new forms of housing, such as tiny homes. The task force had many other recommendations; we need to implement them.

But along with affordable housing, Barrie really needs more supportive housing to deal with our homeless situation. It isn’t enough to give someone a place to live; we also need to ensure they are able to stay there and not become homeless again. And that is expensive. The province just announced. $2.4 million to make the building at the corner of Tiffin and Innisfil supportive housing for the homeless. And Simcoe County already owned the building. It will house 14 people. We have almost 400 homeless residents in Barrie. You can do the math. We need federal and provincial money. 

There is one final thing I would do as mayor. When someone comes to my office with a sound idea for supportive housing, my first response will be: How can the city help you?

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

I’ve already talked about affordable housing. That is, without a doubt, a key to attracting and retaining more young people in Barrie. No matter how attractive we make this city, they aren’t going to stick around if they can’t afford to live here.

As part of my economic platform, I’ve said that my focus will be on helping existing businesses thrive and creating the conditions where local entrepreneurs – not necessarily young but many or most will be – are encouraged to fulfil their dreams. The city’s economic development department has numerous programs aimed at young entrepreneurs. That is also a focus of the Sandbox business incubator and the city-supported Small Business Centre. 

We need a strong and healthy downtown, since is that is a place many young people want to be. My experience has been that they are the ones investing in our downtown, both along the main street and in the second-story offices above.

We need a city hall that reflects the diversity of our community. We need citizen-committees that reflect all demographics. I’m always willing to learn. When I was appointed chair of the Market Precinct Task Force, to look at turning our current transit terminal into a permanent market when intercity buses are moved over to Allandale, I put together a committee I thought was pretty diverse, in terms of background and gender. What it didn’t have was young people. Then, a couple of young people kind of forced their way onto the committee. They turned out to be some of the best members, with some of the best ideas. It was a learning experience for me.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Barrie is going to grow a lot over the next 20 years. We have to plan for that growth.

I like the fact the question we received talked about the “opportunities and challenges” growth presents. That is exactly right. Growth means both. It is neither good nor bad; it is what we make it.

The challenges will be keeping our service level up as we grow. There will be more roads to plow, more garbage to collect, more transit routes to provide. There will be more people wanting to use our parks.

When I first ran for city council more than two decades ago, the most frequent comment I received at the door was "my kids can't get ice time" or "my kids can't get into swimming lessons." We quickly built new recreation centres at East Bayfield and Holly. I have never had that concern raised since then.

So the challenge will be to maintain services. That is why planning over the next four years is so important.

But growth also brings opportunities. Intensification along main routes such as Bayfield, Essa Road and Yonge Street create the possibility of more frequent transit. A larger population makes a performing arts centre more viable. A large population means a better pool of talent for employers, enticing employers looking for skilled workers to locate here.

The question also asked about how I would work toward eliminating systematic barriers, to ensure Barrie is a welcoming place to all. First of all, I try to make myself aware of barriers but, as a white, middle class male, I’m probably not the best one to identify them. That’s why it is important that the city have advisory groups such as the Anti-Racism Task Force, which we created a couple of years ago and which has reported to city council. It’s why we have a Seniors Advisory Committee. It’s why we have an Accessibility Advisory Committee. It’s why we should look into establishing a Youth Advisory Committee. And when they point out area where we fall short, we should listen, learn and act.

And it goes without saying, as a city and council, we must have zero tolerance to all forms of racism, ageism and discrimination of any sort.

I think there is one other thing we can do. It is important to hold community events and build community gathering points where people come together.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Barrie vote for you?

Thanks Gwen and CARP and thanks Rob and Engage Barrie, and thanks Salvation Army for hosting and thanks Chris for moderating.  I really appreciate this chance to be here today, and I thank the people for coming out, because as Alex just said, you're showing a lot of engagement in the process, and that's much appreciated.  Urge your neighbours and friends to vote.  I mean, it's one of the most embarrassing things that we get a 30% turnout for municipal elections and a 40% turnout in the last provincial election.  I'm not sure what the problem is, but it's really important that we get more people engaged in the process, so thank you for coming.

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Ward 1 Candidates

Constance Elliott (She/Her)

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All-Candidates Meetings
  • none confirmed​

News Articles
Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Andre Jmourko

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All-Candidates Meetings
  • none confirmed​

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Clare Riepma

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All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

I'm currently the Councillor for Ward One. I love the job. I live in Ward One, I have my business in Ward one. I'm passionate about Ward One, and I'm running again to keep working on some of the things that we've started to do.  One of the things, and this relates to Ward One primarily, is road repair. We've never had a really good list of roads that really need fixing and a timetable to fix them. We now have that and so you know Duckworth is next year and Grove and Nelson and Codrington and Blake Street.  So all of those kinds of things are really important, I think, for me to finish. Secondly we have a real issue around, especially around the college area, with the housing that is not up to standard and we've started much more enforcement in the in the proactive Property Standards enforcement and that's something that we really need to ramp up, and I think we may have to come back and revisit other alternatives in that area. And then thirdly we have a series of development proposals that we have in the pipeline and I would like to also work on those to bring those to fruition to make sure that they really fit into the Ward One community. I'm a civil engineer and a city planner, I was born on a farm and as a result I know what it's like to work hard for very little money.  I was a widowed when I was in my mid-40s left me as a single parent with five children and I've been fortunate again to get married again 20 years ago and now Judy and I we have six kids between us and 18 grandchildren.​

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

We had the affordable housing task force and they came up with a series of recommendations that I think are very useful, including as of right housing on institutional land and we're diligently pursuing that. Also redeveloping some of our commercial areas to include residential and we've just seen actually at our last meeting a proposal for something like 400 units at Park Place and I think that that creates a really great opportunity. And I think there are other opportunities around the city and especially like on Mapleview and that, so I think  there's a lot of opportunity for doing that. The recommendations also included a recommendation from smaller homes that I think sometimes we build houses and apartments that are way too big,  we need to start looking at a smaller ones so that they are more affordable.  We now have a dedicated person on staff that deals with affordability.  I think the other part of affordability for me is we've done some good work in our official plan. We've got 15 percent is the policy now of affordable units for every project that is approved but the other part that we've done is we've said there's an option for cash in lieu because, at the moment, we've had a lot of proposals with a lot of apartments and townhouses and other units and when it turns out it there's really no affordable units at all and um that is a problem and that's why I think that saying to a builder yes you can build, no cash in lieu, or you can build no affordable housing but you have to contribute to money for the city to do that.  I think that is something that's very viable for the future and I see that as us having to put that to work and get that done in in our next term. We've also got the second suites and third suites but, again, many of those have not turned out to be affordable and I think we need to do a whole lot more work on that.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

The city has a great amount of resources available for young people who want to get into a business or want to accomplish anything in the city. I think that when people say young people are our future I just tend to disagree with that. I think young people are present, they're here already and we need to really work with them and encourage them to get involved and to really find their place here in the city rather than becoming a commuter.  I chair the Town and Gown committee and I chair the Heritage Barrie committee and I've got to say, you know, we have young people on those committees and the contribution they make is just amazing and I would really like to encourage all of our young people to get involved in the municipal process, get involved in these support committees because that's where their voice is really heard, I mean active transportation and sustainability as well.  They’re such a great resource and you know

we do have to change the direction of the city as we grow and who are we building it for except for our younger folks? They're the ones that should have a really significant say in how that  proceeds.  They're the ones that are going to live there and shape the city of the future.  I think the kinds of things that we need to do for our youth is to create a city that has a more wholesome, well-rounded, balanced kind of environment. If we want to encourage employers to hire, to stay here and to hire younger people, they need to have the services that they need such as sports facilities, arts, affordable housing -  all of those kinds of things that brings a well-balanced lifestyle and I think we certainly have the basis for that here, we just need to expand on some of those things. One of those things, I think, is a Performing Arts Center that we have to really start thinking about seriously and I'm very pleased that that is starting to move ahead but I think those are the kinds of things we need to think about when we think about youth.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

That’s a big question. Let’s just remember that over the next 30 years the City of Barrie is going to double in size, about 300 000 people.

That's a massive amount of growth. And we are going to see intensification of housing and we're going to see much more activity in our city. We already have 19,000 units that are approved, that have not yet been built, and that accounts for about 45,000 people right there.  What we have done is we have a new official plan and that new official plan really tries to look at how do we intensify our city, how do we make it a  great city,  and make it work for everyone.  There's an old saying: if you can make it work for a toddler and for a 95 year old, you've really accomplished something and that's what we really need to start looking at, making room for everyone that is going to end up living in this city. And I think you're going to see, for sure, much more diversity than we currently have in the city. We have started an anti-racism task force and I'm very pleased that they're moving ahead. I think that we've also -  the Town and Gown committee asked City staff to take a look at our processes for people applying to City committees, to take a look and see how we can build more diversity into that system because we don't want to have anything that structurally or systematically discriminates against anyone. So that's the kind of thing we have to work on with our communities. We've also started working with the county on It Starts With Me and, interestingly enough, I'm Chair of the Heritage Committee and at our very last meeting last week the recommendation that came out of that was, you know, we really need to have our indigenous community, members that live in Barrie, be involved in the Heritage committee. I mean what could be more obvious than that but, you know, it's something that really hasn't happened very much and so we really need to invite people to become engaged and to create aware awareness and to draw people in to the decision-making process of a city.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 1 vote for you?

I guess, you know, one of the things that I've sort of focused on is and we tend to focus on is the issues in our Ward. Just a couple of things on that, I mean we've probably heard a lot about speeding cars and noisy mufflers and Council has approved moving forward with speed cameras in school zones.  The Province allows us to do that and so we're going to do that, that should help in the school zone areas.  I would like to have that discussion with our colleagues at the Province to ask to see if we can expand speed camera control because I think we certainly can't afford to have a policeman on every corner all the time and speed cameras would do a great deal.  I think the same thing goes with noisy mufflers.  I'd really like to get some provincial legislation that would stop people from selling them and that would, I think, help all of us a great deal. 

I think that there are some city-wide issues that we also need to think about and that is downtown. I think downtown, as I've said earlier, is the heart of the city. We've done a lot of physical work there and it looks great, people are enjoying it, Open Air Dunlop is a roaring success.  I would like to see more done downtown in terms of programming on Meridian, on the stage there, and other places in the downtown. I think there's still a lot of opportunity there to advance programming and I think that will also support our businesses down there.  I'm looking forward to some more development downtown so that we can get more people there. Hopefully we'd get a grocery store at some point. 

I guess one last item that I'd like to talk about, because people do talk about these things, and that is taxes. I'm not making any promises about taxes. I think that it's important to provide the services that residents need and we don't provide, can't provide,

services without any money. At the same time, I think it's important to make sure that Barrie stays within the sort of medium average range of taxation throughout the province and we have to be careful with that. I think that summarizes where I'm coming from.

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Ward 2 Candidates

Tif Arshi

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings
  • did not participate​

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Shanicka Edwards

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All-Candidates Meetings
  • confirmed to attend, but had to cancel for personal reasons

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Craig Nixon

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All-Candidates Meetings
  • attended, but was unable to get microphone to work during Zoom session

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Bob Ossowski

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

I spent over 30 years in the auto industry, which created a very strong work ethic in me, and an ability to maintain very high standards, even when it came to pressure and push-back from management.  I spent five years as a CEO and President of the Society St. Vincent de Paul Toronto Central Council, it was a charity that did eight million dollars in work with the City of Toronto, running eleven homes and shelters for the City.  I've worked with people who have been addicted to drugs, are in recovery, and people that were formerly homeless.

I'm basing my platform on three key things:  common sense, respect for the taxpayer, and building affordable and sustainable housing.  Common sense is not something that everyone has, but it is something that you gain by work and life experience.  I've been disappointed with the level of representation in Ward 2, sometimes it's been non-existent and I've been getting that feedback from people I've been talking to also.  A councillor should be responsive to his constituents, whether or not you like their opinions, whether or not you can answer a question or even be able to do something about an issue, you should be getting back to people, either a phone call or an email.  Our city is at a crucial point right now, where we need affordable and sustainable housing.  This housing needs to be built quickly to meet the needs of the homeless people that have lost shelter, people who are on low income, whether social assistance or on ODSP, and also those people that are low wage earners who are earning below the standard of at least the living wage of $19 an hour within Simcoe County.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

The Housing Affordability Task Force Report came out in 2021.  In my opinion, these recommendations are ten years too late.  We have two issues in the City of Barrie.  The first issues is affordable housing for low-income working people, those on social assistance or ODSP.  The second issue we have is housing affordability for working families and individuals looking to buy or to rent in Barrie.  I would prioritize building affordable housing, urging developers to actually redevelop existing lands.  A very good example is, take a drive up Bayfield, go down to Mapleview – what do you see?  Big box stores, wasted real estate, parking lots but no housing on the main streets.  A new development would entail having retail and office space on the first floor, the ground level, with housing built on top, about probably three to four stories.  I would mandate that 10% of all new rental units must be priced based on the individual's annual gross income, and those rents would have to fall in to basically no more than 30% of that person's gross annual income.

Housing also should be built to reduce environmental impact.  By doing this, we would simplify construction by doing slab on grade modular housing, built from sustainable wood materials, anywhere from about four to six stories.  Using and pouring concrete, digging foundations is very intensive and time-consuming – we need to build housing much faster.  Housing in months and not years.  Thank you.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Attracting and retaining youth depends on employment and housing that is affordable.  Barrie has been attracting individuals and families that cannot afford to live in the GTA.  Barrie is ideally suited for active young people that enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.  I plan to press for more sustainable housing, with lower environmental impact, something attractive to younger people.  Employment and entrepreneurship are bigger issues.  First of all, schools need to bring in a mentorship and co-op program beginning in grade 10 that would not only teach necessary skills, but also steer youth into well-paying jobs.  Not everyone is suited for University, not everyone is suited for College, but there are other jobs out there in the service industries that are very well paying.  I would get Sandbox involved in a mentorship program.  Council can create the environment that is attractive to prospective employers by keeping taxes low and having infrastructure ready for new employers to move into the area.  A key player in creating employment for youth and future employment opportunities is the Barrie Chamber of Commerce.  Now, the job of the Chamber of Commerce is to sell the merits of locating in the City of Barrie.  A very good example was when the Chamber of Commerce actually brought General Electric into Barrie in the 1940s, and that became a major employer for the next several decades.  Thank you.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

First, we have to have a plan for our infrastructure, that it is ready for future growth and to ensure our roads and public transit can be expanded for the future.  We need to first begin redeveloping land to prepare the housing for our future needs.  We need to be able to build a density where the density presently does not exist.

The City has set a very good example of being and equitable and diverse employer.  They are doing a great job of that.  We need to tap into the diversity that already exists in our city.  The housing affordability crisis in the GTA has driven a very diverse population north into Barrie.  It's very common now to walk down a street in Barrie and actually hear somebody speaking, for example, Spanish – something you would have never heard ten years ago in this city.

To keep our community safe, we need to invest in training our Police Services.  They need to better understand the underlying causes of social issues.  They also need better training and the tools to serve and protect our community.  I believe that the key to staying affordable is to control our spending.  We are losing the battle with rising taxes.  Many Barrie residents now pay taxes 30% higher than they do in the City of Toronto – we need to make very hard decisions between what do we really need to build or want, or is it something that we simply want to build but do not need.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 2 vote for you?

All my life, I've been a man that has worked very hard – long hours, starting early, finishing late.  Well I'm here to give back to the City of Barrie.  I'm here to give back to you as the residents, and I'm also here to work hard for you.  I may have not lived here as long as some of the other candidates, I've only lived here full-time since 2017.  Barrie actually has been part of my life for well over 20 years – I managed a property here, rental property, before I moved up here permanently.  But I have a passion for giving back, and I have a vision for doing it, and with feedback from you, you will feed that vision and give me the energy to keep pushing for you.  Again, let's make some small changes in the city, to make the city more livable.  Little things, like remember at one time at Minet's Point, where the bathroom was actually open all winter – we have people ice fishing here, tourism in the winter, but the City says no, it's too hard to keep the bathroom open during the winter, let's shut it down.  Little things like that that make life more comfortable for the residents of Barrie.  Cleaning up our streets, real-life vitalizing the downtown.  But to revitalize the downtown, we are going to have to have more people move into that downtown, which means building housing quickly, get that population up, bring the life and vitality back to the downtown core.  Again, there's a lot of work to be done here, it's time to roll up the sleeves, pick up the shovel, and let's start building a better Ward 2.  Thank you.

Greg Peach (He/Him)

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Hi everyone, first I'd really like to thank Engage Barrie for hosting these ward debates, it's a great way for voters to make better informed decisions on who should represent their interests over the next four years.

For those that don't know me, I'm Greg Peach.  My wife and I have been residents of the ward since '94, and we have very much enjoyed raising our son Adam in a city that offers so much.  I have certainly had my interactions with the City over the years, and as a long-time resident I have seen many changes at the city, and some not necessarily for the better.  As a resident of Ward 2, I feel like we've not been represented very well at City Hall over the last while, and I have the time and the ability to give back to the city that I love.  I've never been involved in politics before, but I'm very much a community-minded volunteer at heart.  I've been involved in scouting all my life, and I still volunteer in several roles within Scouts Canada.  I truly feel like we have a responsibility to leave the city in better shape than we found it, and to be good stewards of the land so it can be passed on to the next generation, whether it's for our family or for the next people that move to town.  I believe that we need to prioritize capital expenditures on our crumbling roads and infrastructures within Ward 2, as well as ensuring that the police and other agencies have the resources to ensure that our streets and neighbourhoods are safe for all.  Our dollar only goes so far, and costs are increasing, so we need to make sure that we get the best bang for our buck, and if we're talking about any tax increases, we need to know where best to spend that money.  Thanks very much.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

Thank you very much – again, these are some really good questions, and it's a tough one to tackle in such a short time frame.  One of the things that was pointed out in the Task Force Report was to make sure that we clearly identify what the term "affordable housing" means, because depending on who we're talking to and who we're speaking with, that term can mean many different things, and perhaps using the term "housing affordability" would be more accurate.

The Task Force has laid out a good blueprint on how to tackle the crisis, and I do support implementing dedicated City resources, such as having a senior staff member overseeing and ensuring the delivery of the affordable housing strategy, so that there is consistency across the board and being able to speed up the timeline for the approval process of implementing the different priorities.

We do need to review the existing inventory of unused properties and vacant buildings to determine which would provide the biggest impact in the shortest time frame for reducing the homeless population.  If you were to take your creative approach and adopt ideas from other countries, we would be able to convert more buildings such as Lucy's Place, the old Barrs Motel, but taking it a step further, we could convert commercial or unused office buildings into affordable housing for the homeless, or even possibly creating senior villages that would become more self-contained, and offering them what they need without having to travel away so far and across the city.
The other thing to look at is innovative building practices that would allow the use of new materials, and include modular tiny homes, thus lowering the cost for affordable housing and at the same time reducing the city carbon footprint.  Thanks.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Well, we certainly need to tap into the youth and the younger population within Barrie, and ensure that they are recognized and included in the planning process as we move forward.  One of the things that we've been very successful within Scouts Canada is to advocate for youth leadership roles and to drive the movement forward.  You may have noticed recently that have switched from being called a leader are being called "scouters", because it's the youth that actually take on the leadership roles, and truly are our leaders and the visionaries of tomorrow.  We can certainly bring that in and address that more in City Hall and making sure that they're included in our many plans that are going forward.  We need to make sure that we have excellent educational opportunities, whether it's at Georgian taking College, University or Trade classes, and a city that is welcoming and inclusive to support their needs.  We need to ensure that there is affordable housing and business opportunities, and partnering with the Sandbox is one way to be able to bridge that gap, so that they don't need to look for other locations.  We need to ensure that the city has the ability to attract innovative businesses to call Barrie home, that will add skilled employment opportunities.  Our city truly is a jewel that offers so much in terms of our waterfront, our hiking and biking and skiing and so much more that we have the responsibility to adopt innovative planning so that we can have our 15-minute or walkable communities, that our public transportation is quick and efficient, and that bike and walking paths are at the forefront of the planning stages instead of an afterthought.  Thank you.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Barrie at times has come across as being very reactionary in its planning, instead of a well-thought-out growth plan.  As the city continues to grow, we will certainly need to address public transportation issues, and make the bus system a much more efficient entity, and reduce the commuting times across our city.  As I've said previously, we need to take a forward-thinking approach and implementing the 15-minute or walkable communities, with biking and walking paths connecting to all parts of the city.  We need to ensure that we continue to expand and as we look at intensification, we also need to look at our infrastructure, and making sure that it can support the growth.  As the city grows, there will be more demand on the services provided, such as our waterfront, our parks and our green spaces, but yes, our roads, our wastewater treatment plant and the landfill.  We need to be able to balance the growth and intensification with additional parks and green spaces, and as we clear additional lands for building, we need to strengthen or adopt new standards and being able to bring our city back to greenery.  So whether we're planting new trees or creating new parks or watersheds to offset what we're losing.  The city needs to continue its efforts in eliminating systemic barriers at City Hall and indeed across the city, so that Barrie can continue to grow while being a welcoming community for all.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 2 vote for you?

Again, I want to thank Engage Barrie for putting this on, it's been very informative, and if anything, I realize that the voters of Ward 2 have a tough decision to make.  You have some very good candidates, and I'm not sure that I can tell you how I stand out from others, but the passion that I have for the city and the willingness to give back is the same as the other candidates that are here.  I truly feel that this is the right time for me to step forward and be a part of City Council.  I've always felt that if you want to be a part of the solution then you need to stand up to the plate.  You know, I want to bring some honesty and integrity back to City Hall, it's one of the things that I've always stood for, and I kind of joke about it, but I've said three oaths in my lifetime, I've said one to scouting, I've said one to my country because I served for five years, and I have said one to my wife.  I have not broken any of them, nor do I intend to.  Thanks very much​

Tracy Strohm

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Hello, I'm Tracy Strohm.  Some of you who have been in Barrie for a while may know me as Tracy Daniels, and I probably taught you or taught you to swim.  I'm running for City Council for Ward 2 to give back to the city that I love.  I've been a resident there for most of my life in Ward 2, I attended Prince of Wales, Maple Grove and Eastview Secondary School, and I returned to Prince of Wales and Maple Grove in my professional career as a teacher and a principal.  I'm now retired and I always worked hard for the communities that I was part of, and now I have time and energy to give back to the residents of Ward 2.  In my past, I was the founding member of RecreAction Barrie, that's the group that actually spearheaded and designed, way back, the Allandale Rec Center, and we worked closely with the City in order to make that happen - it was an interesting process.  And as Committee Chair of the Recreation Advisory Committee after that, we worked to extend the trail – and it's hard for you to believe from Centennial Park around the lake, because Council at the time believed that nobody would want to walk the Waterfront Trail.  We also traded lands for the South Shore Center with CN so that we could actually have that continuity around the lake.  So I got married, I raised a family, I fully recovered from a brain tumour and had a very busy career and now it's time to give back.

My priorities are to change the development process so that we include affordable housing and greener structures, such as grey water recycling to start.  We need to stop the process of developer flipping, making promises that they don't intend to keep and can't keep.  The one that comes to mind is the grocery store for downtown that has never come.  This process has happened since the A-Block and H-Block, where things were promised and this city has never developed on it.  Our downtown needs some work – every Council has said we need to revitalize , but they haven't set the infrastructure and the structure in order to make it possible for people to live downtown, function downtown, and for small businesses to exist with the existing structure.  We need to work with the provincial government to change the practice of having folks who are released from provincial facilities dropped in our city without any kinds of support – it's an inhumane process that puts a huge burden on those already here, and isn't fair to anybody.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

I support looking at using both the unused commercial and institutional lands for housing, but I do think we need to go one step further and require that all new and renovated developments of over a certain size – I'm thinking 20 units – include at least 10% of their property for assisted or geared-to-income or affordable housing, administered by an agency such as the Barrie Housing Authority.  We also need to make sure that our overall developments plans include incentives and requirements for services (back to the grocery stores and pharmacies) to serve the local walking populations.  You know, we often put affordable housing in places where taking a bus to get food is a major expense for that family over time.  We need to think hard of those things.  It's hard to be a green community if you have to drive to get all your basic necessities.  Thank you.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Retaining a workforce in Barrie is difficult at the present time.  As we've been through previously, housing is not affordable for anybody trying to establish a household.  Those in their 30s and 40s and 20s if they can are moving out of Barrie because much of the work can now be carried out from home, and they're professional, they cannot afford to live and have any type of lifestyle that they desire.  We need to look at creating houses for families that also support the infrastructure of internet – as Craig's finding out tonight, he can't seem to connect – and we also need to look at some creative solutions.  I've just become aware of a program in the City of Sudbury that has developed a very innovative program that provides three months rent for young entrepreneurs that can encourage pop-up enterprises in unused rental space and their CBD – Central Business District, sorry – this has made the downtown look rejuvenated.  The entrepreneur gets to try out a business idea without a lease and find out what being an entrepreneur is all about, because of the use of mentors.  This has attracted a few young people who did not have the means and the incentive to carry out wonderful ideas, and has begun a rejuvenation of their downtown.  We also need to look at attracting greener businesses to our city that are hiring and requiring paying decent jobs for our 20- and 30-year olds.  The tech industry comes to mind, we have the computer processing folks in the south end, but again they are not very labour-intensive, but those types of jobs and professional jobs are what we need to be looking at by very creative solutions and maybe using some of our tax dollars to do so.  Thank you. 

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

As previously stated, we need to work with the provincial government to stop the practice of releasing vulnerable people with no familial or financial supports in our city.  There's no support or planning for the next stages of their lives, and the definition of insanity is always being to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Our agencies have worked hard to help make our downtown usable and safe, and I would like to explore the creation of small single self-contained housing units akin to a small University residence with service and supervision, to give these folks an opportunity to a life of which they're proud.
My next one is to, as I've previously stated, require all new and renovated developments of over 20 units to have 10% of their housing administered by somebody like Barrie Housing for affordable units.  And the removal of systematic barriers that must be the lens for every policy and every procedure in the city.  And we need to really tap our citizens through the re-establishment of Citizen Advisory Committees that don't just look at one group for answers that are directly at the decision-making table and advisory table.  And this is why, if elected, I will regularly listen and have contact with all members of the community.  I have a background in restorative justice, I also have a background working with Bridges Out of Poverty.  So,  you know, those sorts of being truly involved, not being peripherally involved are important in order to make our city the fabulous place that it should be.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 2 vote for you?

Well first, thank you for putting this on, it's a lot of work, I know.
I would like to represent the citizens of Ward 2 at Barrie City Council.  I feel I have the depth and breadth of experience, and also a little bit of history in my background on the city, in order to make our city a safe and sustainable environment for people to retire, to raise their children, and to visit as citizens.  We haven't even mentioned tourism tonight, and we miss a lot of our tourist dollars just by not having a city that people see as a tourist spot, except for those people that come on to Lakeshore Drive in the park on the summer weekends.  I also am very good at researching, at making decisions​, at looking at from all different perspectives at you know, what's the problem, or what's the solution, and who does it affect?  I may not be, you know, as quick as someone at making a decision, but it's always well thought out, and always looks at what benefits the most people, and what benefits everybody else.  I'm here to serve because I like my city.  I have no other reason to become a City Councillor than it's time to give back and to have the city that I love continue to grow and be sustainable.  Thank you.

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Ward 3 Candidates

Ann-Marie Kungl

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

I am the incumbent, I ran in the by-election for Ward 3 and I have been representing the Ward since March of 2020. I'm running again because I'm pretty excited about the next four years recognizing, you know, people I'm hearing have anxiety about affordability, are concerned about how we're going to manage growth on the go forward, but I see great hope and promise in actually leveraging our strengths both as a collective around our business community, our resident strengths but also our city. So I've learned and grown quite a bit in the role. I want to still support some of the work that we've been focused on and I had been represented over the past three years on about nine different related City committees from seniors to housing, affordability with respect to just growth. I am very proud of the way in which the city has through staff managed some of our strategic plans be it asset management to our financial framework and investment strategy.  I think with a mindful council we can actually do really good work over the next four years. So my passion and background is actually coming out of health and public health and I do a lot of work with not-for-profits. My personal values really align to the work at a municipal level around helping to make decisions and helping to represent residents to make sure that their voice reaches council. I've received really lovely feedback. I've been asked to run again. I get joy in the work that I've been able to do and so it would be an honour to represent Ward 3 again.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

It was a pleasure to be a member of the mayor's task force for affordable housing and that was an interesting group of individuals that brought in engineering,  development,  planning perspectives and I think the recommendations far and wide I support them all being implemented but of course from a priority I do have a couple in particular.  I think if those watching haven't read the report I would encourage them to do so because I think it helps to shift our conversation. One of the most important pieces I think, because we get caught in this conversation of affordable housing but affordable for who, and so now we're starting to talk about more attainable housing differences in, you know, affordability based on having different stock options. So single bedroom versus a two bedroom versus a single detached home, so how do we help people actually get housing online sooner and incentivize that through better policies or progressive policies but also then after you access a home, how can we retain it. And so that report talks a lot a bit about our shortage specifically in Barrie about the mid and low-cost rental housing and in general there are two areas of focus that these recommendations tied to. It was about land availability and funding for subsidized housing. Deeper into the report I would say my key priority areas, and supplement to what Claire has shared, is really looking at land availability so the New Foundations program launched I think last December that should be coming back the next term of council I think really needs to focus in on how do we move forward, opportunities, be it areas that have been made identified as feasible for development, how do we help them actually take the next step. So we've supported as a city and funded the feasibility cost to actually look at, as an example, extra property that may be owned by a church that could be utilized and rethought of as supporting residential.

I'd also like to look at exempting certain classes of development and I think the recommendation in particular talked about a task force. I think a key opportunity is that we've got discretionary committees, we should have an affordable housing committee, we should include diverse conversations and actually look at how we implement some of these recommendations. And then again with a dedicated resource staff it's really looking at prioritizing affordable housing developments and,  to Claire's point,  we have a community improvement fund that touches on affordable housing but I think we need cash in lieu - so how do we really target incentivizing more affordable units and getting those online sooner and I think there's great opportunity that's possible for us to actually be moving ahead units and developments and letting the development Community know that this is a priority for us.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

It’s a long multi-part question so forgive me I'll look at my notes to make sure I get all the key aspects answered. When I look at what we offer as a city around more inclusive vibrant and sustainable environments for youth there's so much information at our fingertips for anyone looking to make Barrie home and also to look at you know is this a place I want to both live work and play. I think one of the biggest gems that we have is our economic and creative development team so Invest Barrie might be familiar to some and that's its own kind of website with a mass amount of resources. But through that Three core elements of what we offer through that staff department are how to plan and grow your own business we've got resources at hands and we've got pretty amazing relationships. The Small Business Center that's co-located with the Sandbox downtown you can walk in and make a quick connection. Access to Grants especially for that age group we've seen a summer program where we've had dozens upon dozens of individuals come forward with a concept around you know I'm thinking about launching a business I don't know about how to go about being an entrepreneur and they have all the tools accessible to them in addition to funding.  we have such a strong relationship with the Barrie Chamber. Georgian College,  College, linkages to our Downtown Business Association,  Lakehead, our public library and even through Georgian, the Georgian Angel Investing. It's pretty amazing when you look at what access you have. So even around Georgian I mean students coming out, even from attracting to come as a student and to stay, we see stats around 85 percent job placement within six months.  Lakehead we're seeing 97% employment within two years of graduating. Within our department, we're also looking at different opportunities. Even this month, we've got two huge summits so one is manufacturing I think happening next week on the 19th; we have the mayor's Innovations award that bring recognition and kind of awareness about what we're doing around multiple sectors. And we're seeing a lot of growth. So we already know that we are targeting 150,000 jobs by 2051. We've got interactive mapping you can go online now through the services we offer through the City and look at available lands, look at the status of where you could potentially grow a business if you're looking to acquire or even retrofit an existing structure.  So around the programs that we support the Accelerate Summit that's coming up October 25th to 27th, that's $75. So from even being able to access really great high-end keynote speakers and information and strategy deployment different marketing to you know how do you look at return on investment. I believe Barrie as a City, just through our connections, has just a vibrant business community and one that also is quite embracing of entrepreneurs.

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

From a growth perspective, and tied to the official plan and specific to Ward three, so we know we boundary on Bayfield, the 400 highway is our South End and then we tie right up into Ward one with Claire around the Georgian Drive area. And we've got roads for intensification identified in Ward 3 and seed areas which are for employment. So we know Cundles and  Bayfield and that kind of Georgian Drive/Duckworth intersection are going to be kind of key areas that will impact growth. So for me, the priority is how do we do that well, how do we do that with incentivizing green infrastructure and policies and good growth.  We are, in Ward 3, on the Northeast end, an established neighbourhood and so the biggest priorities there when we talk about growth is what does infill look like and how do we support change management and how that happens and with resident feedback that's genuine and the genuine engagement with residents. The other piece when I think about where we're going and doing growth well is really sticking to some of the very strategic well-informed evidence-based strategies that staff have put together. So let's not rip and replace some of the good aspects that are happening now and that staff are actually being recognized for. Asset Management plans, the financial strategy and framework, our climate adaptation plan - these are pretty significant guideposts and directional resources that we should be following. 

The other piece around how to eliminate systemic barriers, in addition to what Claire shared, my background, you know for me, comes out of communication, comes out of working with caregivers and patients, but also has training in indigenous cultural safety and anti-racism and discrimination. So I see myself as a lifelong learner and making sure that council is an open door,  gets educated and informed and can actually support making space for people to feel like they're at the table. And a big piece of that when I informed the age friendly community plan years ago, we haven't really seen that part of the conversation that touches everything from health to navigation to transit, and we kind of put it under the umbrella of seniors and so where do we actually get more creative and say accessibility just shouldn't be a conversation around a table that doesn't include other aspects. Seniors, I think the past year, most of our conversation was on housing and so I think we could prioritize looking at an all-age-friendly plan and strategy and maybe a formal committee table that actually looks at that. We have EMA, the Ethnic Mosaic Alliance, we've got people looking at actual bringing in and embracing the cultural diversity of our communities. We need to hear from them more around the table including our youth.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 3 vote for you?

I shared a little bit about myself so I'll talk more in the time I have left about the focus on Ward 3. Some of the areas we've been working on, I hope to continue is really addressing high-level concerns from residents. So I've been working closely with Barrie police and probably one of the most common things I hear is where are they and that's because Ward 3 has seen a change just in the relocation of the police building, use on Sperling, and so of course we're gonna see perhaps less frequency than you may have. I believe in leveraging our community safety and well-being officer our citizens on patrol. We're seeing residents getting engaged with that team, individuals are talking a bit about what's important to them around how they feel in their neighbourhoods. We've seen some changes and so we are looking at everything from Traffic Safety to the noisy mufflers but also graffiti. So we've actually had a lot of work through Barrie police, do a sweep through the ward, you identify all locations and have a plan I hope to share forward with residents soon around how to support individuals that have had some vandalism on their private property. 

So more on that but that ties into my focus on neighbourhood well-being, how do you feel about places you purchased.  I've talked to residents about, you know, struggling with some of the bike lanes that were put in and what does change in parking on road mean to them. So how do we feel and think of it, about the changes we make with City Master plans at a resident level. 

I have significant Green Space and the gem of Little Lake. Sometimes we forget about that from our City conversations and there was a Little Lake master plan I hope to bring back that was not implemented. That would have been done if it was funded as approved, I think by now. And so it's looking at natural spaces, Heritage, working with Nature Barrie and others,  including Living Green we've been doing some planting to add to biodiversity but making sure that that's protected space. 

Then lastly when we talk a bit about affordability, doing everything I can to be part of a conversation and raising concerns about how to live well. So Barrie should be a place you can choose to live in if you want to live in that you can choose to work in if you want to work in and that it's a place you can age well in and so that, for me, is a broad lens in which I take to look at, at a resident level, how are you doing, what matters to you and how I can be an advocate for you.

Ryan Rijo

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings
  • none confirmed​

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Zohaib Tahir

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings
  • none confirmed​

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

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Ward 4 Candidates

Tim Abel

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings
  • did not participate

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • none answered

Amy Courser (She/Her)

Contact Information

All-Candidates Meetings

News Articles

Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Hi.  First off, I'd like to thank Engage Barrie for hosting this forum.

Good evening, I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Amy Courser, and I'm running for Ward 4 Councillor.  I was born and raised in Barrie, and I'm proud to be raising my young son here as well.  We bought our house, which is located right on the border of Ward 4, almost 20 years ago.  I am compassionate, I'm passionate, I have a hungry mind that is constantly learning, I look for evidence-based solutions to challenges, and I can find an answer, I won't let it go.  My professional background includes working in manufacturing, construction, administration, accounting, and in the last 17 years I've been a digital marketer - so I have a very diverse background.  And as a digital marketer I've worked as an entrepreneur, I've worked for non-profits and I've also headed up the department for an international German engineering corporation.  I've been involved in several grassroots initiatives in our community, including ​Twelve Ladies in a Tent - we raised over 300,000 pounds of food for the Barrie Food Bank.  I'm a co-founder of Politics for Women, a non-partisan organization that helps women to get involved with politics through education, encouragement, and engagement.  Also, I'm the Vice-Chair of CARP Barrie and I helped create the Seniors Community Fund, which monetarily supports elders living in poverty in our community.

If elected, my top three priorities are to improve accessibility and safety of our neighbourhoods, parks and school zones, to work with our community partners to find compassionate, evidence-based solutions to our homelessness crisis, and affordable housing, improved transportation and access to services.

Again, thank you for the invitation to this forum, and I'm looking forward to answering your questions and learning from all of you today.

  • Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

First of all, I'd like to thank Michael for that compassionate and insightful view into actually what is going on in our homelessness crisis that we're having in Barrie.   This is very near and dear to my heart.  First off, I'd like to say that our community is in crisis.  I believe that housing is a human right, and to me we are not only in an affordable housing crisis, but we're also facing a true humanitarian crisis in our community.   Ward 4 has been heavily impacted, and our community members who do not have housing and are left to live rough in our woods and parks and green areas.  As I talk to my house neighbours in Ward 4, I'm very concerned that some of their empathy is turning into frustration, anger and apathy, and the worst thing we can have is apathy.  We don't need more studies, we need action.  The last thing we need is more politicians talking about what should be done to fix it, we need a real-time, full-time task force that gives decision-making to our community partners and planners, and we need to fight on their behalf to get the funding needed that whether it be through charitable donations or different levels of government.  That is our number one priority as far as I'm concerned in the city, is to ensure that people who are homeless find housing, and people that are facing homelessness are supported.  Second priority I have is when discussing truly affordable housing in the future, we need to find accessible, age-friendly housing, which needs to be built in areas with easy access to day-to-day needs, like grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, education and outdoor spaces.  Many proposed affordable housing builds, like the one being proposed in the corner of Livingston and Ferndale in Ward 4, do not meet any of these criteria.

I know that affordable housing is the priority right now, but many in need of low-income housing are single parents working two or more jobs, people with mobility challenges and the elderly.  Most do not own cars, due to the cost of the car itself, gas, insurance, maintenance.  Public transit is a poor option due to the time constraints with young families, single parents, and people who do not have the strength and ability to use our public transit for extended periods of time.  Making neighbourhoods more walkable, wheelable and physically accessible isn't just about making it easier for individuals to get around, it's about creating a healthy, active and community, better physical and mental health, and less impact on our environment.  Therefore, I would prioritize future builds in underutilized existing spaces on commercial lands with high walkability scores, high mobility scores, that were recommended in the Housing Affordability Task Force Report.  One such build was targeted for the Bayfield Mall and I can see that being excellent.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Barrie has a first-class economic and cultural department that has won several international awards for COVID recovery and artist designed enhancement projects.  I believe that mixing economic development with arts and culture is the key to creating a city that will continue to attract youth.  I will continue to support and expand various current entrepreneurial, educational and incubator-type supports, such as the Sandbox, the Further Faster program, and the Henry Bernick Enterprise Centre, there's also  the Starter Company Plus and A Summer Company Plus program that targets youth between ages 15 and 29.  Barrie employment land strategies lead generation initiatives should continue to prioritize industries that attract young talent and support higher paying jobs, such as life sciences, advanced manufacture and aerospace engineering over industries like warehousing and retail, which traditionally takes up a lot of land for a small amount of low-paying employment.  We also need to make living in Barrie a place that is attractive to youth in the work-from-home revolution, by prioritizing active transportation over cars in our city, following through the plans to make our downtown core an entertainment and market district, supporting more co-working and shared office space hubs, particularly in our downtown core, and making free wi-fi available in our city parks and centres.  

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

I was born and raised in Barrie, I remember growing up here (I'm taking this question totally off the cuff).  I was born and raised in Barrie, I remember when there were three bus routes, going downtown to Woolworth's for fries and gravy.  Things have changed greatly and we need to catch up.  Barrie seems to be always catching up.  We need to be fixing our infrastructure to catch up to the growth, we need... Barrie was never built to be the city that it is today, and further growth in the future is extremely challenging.  Hopefully we're going to get over that lump in the near future, now that we're kind of building up our infrastructure, where it is, but we need to start looking at how we're planning our city.  We're making it easy for people to sleep here and then work in Toronto.  We don't need more highways, we need more of what we have at home.  We need to concentrate on attracting businesses and companies to our city, instead of sending people out of our city.  We need those supports there for the families, and, like Michael mentioned, about the schools that need to be in better shape, which is not directly our purview, but we should be putting input into it.

Barrie was built as a car culture, and that obviously isn't working for the future.  We need walkable neighbourhoods, we need walkable communities, we need everything that is close to us so we can build that culture and that strength that we need, because the city is nothing within its community.  I also think we need - I was shocked to find out that the City of Barrie does not have a Diversity Committee, and once I'm elected, I will definitely be working with Toronto and different communities around, which already have Diversity Committees, to ensure that we set one up that's proper, and I'd like to spearhead that, once I'm elected.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 4 vote for you?

I'd just like to say again, my name is Amy Courser, and I want to be clear, I was asked to run for office quite a few times, and I always said I would never do it.  And the last few years, especially during COVID, things have changed, and I think that there needs to be big changes within our city.  And I'm not seeing those things happen, and so, like Michael, have put myself out there on a limb and threw my hat in the ring to support changes that I feel they're necessary.  I'm taking on this role as a full-time position - I do have a little bit of a side business, but this would be absolutely my dedicated position.  We need more diverse voices at the table, we do not need any more career politicians at the table, we don't need any more stereotypical people at the table.  We need to have ideas coming from all places of our community at City Hall, to ensure that all people's needs are met and everyone is seen and heard.  Thank you for having me and thanks Engage Barrie and yes, thank you for having me this evening.

Michael Lewis

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Good evening. My name is Michael Lewis and I've chosen to stand for the position of councillor for Ward 4 in this election.

I'd like to thank CARP and Engage for putting this forum on. I'd like to thank thise in attendance for your time.    [*NB - CARP only co-hosted the mayoral event, not the ward events]

My family moved to Barrie in 1980 when the population was just 30,000. Just in time to enter high school. I  felt like an outcast and unwelcomed and wanted to leave upon graduation but i didn't. 

In the late 80s the jobs left town and I wanted to as well but I didn't. They I started a family of my own and I didnt want to leave.

I was educated here and employed here and had children here. I'm an empty nester now and have the time and am willing to give the effort to give back through service to the community I call home. 

I have no political experience, that's why I'm not running for Mayor, but I won't get any if I don't participate in an election.

I want to give residents who felt like me a voice so they feel heard  and may decide to participate in our democracy and cast a vote.  Thank you.

  • Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

I was very excited to hear the City had a task force created to look into the housing crisis the City is experiencing. 

Upon review there are some great recommendations. I feel those who are having the most trouble attaining affordable housing should be the priority. 

Many locations have been designated but I don't see any shovels in the ground. Sophia and Bayfield are an excellent example the lot has been empty yet advertising the development for 6 years now. That's not right especially when I've seen a for profit building in our Ward just about ready for occupancy.

Seniors housing is of high priority as well especially affordable to them housing.

I've noticed two church lands that are being developed for affordable housing and makes me wonder why isnt the City doing more to get said shovels in the ground?

Many people have written me emails so far about the homeless problem we already have and if housing prices keep going up so will homelessness. The supply has to increase and the City needs to increase it. NIMBY has to be irradicated or the problem will just get worse and who wants that? I don't.   Thank you.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

With the advent of working from home due to the pandemic I feel this may be a step in the right direction for retaining youth in Barrie. Also with expanding our post secondary education institution we are drawing youth to Barrie.  

I feel we need more culture and cultural facilities to entertain our youth. Again housing does come into factor as well with the cost of rent or ownership in a steady rise youth will gravitate towards affordability. The debt incured through education is enormous enough. 

On that note Barrie needs to entice employers who pay good wages to invest here. Our geography is a great selling feature that has been lacking. Tourism is wonderful but doesn't pay the rent for our debt ridden youth.

I've seen the improvement to our recreational facilities indoors and outdoors which has been drawing a lot of youth and feel we can also keep improving there as well.  Thank you.

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

The three priorities about growth in Barrie would be infrastructure, to accommodate said growth, internet, for people to work from home, and educational institutions, so we can cut back on transportation costs and decrease traffic congestion. 

Since 1985 Barrie has seen a huge influx in population, who wouldn't want to live here. Just the natural layout of the city has mass appeal. The problem I have seen is acquiring lands for future development that doesn't get zoned correctly.  Make it so rezoning for the immediate needs can happen.

The world has created the smart city. We see examples in the GTA and that helps to eradicate commuting. If given the opportunity to work from home I have seen many residents take advantage of it. Providing that form of infrastructure should happen sooner at lower costs than later to play catch up at greater costs.

Schools, we dont have enough. With every new subdivision we add more buses to transport students to school. Why not provide an allotted section of said subdivision to build school thus keeping as much greenhouse gases out of our atmosphere. We all want to raise a family in Barrie so lets plan it with that in mind.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 4 vote for you?

Thank you very much for having me this evening, I've had a blast.  Ever since grade 10, my grade 10 history teacher introduced me, Mr. Jim Perry, he is well known in Barrie because he became mayor.  And he introduced me to politics, period, in grade 10, and civil politics and I like the grassroots level.  I've struggled numerous times to sit there and go "I want to change the world", and so I've tried to - I remember getting up on a soapbox there for a while there, going "let's change the world, I want to change the world" and then I realized I couldn't change the world.  So I brought it home, and I felt that if I could make some kind of an impact in this world, I have to start at the civil level.  That's not saying I want to be a career politician, because really I don't.  I'm in love with my community, I'm invested in my community, I belong in this community.  Like I said in my opening statement, there's been numerous times that I've wanted to leave town, but I'm still here, and there's a reason I'm still here, I haven't figured it out 100 percent, but I'm falling in love with this city, and I think I've been in love with this city for a long time.  And again, when it comes down to representation, I just want everybody to be represented at the table.  I feel that's a god-given right in this country, definitely.  We have a democracy like no other in the world, and I look around and I see what's going on in the world, and I love democracy.  And all I want, if there's one thing and one thing only that I want to get across to everybody is please, just get out and vote.  Vote for me, vote for Amy, and vote for the mayors, vote for whoever you feel you want to vote for, but please, please please, just get out and vote.  Have your say at the polling station, and if you need help, I know this year it's a little different and stuff like that, but there's lots of information and there's lots of us out there that are going to help you, so you can cast that vote.  So please just cast a vote.  I know preferably for me, but hey, just get out there and vote.  And I hope I answered all of your questions and showed you a little bit and introduced myself to you, so you know me just a little bit better when I come knocking on your door.  Thank you very much.  Thank you for having me, Engage, and for putting this on, this is wonderful.

Donald McLaurin (He/Him)

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Dieter Mueller

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Robert Newman

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Ajmal Noushahi

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Md Hafizur Rahman

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Ward 5 Candidate

Robert Thomson (acclaimed)

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Ward 6 Candidates

Allan Bray (He/Him)

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

I would like to thank CARP and Engage Barrie for hosting this event.  [*NB - CARP only co-hosted the mayoral event, not the ward events]

My name is Allan Bray. I am a recently retired engineer and manager with thirty-one years of experience in automotive manufacturing, materials engineering, people management and project management.

I have been a scout leader for the past fifteen years and I am currently the group commissioner of two groups in the south end of Barrie. Previously I was the Area Commissioner. In this role, I was responsible for serving 20 scout groups within and outside our county.

I am running for councillor because I have the background and skills to serve my fellow ward 6 residents very well, and, true to my scouting background, I feel I have a duty to serve.

My first priority as councillor is to limit tax increases and ensure we are getting value for money. 

My second priority is speeding and safety. Ward 6 has two primary arterial roads and increasing traffic on feeder and residential roads. I intend to work with city operations and police to identify and implement sustainable solutions to discourage speeding.

My third priority is to attract industry and provide valuable local careers. More local employment has many benefits to the city, to our residents and to our environment.  Thank you.

  • Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

Referencing the City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report, I would prioritize funding a senior staff member dedicated to delivery of the affordable housing strategy and implementing regular housing stock monitoring. I also would prioritize exempting certain classes of development, provided that safety and neighbourhood integration are not compromised. I would also prioritize the adoption of innovative building practices and ideas, such as Tiny Homes and conversion of hotels and motels where possible. Innovative practices will also allow the reduction of our per capita carbon footprint.

I am not opposed to it, but we need to be careful with planning more housing on industrial-zoned property – Barrie needs to boost local employment as well and there is already limited available land for green field industrial sites. 

I support building primarily medium to high-density housing to accommodate the planned population growth within the available land. 

We also need to build walkable communities. Along with increasing local employment, this will reduce our dependence on cars, which will further reduce our carbon footprint, promotes active and healthy living, and strengthens the community for everybody.

Real estate speculation is another factor driving up prices in our market. To reduce speculation in our housing market, I would propose a vacant homes tax of 3 to 5 % of assessed value, similar to Vancouver.  Thank you.

  • What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Young people will move to where they can afford to live or to be close to work. As a city we should make Barrie the place that checks both of those boxes. So, it is necessary to make housing more affordable, and to increase local employment opportunities in valuable, high-quality careers. 

I have talked about the actions I would take to reduce the cost of housing, and this is what I would do to improve local employment opportunities. Over and above the existing opportunities for startup grants through the city, I would propose a three-year exemption from property taxes for new businesses in Barrie. This is to minimize the startup costs of operating a brick-and-mortar business. I would also form a committee tasked with seeking corporations looking to expand operations and preparing proposals to make our city their location of choice.

A very common concern now is the lack of family doctors in Barrie. We need to make Barrie an attractive place for family practitioners. To that end, I would propose mandating the inclusion of office space for newly graduated family doctors in every new commercial or mixed-use building to be provided for free, until the need is met.

With young people come young families, and so access to community programs is needed. I would support the construction of new community centres to meet the growing demand and prepare for the future.  Thank you.

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Earlier I touched on the idea of walkable communities. With additional growth, an emphasis needs to be put on making it practical and safe to walk or ride a bicycle for everyday errands. In addition, our transit operations need to be revised to make it a viable option to taking the car for everyone, instead of just being the only option for people who don’t have a car. Further, I would support investigating innovative affordable personal transportation, such as public electric scooter rentals, which offer potentially carbon-neutral, affordable alternatives to cars.

Growth can only be supported by more affordable housing, so the steps I described earlier must be a keystone for any growth plan. This includes construction of more medium and high-density residential units instead of detached single family homes.

Growth in population must be accompanied by growth in local employment. For too long Barrie’s population has grown while local employment outside of the service and retail industries has stalled. Barrie as a city should strive to be self-contained, with few residents leaving daily to work elsewhere. This will improve quality of life and reduce our carbon footprint.

As I mentioned, I would take steps to attract new family doctors to Barrie – the demand is only going to increase with more young people moving to the city, and a growing aging population.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 6 vote for you?

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to my fellow ward 6 residents. As your councillor I will always work to advance ward 6 interests and ensure a strong voice from our ward is heard at city council. I will keep lines of communication open, and to that end I intend to hold quarterly ward 6 meetings, to provide an opportunity to share information from the city that concerns our ward, to gather input from our residents and to get to know everyone. My wife and I have happily lived in ward 6 since 1990 and I would be honoured to serve as your councillor.  Thank you.

Sharon Doran (She/Her)

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Good evening, and thank you to everyone involved in making this event happen, despite some unusual circumstances. My name is Sharon Doran. I’m a candidate for Ward 6 Councillor in beautiful Barrie, Ontario. 

I retired last year from Honda of Canada’s production management team. I started my career in 1991 as receptionist, and thirty years later retired as the Engine Plant administration leader, responsible for Associate relations and engagement, training and development, production supply procurement, and cost analysis for a budget in excess of $100m annually…and when they were really desperate, I even worked on-line!

On the community front I am a Board member of the Business and Professional Women of Barrie, a volunteer with Feline Fix, a local animal rescue group, and with Ryan’s Hope, feeding breakfast to downtown Barrie’s unhoused community. I’m a proud Ripple of Kindness member, an organization that recently celebrated its 6th anniversary, and has donated over half-a-million dollars to local charities and non-profit groups in that short time.

I am running for Ward 6 Councillor because I am passionate about Barrie and its future. Four generations of my family live here today, from my 87-year-old mother down to my 2-year-old granddaughter. My husband Rick and I have lived on Dove Crescent in Ward 6 for 26 years.

My top three issues are:

  • Growth and Sustainable Development

  • Affordable Housing, and

  • People, including seniors, youth, and everyone in between.

My work and volunteer experience has given me a uniquely balanced viewpoint that will allow me to work collaboratively with Council, City Staff, and local experts to make sound decisions today that are sustainable for generations to come.  Thank you.

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

I grew up in the Jane and Finch community of North York in the nineteen seventies, and have first-hand experience of the need for affordable and social housing, as well as the importance of integration of all housing types within communities. I’m also passionate about ensuring that housing is accessible for people of all ages and ability.

The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Final Report, provided a number of excellent recommendations that I whole-heartedly support, some of which have already been implemented by the current Council. I would work with Council, City Staff, and local experts such as Redwood Communities, to prioritize the following three points:

  1. Collaborate with commercial property owners to plan residential intensification sites in Barrie, such as the Bayfield Mall.

  2. Work with the Federal, Provincial, and County governments to map all publicly owned lands in Barrie, and request that appropriate sites be offered to non-profit, and charitable housing providers and builders, and 

  3. Pursue potential hotel and motel conversions to create supportive housing communities, similar to Lucy’s Place on Essa Road.

Thank you.

  • ​​What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Canada’s birth rate has fallen to an all-time low, so that we are no longer replacing our existing population, and our average age is climbing. In 2015 we reached the tipping point where seniors over 65 outnumbered children under 15, and that gap is widening every year.

This means that a large percentage of new Barrie youth will also be New Canadians. We must therefore ensure that Barrie is a warm and welcoming place for them.

If elected, I will work with council, city staff, and local partners such as Youth Haven and Ethnic Mosaic Alliance to:

  • Establish a youth advisory council, to get direct feedback on issues important to them.

  • Recognize the co-benefits of an affordable housing strategy, reducing poverty, and improving our public transportation network. 

  • Work with employers and entrepreneurs to provide high-paying jobs close to home and the training and resources to land them.

  • And finally, to work with local groups to provide multicultural events, programming, and support to newcomers.

Thank you.

  • ​Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Barrie is strategically important as an Ontario regional centre, and our population is expected to double from 150 thousand today, to 300 thousand by 2051.

City Council adopted the latest official plan in February, after 4 years of consultation. The plan clearly lays out a methodical approach for managing our growth, while ensuring that we create healthy, complete and safe communities. That we ensure design excellence, connectivity and mobility, while enshrining our Natural Heritage System. It also touches on policies that encourage economic prosperity and growth, while encouraging a vibrant and diverse culture.

I’ve gone through the official plan a few times, all 230 pages of it, to educate myself and to answer questions received from residents. What resonates the most for me, is that we are finally moving away from the car-centric, urban sprawl to a greener and more liveable city that offers shops and restaurants within a 15-minute walk. If elected, I will champion this official plan during all development discussions that come before Council.  Thank you.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 6 vote for you?

Nine candidates representing 4 Wards were invited here this evening, and while it may not be obvious based on the low turnout, I am the only woman in that group.

So why is that important? Yes, gender equity is a important goal for any democratic society; but also, because studies have shown, over and over again, that having gender balance on decision making bodies means that more viewpoints are heard and better decisions are made. It’s good for business, plain and simple.

But that is not enough reason to vote for me. Instead, consider that I have thirty years of corporate and management experience, and eleven years on a not-for-profit Board of Directors. I am a dedicated volunteer and community builder who understands that fiscal responsibility goes hand-in-hand with compassion and sustainability.

As a retiree, I have the time and energy to make the job of Ward 6 Councillor my full-time career. I won’t promise to solve all the issues facing Barrie, but I will promise to be honest, transparent, and available to hear your feedback, and provide a timely response.

I have a balanced viewpoint that lends itself well to collaboration and team building. I have no hidden agendas, businesses, political affiliations, or conflicts of interest to influence my judgement. In short, I am the best man for the job of Ward 6 Councillor.

Thank you to Engage Barrie for organizing this event, to my fellow candidates for putting their names forward, and to everyone who takes the time to view us live and in-person, or later-on at their convenience.  Thank you.

Darryl Duff

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Kevin LePage (He/Him)

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  • did not participate

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  • none answered

Nigussie Nigussie

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Ward 7 Candidate

Gary Harvey  (acclaimed)

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Ward 8 Candidates

Jim Harris (He/Him)

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  • none answered

John Webb

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Ward 9 Candidates

Norm Costello

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  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Hi my name is Norm Costello. I am running to represent you in ward 9 in the upcoming municipal election.  I am 63 years old and have been living in Barrie for 21 years with my wife of 40 years Kim. We have to grown adult children Scott and Sheena.  I am employed as a Production Manager for a corrugated box manufacturer in Concord.

I have deiced to run in this election to work for the residents of ward 9 because we need change. Status quo is not the answer. We must take our cities issues head on, and must ask and answer the tough questions.

My top three priorities are:

  • Snow removal:  Our city plows leave a pile of snow at the end of our driveway every time they go by. Our city is top ten in Canada for snow fall and we leave this windrow of snow for our residents to deal with every single time. I will Instal snow gates on plows to eliminate the windrow.

  • Homelessness and affordable housing:  We need to get our homeless people off of the streets and give them a safe place to call home.

  • Policing:  We need to support our police force with what they need to keep us safe. If we have the growth expected over the next 20 years we need to start with supporting our police service by giving them what they need. 

  • ​Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

The housing market including affordable housing is a real challenge.  I believe we need to encourage existing homeowners to look at the opportunities of creating a duplex out of their single family dwelling. This would allow for more competition in the market place and help keep rental costs down.

We should also be looking at building up and not out to reduce the foot print.

I think that by looking at our zoning and maybe consider Multi Use zoning to allow more people to work where they live.

We should also be encouraging the building of tiny homes. Tiny homes can help alleviate some of our housing concerns. A tiny home isn’t for everyone but for a lot of people that's all they really want.

  • ​What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

I think we need to encourage a work and play atmosphere instead of a sleep and drive one. 40,000 Barrie residents drive the 400,  We need to find out what drives our youth to better understand where we need to go with them. Find out what they want.

We need to do a better job at bringing businesses here to Barrie so our youth can live, sleep and play where they live.

I believe that we need to bring back trades in our education system. There is a shortage of labour everywhere but specifically in the trades which tend to pay well.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

As I said earlier with our grow up and not out in regard to our housing issue we need to do this specifically to support our future growth. This will help utilize our existing transit system which is under used.

Policing is suffering. Our police service works very hard to protect our city but we have failed to support then in the way that they need to keep our city safe. If we don’t address our current crime now before our growth it will become out of control. I believe this is one of our major concerns. We need to support our law enforcement and give them the tools need to do the job they love.

Some of the things I would like to see is more police maybe have some smaller localized stations around our communities and in our subdivisions. Maybe more foot patrol and police on bikes and motor cycles or even on horses. I believe this will help with our residents and police to have a positive engagement. 

We need to take back our downtown so as we grow we can enjoy the shops and restaurants and our waterfront during the day, evening and the night.

We must continue to remove systematic barriers in our city. We will do this with policy, procedure changes and remove any unfair practices. There is no place for them here.

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 9 vote for you?

Snow Windrows:  Snow plows can be attached with a device called snow gates. These gates allow the plow to control the windrow (the pile of snow dumped on your driveway) and eliminate you having to remove heavy snow from the bottom of your driveway.

Poor Condition Of Our City Streets:  We need to address the poor condition of our city streets.

Buses:  Analyze the needs and sizes of our transit buses and routes.

Safe Injection Sites & Homelessness:  There is a gap in care for people with mental health and drug abuse issues.

Our Beaches:  Our beaches need to be kept clean and accessible for our city residents.

Traffic Lights:  Traffic flow and timing of the lights is a problem at many intersections in the city.

Speeding & Noisy Vehicles:  Put a stop to speeding and noisy vehicles.

Community Policing:  Community policing would increase our level of trust in our police force. It would consist of smaller, more localized stations or hubs. Better chance of knowing our officers.

Multi-Use Zoning:  Multi-use zoning can have many benefits to the city, such as reducing housing cost, expanding access for small businesses and reducing the need to drive everywhere.

Ending Legacy Projects:  No more projects just for the sake of leaving politicians a legacy.  Let's stick to doing what's right for the city.

Sergio Morales

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  • did not participate

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  • none answered

William Rome

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Adam Wilcox

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Ward 10 Candidates

Joy Douglas (She/Her)

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  • intended to participate, but travel/internet issue

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • Please introduce yourself, and let us know your top three priorities for the city

Hi, I am Joy Douglas, Ward 10 City Councillor Candidate. 

I believe that great cities are built upon the diverse neighbourhoods that comprise them. It is necessary for neighbourhoods and cities to work together to build a good place for each one of its citizens. A safe, connected, green and inclusive space. A place to invest your time, money and your future.

I am organized, detail oriented and passionate about Ward 10 and my place within it.

  • Access to affordable quality housing is a fundamental human right which affects our physical and mental health, prosperity, and community.  The City of Barrie’s Housing Affordability Task Force Report - Final Report has given us a blueprint of how to tackle the housing crisis – which of these recommendations would you prioritize?  How do you intend to support housing development in a way that addresses the needs of all income levels, abilities, ages and stages, while also being environmentally responsible and working towards more diverse integrated community building?

I support advocating for funds from the federal and provincial government that will go towards supportive and affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Task Force has made practical, creative suggestions and I fully support implementing the use of different mortgage models, developing housing sites in places of worship and commercial plazas, and use of innovative materials and architectural design to reduce construction costs.

  • ​What plans do you have for attracting and retaining more young people to and in our city, including plans for ensuring a more inclusive, vibrant and sustainable environment for them?  How will you attract the quality and well-paying employment opportunities to help give them a more secure future, and what programs and services can the City provide to help them build their skills and support young entrepreneurship?  (Young people meaning people in their late teens, 20’s and early 30’s.)

Attracting a younger demographic to the City of Barrie is an excellent way to invest in our future.

Using social media to communicate and showcase our city is vital. Photos, videos, article links, blog posts and interesting facts would showcase our diverse neighbourhoods and vibrant downtown. Encouraging and investing in new businesses through tax breaks and financial support would show young people that our city welcomes them and celebrates their contribution to our communities.

  • Looking forward, and beyond Barrie’s housing concerns, how will you handle the growth of our population and the opportunities and challenges this can generate?  What are your three priorities to make our community more equitable, safe and affordable for all residents as we grow, while providing the infrastructure, public transportation, green space, recreation and other city services required by this increasing population?  And how will you work towards eliminating systemic barriers (including race, gender, ability, age, and economic status), to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city for all residents? 

Growth:  As the prediction is that Barrie’s population will double in the next 20 years it is of vital importance to put plans in place to accommodate that growth.

Transportation needs to be considered and investing in roads, public transportation, bike paths and creating walkable neighbourhoods are all important ways to ensure that residents can move around our city in timely, efficient and sustainable ways.

Considering a diversified economy is essential for successful urban growth. As a small business owner, I know how important it is to have my city’s support. By maintaining our industrial tax rate, attracting new businesses and their workers as well as showcasing Barrie as a hub that is close to GTA, has access to major transportation routes as well as the ability to sustain institutional businesses is essential.

Diversity:  A great place to start promoting diversity is by electing a city council that is diverse and represents all of our city’s population.

The City of Barrie can help to promote inclusion and diversity by creating events in public spaces that celebrate diverse cultures. This will help to educate residents and effectively bring people together. 

  • Are there any other issues you'd like to speak to?  Why should Ward 9 vote for you?

In closing, I would like to say that the City of Barrie and Ward 10 are much more than my address and my neighbourhood. Both places are integral to my families history. My children attended Ward 10 schools, neighbours have become friends and I started my small local business here. 

I am 100% committed to my community and The City of Barrie.

Bryn Hamilton

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  • did not participate

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Ken Lloyd

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Steven Mirtsos

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Simcoe County District School Board, Ward 1 (representing Barrie Wards 1-3)

Alexis Clark

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Suzanna McCarthy (She/Her)

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

I would like to see a school system that is safe, inclusive and reflective of those it serves. 
While we have taken steps over the past years, we also know that there is still work to be done in ensuring that we create this community of inclusion and safety. We need to begin the process of dismantling colonialism and decentering whiteness in the curriculum, ensuring that the curriculum is reflective of the diversity in our communities. We also need to ensure that we are creating and maintaining emotionally and physically safe spaces for everyone who operates within the system. 
I believe there is also a need for an increased focus on teaching students about environmental stewardship in an ongoing basis. There are so many valuable lessons that are blended in to certain teaching units or that are taught in conjunction with specific dates, but I would love to see this spread across all units. 
While there are many other areas I would like to promote growth and wellness in, I will close by saying: I would like to see schools become places of community. I believe that that would be one of the best indicators of system health. When we are able to develop a system that is a hub for families and learners, a place where families are able to become widely engaged and access resources (prior to it being a crisis response). 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​School boards must be leaders in the initiative creating opportunities and benchmarks, but I firmly believe that schools must also be afforded autonomy to plan and learn in ways that allows them to tailor their engagement to support their specific school population. While there are some tenets that will be universal, it is critical that we do not take a blanket approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. This work must be more than a checkbox if we are to ensure we are entering this work with the proper focus and intentions. 

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

I would like to amplify the voice of students and ensure that my work is reflective of their needs as they are the ones who are functioning in this system. That being said, I think my largest and most impactful area of advocacy will be my work to create and maintain meaningful discussion around how we can create the best experience for learners. How do we build an inclusive and reflective curriculum, how do we create physical and emotional safety, how do we ensure that we are creating and maintaining a community that students feel connected to and supported by. 

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

At the post secondary level, what has been brought to me by both students and constituents is the lack of final evaluation. I have been hearing frequent reports of students being concerned about being underprepared for transitioning to post-secondary learning settings. I would propose, in consultation with education staff, that we find a way forward that balances supporting students during these challenging times while still preparing them for any post secondary learning they are embarking on. By not preparing students for the rigours of post secondary evaluations, my concern is that we are simply delaying the stress associated with formal assessment-and introducing it at a time of increased vulnerability as they start the later stage of their learning. 
At the elementary level, I have had numerous people highlight what they view as a need for increased measures to deal with discrimination in school settings. I think this again ties in to adjusting the curriculum, becoming and engaging leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion, and ensuring that we are creating safe and welcoming spaces for all learners, educators and community members.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

​Ongoing dialogue, increased access to mental health supports and normalizing the topic are key, in my view. We need to have supports in place that are accessible, reflective and inclusive, that create safety for people to seek support/be referred to supports. There is a great deal of advocacy to be done in this area, which includes advocating for increased funding all the way down to ensuring we have trained supports that are low barrier and highly accessible. 

David William O'Brien (He/Him)

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

Everyone should be working towards the shared goal of providing the best education for our children within the available funding and resources to ensure that each student feels included and has the supports they need in safe, well-maintained and welcoming schools we can all be proud of.

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​School Boards should play a leading role, again to ensure that each student feels included and has the supports they need in safe, well-maintained and welcoming schools. To this end the SCDSB has taken many local initiatives towards this goal including the creation of a Human Rights and Equity Office; creation and adoption of a SCDSB Human Rights and Equity Policy; creation and expansion of diversity graduation coaches for both black and LGTBQ2S students and adding to the board staff a manager of Human Rights and Equity to name just a few.  

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

That is a difficult question to ask as the role of a trustee is one of governance and not operational in nature. If elected I would be one of twelve trustees that act together as a single trustee does not have any power on our own. So it is difficult to answer what individual impact I plan to make. If reelected, I will continue to listen to students, parents and staff on the issues that are at the forefront to them. I will continue to stay informed and ask questions with the goal of providing the best education for our children within the available funding and resources.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Funding is the root of many of the biggest challenges to our schools and the board. All funding is provided by the provincial government through a complicated funding formula. The province through the Ministry of Education controls the approval and funding of new schools or expansion of existing ones. Currently the SCDSB three top priorities for funding from the province are: 

  • Approve the building of more Schools from the SCDSB Capitol Priorities list. Our last list of 10 critical needs saw none approved to proceed. Currently our Elementary schools are at 115 % capacity and Secondary Schools at 105%. Our latest projections outline that by 2050 the SCDSB will need 35 new schools. I would note that on average it takes 5 years for a elementary school and 7 years for a secondary school to be built if the board already has the land.

  • Increase the Education Development Charge (EDC) on new development. The SCDSB completed in 2018 a study that the current funding levels are not sufficient for the board to purchase the land needed for new schools. However, EDC's were instead frozen at current rates with only minimal increase since 2018. We simply do not have the funds to purchase land that is ever increasing in value. 

  • Creation and development of a new funding formula for busing. For more the ten years provincial governments have been studying the issue, but no changes have been made. This is another area that we are in a deficit position with the last board budget having to go into reserves to almost 1 million dollars to cover the cost of busing that the provincial formula does not cover. 

Finally, the SCDSB has an annual budget of around 660 million dollars. Close to 87% of those funds go to wages, salaries and benefits. The amount of funds the SCDSB has and the costs related are not controlled by the trustees. Again, the funds are provided by the province of Ontario and the wages, salaries and benefits are negotiated between the different labour groups and the province. 

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

​The SCDSB has many programs, training and initiatives in place to support the mental health and well-being our both our students and staff. There are too many to name here, but would recommend visiting the SCDSB website that outlines the work of the board. https://www.scdsb.on.ca/about/well-being___mental_health/scdsb_supports 

Lynn Strachan

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

A system that is safe, diverse and inclusive. One that listens to the voices of parents, teachers and students as well as the broader community when making decisions. Ensuring that schools are a place that are safe, welcoming and exciting to attend. Creating places where children and youth want connect, learn and create.

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​Trustees should be leaders in equity, diversity and inclusions. The trustees should champion EDI initiatives, policies and practices. The board should also support school communities in their EDI efforts.  

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

Listening.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

I think that one of our biggest challenges is apathy towards the public school system. I will work to engage communities of students, parents and teachers to participate in public education through meaningful community consultation. Championing new and exciting initiatives brought forward by schools and students to make education exciting. I will also open up schools to the community, whether that be through enhanced volunteer programs or allowing the community to use the schools after hours and on weekends as community space.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

​Empathy first and foremost. We can also employ more child and youth workers, social workers, nurses and other health care professionals in our school boards. We can work with community organizations. We can also develop partnerships with other organizations and work with other ministry's to create and fund programs designed to assist people in mental health and wellbeing. Training for teachers in mental health first aid would also be of benefit.

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Simcoe County District School Board, Ward 2 (representing Barrie Wards 4-6)

Ken Boate (He/Him)

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  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

Lack of adequate funding for daily operations, let alone funding for innovation and growth, along with an ever-increasing capital repair backlog of over 16 billion dollars, and a provincial government who seems to want to strip more out of the system, has the public school system at the brink of failure. 
I believe that the system needs to be re-built from the ground up. A healthy system built to holistically support the varied learning needs of students. One that embraces development of partnerships between all stakeholders, rather than the top down pointed hierarchical structure that we have today. A fully funded, fully public education system that is innovative, adaptable, and supportive of all members in our society. 
In the big picture there are still schools, classrooms, students, and educators, but the interactions change. A renewed focus on broad assessment techniques, adaptive self-guided learning, outdoor classrooms, Indigenous teachings embedded into the curriculum, and the use of a global lens to impart knowledge to all. 
A system where students, and educators are given every opportunity to succeed. Proper, and full funding to ensure that mental health and well-being professionals are embedded within the system to support the removal of barriers to learning at an individual level.
Even if there was full support from the provincial government to make these kind of wholesale changes, I know that this vision can’t be completed in 4 years. However, what we are doing now is not working, and the system needs advocates for change so the process can begin.  

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​The school board needs to act. Putting policy in place is the easy part. Getting out into the schools, listening to those who are affected, leading by example, amplifying others, questioning our own bias, and seeking personal growth opportunities, these are the hard tasks. The entire school board, from trustees and the executive leadership team and all staff, need to champion anti-oppression of all forms. We must be community leaders and create meaningful action beyond policies and photo ops. 

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

As a board trustee, the greatest impact to student success is to be an advocate. Students today are telling the adults in their lives what they need to be successful humans in society. I see that they desire, full and proper education funding, including mental health and other supports, a level of autonomy in their learning, and the respect of others. As leaders, it is our job to listen, support and advocate for those needs on their behalf. 

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

The biggest challenge is educational funding for students. It is apparent to me that the current provincial government does not place as much value on public education as many in our system do, including myself. Whether it be for smaller class sizes, capital projects, mental health supports or multilingual learning it is imperative that the school board advocate for funding to support students and educators. In addition, according to the 2022-2023 budget, the SCDSB has a $69 million surplus, which has been growing at about 10% for the last few years. It will be worth an investigation and discussion on how to utilize this funding source to support schools in Simcoe County. 

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

​The number one thing that needs to be done is a continued advocacy for mental health funding at the school level. As a society, we are seeing unprecedented challenges around overall mental health in our school system. Students are looking to the adults in the building for support. Educators, by nature, are supportive of their students, are willing to listen and offer guidance, but they should not be asked to shoulder this additional work on their own. An increase in the quantity of specialized, dedicated, and trained resources is required to ensure this critical support structure can support all humans in the educational system. 

Beth Mouratidis

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

I would love to see a school where everyone is treated equally. If students can learn young to accept everyone, then they will grow up to be compassionate decent adults. 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​SCDSB has a Human Rights and Equity Manager. This is new this term. Graduation coaches have also been added for indigenous and black students. There are plans to add a coach for LGBTQ+ students. Racism must be dealt with immediately

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

I plan to continue advocating for eye health awareness. I successfully lobbied for an information flyer to be included with the kindergarten package this.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

The biggest challenge in Simcoe County is growth. We are 1 of 3 extreme growth areas and we need new schools desperately. This year alone, there was an increase of over 1200 students, the equivalent of 1 1/2 elementary and 1/3 secondary schools. 

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

​Guidance counsellors need to be readily available to students. There has been more access to mental health professionals due to covid. This needs to continue on a regular basis and increased to meet the need.

Dana Powell (He/Him)

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Simcoe County District School Board, Ward 3 (representing Barrie Wards 7-10)

Kevin Berry

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  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

A healthy and robust public school system should contain the following. 1) A student centred approach to learning that can accommodate the individual needs of a diverse population. 2) A diverse offering of available educational opportunities and experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. 3) A healthy and open relationship with the community it is meant to serve. ( Be a good corporate citizen) 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​Education is a human right, and as such each individual has an equal right not only to access education, but to also feel welcome and included in the school community. Nott only in the classroom, but also in the cafeteria, playing fields, and extra curricular activities.

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

For the last 15 years I have been advocating for our most vulnerable students both privately and through the boards SEAC for the last 10. I intend to bring that same advocacy to the Board of Trustees.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Outside of the lack of funding, the biggest challenges in our community is adapting to the rapid growth we are experiencing and economic disparities which are locking out many students from the full benefits of the system. The solutions to these problems aren’t snappy catch phrases that fit well in a survey, but rather a complex series of little steps which aren’t really suited for this format.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

Equity and inclusion would be a good place to start, but also better integration of school and community mental health services.

Rob Cunningham

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Sean Fitzgerald

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Steven Mallon

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Caitlin Morrison (She/Her)

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  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

I see the public school system as the institution in which our future communities our built. As such, I believe that school policies should reflect a desire to create strong and lasting communities. I would like students to be supported academically and emotionally to become contributive members of a sustainable society. 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

School boards should work to implement any policy that is intended to improve EDI in schools. This should include supporting a move away from traditional ethnically biased history education.

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

I plan to work towards implementing an individualized approach to student support so that students who are struggling can receive direct tutoring help without impeding the progress of their classmates.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Students are faced with educational and emotional deficits following pandemic closures and uncertainty. It is crucial that we implement additional educational and emotional supports immediately to help them recover.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

In addition to access to professional mental health supports, I believe students would benefit from the implementation of a peer mentor system. I also believe that staff are suffering from increased demands on their time, among other requirements, and that school boards should work with staff to understand how we can better support their professional and mental health needs.

Dani Robinson

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

My vision for a healthy, robust public school system is full inclusiveness, mental health support. much more support in the classrooms and more support for special needs, improvement with the busing, and improvement with math and literacy.  

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​School boards should play a huge role in supporting equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives. The school boards should support as well as set an example in all these areas.

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

The schools desperately need more support in the classrooms, specifically learning support as well as mental health support. If our children could get this extra support it would really set them up for full success. 

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Again, I would say support in the classrooms. I also think inclusiveness is a big one as well. We need to educate our kids more on including ALL students no matter what their sex, race, clothing, religion, etc. is. I will bring this up at board meetings and continuously advocate for these things.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

This is a very important one for me! I see so many students struggle with mental health, especially after COVID. We should have youth workers in the schools on a regular basis. The students should know who this person is so they are comfortable speaking with them. The youth worker should be visiting classrooms and educating our students on strategies in dealing with mental health. Let the students know it is okay to feel the way they do and to teach them ways of dealing with different situations. The staff should have a program where they are able to speak to therapists should they need to. The youth worker should be to also offer support to the staff that need it as well. 

Lisa-Marie Wilson

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Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Ward 1 (representing Barrie Wards 1-5)

Robert Matthew LeCollier

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Mathew Varsava

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Susan van Amelsvoort (She/Her)

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Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Ward 2 (representing Barrie Wards 6-10)

Amanda Fellows

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Maria Hardie

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Engage / Partner Questions​
  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

I would see a school system that is able to meet the multiple needs of a growing and diverse community. It would be adequately funded so that goals could be met without struggling. Communications between the board and parents and employee groups would be open and transparent. 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​School boards have a pivotal role in supporting equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives. It is the responsibility of school boards, as set out in legislation and regulations, to ensure that policies are developed and implemented according to the laws of the land.

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

Any impact that I could make is as one voice in a collective board that is committed to ensuring the needs of our staff and students are addressed. I plan to make sure that the board is open to hearing the needs of parents and employees.

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Our community is quickly growing and changing in terms of diversity. The biggest challenge I see is in keeping pace with these changes and ensuring the support and funding is in place to address the changing needs

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

As individuals and as a collective, we need to be present to listen, to understand, to be patient and lend a hand when required. Funding and staffing should be put in place to ensure that the well-being of all staff and students can be addressed.

Ilona Zankovica-Rivera

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  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

Here in Barrie we are blessed to live, work and study around the lakes, forests and hiking trails which is great benefit to our community and children. I would like to see how the schools incorporate nature into all subjects that they teach. Children can learn through the walks and research projects outdoors. "Giving back" is also a very important concept meaning that children should be engaged in preserving nature e.g. participating in a community cleanup events, learning about local animals, birds, insects, understanding why some are in danger and how to reverse this trend. As educators and parents, we need to lead by example. On a municipal level - we need to see that our policies protect natural resources. All this works in a synergy where we take accountability for each and every action.

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

School boards have a very direct role as they are shaping and influencing students' opinions and values. At the same time it is a huge responsibility therefore we have to seek guidance in God' Word at all times. Modern movements or initiatives can be misleading and and in some instances - counterproductive, especially when we teach conflicting messages. 
The true inclusion happens when we approach each other with love:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

Be accessible/approachable to hear their needs, create a communication channel to address each and every concern. I also wish to bring catholic teachings closer to students, promote God's grace in all school activities in order to feel peace and reduce anxiety. 

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

It is hard to pick only one challenge. Currently we are experiencing staffing shortages and lack of funding that leads to worsening school facilities and, more importantly, special support programs. As an example, I have been hearing from many parents that the board needs to review/change the programs for Dyslexic children. I would initiate a review of current practices and supported programs, engage parents as primary stakeholders and find the best options for our children. As one of the parents expressed: "Literacy should be taught to every child in school", and I fully agree with that. In terms of staffing shortages - we need all hands on deck. We need to perform root cause analysis and tackle issues urgently.

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

Declining mental health is a serious concern for me. I have been seeing and hearing how young people feel demotivated, bored, anxious and lost during their most precious time of life. I strongly believe that we can tackle it with practicing faith, strengthening spiritual education, approaching everyone with love, care and compassion. I would like to see children exercise the power of prayer. I think we need more spiritual leaders in schools that can help and guide children in times of distress. Resilient children are confident to express their opinion without fear of being judged; their ideas can be challenged, but heard and respected at the same time. Resilient children have the capacity and mental strength to win and lose graciously because they know that God loves them.
Additionally, I think that everyone can benefit from incorporating contemplative exercises in their lives which will lead to a stronger mental health and well-being.

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Conseil scolaire Viamonde, Sector 5 (representing the Counties of Bruce, Grey, Simcoe and Dufferin)

Saveria Caruso

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  • What is your vision for a healthy, robust public school system?

Fundamental Principle: The integration of culture in the curriculum and pedagogy contributes to the transmission of French language culture that in turn promotes student identity building and success. The transmission of culture also entails the transmission of the francophone cultural heritage but also the celebration of diversity inviting Francophones of all origins to contribute to the vitality of the Ontario French-language community. 

  • What role should school boards have to support equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights initiatives?

​As a school board trustee, I would promote partnerships with professional learning communities to implement innovative and creative strategies in order to enhance students’ success and achievement, more specifically in literacy and numeracy. To reduce achievement gaps, it is also important to support approaches that contribute to equity and inclusion. I am also eager to pursue recent findings on the organizational models that promote student success and transition from the elementary to secondary panel or work place and provide students with new evidence-based pathways in the post-pandemic era. 

  • What is the single greatest impact you plan to make for students?

Closing achievement gaps for all students including those with special needs

  • What is the biggest challenge schools in your community currently face? How do you propose to address it?

Equity and inclusion for all students providing them access to new technologies, evidence-based pathways, and tutoring programs that take place within a classroom and/or after-hours at school offered free of charge to students

  • What should be done to contribute to the overall mental health and well-being of students and staff in schools?

Provide mental health services for students and staff expanding the number of school social workers

Eric Lapointe (He/Him)

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  • none answered

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Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir (representing region of Simcoe-Muskoka)

Claire Thibideau – acclaimed

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  • none available

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  • none answered

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* updated October 22

Candidate Profiles
Andrew Gordon
Weldon Hachey
Rob Haverson
Gerry Marshall
Mike McCann
Alex Nuttall
Barry Ward
Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Ward 7
Ward 8
Ward 9
Ward 10
Constance Elliott
Andre Jmourko
Clare Riepma
Tif Arshi
Shanicka Edwards
Craig Nixon
Bob Ossowski
Greg Peach
Tracy Strohm
Ann-Marie Kungl
Ryan Rijo
Zohaib Tahir
Tim Abel
Amy Courser
Michael Lewis
Donald McLaurin
Dieter Mueller
Robert Newman
Ajmal Noushahi
Md Hafizur Rahman
Robert Thomson
Allan Bray
Sharon Doran
Daryl Duff
Kevin LePage
Nigussie Nigussie
Gary Harvey
Jim Harris
John Webb
Norm Costello
Sergio Morales
William Rome
Adam Wilcox
Joy Douglas
Bryn Hamilton
Ken Lloyd
Steven Mirtsos
SCDSB 1
Alexis Clark
Suzanna McCarthy
David William O'Brien
Lynn Strachan
Ken Boate
Beth Mouratidis
Dana Powell
SCDSB 3
Kevin Berry
Rob Cunnigham
Sean Fitzgerald
Steven Mallon
Caitlin Morrison
Dani Robinson
Lisa-Marie Wilson
SMCDSB 1
Robert Matthew LeCollier
Mathew Varsava
Susan van Amelsvoort
SMCDSB 2
Amanda Fellows
Maria Hardie
Ilona Zankovica-Rivera
Conseil scolaire Viamonde
Saveria Caruso
Eric Lapointe
Conseil scolaire catholique
Claire Thibideau

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