I love living in Collingwood and South Georgian Bay. I really do and who wouldn’t? Every day I see the beautiful clear waters of Georgian Bay and the ever-changing landscape of the Niagara Escarpment. We have a wonderful mix of housing styles, we have great downtowns, a fabulous arts and culture scene and so much to see and do. As a REALTOR®, I have the good fortune of dealing with people every day who dream of, well, living the dream that I already do.
Whenever election time comes along, I get scared and hopeful at the same time. When you think how one party can, with the stroke of a pen, wipe out gains in climate change or reverse course on a labour law or slash a city council, the magnitude of the people’s choice hits home. IN small town politics, you can count on two hands the number of people who will decide our near-term future – building up or tearing down iconic buildings, investing in traffic management, bringing a casino to town or spending millions on something few or many want. Big decisions and big impacts.
The 2018 elections in the communities of South Georgian Bay all had some common themes that are expected with growing communities:
- Economic development
- Sustainable growth
- Attainable housing
- Accountability and transparency
- Recreation services
- Fiscal management
- Traffic and transportation management
In addition, one unique issue in our region is NOT so much job creation as it is what to do about our extreme labour SHORTAGE.
In each community, there were some unique issues:
- In Wasaga Beach, the development of a downtown, a proposed casino and remarkably the issue of growing cash reserves were all on the table.
- In Clearview, managing growth while preserving agricultural lands was an issue along with revitalization of Stayner’s downtown and the proposed doubling in size of some settlement areas such as Nottawa.
- In the Town of Blue Mountains, growth is a major issue as 40% of all building permits in Grey County are within this one municipality and affordable/attainable housing and transportation are major issues.
- In Collingwood, discussions about strategic plans, recreation facilities, a new hospital, smart intensification policies and the impending judicial inquiry were top of mind.
In the end, each of these 4 communities elected new Mayors in a strong repudiation of the “old guard” and old ways of thinking. The councils will now have a mix of experienced and new councilors that generally all seem to be rowing in the same direction. There is a general consensus around the area that the future is bright, that municipal cooperation will reach a new high and that optimism and community pride are alive and well again. As always, there will be hard work and tough decisions ahead for all of them but I really believe we are all in good hands.