Editor's note: MidlandToday has asked council candidates in Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township to provide a synopsis of why they are running for public office. Municipal elections take place Oct. 24.
The following response is from Jack Contin, who is running for deputy mayor in Midland. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can find candidate profiles and other election news.
What is your name, what will be your age on election day, and who are your key immediate family members you rely on for support?
My name is Jack Contin. I’ll be seventy years come election day, and my close family include my wife Judy, my daughter Caitlyn and her family. They are my greatest supporters and I love them all dearly.
In 10 words or less, why is your municipality the best in the province?
A beautiful community known as the Heart of Georgian Bay.
What prompted you to run as a municipal leader?
I love my community and aspire to be an engaged, thoughtful community leader. Midland’s motto, “persequi qualitatem vitae” or in pursuit of the quality of life, best describes what I hope to bring to the council table for the people of Midland.
Midland Bay Landing is mired in controversy, involving contaminated land, residents wanting to protect parkland, developer visions for the future, and the municipality’s choice for that developer. What is your stance on Midland Bay Landing?
I’ve been very public in saying we need to rethink Midland Bay Landing. We’ve had a lot of consultants from outside Midland telling us what we should do, but I think we need to consult our own public and listen to locals about what they would like done with the land. I would definitely like to see more green space, public waterfront access, and affordable housing, not just luxury condos for the rich.
You will be asked to join committees and other municipal representations. Which are you eager to become involved in?
The Severn Sound Environmental Association is a collaboration between nine municipalities, including Midland, to protect our bay and local watershed. As an advocate to make Georgian Bay a UNESCO World Heritage Geopark and having experience in environmental tourism I think I could do a lot of good for the town working with our partners here.
Voter apathy is always a concern, ranging between 25.7% to 42% of ballots cast across North Simcoe in the last municipal election. Knowing you could be elected without even half of possible voters turning out, what will you do to combat voter apathy so your municipality is best represented?
I really believe we have to make an effort to listen to people. If people think council never listens to them then why would they bother to vote? I’m trying to speak to as many people before election day and hear their concerns, and I hope that encourages them to vote, but after the election we have to keep doing that. Being accessible and really taking people’s concerns seriously, and showing their voice matters, will help voter turnout in the long run.
There are many prominent concerns ongoing in the region, from affordable housing to the opioid epidemic to short-term rentals as well as others. What is one concern that you think the majority of residents are not aware of?
We talk a lot about affordable housing, but I think some people understand how challenging it’s becoming to find a place to live in Midland. We have a lot of GTA realtors and property companies buying up places in Midland and raising rents and property prices to GTA levels, all the while much of the new construction in Midland is geared towards folks moving up from the city. I’m happy to have those new residents to our town, but we need to make sure we don’t drive out young families and vital workers with an impossible housing situation. I believe we should collaborate with our neighbours and collectively approach the County about developing affordable housing for North Simcoe.
The province is planning for a population of 555,000 and 198,000 jobs by 2051. If now is the time to prepare for that influx, what will you proactively do as your part in the process?
Midland has an aging population and we are seeing a lot of our youth moving away as they find it harder to find an affordable place to live and get started. If we want to maintain services and provide the care people will need in the years to come we need to start planning now.
Recidivism isn’t just on the police and courts. As a municipal leader and crafter of bylaws, what initiatives will you undertake to address crime in your care?
I’m concerned by the frequency of cars being broken into in peoples’ driveways in town. A community effort to combat this, and catch would-be thieves in the act, is something I think we can work on. We have a mapping system that could alert affected neighbourhoods almost immediately and we should use it.
Infrastructure projects require taxpayer dollars. What infrastructure project does the municipality desperately need, and does it justify a tax increase from the ratepayers to have it done as soon as possible?
We have a lot of aging infrastructure in need of repair, but upgrading the wastewater treatment plant on William St. would be my first priority. Protecting the quality of our drinking water and Georgian Bay is vital to our whole area. Water and wastewater management is paid for by the users of the system, not tax dollars. But, the money comes from the same pocketbook. We need to access as many grants as we can for the capital projects, be very careful with spending so that we can build reserves to help cover the costs and continue to have responsible fees that recognize the future needs.
Times change. What is the most aged or obsolete bylaw in your municipality’s code?
Town staff regularly bring outdated bylaws to council for review and amendment.
Once you complete your four-year term, what is the legacy you want residents to best remember for your time in office?
A cleaner Georgian Bay. At the heart of our community is the Bay, from fishing, tourism, boating and recreation, the heart of our community is the Bay. If I can take steps to protect it, and make it even just a little cleaner and better preserved for the next generation, that would be a good legacy.
Municipal election information for Midland is available on the elections page of the town website.
For Midland residents:
For the first time, Midland voters will be voting by internet and telephone only. The Town of Midland has entered into an agreement with Intelivote Systems Inc. to provide the software, consulting and technical services required to implement this voting method.
Voting will take place between October 11 and 24, 2022. Voters will receive a Voter Instruction Letter (VIL) by mail containing directions on how to vote using the internet or the telephone, or both. You will receive this letter seven (7) to fourteen (14) days prior to October 11, 2022.
You will only receive a VIL if your name is on the Voters’ List. Please call the Clerk's Office at 705-526-4275 ext. 2212 or 2208 or come into the Municipal Office at 575 Dominion Avenue to make sure you are on the Voters' List.
A Voter Assistance Centre will be located in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Office at 575 Dominion Avenue. Please bring your Voter Instruction Letter and a document showing your name and address for identification.
Voter Assistance Centres will also be set up at several retirement/nursing homes for in-home residents only.