Prepared to Make Difficult Decisions (NG Times – Oct. 22, 2014)

My name is John Barclay, I live in Oxford Mills and I understand the economic and social realities of North Grenville.

We need to maintain our infrastructure and manage growth. I’m prepared to make the difficult decisions over the next four critical years to prioritize our investments so that we are balanced in our spending but can maintain, if not expand, our services in the face of declining grants from the Province. I promise to make those decisions based on facts and evidence instead of ideology and through community engagement find the best “Made in North Grenville” solutions. My professional life has been spent producing effective communications so I’m confident I’ll be able to clearly inform and engage citizens as tough decisions are made.

One of the themes of my campaign for Mayor is building community to strengthen the ties that bind us both literally and figuratively. As a community we need more places and events to meet our neighbours and form the connections that create a dynamic, safe and friendly community. Council must work with and support community groups to find creative and sustainable solutions for new recreational opportunities as participation and demand surpass our current capacity. Building physical connections such as sidewalks, trails and bike lanes will allow for more opportunities to connect citizens and ensure safety and security. I will ensure the Municipality plays a leading role within the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in the creation of a coordinated rural transportation network in order to literally bring us together and help us get things done. Whether it’s a commuter connecting more easily to the OC Transpo network, a senior getting to the doctor’s office or the Library, a youth who wants to attend a program at the Youth Centre, someone who wants to get to a local job but can’t afford to run a car or simply a young family that doesn’t want to own a second car, this transportation network will benefit us all.

As Mayor, I want to focus on helping create well-paid meaningful work for residents right here in North Grenville. The more people work here, the stronger our local economy will be. I will be working to create the conditions to foster local business expansion.   As a rural resident, I understand that agriculture is currently the largest sector of our local economy, and I will work hard to support it through the expansion of local food initiatives and the retention of Kemptville College, our premiere agricultural education facility.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 30 years; building an award winning educational film company that has raised both private and public investments to create effective media. I’ve been through the ups and downs in the economy and have come out on the other side. I’ve learned that you absolutely need to save money for a rainy day while at the same time identifying the right time to invest and seize the opportunities to collaborate with others. As a small businessman, I’m naturally fiscally conservative and very strategic in my spending. Last year I worked closely with the merchants of Old Town Kemptville, as their BIA Coordinator, to promote downtown at a critical time during road and bridge closures. I’m currently working with the Beveridge family to re-develop the former Giant Tiger building and surrounding parking lot as a new commercial and social hub in Old Town. Finally, I’ve recently been nominated for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Bill Thake Memorial Award, given for Economic Development Leadership.

My track record of work with many diverse groups in North Grenville has made me sensitive to the needs of both youth and seniors. I clearly understand the tremendous value of our history and heritage and our leading role in the agricultural sector. My experiences in North Grenville have made me a champion of the local food movement and a firm believer of the economic benefits of shopping locally as much as possible. I’ve developed relationships with many people and gained an understanding of the different and often conflicting interests in North Grenville. It’s led me to believe you can’t have social development without economic development and that you shouldn’t have economic development without social development.

People recognize me as someone who can listen to often competing or conflicting interests and help groups of individuals to work as a team to resolve their differences. I’m engaged in the issues. I’m always prepared to ask the right questions and to press for satisfactory answers. I want to bring my experience and skills to the role of Mayor. I need your vote to make that happen. Vote John Barclay for Mayor. Thank you.