Davidson wants to derail urban sprawl
By Bruce Hain Innisfil Journal Oct 13, 2010
INNISFIL – Dan Davidson has met a lot of new people since Labour Day weekend.
The former ward councillor for the Big Bay Point and Sandy Cove Acres district has set his sites on the Deputy Mayor’s chair in the 2010 election.
“I started canvassing on the outskirts of town on September 3 and have been working my way in,” Davidson says in the garden behind his restaurant on Big Bay Point Road.
“The mood I’m hearing is definitely one of change. People want transparency and a municipal council that is easy to approach. Voters also want to protect the rural aspects of Innisfil. Don’t forget our past and take the good parts – agriculture and cottage life and let’s move forward carefully.”
Davidson says he had heard time and time again from constituents that they are concerned about urban sprawl and fast growth occurring within the town.
“Fast growth brings fast money but we know this type of growth doesn’t pay,” Davidson says. “People want low impact development at a rate Innisfil residents are comfortable with.”
From the get-go, Davidson has taken perhaps the most aggressive stance of any municipal candidate.
“My position has been pretty clear about the ‘Old Boys’ Club,” he admits. “I don’t want to see it continue and for new councillors to be silenced. In the past four years, I’ve been asked what my vote is going to be even before we heard public delegations at council. Some councillors made up their minds on an issue a week ahead of time.”
Davidson is very much aware that if successful on Election Day, he must embrace a broad perspective.
“As a deputy mayor, you have to look at what just doesn’t benefit your ward,” he says.
In the past, Davidson has been rankled by those who say Big Bay Point residents are always complaining they don’t get their fair share of the town’s attention while tallying up their bank accounts and are full of NIMBY(Not in My Back Yard)ists.
“How can you say there is an elite of wealthy people against the Big Bay Point Resort,” Davidson asks. “We need to be looking at how Innisfil is changing, both demographically and ethnically. The first thing is striking a 2011-2012 budget. It will be our first challenge. I want to go through the police budget line by line.”
The next priority for Davidson is, “How we develop our Master Plan to reflect the opinions of our citizens? The third thing is to make a change to council’s Open Forum at the beginning of each meeting. I find it too limited and stagnating.”
Next on the list is fostering better communication between the Town and its residents.
“There’s been a stranglehold on Innisfil council for 15 years,” Davidson alleges. “I’ve heard, ‘We don’t do it that way up here’ and ‘You can’t do that.’ I reply, ‘Yes, I can and the word ‘can’t’ isn’t in my vocabulary.”
He believes a solid upper management team is now in place at Town Hall.
“They’re excited to be doing their jobs,” Davidson says. “They’re talented and capable people. Don’t micro-manage them. The ship had some good wood and some bad wood but it’s been rebuilt and is floating.”
Davidson has been frustrated to learn there are approximately 300 numbered companies that own property in the recently surrendered lands to Barrie.
“There were a lot of land transfers the day after the annexation occurred and I’m told I can’t find out who owns these companies,” Davidson says.
Regardless of the outcome on Oct. 25, Davidson says, “I knew I was going into a fight and I was playing all my cards. I’m open, I try to listen to people and it’s up to the people. I really hope to win. It will be fun, and exciting. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. My opponent says I only have four years of political experience but I have had a lot of life experience and I’m not afraid to keep on learning.”