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2009 a very good year says Guergis

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In Springwater
Jan 19th, 2010
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By DOUGLAS GLYNN Midland Free Press January 13 2010
-Ask Tony Guergis how things went for him in his role as Mayor of Springwater Township in 2009 and he will tell you it was a very good year.
“One of the successes of 2009 of which I am most proud,” he says, “is that for the first time in the township’s history we acquired all of the funding that we applied for from the federal and provincial governments; every dime”
As an example, he cites the $1 million contributed by the two senior levels of government that will be used to build four baseball diamonds on the 77-acre property that is home to the township’s new $6 million administration building. The township’s one-third contribution to the project will cover the cost of concession stands and bathrooms.
“I can remember thinking it was a big deal some time ago when we got $60,000 from the senior levels of government.”
Of course, the highlight of the year was the opening of the new administration centre, which he says is “a message to everybody who lives in Springwater and everybody who moves to Springwater that we are a very green, friendly, open transparent municipality.
“All the glass in the building is a visual message to say, we are here, we’re open, we’re transparent, we want to invite you in. We designed the council chambers so the glass doors can be slid aside to open the whole room for fairly large events.”
He says the public feedback about the 3,000 square foot building has been positive. “It’s not a Taj Mahal,” he quickly adds, noting that he sent the architects back to the drawing board to create something practical, yet efficient.
“People like the natural elements of the wood beams (from renewable or recycled wood sources) polished concrete floors, block walls; the basic elements of wood and stone. The colour schemes are calming and there’s lots of natural light.
“It came in on time and on budget. How many government buildings can you say that about?
The building sits on a 77-acre former provincial tree nursery site, which has seven soccer fields used by the 1,000 children in the local league. ”
When the province decided to close the nursery the township was asked if wanted to buy the land. They did. That pre-dates me. Kudos to their foresight” he adds.
Last year, he adds, was also the year the township launched the Springwater Ambassador recognition program to honour local people who proudly represent and promote their hometown.
Jason McCoy, county music artist, who performed at the official opening of the administration building has the distinction of being the first Springwater Ambassador.
“We’ve also developed a new township brand and logo, which is a stylized S. Thewhitelinesthroughthe S’represent the railroads, highways, and connections that cross Springwater.
“The colours represent the earth, the water, the trees and wetlands; with green representing Springwater’s strong agricultural roots and its strength in environmental innovation; blue representing its positioning between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay and orange representing the warmth and welcoming attitude of the local communities.”
While some county communities have moved economic development to the back burner until growth plan concerns are resolved, Springwater has invited consultants to submit proposals for a five-year economic development strategy.
Guergis says an economic development strategy is part of a 10-year plan that includes “transportation, our growth plan, our official plan. We have two elements we have to follow up on: economic development and tourism.
“Springwater has tremendous employers in the tourism industrial and we have good industrial employers.
“We were very fortunate to acquire Glueckler Metal Inc. I couldn’t be more pleased. The company will employ 80 people. The owner is an entrepreneur who understands the community. I’m also pleased to have Atlas Block.
“To me,” he continues, “economic development is not just about going out and chasing smoke stacks. It’s about networking and finding ways to support the employers and business opportunities you have. “I see our job as politicians as weaving the fabric of strengthening them; saying how can we make you competitive; how can we create opportunities to help develop -with our education partner -a work force for the future so you can build on your needs.”
In his final year of a four-year term as mayor he remains optimistic about the township’s future.
Will voters see his name on the ballot in October?
“I haven’t decided,” he answers. “A few dozen people have asked me
and I said to them my questions is going to be: who do you want to see representing the municipality?
“The way I see it is politics is a team sport. People have to be committed and engaged throughout the process. Sometimes the election happens and they don’t come till they think you have done something wrong. That’s the wrong way to work in a community. We need to work together and share the wins and share the loses and share the responsibility.
“This can’t be a sit in the back seat and point at the door sport any longer. It’s too important. It’s too easy to say he made the decision let’s all attack him. We’ve seen examples of that and it really does take off the hook the people who should be responsible for decisions.
“People equally have to be held accountable. Unfortunately the public is content to hang one in sacrifice of all.
“I guess I will go through the methodical process of deciding what the benefits and the challenges are. If I think I’m the right person and if it’s a good fit for me -regardless of the negativity -I’ll stand up.
But, if I think there’s somebody better to lead I may support them. It’s too early to decide.
However, if we have to go through 10 months of electioneering it will be a horrible time.
Taxpayers pay the price for politicians who are focused on nothing more than an election. There is nothing more divisive than an election.
“Politicians will get paid over the next 10 months to do their job and that’s what their mind set should be. Their job isn’t too beat up the opponent that they are going to choose to run against in the election,” he added.

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