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Former Packet scribe seeks Ward 4 seat

In Orillia
Sep 24th, 2010

Aggressive council critic wants to tackle city’s problems
Orillia Packet and Times June 2010
Former Packet & Times reporter Colin McKim is running for Ward 4 councillor in the upcoming municipal election.
The self-proclaimed “council critic” has been following current events for more than 20 years as a journalist covering councils led by mayors John Palmer, Clayton French, Ken McCann and Ron Stevens.
“I’ve been a very aggressive council critic. I haven’t made friends on council,” McKim, who left The Packet in January, said on Tuesday. “I’ve been told (councillors) were afraid of me….”
As a Packet reporter for 15 years and weekly columnist since 2005, McKim took past councils to task over various issues including the contaminated multi-use recreation facility (MURF) site, the inability to secure the Huronia Regional Centre (HRC) for Lakehead University and the rift caused between council, the farmers’ market and the Downtown Orillia Management Board over the new public library design.
“For four years I’ve been shouting ‘throw the bums out,'” he said.
In one of his columns he called for the current council to be trapped like varmints and released into the wilderness.
“Sometimes, if politicians are taken blindfolded to the middle of nowhere and spun around a dozen times or more, they can be left too disoriented to find their way back to their home communities,” he wrote in a July 2009 column.
But McKim has decided if you can’t fight them, why not join them?
“In some respects, I don’t really want to be a politician. I want to be someone who reflects the desire of the community and wants to make a more prosperous and thriving community,” he said. “There are certain things that need to be done and I’m certainly well equipped to tackle some of these problems because I’ve observed various councils in action or out of action.”
McKim said there needs to be a “major housecleaning” of council and referred to the past 10 years as the “Stevens’ regime” under the direction of Mayor Ron Stevens, who will not be running for mayor again.
If elected as councillor, McKim said he would not support the development of the MURF site unless it was proven completely safe for its users and he doesn’t believe the City of Orillia should be held liable for Molson’s faulty environmental assessment.
“I don’t think the taxpayers of Orillia should be paying to clean up someone else’s mess,” he said.
He would also like to stop the construction of high-rise buildings along the waterfront he deems to be “one of Orillia’s most attractive and popular assets,” and suggests a maximum of three to four storeys along the shore. He would also like to preserve the historic nature of the main street and downtown.
“Development has to be done with some sensitivity to the community and the historic character of the community,” McKim said.
As a member of council, McKim would petition for more “active transportation” within the city, in the form of bicycle lanes and more trail development.
McKim said he would also work to have the ancient fishing weirs in the Atherley Narrows become a prominent historic site by 2015, the anniversary of their observation by Samuel de Champlain in 1615.
“The most important archeological site in this city is invisible,” he said. “I think we need to do more to identify and celebrate our history — European and First Nation.”
McKim has lived in Orillia for 36 years, 20 of which were in Ward 4, a part of the city he said he knows “intimately.” He has raised his two daughters in Orillia and said this is where he wants to stay. Other than continuing to do freelance and creative writing, McKim said he would be able to devote all of his energy to council as his full-time job.
“Orillia is on the verge of significant transformation and I’d like to be a part of that,” he said. “I think I’m an easy person to talk to. I’m not going to be a councillor who doesn’t have time for its constituents. On the contrary, I want to listen.”
You can visit McKim’s Facebook page Colin McKim for council 2010 Ward 4.


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