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Davidson hopes to make jump to mayor’s seat in Innisfil

In Governance
Aug 23rd, 2022
Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson will be running for mayor this fall. |

From BarrieToday, August 21, 2022
By Rob Paul

As Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson wraps up his third term on Innisfil town council, he’s taking on a new challenge.

Davidson announced recently he’ll be running for mayor against incumbent Lynn Dollin, who is seeking her second term.

“It’s time for a change. The same old, same old is just not working. Actually, it’s broken,” Davidson said in a press release. “We need to listen and learn from our residents. But we also must listen to those who want to invest here, build businesses, and create jobs. Their voices should be empowered through our ward councillors. When we have a problem, we solve it together; when we have an opportunity, we seize it together.”

After serving as Ward 6 councillor from 2006 to 2009, and deputy mayor in the 2010 and 2018 terms, the local business owner — who has owned and operated Davidson’s Country Dining for 30 years — says he initially decided to get back into politics because he wanted to see change.

“I did eight years, one term as a councillor and then as deputy mayor,” he told InnisfilToday. “When I went for my second term as deputy mayor (in 2014), I lost to Lynn Dollin. I wasn’t going to go back into politics, but the community asked me to go back when they were going to remove the fire hall from Big Bay Point. When I became a liaison for Friday Harbour, I fought to get that fire hall.

“Friday Harbour put all the infrastructure in for free and I got wind that the past CAO wanted the fire hall built in Alcona. We have almost 5,000 people in the Big Bay Point two-mile radius and they were going to turn their back on a gift,” Davidson added. “When the community found out about this, that’s when they asked me to get back in. That’s why I got back into politics, and I didn’t expect to win. When I was re-elected, I put my foot down and made sure the fire hall was staying in Big Bay Point.”

Given the circumstances around the fire hall and other situations, Davidson says he felt as if the voices of the councillors and their constituents weren’t always being heard.

“From the moment I was re-elected as deputy mayor, I was being challenged because I was standing up,” he said. “Last year in December, I was taken to the integrity commissioner by one of two people. I hired a lawyer, and it wasn’t resolved until March. It came back they dropped their charge because it was ‘frivolous, vexatious, and politically motivated,’ and they were trying to destroy my reputation so that I could not continue in politics.”

After thinking hard about the situation and feeling as if there was “bullying” going on, Davidson opted to run for mayor because he wants the people of Innisfil to be heard.

“Innisfil needs change,” he said. “Lynn Dollin has been on council for over 30 years as part of the old boy’s club and what we need for our constituents is representation. In the last four years of this council, council was ignored,” he said. “Our past CAO ran the town, the rumour around town was the staff run the town and not council; council was never told anything in advance. We found out when the public found out, including myself as deputy mayor.”

Davidson points to the Orbit development as a perfect example of the lack of transparency and collaboration within the town.

“We were not even aware of this Orbit thing and then all of a sudden it came up,” he said. “It would have been nice had council been briefed in advance. That’s why I want a proper representation of council. I want a council that’s elected to be leaders, and not puppets. That would be a big change for Innisfil.

“We need true leaders, not councillors who are a figurehead and show up to a community gathering every once in a while. I want councillors to be engaged with the community and for us to work with them so when we bring something to staff, we tell them to work with the councillor for that ward because they’re the ears and eyes of the ward. Innisfil has never done that,” Davidson added.

Although Davidson says his top priority is ensuring everyone is on the same page from the mayor to the councillors to the constituents, he’s also championing growing in the right way.

“I’ve been an advocate of obtainable housing,” he said. “This is something we’ve missed in Innisfil. We either build million-dollar homes or $800,000 townhouses. What we haven’t been building is the quad-plex or the eight-plex, like you’ll see in parts of Barrie. It makes it more attainable for people to buy something at $400,000. Right now, you can’t work in Innisfil and buy a house in Innisfil.”

Davidson says he is also an environmentalist and that the town needs to build in a smart way.

“I’ve met with development industry who say they can build without using wood and with materials manufactured in Ontario. To me, that’s focusing on buying local and positively impacting climate change. Innisfil is growing fast, so we have to find a compromise,” he said.

Having lived in Innisfil for more than 40 years, Davidson says he wants to see change at the top because he’s passionate about the community and wants to see it reach its potential.

“I love my town,” he said. “It’s unique, and we have something special here.”

The municipal election will take place Oct. 24.

Read the article here

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