Fowler running on record to become Innisfil’s next deputy mayor
Innisfil Coun. Kenneth Fowler, who represents Ward 5, is running for deputy mayor. |
From BarrieToday, August 25, 2022
By Rob Paul
With his first term as Ward 5 councillor in Innisfil wrapping up this fall, Kenneth Fowler is running again, but this time for deputy mayor.
After gaining experience over the past four years in municipal politics and championing numerous initiatives, Fowler says he listened to his constituents when it came to running again.
“I didn’t decide to run lightly. Residents had steadily approached asking me to take on a larger role on council,” he said. “People from all wards have come to me because they knew promises made were promises kept. Running off a 24-hour clock is nothing new to me, and resident issues do not confine themselves to business hours.”
Fowler says he prides himself on being connected to the community, being their voice and fighting for what they want to see done in Innisfil.
“Anyone can claim they want to be a strong voice, but actions speak far louder,” he said. “Just look at my track record. I’ve consistently fought the old adage that politicians are only seen during election times. I’ve always been a boots-on-the-ground person, be it planting trees for the South Simcoe Streams Network, weekly beach runs during COVID, investigating the measures put in place, and standing in parking lots fighting for more tag-and-tow of illegally parked vehicles. I see things first-hand, not just through reports provided.
“Anyone can fill a seat on a committee, but it’s not until you’re directly putting it in motion that you learn what works on paper and what works in real time. A municipal leader at a table making choices for others is far different than one sitting across a resident’s table who doesn’t know where their next dollar is coming from. I know which category I fit into,” Fowler added.
Representing everyone in Innisfil is something Fowler says he takes seriously, and some of his proudest moments come from working with both youth and seniors.
The mental health walk for youth he organized with Goodfellow Public School is one of his proudest accomplishments.
“As the chair of the Goodfellow parent council, as well as a councillor, it makes me doubly proud. We had hundreds of students, (South) Simcoe police, and Simcoe paramedics walking in solidarity while the Innisfil fire department created safe spaces to cross along the 25th (Sideroad). People, instead of being upset about the delay that was caused, actually cheered us on, honking and smiling. The positive energy was electric,” he said.
“Also, the approval of the Tollendale senior residence. Helping to create a space for our seniors that is both affordable and community-based while emphasizing locally sourced employment and increasing environmentally protected lands within Innisfil. It’s a win on all fronts.”
Establishing the Troy Scott Community Fridge, to help increase access to nutritious food for Innisfil residents, is another initiative that sits high on Fowler’s list.
“Not only do we honour one of Innisfil’s most generous souls, but every time we donate, it’s a reminder of how one person can inspire those around him or her,” he said. “We’ve created a judgment-free zone where anyone who is truly in need can get quality meals or healthy foods, no questions asked.”
Potentially moving from councillor to deputy mayor, Fowler says he wants to take on a larger role to help Innisfil grow and become a hub for surrounding communities while ensuring there’s affordable housing.
He wants to see “servicing of the employment lands and creating an economy to take us from a commuter town to one where people commute to us instead.
“Let’s have people understand that this is the place to be,” he said.
“I have the engineering, business-management and contract-negotiation skills to make it a reality. I want to promote attainable housing for our new families and seniors, primarily without the expansion of our settlement boundaries. People don’t understand that once a wetland, farmland, or forested area is lost, there’s no amount of money that will ever replace it or repair the damage that’s been done.”
He’d also like to see beach enforcement improved to ensure residents can immerse themselves in what the town has to offer.
“I’ve steadily fought to give Innisfilians the right to enjoy the beaches and roads to access Lake Simcoe,” Fowler said. “Yes, we are a hot spot for tourists, but I don’t feel it should come at the cost of those who own, rent, or raise their families here. We can do far better for them.”
Fowler says the COVID pandemic proved how much people in the community care about one another.
“During COVID, I saw people step up to assist each other in ways that went beyond neighbourly,” he said. “I, myself, sat with families to figure out ways to make ends meet via all levels of government.
“When one of our own was in need, we turned to each other and showed support. How can I not fight for this community even harder as deputy mayor, should I be elected? As the fabric of Innisfil changes and our community grows, I just love seeing how our town reflects that, where multiculturalism isn’t only accepted, but we embrace it and foster it. I love being part of that change.”
The municipal election takes place Oct. 24.
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