Innisfil councillor sets sights on deputy-mayor’s chair
Coun. Rob Nicol plans to run for deputy-mayor in Innisfil. |
From BarrieToday, August 20, 2022
By Rob Paul
Since 2014, Rob Nicol has served as Ward 7 councillor in Innisfil, but with two terms under his belt, he plans to run for deputy-mayor in the October municipal election.
After being asked to run for deputy-mayor in 2018, he says he felt now was a good time to step up, with his son getting older and Deputy Mayor Dan Davidson not seeking re-election in that post.
“Over the last couple of years, especially with COVID, I realized I want to take on more responsibility and I feel I could be a strong voice at the county council level,” Nicol said. “When I was asked in 2018, I couldn’t put the time in because my son was just eight years old at that time and I couldn’t take that much time away from him. Now that he’s older, I can dedicate that extra time and do the job as diligently as I would like to.”
With this being Nicol’s fourth municipal campaign, he’s found with each election, coupled with his track record over the past eight years, he says he has earned the confidence of the community through his actions.
“I first ran back in 2010 because I wanted to be involved in my community. I saw some stuff going on and I wanted to be a part of it,” Nicol said. “I lost in that election, which, ultimately, was a good thing because it gave me four more years to see what was going on in the community and get more experience. I ran again in 2014 and won and, in 2018, when I ran, I got over 70 per cent of the vote. It showed that people believed in me, and I had gone from someone nobody knew to someone the community could trust, and respected.”
Over his two terms, Nicol says he is proud of the work he’s done in Ward 7.
“I was the one that lobbied to get Cookstown as a community safety zone, so the whole community is now 40 (km/h speed limit) — the staff report was just certain streets would be and the rest of it would have been a racetrack,” he said. “I was able to get the Shore Acres boat launch enhancement, the new dock and paved parking lot. I was able to get the Gilford Road end closed to be just a beach access because that’s what it always had been. We were able to enhance the Shore Acres park. It was supposed to be just a parkette, but I was able to fight to get an entire community park.”
On a broader level in Innisfil, Nicol says he’s been an integral part of advancing the community both structurally and financially.
“I fought the Innisfil Heights servicing model to wait for a more viable option, and it’s coming to fruition. It originally just ran pipes to the middle of nowhere with no prospects of deployment. I was instrumental in stopping the sales of some undervalued town assets that would have been short-term financial gains but long-term losses. I fought against the static bus route that would have done just one or two streets in Alcona and I championed for the Uber transit solution,” he said.
“In our first term, we worked to advance the Rizzardo Health and Wellness Centre, which, in turn, helped solidify the (Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre) decision to pick Innisfil as their south campus. That pre-emptive planning for health care showed our commitment to it, and I think that was very beneficial to the entire community. In my position on the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority board, I was able to put together a motion for Bill 229 to support the conservation authorities and not disband them as originally intendedm” Nicol added.
Nicol says he hopes to continue on council in a larger role to ensure some of the ongoing projects continue.
“We don’t have shovels in the ground for the Orbit,” he said. “With the growth targets the county and province have put on us, without creating urban sprawl and paving over farmland, the Orbit can absorb a lot of that growth in a small area, which helps with servicing so you’re not running pipes for miles. I really want to see the Orbit come to life and I think we’re getting close now.”
As someone who has lived in Innisfil since 2005 and been on council for nearly a decade, Nicol stresses he is passionate about seeing the community thrive.
“The community means the world to me,” he said. “I spent my summers in this area for years. Lake Simcoe and this area have always been my recreational community. Now it’s home and it’s where I’ve raised my son. We love everything Innisfil offers.”
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