By John Swartz
A new mayor and four new councillors, along with four returning councillors took their oath of office Monday evening to an almost full council chamber. Councillor Tim Lauer in his remarks mentioned it was the first time in three years so many had attended a council meeting.
The inauguration was attended by mayors and representatives from surrounding townships and the County of Simcoe, Chief Ted Williams of the Chippewas of Rama, and former mayors of Orillia Ted Emond, Ron Stevens, Angelo Orsi and Steve Clarke.
Each were able to give a short speech, and not counting thank yous and ‘I’m so glad to be heres‘ below are the unique remarks each gave
Mayor Don McIsaac
“We are in the people business. We will focus on things that matter to you, create a community that is safe, inclusive and sustainable, improve the quality of life and wellbeing for everyone and we will not leave people out in the cold.”
“Your new council will be focused quite simply on getting stuff done in a positive, constructive manner. Therefore, as I promised, in the first 100 days we’ll move forward on housing, food insecurity, equality, diversity and inclusion, truth and reconciliation, and the climate change action plan.”
“I believe that often solutions to our problems lie within the community. Thus, we’ll be establishing working groups composed of councillors, staff, community organizations, citizens and businesses. Their purpose will be to work together in a aggregated manner to find working solutions to our many challenges such as primary healthcare, opioids, housing and mental health.”
“We must always be progressive in our thinking, but also be respectful of our past icons and traditions. It is important to respect the collective voice of the community. Last year, over 6,000 signed a petition requesting that Terry Fox Circle not be moved or changed. Therefore it is my intent to keep Terry Fox Circle the way it is.”
Dave Campbell tried not to repeat elements of his first inaugural speech of four years ago, but still managed to shed a tear.
“Whether you voted for me or not, or for the people here or not, thank you for voting,” he said. “I will work as hard as I possibly can. I will do my very best.”
Whitney Smith said she is happy to call Orillia home.
“I want you to know I’m a Christian. I’m a praying woman. I’m a woman who not only prays for my family, my friends and my business, I’ll be praying for each and every one of you in this City, that we do things in unity, with love and wisdom and I’m very excited,” she said.
Ralph Cipolla mentioned his first term on council back in the 70s was with Don McIsaac’s mother serving as mayor.
“I am aware this next term will be both challenging and rewarding for our community. I am ready to do the work to do the best job possible,” Cipolla said. “I plan to build the Mayor’s Task Force to address the opioid crisis that is very evident in our community and surrounding areas. I think that’s a key issue. I want people to have access to the help they need and to help people impacted with addiction and homelessness in our community,”
Luke Leatherdale promised to be short with is words and he was.
“I love this city, I’m going to do what’s best for it. I look forward to working with this wonderful mayor and council,” he said.
Jay Fallis put fear into some minds when instead of pulling out a crumpled sheet from his pocket to read from he hefted a binder onto the podium. He reminded the audience last time he delivered what he called his Mariposa Doctrine, rules he was imposing on himself as a councillor. Monday he delivered an update he called his Couchiching Doctrine.
“I will vote on, not what is easiest politically, but what is best for the City. I will be honest and fair, no matter the situation. I will speak out to protect opportunities for public engagement and independent thinking. I will not ignore the three biggest issues our city, province and country face, which is poverty, climate change and Indigenous reconciliation. Above all, I will make every effort to work together with my fellow council members in a collegial manner. No matter what the scenarios, the obstacles these are the principals I will adamantly uphold,” he said.
Jeff Czetwerzuk also said he would be quick, but did acknowledge the Ukrainian colours (yellow and blue) of tissue paper used in gift bags for visiting dignitaries was a nice touch.
“I really do look forward to working with the new council. We’ve got some new, some old, and mayor McIsaac and we’re going to look forward to a good four years and hopefully make citizens really proud,” he said.
“I would also like to congratulate all the candidates in Ward Four. We had a really good bunch up there. We didn’t get to meet that much, we only had one debate, but we did run into each other over the couple months and they are all good people and if you had elected any one of them you would be well off I can assure you,” said Tim Lauer.
“I look forward to four years of collaborative decision making. I know we are headed into tough times, we are in tough times and we will have difficult decisions to make, but I am confident this council will work together for the betterment of the City,” Janet-Lynne Durnford said. “Affordable housing, sustainability, access to health services, support for small business and the arts, reconciliation, equity inclusion and clear communication, these are the issues I focused on during my campaign and these are the principals that will guide my tenure on council,” said Janet-Lynne Durnford.
Council held it’s first public meeting Wednesday, November 23 as a special meeting to hear form staff about various aspects of legislation and the municipal code that govern their new jobs. Mayor McIsaac also had an agenda item to reschedule the November 28 committee meeting and the December 5 regular meeting to both be held December 7 – along with a public meeting on planning matters because some councillors had conflicts with timing, which passed.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Main: Orillia’s new Mayor Don McIsaac surrounded by councillors Tim Lauer, Dave Campbell, Jeff Czetwerzuk, Luke Leatherdale, Whitney Smith, Janet-Lynne Durnford, Jay Fallis and Ralph Cipolla.