After 12 years at the council table, Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano is hanging it up. Terziano will not be running in October’s municipal election.
“Well, at the end of the term, I will have had 12 years on council, and that’s a good healthy run,” says Terziano. “I think probably there’s some fresh faces and fresh ideas out there. Maybe it’s someone else’s turn.”
Terziano was first elected as a Huntsville town councillor in 2010, and was re-elected as a town and District of Muskoka councillor in 2014 and 2018. In 2019, Terziano was acclaimed as mayor, when then-mayor Scott Aitchison was elected as MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka.
Of her time at council, Terziano says she’s proud of what they were able to achieve without raising the town’s debt, and while reducing the town’s debentures, such as the town’s new asset management plan, and the recently-completed $3-million Main Street Streetscape project.
“I’ve always sort of run on a platform of being fiscally responsible,” says Terziano. “I don’t think we’ve increased debt since I’ve been on council, and we have healthy reserves, so I’m proud of that.”
She adds that she’s also happy to get some resolution for Fairvern Nursing Home before leaving office.
“I’m very proud of the fact that, to say flippantly, we kind of saved Fairvern,” says Terziano. “There was a time when if we didn’t get the district to assume Fairvern and build the new one, we could have potentially lost it, so that’s always been a big highlight for me.”
According to Terziano, being mayor is very different from being a councillor, and came with some lessons along the way.
“I learned that there are councillors that are very practical, which I’d like to consider myself, but then there are those that have some really great visions,” says Terziano. “What I learned on council is that those people are so important. There are things that came up, that I thought ‘no, no, no.’ And then when they happened, I thought ‘I couldn’t see that, but that’s an amazing project.’ So I’m happy that council is comprised of different individuals.”
Before her time at the council table, Terziano was a town employee for 24 years, serving in various roles in parks and recreation, roads, and strategic planning, during which time she worked to get the Algonquin Theatre built.
“I think I’ll remember all of my time at the town quite fondly. You know, I was born here, this is my community,” says Terziano. “I’d like to think that the dozen years or so I spent on council hopefully fostered us to be a better community.”
While Terziano is the first female mayor in Huntsville’s history, she says her gender has never played into the respect given by her fellow councillors.
“I never felt like it was a very big deal. We’ve had female mayors across the district before,” says Terziano. “I hope people are past that. I think each person sits there and does the best job they can do, and I think we should be as inclusive and respectful as we can be, regardless of everything.”
Ahead of the municipal election, Terziano gave some advice for anyone taking a seat at the council table or its head.
“If I would advise councillors of one thing, I would say engage with your community,” says Terziano. “Keep it going. You went door to door to get elected. Keep engaged with your community, answer the phone calls, answer the emails, talk to your people.”
She also extended a thank you to the people of Huntsville.
“I would just say to all those who have shown me such great support over the last number of years: thank you very much, I appreciate it,” she says.