In the next term of council, Georgian Bay Mayor Peter Koetsier says his focus is on the long term.
Koetsier is running uncontested in the municipal election and is set to be acclaimed to his second term as mayor next week. He says the first order of business, aside from sorting out the paperwork and swearings-in, is to get the five returning members of council acquainted with the two newcomers.
After that, he asks residents to be vocal about what they want to see in the next four years, as budget deliberations are around the corner.
“I’m hoping they communicate with us as to what they think is the most important, and I would encourage them to think long-term as opposed to short-term,” says Koetsier. “You know, we’re part of the [Georgian Bay] Biosphere. We want to preserve and protect our environment, and support the community living within that environment. And that’s a longer-term perspective, which I think is more important, more valuable.”
Of his priorities, Koetsier says his values align pretty closely with the official values of the township: environmental protection, climate change, Indigenous relations, supporting the underprivileged, sustainable and responsible development, and “fair, effective, and efficient” services. “It’s our published values list, and I think it’s a good list,” Koetsier says, adding that attainable housing is also a concern.
He also says he’ll opt to stay balanced, in terms of political camps and otherwise.
“I think that we should be open to all points of view, and more often than not, come up with a compromise,” says Koetsier. “Maybe I’m too middle-of-the-road for some people, but I believe we have to move in steps as opposed to a dramatic leap, because usually dramatic leaps are impossible.”
According to Koetsier, one area he hopes to see movement on is the proposed William Grenville Davis Centre for the Great Lakes, which would be built in the township’s Honey Harbour area and is currently in its second stage of consultation.
“I think it would be fantastic if we could get something going in Honey Harbour along the education lines,” says Koetsier. “Again, because to me, that’s a long-term thing. If we can get more education, the more people appreciating how unique our biosphere is, the better.”
The municipal election is Oct. 24.