The Municipality of Hastings Highlands Mayor Tracy Hagar will not be seeking re-election as mayor of the municipality. She spoke with The Bancroft Times about her reasons for not running again for mayor, the achievement she’s most excited about and gives some advice to whomever becomes mayor in October. Hagar told The Bancroft Times on July 27 that it was a tough decision not to run for mayor again in Hastings Highlands.
“I am building a house right now, I run a full-time business [Foxfire Gallery, Gifts and Antiques] and I’m dealing with a family illness. I’ve enjoyed the last year and a half [since she took over as mayor from Vic Bodnar, who resigned in April 2021]. It’s just not the proper time now for me,” she says.
Over her tenure as mayor, Hagar says she’s most excited about the new Maynooth Community Centre project, which will see a new building being erected on the grounds of the old Maynooth Community Centre to house a childcare facility, an Indigenous centre, a community kitchen, public washrooms with outside access, and outdoor market space with shelter for inclement weather and a stage area for outdoor bands and children’s activities. This is a partnership between the municipality, the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation and North Hastings Children’s Services.
“So, I’m most excited about that at the moment. It’s been really exciting to come up with the proper way to bring the plan forward and to follow it through and do all the motions I did and bring all the information to council the way I did. All transparent and welcomed by council, it’s been a really exciting time,” she says.
Deputy Mayor Dorothy Gerrow said she was quite surprised that Hagar was not running again for mayor, as she felt she was doing a great job.
“Being the deputy mayor with Mayor Hagar as head of council, I have gained a new appreciation of how extremely busy she is,” she says.
Gerrow is of that opinion that one of Hagar’s biggest accomplishments is the work she is doing with respect to the former Maynooth Community Centre site.
“Additionally, she has done a number of delegations at different municipal conferences requesting funding from the various ministries of the provincial government. There have been many accomplishments by council as a whole with Mayor Hagar as head of council and the foregoing are just a couple,” she says.
Hagar started as a Hastings Highlands councillor for one term from 2014 to 2018, and was then deputy mayor for the following term, ultimately taking over as mayor by being appointed by a majority of council when Bodnar resigned from the position in April 2021.
“That being said, before I ran for council, I spent a whole year going to council meetings to make sure I was fully informed on everything that was moving forward in Hastings Highlands,” she says.
As for any advice she would give to prospective candidates for mayor in the upcoming election, Hagar says to be fully dedicated and be available 24 hours, seven days a week.
“Because the CAO [David Stewart], he is just a text message away and I always answer right away. We have amazing contact so it’s important to be dedicated and available for your community and to your staff.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times