TBM council candidate Hope wants to defend town’s character

·3 min read

Incumbent councillor Paula Hope is running for a second term on The Blue Mountains council to continue the work of the past four years and to remain an advocate of protecting the community’s small-town character.

Hope narrowly missed being elected to council four years ago, but joined part way through the term after a resignation. She was sworn into office as the COVID-19 pandemic was just hitting.

“I really enjoyed being on council. I really enjoyed putting my values into action. I enjoyed helping people, it was tremendously rewarding,” she said. “It was very demanding and I think council did amazing things. I’m very proud of council’s record, particularly with COVID.”

Hope praised the senior leadership team at the town and CAO Shawn Everitt for their efforts over the past few years.

“We have one of the best managed, best-capitalized municipalities in all of Ontario,” she said. “It is well run and we have a lot to be proud of and I hope residents take that away. We can rejoice in that.”

Hope said if she is re-elected she will continue to be a staunch defender of the small-town character of The Blue Mountains and said the community must be “hyper-vigilant” about making sure it grows well.

“Preserving our town. That’s why I ran for election. I’ve been a resident of small towns and have seen them die and become subdivisions. I have a real passion for that. We’re called a community of communities and I live by that,” she said.

Hope said was very happy her recent resolution to establish a town housing strategy was approved by council.

“I’m very proud of the housing strategy and appreciate the support I received from council. Solutions are in hand, we just have to do the research,” she said.

Hope has a diverse background in a number of fields. As a student, she served as an elected university senator, college president at Trent University and had a successful career as an international sales and marketing executive. She is also a published author.

Hope’s family roots in Grey and Bruce counties can be traced back decades. She said she has learned a lot during the past four years.

“It’s really important to get ahead of issues and learn the tools that help you be effective. I also learned there is a ton of reading,” she said.

Hope would like to see some culture changes on council in the new term.

“We need to create a more positive, respectful and collaborative culture within council to make the best decisions. We didn’t always have that,” she said. “We could also be stronger in public engagement, transparency and accountability. Those are the areas I think we could do better.

Election day is Oct. 24. The Blue Mountains will use internet and phone voting. There will be no paper or mail-in ballots. Voting will open on October 14 at 10 a.m. and will close on Oct. 24 until 8 p.m. Full election information is available at the town’s election website.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca