Joe Halos has returned to the local council scene after a one-term break and says he’s having fun in his campaign for the mayor’s chair.
Halos served from 2010 to 2018 as a councillor for The Blue Mountains. After taking a term off, he decided to run for mayor because he believes his past experience is an asset to the community.
“I’m back in it. I never thought I would be. There is so much going on right now,” said Halos. “I never really stopped reading agendas and following council. A lot of things are happening in town and it’s good to have experienced and knowledgeable leadership.”
Halos said he would approach the mayor job with a fresh mindset.
“I think we need a bit of a different tone. I will bring a respectful and considerate discourse. It’s all about people,” he said.
Halos added that he would like to mend the relationship between The Blue Mountains and Grey County.
“I wanted a voice on county council. I’d like to improve the situation,” he said. “The power and money comes from the top and to access that you need to work with the province and county.”
Halos, a long-time real estate investor, owns the King’s Court building in Thornbury and has lived in town for 44 years.
“My kids grew up here. I was involved in local sports and church. I was involved in town business and my business. I care about the community,” he said.
Halos said he is excited about a number of big projects that the new council will be managing.
“The Campus of Care is a wonderful opportunity for this town to get long-term care here and attract health care professionals” he said. “There are some things that need to be done that aren’t sexy, like the Thornbury Wastewater Treatment Plant.”
Halos said he is enjoying his return to local politics and government and is looking forward to the campaign and meeting with the community over the next several weeks.
“I’m in a good place. My kids are grown. They’re launched and doing well. I have grandkids, I love it,” he said. “I want to have fun with this.”
He said attainable housing and the prospect of development at Castle Glen are concerns.
“Developers have the right to develop their properties and (the town) has the tools to shape their development,” he said on the Castle Clen issue. “The best way to control development is to buy the land. That may be an option here, it may not be. It doesn’t make sense to me to develop something using a 50-year-old lens.”
On attainable housing, Halos is a proponent of secondary dwelling units (SDUs).
“We’re not going to solve it, but we can do what we can and the SDUs are excellent. If you get people creating units one at a time, that would make the difference.”
Halos said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the community again in a leadership role and joked about the amount of reading and preparation members of council must undertake.
“It’s a big learning curve. It takes four years to learn the acronyms,” he said.
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