The Blue Mountains mayoral candidate Tony Poole said his extensive business experience and engagement in community issues will be an asset at the council table.
Prior to his retirement, Poole enjoyed a successful 40-year career in the business world. In recent years Poole has been volunteering in the community as president of The Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce, vice-chair of the Thornbury BIA, as a member of the Economic Development Committee and a member of the Blue Mountains Community Recovery Task Force for COVID 19.
Poole and his wife Josie have lived locally since 2009 and together they own and operate Sincerely Yours Boutique in Thornbury. Poole said running a local business has given him many insights into the issues facing the community as he regularly talks with residents and visitors shopping at their store.
“When you get that engaged in the community and have a vested interest from a family and business perspective, I wanted to make sure we were going in the right direction,” he said. “I wanted to provide leadership and vision. I have experience doing it.”
His campaign priorities include: attainable housing, local health and medical care, balancing infrastructure and environmental needs, improving the relationship with Grey County and improving local programs and amenities for youth.
“I believe in engagement. I believe in openness and honesty. It’s important to work as a team,” said Poole. “When I became a CEO, so much of what I had to accomplish was dependent on the expertise of the team. It’s all about the team. On council, if we don’t work as a team we’ll fail.”
Poole said he is well aware of the struggles young people face to find housing, the struggles local employers have attracting staff and has first-hand experience with health care issues, as his late mother-in-law lived with his family before she moved into long-term care.
Poole says a lot of good work has been done on the attainable housing and Campus of Care files and it’s time for action in getting them implemented.
“I think The Blue Mountains can be a model for looking at solutions in attainable housing and looking at solutions in health care,” he said. “We have the wherewithal, we have the engagement and we’re open to new ideas,” he said.
Poole said he would like to take a look at improving parks and infrastructure to give youth and younger families more to do locally.
“When my grandkids come and visit me, there are very few places to go where they can go and enjoy activities,” he said. “One of the things we need to be mindful of for our younger families is are we doing the right things to put things in place for their future?”
As mayor, Poole would be a member of Grey County council and he feels that the relationship between the town and county needs a reset.
“We need to find a way to work collaboratively with the county to ensure we get value for our contribution,” he said. “We have an opportunity to start fresh. We can come into this in a positive way and work with them. We have an opportunity going forward to start with a clean slate.”
Poole is running against Joe Halos, Elizabeth Marshall, and Andrea Matrosovs for the mayor's chair. Election day is Oct. 24. For information about registering to vote or to see a list of registered candidates, visit the town website here.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca