Published September 23, 2022

The Mayor's Race: The candidate's 5 Priorities and their plans for dealing with them

There are seven candidates for the mayor's chair in Barrie
The Mayor's Race: The candidate's 5 Priorities and their plans for dealing with them

Barrie 360 invited the seven candidates for mayor in Barrie to outline the top five issues they believe need to be addressed in the city, and how they plan to resolve them if elected.

Their responses will be published here as they are received.



One of the most common complaints I hear at the door is the poor condition of the roads in Barrie. When I’m elected mayor, I will enforce a zero-pothole policy. Residents will have access to a 24/7 pothole reporting hotline, and I will reallocate funds in the budget to increase resources for road maintenance. Our roads carry our most precious cargo; our families, and my goal is to keep Barrie off of the “worst roads” list. We also need to create safe streets for residential neighbourhood specifically around parks and schools. 


The most devastating thing that I see is individuals who are being priced out of their homes, and ultimately, out of the city of Barrie. Individuals who helped build Barrie, and make it the city it is today, can no longer afford to live here. Affordable housing doesn’t just apply to the city’s vulnerable residents. Because of the incredible opportunities available here, young families, seniors, and young professionals want to plant roots in Barrie. We need to create a mix of unit types to meet everyone’s needs, including the needs of our seniors. I look forward to working with the City of Barrie to fast-track housing projects in the city and have a 90-day guaranteed approval time for housing projects. More supply will help to meet the demand, and stabilize housing prices. 


Barrie has become a bedroom community, and Barrie residents are spending too many hours on highway 400. You should be able to live and work in Barrie. At 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M., people deserve to be at home rather than sitting in traffic. I have a plan to fast-track job growth in Barrie, by designating more employment land, hiring more city planners to prioritize the approval of employment projects and to take advantage of Barrie’s rail and 400-series highway access to attract and grow job-creating industry in Barrie to increase job supply.


We have a great downtown and waterfront. But it needs to be better. Our downtown should be a place where citizens, businesses, and visitors come together to live, work, shop and play, but unfortunately, I keep hearing that residents no longer feel safe going downtown. I will focus on cleaning up our downtown and waterfront, by ending the Penetanguishene prisoner drop-off at Barrie’s transit station, and by bringing more jobs, homes, and a police presence to downtown. I want to see our downtown filled with people, and thriving businesses.


Safety has been a major concern in our city. Residents have noticed an increase in crime on our streets that is affecting their quality of life here. I will work hard at addressing the core issues affecting the vulnerable individuals in our community by increasing resources for police, especially in high-harm areas, like our downtown core. We also need to create safer neighbourhood streets for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians by keeping traffic on arterial roads and introducing calming measures to protect our residential streets.



This issue encompasses the remaining four issues Barrie is facing - the environment, the economy, public transportation, and mental health. With Barrie's population projected to double in size over the next decade, all ancillary issues will be drastically impacted. I have a plan that will preempt the urgency we feel as our population grows, whether it is infrastructure planning, conservation, or any of the major goals we need to set in order to successfully usher Barrie into this new era.


Punctuated by growth, keeping Barrie clean and beautiful is a key initiative for residents and tourists alike. We need to keep developers honest regarding their environmental commitments and responsibilities while conserving our parks and green spaces so that the next generation has a city that prioritizes a clean future for all residents.


Our rapid growth may usher in new challenges, but it also presents Barrie with enormous opportunities. We need to foster ideal conditions for small businesses so that employees and employers alike can feel secure in their jobs. Tax incentives will have to be explored, and we will need to ensure downtown residents and business owners are working in an environment that is clean, vibrant, and part of the economic engine that helps fuel the local economy.


Growth will once again dictate how our public transportation will evolve, and we clearly need a plan that addresses a sharp increase in ridership. Increasing the frequency of certain bus routes, modernizing our vehicles, and improving the overall efficiency of transportation are not just goals, but necessities.


We all know this is largely a provincial issue, but as Mayor, I would foster the existing relationships I have with provincial officials to keep the needs of our city on the radar. We need to expand existing clinics to handle the increase in mental health resources we will need to accommodate new patients. Mental health has never been more important, and in a post-COVID world, we have to prioritize a plan that will help ease the burden many are feeling.


Barry Ward/


Barrie is going to grow a lot over the next 20 years, likely doubling in population. This will present challenges which city council must meet with careful planning to ensure we can protect what makes our city special, such as our environment and our neighbourhoods, preserve our current level of services amid increased demand and keep enhancing those areas where we can do better, such as infrastructure and affordable housing. This doesn’t mean the growth won’t have an impact; our goal as a council should be to minimize the disruption to current residents’ lives.


A community is healthier, happier and more prosperous when people can afford to live in it. Businesses are more likely to locate in a community where employees can afford to live. An Affordable Housing Task Force made a series of recommendations to city council earlier this year on how to increase our supply of affordable housing. Some of the recommendations, such as allowing housing as a right on institutionally zoned lands, have already been implemented and drawn interest from the faith community. The new council must implement the other recommendations, such as lowering parking requirements, designating a staff member to shepherd affordable housing applications through a streamlined approval process and looking at new forms of housing, such as tiny homes.


Like all larger Ontario cities, Barrie has seen a growing homeless population. These people often need supportive housing. Giving people an apartment without the skills to live there means they will be back on the street again after a few months. Such supportive housing is expensive, although not as expensive as not helping them. We must continue to work with the federal and provincial government to ensure Barrie gets its fair share of funding for supportive housing, including addiction treatment and mental health services.


Speeding vehicles have long been the No. 1 complaint received by city councillors. We must continue to tackle the problem with a combination of enforcement, traffic-calming methods, and road design. We will soon have photo radar near schools in Barrie. The number of noise complaints has skyrocketed in recent years. It is a real health hazard. We must urge the police to continue the blitzes on modified mufflers that began three years ago. I have been urging city council to adopt a noise bylaw, purchase a machine to record decibel levels, and train our bylaw enforcement staff to use it. They could then join police on blitzes, issuing tickets to anyone having a vehicle over a certain decibel level.


While it certainly isn’t as important as dealing with climate change, the state of our roads, the economy, and the need to keep any tax increases to a minimum, I wanted to include the transformation of the current transit terminal into a permanent market when the buses move to Allandale in a couple of years, as one of my priorities. The Barrie Farmers’ Market would move into a new building while merchants would operate six or seven days each week in what is the current terminal with vendors spilling into the outside area. Like the ByWard Market in Ottawa or the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, it would be a place for food and craft vendors to sell their wares. People could visit the area to buy meat, vegetables, gifts, a meal, or a coffee. They could watch craftspeople ply their trade. They could be entertained by singers or dance groups. It would serve as a food incubator, where entrepreneurs could launch a product. It would be a place for both tourists and local shoppers. The empty storefronts in the area would be transformed into small restaurants and specialty shops. The market would serve as a link between the east and west ends of downtown. It would also serve as a link between the waterfront and Dunlop Street. It would be a place for our community to gather.


Gerry Marshall/Facebook


Those experiencing homelessness deserve our help. Together, we can decide to do better and do more.
Barrie city council and not the County of Simcoe council need to plan, manage, and implement the homelessness portfolio and directly receive the associated Federal and Provincial funding to do so.
I say this for several reasons

No member of the County of Simcoe council lives in the City of Barrie and none are elected by Barrie residents. They cannot be held accountable by Barrie residents for their actions or lack thereof, nor do they understand the impact of homelessness on Barrie and its people.

  • The current homelessness crisis needs immediate attention. Removing an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy (the county) means smoother, faster development and implementation of strategies and solutions that meet the unique needs of our city.
  • Our city is growing, and as we grow, we will not only have residents arriving that are of good health and financial stability. Our homeless population will also grow. We need the autonomy, complete with the proper provincial funding, to properly plan for the growing number of those who find themselves homeless in our community.
  • With greater autonomy, we can work far more strategically with our charities, volunteers, and support service providers.

I believe in evidence-based decision making and the evidence clearly shows that the provincially built and managed social housing units of the 60s, 70s, and 80s worked. They made a difference. The province stopped this program in 1995.

I will, if elected as mayor, rally my fellow mayors and other municipal leaders to join me in advocating that the province commits to re-engaging in this type of housing.

I would work with the Federal and Provincial governments in an undertaking that would see a greater number of rental units constructed, units that are mixed market in nature.


A top issue for us is housing costs and yet, we have 19,000 unbuilt homes. That’s 19,000 homes whose price tags go up every day. Red tape delays impact housing costs by 100s of thousands of dollars. How so? The current market forecasts that a $500,000 house for sale in April of this year will sell for $600,000 or more in April of next year.

If housing is an essential part of our lives, we need to give it a preferred approval route.

We need to get bureaucracy out of the way; simply, it takes far too long to plan and approve housing. Bureaucracy continues to add to the financial burden on all of us. Red tape delays for home builders, renovators, and homeowners looking to improve mean cost increases for buyers.

We need to challenge the province to rethink the massive Ontario Building Code, which while it keeps us safe, it dramatically increases building costs and, in many instances, tries to solve a problem that does not exist. The code needs its language updated to ensure interpretations by all parties are consistent.

I will advocate for new tools that will allow Barrie to work with the province so we can advance the building of the “missing middle” housing and advance the creation of appropriately constructed multi-generational homes.

Barrie can play a major role in enticing builders to consider the construction of more affordable rental units.

We, as a city, need more autonomy so that we can plan, build, own, operate, and combine affordable housing, including units dedicated to hard-to-house individuals. The net result is a housing model which will increase the supply of market, affordable and special needs housing in good locations.

I would champion the cause of mixed-market housing developments, as they have several advantages over fully concentrated affordable public housing. Mixed market housing helps prevent pockets of poverty from developing, and they promote more inclusive and supportive neighbourhoods, where people of diverse backgrounds and circumstances work together to build their community. 


My doorstep conversations often include discussions on how the city can better address and properly plan for climate change.

People who have heard me speak often hear me state that we need to think long before we think short. By this, I mean we need to envision where we wish to be at a defined point in the future and plan the best path forward to achieve the desired outcome. On climate, it means establishing clear outcomes and targets. Researching successful initiatives to adopt here and communicating the importance of taking action now.

We are a growing city and as we grow, new infrastructure will be built, existing infrastructure will be replaced, new equipment such as vehicles will be purchased, and other municipal assets will be replaced. This all needs to occur under a climate change point of view.

I believe as a city we need to be all-in on climate change. It cannot be a portfolio that is merely added as a job function to an existing position. We need a subject matter expert on board, someone whose sole task is to lead long-term corporate and community strategies. Someone who can provide council with solid advice and present well-considered recommendations for council approval.

We need staff on board, not consultants. My experience with far too many consultants is that they come in, borrow your watch, proceed to tell you what time it is, and then off they go. No thanks. Something as critical as the climate needs a firm council commitment, and that means having staff that are accountable to the CAO and Council leading the way.

The task ahead is significant. We need smart and proven ideas to transform our buildings, the way people move (transit, etc.), and how we recycle, re-use, and re-purpose existing assets; all in ways that reduce our carbon emissions.

I will establish actionable items that can be delivered in the next four years of council. I will commence a stop idling campaign, and explore intelligent traffic light systems to reduce idling time through more efficient traffic flow. I will commence a Food Is Not Garbage campaign and establish a zero-food waste target date.


Among our vulnerable in Barrie are seniors – those struggling to live independently at home and those in long-term care.

Although these are not municipal issues, I as mayor would certainly hold the province accountable to deliver on their funding promises for multiple long-term care components. Specifically, we must ensure the province lives up to their air conditioning commitment.

Beyond holding the province accountable, I would wish to see city council fully engage in how we can accelerate moving towards a community-based LTC model -- a model that would see multiple seniors receiving the care they need while residing in a smaller residential home-style setting.

While the interior of the home would be designed in a significantly different manner than a normal residential home, the exterior of the home would be no different and would aesthetically fit into the neighbourhood.

We need to create housing stock that allows seniors to downsize from existing larger homes to smaller, more appropriately sized homes. This type of home is also a more affordable first entry into the housing market for young people.

Early in the next council term, Council working with staff will develop a solid white paper strategy for a pathway to a new model that will better serve our seniors and provide them with the care, dignity, and safety they deserve. In my previous political roles, I had great success in changing past provincial legacy service delivery models.

Rather than arriving at Queen’s Park with a problem to be solved, I will arrive with a well-thought-out solution.


One of the largest challenges facing our city is growth. It impacts us in every way: traffic on our roads, noise, sprawl, rising home prices, effects on Lake Simcoe and increased taxation.

As we grow, we will see all elements of society arrive. We will see people of wealth along with those needing a helping hand. People of good health and those of poor health. People who are homeless or facing addiction and mental health challenges. Let’s foster a shared sense of humanity and provide opportunities for all citizens to live well and thrive.

We need to look out 20-30 years and determine the needs, look, and feel of our city. Then we set short, medium, and long-term goals, targets, and milestone accomplishments. This strategic planning will be inclusive and transparent so we can all work together to make Barrie a healthier community.

I will work with councillors early in this term to identify where we need to be and to put in place the on-ramps required so that our future can easily come on board.

Our city is growing and will change. What those changes look like and the future we create depends on who’s in charge. I’m asking for your vote to lead our city as Mayor.


Weldon Hachey - provided

I want all the people of Barrie to know that when I win this election, I will be donating 100% of the mayor's salary back to our community!  I don’t have any overhead and live humble. I can work 4-5 days a month at my own business and live with a roof over my head and enough food in my fridge!  Our community will be better with caring and giving back. Working together to identify problems and through unity solving them.

What do you think of this article?

Have a breaking story?

Share it with us!
Share Your Story

What Barrie's talking about!

From breaking news to the best slice of pizza in town! Get everything Barrie’s talking about delivered right to your inbox every day. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you. We promise :)
Subscription Form
Consent Info

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Central Ontario Broadcasting, 431 Huronia Rd, Barrie, Ontario, CA, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Related Stories