When Harry Met Doug

Oro Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes optimistic after meeting with Premier Ford

Oro Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes says he got a good feeling from his meeting yesterday with Premier Doug Ford.

“We were hoping we weren’t being summoned to the principal’s office; that we were there for a productive discussion. Really, what it was…was a breath of fresh air.”

Ford wanted to hear from mayors from several jurisdictions with different profiles about ways to grow local economies and in turn, bolster the provincial economy.

A key issue was creating jobs. Hughes says he told Ford the policy on industrial growth (Places To Grow) is restrictive to development along the Highway 11 corridor between Barrie and Orillia. Hughes said the amount of land available is restricted as well as what kinds of industries can locate there. As a result, industries have been turned away on a regular basis.

Hughes and Ford also talked about ongoing issues at Burls Creek as well as affordable housing. Hughes noted that many people are at the stage of their lives where they want to downsize and live in Oro-Medonte, but there is not a supply of housing to accommodate them. Being able to provide that housing, Hughes said, would also drive the local economy and help the province on the whole.

Hughes says Ford listened with a keen ear; that he was gratified by how quickly the premier grasped local issues.