Jack Contin wants to improve the community by listening to people

The deputy mayoral candidate says it’s important not to “drive out young families and vital workers with an impossible housing situation.” Also wants city to ‘rethink’ Midland Bay landing plan

Editor’s note: MidlandToday has asked candidates for council in Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township to provide a summary of their reasons for running for public office. The municipal elections will take place on October 24.

The next response is from Jack Contin, candidate for deputy mayor of Midland. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 Municipal Elections page by clicking here, where you’ll find candidate profiles and other election news.

What is your name, how old will you be on election day, and which immediate family members do you rely on for support?

My name is Jack Contin. I will be seventy years old on election day, and my immediate family includes my wife Judy, my daughter Caitlyn and her family. They are my biggest supporters and I love them all very much.

In 10 words or less, why is your municipality the best in the province?

A beautiful community known as the Heart of Georgian Bay.

What prompted you to run for elected municipal office?

I love my community and aspire to be an engaged and thoughtful community leader. Midland’s motto, “persequi qualitatem vitae” or the pursuit of quality of life, best describes what I hope to bring to the council table for the people of Midland.

Midland Bay Landing is mired in controversy, involving contaminated land, residents wanting to protect the parks, the developer’s visions for the future, and the municipality’s choice for this developer. What is your position on Midland Bay Landing?

I have said publicly that we need to rethink Midland Bay Landing. Many consultants from outside Midland have told us what we should do, but I think we need to consult with our own audience and listen to locals to find out what they would like us to do with the land. I would really like to see more green space, public waterfront access and affordable housing, not just luxury condos for the rich.

You will be required to join commissions and other municipal representations. Which one are you looking forward to getting involved in?

The Severn Sound Environmental Association is a collaboration of nine municipalities, including Midland, to protect our bay and local watershed. As a supporter of making Georgian Bay a UNESCO World Heritage Geopark and with experience in environmental tourism, I believe I could do a lot of good for the city by working with our partners here.

Voter apathy is still a concern, ranging from 25.7% to 42% of ballots cast in North Simcoe during the last municipal election. Knowing that you could be elected without even half of the potential voters showing up, what will you do to combat voter apathy so that your municipality is the best represented?

I really believe in making an effort to listen to people. If people think the board never listens to them, why would they bother to vote? I try to talk to as many people as possible before election day and hear their concerns, and I hope that encourages them to vote, but after the election we need to continue to do so. Being accessible, really taking people’s concerns seriously and having their voices heard will contribute to voter turnout in the long run.

There are many major concerns in the area, from affordable housing to the opioid epidemic to short-term rentals and more. What do you think is the concern that the majority of residents are unaware of?

We talk a lot about affordable housing, but I think some people understand how difficult it is to find housing in Midland. We have a lot of real estate agents and real estate companies in the GTA buying homes in Midland and raising rents and real estate prices to GTA levels, while a lot of the new construction in Midland is for people leaving the city. I’m glad to have these new residents in our city, but we need to make sure we don’t drive away young families and vital workers with an impossible housing situation. I believe we should work with our neighbors and collectively approach the county about developing affordable housing for North Simcoe.

The province projects a population of 555,000 and 198,000 jobs by 2051. If now is the time to prepare for this influx, what will you be proactively doing as part of the process?

Midland has an aging population and we see a lot of our young people leaving as they find it harder to find an affordable place to live and start. If we want to maintain the services and provide the care people will need for years to come, we need to start planning now.

Recidivism is not just about the police and the courts. As a municipal leader and by-law writer, what initiatives will you undertake to combat the crime in your charge?

I am concerned about the frequency of break-ins in people’s driveways in town. I think we can work on a community effort to combat this and catch would-be thieves in the act. We have a mapping system that could alert affected neighborhoods almost immediately and we should use it.

Infrastructure projects require taxpayers’ money. What infrastructure project does the municipality desperately need and justify a tax hike on the part of taxpayers to get it done as soon as possible?

We have a lot of aging infrastructure that needs repairs, but upgrading the William Street sewage treatment plant would be my first priority. Protecting the quality of our drinking water and Georgian Bay is vital to our entire region. Water and wastewater management is paid for by the users of the system, not taxpayers’ money. But, the money comes from the same wallet. We need to access as many grants as possible for capital projects, be very careful about spending so we can build reserves to help cover costs, and continue to have responsible fees that recognize future needs.

The weather is changing. What is the oldest or obsolete by-law in your municipality’s code?

City staff regularly bring outdated by-laws to council for review and amendment.

After your four-year term is over, what is the legacy you want the residents to remember best during your tenure?

A Cleaner Georgian Bay. At the heart of our community is the bay, for fishing, tourism, boating and recreation, the heart of our community is the bay. If I can take steps to protect it and make it even a little cleaner and better preserved for the next generation, that would be a good legacy.

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Information about Midland’s municipal elections is available on the elections page of the city’s website.

For Midland Residents:

For the first time, voters in Midland will vote only by internet and telephone. The Town of Midland has entered into an agreement with Intelivote Systems Inc. to provide the software, consulting services and technical services necessary to implement this method of voting.

Voting will take place between October 11 and 24, 2022. Voters will be mailed a Voter Instruction Letter (VIL) with instructions on how to vote over the Internet or by telephone, or both. You will receive this letter seven (7) to fourteen (14) days before October 11, 2022.

You will only receive a VIL if your name is on the voters list. Please call the Clerk’s Office at 705-526-4275 ext. 2212 or 2208 or go to the municipal office at 575 Dominion Avenue to make sure you are on the list of electors.

A Voter Assistance Center will be located in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Office at 575 Dominion Avenue. Please bring your voter instruction letter and a document showing your name and address for identification.

Voter Assistance Centers will also be set up at several retirement/nursing homes for home residents only.