Tonita Launches Re-election Campaign

It’s an effort to finish what he started.

Ward 4 Coun. Bill Tonita announced this week that he will be seeking re-election in the upcoming fall municipal election.

“I’m a person that has an incredible amount of energy, someone who thinks creatively and is always looking for new ideas, new solutions, and new ways of doing things. A vote for Bill Tonita is a vote for vision and the future,” Tonita told The News.

On the heels of that announcement, the first-term councillor said he feels like this council has just started to gel together to turn plans into concrete action for major impending projects, such as growth and development, economic diversification, affordable housing, and more recreational amenities such as the indoor field house.

“You don’t just want to stop in the middle of something and have those projects stall. I want to be able to help move those things along,” he said. “It’s about moving vision into action.”

Planning for future growth tops his list for the biggest success of the past four years.

“I’m delighted to see us move forward on Cambrian, finally. It’s been about 10 years in the making. To see that project move forward excites me to no end,” said the incumbent Ward 4 councillor.

In regard to Bremner, he said the small number of residents in opposition is not enough to reverse course.

“If we step back from any of these developments, a lot of time, money and energy have been committed to this point. It’s not just that we have committed a million dollars or so to a study on Bremner, but land has exchanged hands, plans have been developed, projects are in the works, and all of the servicing is moving forward,” Tonita said. “To have someone or a future council think they can put the brakes on Bremner, Cambrian or future growth, the first thing they’d find is it’s a whole lot harder to put the brakes on than they’ve ever envisioned. We’ve made a decision and we’ve moved forward. We need to be comfortable in that decision and this council was.”

In order to handle a post-pandemic world, he said the next council needs to be comprised of people who are collaborative, creative thinkers, compassionate, and caring.

“We need people who don’t just dig into their positions on any issue. They need to be able to see the big picture and be willing to collaborate and look for solutions. We need people who are creative. We have major building projects underway that require creative thinking. The fact that COVID has changed the way that people work and play, coming out of COVID, people are going to ask for different things,” Tonita said.

“We’ve also learned that mental health has been challenged. COVID has been hard on individuals and counseling numbers are up. We’ve also been moving the dial on our Public Satisfaction Survey and we’re trying to move the dial with employee satisfaction to figure out how to do things differently.”

Other than creating more affordable housing, he said there is a need to increase park spaces and amenities to enjoy in the county.

“People just desire more. A lot of that has been uncovered by COVID. This past winter, I can’t count the number of emails I received from people who want more skating paths, skating rinks, and building parks with more basketball hoops and more places for older people to play in… These outdoor spaces have become so important to the community.”

During the 2017 municipal election, Tonita earned 1,672 votes, which gave him the win over Jaime Fraleigh’s 889.

That election was quite crowded with 25 candidates vying for votes across eight wards and a five-way mayoral race.

Campaigning this time around during a pandemic will see Tonita increase his focus on making connections through social media, walking his ward to hand-deliver election brochures, and hosting small patio conversations.

Election Day is set for Monday, Oct. 18.

Isaac Cameron has also filed as a candidate in Ward 4. He has not provided public contact information through the county’s Elections Department.

This week also saw new candidate filings by Aaron Nelson in Ward 5 and Dylan Bohaychuk in Ward 7. The News has reached out to both of those candidates and profiles will be provided in upcoming editions.

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