Still undecided? I am being asked a lot about my choice for Mayor in this election. It may surprise some that although I ran against Rob Burton I will be voting for him. If you haven’t made up your own mind, here is my rationale if you are interested. A case can certainly be made for other candidates, and this is only my own opinion.
Burton has a reputation for being difficult to work with and for a lack of humility. It is these factors that made me feel, back in 2006, that Oakville needed an alternative, and that is why I ran. I didn’t feel the incumbent, his opponent, could beat him, and although she was personable, I felt she had been both reactive and ineffective in protecting the interests of Oakville.
Since then, sometimes dismissive personality notwithstanding, in my view, Rob Burton has shown himself to be a strategic thinker, a proactive leader, and a very effective Mayor. In hindsight, if I had known how capable Rob would be as mayor, I would not have run.
We have not moved from 30th to 1st on the MoneySense liveability index of Canadian communities for nothing:
The Liveable Oakville Official Plan developed under his guidance has proven effective at preserving Oakville’s neighbourhoods and character when confronting the twin pressures of Provincial growth planning and density mandates and developers’ visions of urban sprawl.
Community facilities, including rinks, now meet the needs of Oakville’s families, and kids are no longer falling asleep at their desks because of the 5 am hockey practice.
We gained a new state of the art hospital and yet maintained control of the development on the old hospital grounds.
We are attracting great companies to situate here because of the liveability of the community, and this will mean not all our growth will add to commuting demand.
Our downtown is getting a major makeover so that when the roadbed replacement, which is currently stopping people from signing leases there, is over, it will become more vibrant than ever before.
Rob rubs some people the wrong way, but I have watched closely over the past 12 years, and I believe his heart is in the right place when it comes to Oakville’s interests, that he has been strong, proactive and effective in the defence of those interests, and that his deep knowledge of the Planning Act, Provincial Powers, and negotiating from strength would be hard to replace. We have not had perfect outcomes, but we have had better ones than we might have had had he not been there. These achievements sometimes required hard decisions and tough stances: they were not always amenable to collaborative approaches.
We are dealing with a pivotal decision right now which will determine whether Oakville has any control over its destiny or not: Glen Abbey is not only important in itself, but also for the precedent it will set, not just for Oakville, but for all Ontario communities. I think Burton’s experience and strategic thinking give us the best chance on this issue.