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'Bold and confident' investigator spies Ward 1 council position

'You have to be able to work together with people – that's going to be my goal. I'm a people person,' said Ward 1 candidate Whitney Smith

OrilliaMatters will profile all the candidates seeking election in Orillia in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

A private investigator is hoping to step into public life with her bid for a Ward 1 council position.

Whitney Smith, 35, runs a private investigation company, Smith Investigation Agency, providing background checks, cyber investigations, asset searches, surveillance, and more for a variety of clients.

Since opening shop in 2014, Smith has expanded her business to six provinces.

Her roots as an entrepreneur and an Orillian run deep.

“I’m a fourth-generation entrepreneur here,” Smith told OrilliaMatters. “My great-grandfather owned Smith Meat Shop, and then my grandfather owned Reg Smith Motors, which is now the Chrysler Jeep dealership on Highway 11, and then my dad was a developer here in town.”

Although she has never run for political office, Smith said the idea has piqued her interest in recent years.

After spending years travelling the country to build her business, she now has the time to commit to a council position.

“I’ve wanted to run in general over the past few years,” she said. “Now I have a great set of staff across Canada. I operate in six provinces, so my staff takes care of the day-to-day, (and) now I have the ability to take a step back and focus on what else matters in my life.”

Smith noted many of this year’s candidates are bringing forward similar ideas, some of which she shares, but her main hope is to help build a unified council that can work together.

“I think we’re all consistent in the same thing: We all want to see better roads; we want to see (less) crime … drugs and alcohol issues in town. We want to see all of those things fixed,” she said.

“I really want to see unity on council. I know, from previous council members here in this area, there wasn’t always unity in decisions, so the issues might not get met. I want to be able to work with our new council to see some change in Orillia.”

One of the major issues Smith would like to address through council is crime.

“A couple of weeks ago, (in the) middle of the day, someone came and stole a package right out in front of me. I have three cameras out front, and just the boldness of the people that are involved in crime now is just escalating,” she said.

“There’s not much law enforcement has done, or is able to do, or they just don’t have enough resources ... I really want to see that become something we really look into to make sure for everyone in Orillia that they’re safe, their businesses are safe, children (are safe).”

As the owner of a company with national reach, she also hopes to make Orillia an attractive place for business.

“I want to see more growth in Orillia. I operate a national company, so my scope is definitely that — to bring in other large corporations like myself,” she said. “It helps bring jobs to town; it’s for affordable housing; it just helps everybody if more big companies are able to come here. Our citizens just have better opportunities for jobs.

“We have so much space, right? It’s like Barrie became the little Toronto — Orillia can just be Orillia, but be great in its own way. It doesn’t have to try and compete with anything else, but we can have our own big businesses here to support our people.”

Smith said her background in business will prove useful in working with council members and negotiating a positive future for Orillia.

“I certainly have expertise in the business realm of expanding and working with clients, and setting goals, meeting goals,” she said. “At the end of the day, we work with people of all kinds: different cultures, different backgrounds, different businesses, different everything.

“You have to be able to work together with people. That’s going to be my goal. I’m a people person. I’m a personality person. I like working with people, but I’m also bold in my decisions and I’m confident.”

Ted Emond and David Campbell are the current Ward 1 council members. Emond has announced he will not run again, leaving Smith, Campbell, Rob Kloostra, Mathew Lund, Rick Sinotte and Paul Cain in contention for the two positions. To read more profiles on other election news, visit our municipal election page by clicking here.


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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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