An incumbent and rookie city councillor will sit side by side at city hall over the next four years representing the citizens of Ward 1.
David Campbell led the way as he earned 1,202 votes (32.91 per cent) on Monday night, while Whitney Smith followed with 951 votes (26.04 per cent) in the six-person race in the ward.
After the unofficial results were revealed Monday night, Campbell told OrilliaMatters he believes voters have taken notice of his hard work over the past four years and he’s looking forward to working with the new council.
“We are going to face some really tough decisions over the next four years for sure,” he said.
While canvassing as an incumbent, Campbell says his conversations with people were longer this time around. People were also much more specific about the issues they felt strongly about, which included homelessness and affordable housing, he explained.
“We (council) need to all get together, get to know each other, and look at that first budget to figure out how to keep things affordable for people,” he said.
Campbell, 58, says he doesn’t know Orillia’s new mayor, Don McIsaac, very well.
“I love the fact that he’s an accountant and has that background," said Campbell, who is an IT specialist who works at the Township of Severn. "I think that will come in handy as we move forward.”
Campbell says the new council is an “interesting group.”
“There are a few of us coming back,” he said. “It will be interesting having new voices at the table and different points of view.”
Smith is one of those new voices. While she is excited to have earned a spot on council, she said she wasn’t surprised by Monday’s results.
“We knocked on every door pretty much twice,” she said. “One thing we heard consistently is that we were one of the only ones out there.”
Smith says she and her campaign volunteers put in the “hard work,” which was very important.
“People want to feel as if they have somebody who is going to be their voice,” said the owner of a private investigation company. “How are we going to be their voice if we don’t meet them and hear from them on the concerns for the city that they live in?”
With former council member Pat Hehn retiring after two terms, Smith, 35, says Orillians felt that it was important to have female representation at city hall.
“It’s important to have that mix of female and younger voices,” she said.
While canvassing, Smith says people were most concerned about affordable housing, for seniors specifically. Short-term rentals were also a big issue for lakefront homeowners, she said.
“Per neighbourhood there was a different issue,” she said. “It varied from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”
Smith says her top priority now is to work together with council members "in unity."
“We need to be able to work together,” she said. “We are obviously going to be for affordable housing. Some parts of Orillia don’t want to grow out and some don’t want to grow up, I want to see us grow within.”
Smith is “really excited” to be working alongside the new mayor.
“Don seems to be a man of integrity and good character,” she said. “I think that is very important and I think Orillia has shown that’s what they want.”
Surprising to some, Rob Kloostra who won back-to-back elections in Ward 2, failed to reclaim a spot on council, earning only 475 votes (13.01 percent) in Ward 1. Kloostra declined to comment for this article.
Paul Cain earned 416 votes on Monday (11.39 per cent), while Rick Sinotte garnered 364 (9.97 per cent), and Matthew Lund finished sixth with 244 ballots cast in his favour (6.68 per cent).