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Local business owner, sports enthusiast running for council

'You have to listen to your taxpayers because they're the ones that are technically paying your bill, and they're the ones that matter,' says Rick Sinotte, running in Ward 1
Local business owner, Rick Sinotte, is hoping to be elected as a Ward 1 councillor in the upcoming municipal election. He brings decades of local business and sports organization experience to the table.

OrilliaMatters will profile all the candidates seeking election in the Oct. 24 municipal election. Prospective candidates have until Aug. 19 to submit their nomination papers.

A local business owner has put forward his name for a position on city council and he hopes to bring a ‘common sense’ perspective and responsible spending habits to city hall.

Rick Sinotte, 66, has lived in Orillia for over 50 years, and he is running as a candidate in Ward 1 in the upcoming municipal election.

Sinotte has operated his clothing business, Sinergy Clothing, for the past 20 years, and previously run bars and non-alcoholic clubs for teens in the Orillia area.

While his political experience is limited to a stint as a board member on the Downtown Orillia Management Board, Sinotte’s organizational experience in local sports runs deep, he explains.

He’s sat on executive boards for local baseball organizations, served as president of the local slo-pitch organization, umpired and refereed baseball and football games for decades, coached minor hockey and served as an executive with the North Central Predators AAA hockey organization, to name a few of his ventures.

Over the past 14 years, he has outfitted local sports teams through his clothing business.

“I’ve been involved with sports a long time, and that's mostly what I'm familiar with,” Sinotte told OrilliaMatters. “I've got a lot of organizational experience, but never political … I'm more for Orillia, not for NDP, Progressive Conservative, Liberal, nothing like that.”

Sinotte said he hopes to bring a customer service perspective to his discussions with constituents, and he wants to work on taking care of Orillia’s needs before going after its wants.

“It's all about customer service in business, but I also think it's about customer service in council,” he said. “You have to listen to your taxpayers because they're the ones that are technically paying your bill, and they're the ones that matter.”

Fiscal common sense is also a priority, he stressed.

“We have to have common sense – spending our money on $2 million and $3 million buildings that really aren't getting used as much as they should, trying to build new things when we can fix some things … let's start with fixing the stuff that we need, and maybe then go after the stuff we want, if the budget is spent properly.”

When asked what issues he would like to tackle in Orillia, Sinotte said he like to work on improving its roads, bringing vibrancy to the downtown, improving some of its sports infrastructure, and working on the pressing challenges of housing and the opioid crisis.

“Housing, I think, is huge, but I'm sure that's on every candidate’s list,” Sinotte said. “It's tough for young people nowadays to afford a house … you’ve (also) got 70-, 75-, 80-year-olds and there's not a lot of places for them to live if they never were successful or lucky enough to have a good job or something in life.”

In terms of current infrastructure he would like to see upgraded, Sinotte pointed to local baseball diamonds and roads.

“I think roads are probably one of the main things; we do have some terrible roads,” he said. “We have a couple of really bad, terrible roads, and I'm sure everybody knows Laclie is one of them – (we need) line painting on the roads, cleaning of the roads.

“From a sports background, we have a lot of people that play slo-pitch and baseball, and our diamonds are terrible – they're the wrong dimensions, the sand is not the proper sand,” he said. “I'd like to see our diamonds maybe get a little upgrade – we don't need new diamonds.”

Sinotte said he wants to work on ways to draw people into Orillia’s downtown, as well.

“People have spoken, and they want the downtown to look a little more lively,” Sinotte said.

“I was in Barrie picking up one of my sons at the train station on Saturday. I had to go down Bayfield Street to Dunlop. I look both ways, not kidding you, 1,000 to 2,000 people were down there having fun, walking with their dogs, walking with their families, shopping bags. It's fantastic.”

In terms of the opioid crisis, Sinotte has seen former customers at his business die of overdoses.

“Even if I don't win the election, as a group we have to have something,” he said. “I've had over 12 people pass away that have bought clothes from me that I've known through the clothing industry. It has to be cleaned up. I don't know the answers, but I think if a group of us get together … maybe we can find the answers if we work together because it's terrible.”

No matter the issue at hand, however, Sinotte said he vows to get work done that contributes to the city's progress.

"As long as we get something accomplished that is worthwhile and meaningful in Orillia. I love Orillia," he said.

Ted Emond and David Campbell are the current Ward 1 councillors. Emond has announced he will not be seeking re-election, while Campbell is seeking a second term.


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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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