Oro-Medonte’s Ward 5 councillor has entered the township’s mayoral race.
Randy Greenlaw, 57, is currently finishing his first term on council. Born in Hillsdale, he has lived in Oro-Medonte for the past 30 years, where he raised a family with his wife, Janet.
With a background in business, the Trent University graduate has spent his professional career in the business world, whether on his own business ventures or in management positions with large companies such as Labatt Breweries and AkzoNobel Coatings.
Looking back on his first term in office, Greenlaw said it has been a positive learning experience.
“It's been an amazing learning experience. Oro-Medonte is very rich in not just knowledge, academically, but also in just the life experience people are willing to share … in order to help us make decisions,” Greenlaw told OrilliaMatters.
So far, Greenlaw is the only challenger to the incumbent Harry Hughes, who hopes to secure a fifth term as the township’s mayor this fall.
Greenlaw thinks it is time for a new face in the mayor’s position, and he hopes to improve communication between council and its constituents.
“It's time for a fresh face and a new leadership. I think the skill set I have will bring value that, hopefully, will bring not just the council, but the township closer together to work collaboratively,” he said.
“I think there's a number of people in our township (who) feel that their voice isn’t heard, and everyone's voice needs to be heard.”
When asked about council’s accomplishments over the past term, Greenlaw stressed the collaboration that takes place between council members.
“I think we've made many great accomplishments. I don't believe that any one councillor is responsible for any of the great accomplishments we've made, because at the end of the day, we are to work collectively as a group," said Greenlaw.
“We got the road, the new entrance at Sugarbush (subdivision) put in, which was a major safety issue. I give a lot of credit to Coun. Ian Veitch for spearheading that,” he said. “We've made some great inroads with the internet, although we still have a way to go, which Deputy Mayor Ralph Hough and Coun. Cathy Keane have worked on that project.”
However, Greenlaw said that the current council is divided in a number of ways, and he hopes to use the mayor position to improve communication between council, staff, and community members.
“I think if I returned to my council seat, I would have no more impact. I think we have somewhat of a wedged or broken council … at this point in time,” he said. “Not that it's not uncommon with some municipalities, but in order to make a change, I think we need to work together … we need to work together with council, staff, and our constituents.”
In particular, Greenlaw stressed the importance of public engagement moving forward.
“We need to learn how to communicate and engage our public better,” he said. “We’re going through … an official plan review at this point and, yes, we've got a lot of amazing comments back, but … we should have a lot more participation across the board than we're currently getting.”
Greenlaw declined to share detailed aspects of his platform at this time, and said he would prefer to “wait until the campaign period starts.” However, he did highlight the importance of striking a balance between development and maintaining the township’s cultural heritage.
“We're a rural, agricultural township, and it's finding a balance between the progressive development …but also balancing and retaining the cultural heritage of our communities,” he said. “We have to be conscientious that urban sprawl is a potential concern.”
Harry Hughes and Greenlaw are the only two candidates currently running for mayor. Zoe Rowe-Watson is currently running in Ward 1, incumbent Tammy De Sousa in Ward 2, incumbent Cathy Keane for Ward 3, Peter Lavoie and incumbent Shawn Scott for Ward 4, Rick Schell for Ward 5, and Mikhaela Beerman for Ward 6. The deadline to file papers to run in this year's municipal election is Aug. 19.