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Peacock looks to reinvigorate 'Orillia spirit' in Ward 4 bid

'I think the biggest challenges facing Orillia is the identity of what and where (we) want to be,' said Ward 4 candidate Kyle Peacock
Kyle Peacock, 39, is a supply chain professional and born-and-raised Orillian. One thing he hopes to accomplish on council is bringing city investment into Ward 4.

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

A local supply chain professional is hoping to secure a Ward 4 council seat in the upcoming municipal election.

Kyle Peacock, 39, was born and raised in Orillia and moved back to the city three years ago, following jobs with companies such as Wrigley Canada, where he worked as a supply chain leader.

Peacock declined to share his current employment with OrilliaMatters.

When the Fleming College and Laurentian University graduate moved back to Orillia, he said he saw a number of changes in the city – not all of which he views positively.

This served as the inspiration behind his run for council.

“What inspired me to run for council is moving back here and seeing it's not the Orillia I grew up in,” Peacock told OrilliaMatters. “That's wonderful, and I really like to see the changes that have happened, but I feel like there's certain parts of the Orillia spirit (that) has been lost in the last multiple elections.”

He says the north ward feels like a forgotten ward these days.

“I'm running in Ward 4, grew up in Ward 4. I would say that it was a very energetic (and affluent) ward. It was where you wanted to be in Orillia at that time,” he said. “At this point, moving back to Orillia and seeing what has transpired, it's almost the forgotten ward.”

Peacock lamented poor infrastructure, pointing to the condition of Laclie Street in particular, and highlighted there used to be more schools in the area in the past.

“We haven't seen the investment from the city of Orillia … so I really want to just reinvest and really bring focus to certain things that are happening in Ward 4,” he said.

Citywide, Peacock views affordable housing as a major issue that needs to be addressed.

Peacock said his business experience – working with large businesses in small markets, as he puts it – will bode well around the council table, and said his platform is based in being “efficiency driven.”

“My platform is very straightforward. Through my background, I'm very efficiency driven. Everything is based on efficiency, and the pros and cons of each decision, and that's (what) my platform is really based off,” he said.

“We have some major decisions coming up, and you want to have the right people making the right decisions … you need to make sure that they have the background to make these decisions.” 

A couple of these major decisions, Peacock said, include the proposed eight-storey development along the waterfront, and how the city will proceed should annexing lands from neighbouring townships become a reality.

“The bylaws have been there (on) having size restrictions for many years, and if we're going to skirt them due to a developer that's offering us good deal, we have to think of the ramifications,” Peacock said. “This is a major decision because it does transform the whole waterfront, and Orillia has always kind of … looked down (toward) the waterfront, and I think it's not something you'd want to have … without the involvement of the citizens.”

Peacock said the biggest issue facing Orillia is its identity, citing concerns about the city becoming a commuter town like Barrie.

“I think the biggest challenges facing Orillia is the identity of what and where (we) want to be,” he said. “Do we want to be a commuter city? Do we want to be a city upon our own? Do we want to have our own identity, or is it going to be lost on people that are just living and then driving to other places within the county?”

He lamented the loss of opportunities his grandparents had in the city, who built comfortable lives working for Bell.

“My parents did similar things within Orillia, and unfortunately Orillia doesn't have those opportunities anymore. If you're looking in Ward 4 where the Bell building was, it's just a vacant lot,” he said.

“We just need to realize that Orillia was a sought-after place that drew significant immigration at one point, and it was a sought-after city to move to,” he said. “I feel like we're at that point again, and now we just need to have the right people at the table making the decisions, the ones that have the Orillia spirit from before.”

Pat Hehn and Tim Lauer are the current Ward 4 councillors. Pat Hehn has announced she is not running for re-election, leaving Lauer, Peacock, Janet-Lynne Durnford, Paula Hill-Coulson, Pat Reid and Joe Winacott in contention for two Ward 4 council positions. Click here to go to our municipal election page for other profiles and election-related news.

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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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