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'Times are tough': Campbell says fiscal responsibility critical

'My biggest hope (is) we have a council willing to work together, willing to be open minded, willing to work as a team, and willing to face the challenges,' said Ward 1 candidate
David Campbell, 58, is running for re-election in the upcoming municipal election. While he views a number of issues as urgent moving forward, Campbell stresses council will need to be fiscally responsible in addressing them given the city’s financial status.

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

With his first term in office coming to a close, David Campbell is back on the campaign trail hoping to secure a second term as a Ward 1 council member in the upcoming municipal election.

Campbell, 58, is a lifelong Orillian and IT professional who has worked for the Township of Severn for the past 12 years. Along with his wife, Campbell has been a resident of Ward 1 for the past 26 years.

Aside from his experience as a councillor over the past term, Campbell ran in the 2014 election and has previously served as the chair of the city’s active transportation committee, which sought public input on implementing bike lanes, among other public initiatives, and at one point brought bicycle repair stations to the city.

Looking to the next term, Campbell highlighted a number of pressing issues the city needs to address – including homelessness within the city, the opioid crisis, implementing the city’s climate action plan, and affordable housing – but he viewed fiscal responsibility as the key issue facing council.

“I think the biggest thing that we're going to be facing is fiscal responsibility – it really is,” Campbell told OrilliaMatters

Campbell said the incoming term of council will have to carefully balance and prioritize its spending given the city’s financial position.

“If you look at the 10-year capital forecast, there's a big funding shortfall,” he said. “We have a lot of things that we need to address, like the homeless issue, the opioid crisis, affordable housing, and that's all going to take funding.

“Times are tough … door-to-door, I'm hearing, ‘My taxes are high enough, thank you very much,’ so we’ve got to figure out that balance, very minimal tax increases while still being able to address (these issues),” he said. “We need to keep moving forward, but we still need to keep things affordable for people.”

One thing Campbell appreciated about his first term on council was the team work he saw between his fellow council members, particularly through the pandemic.

“We've got along pretty well as a council,” he said. “We haven't always agreed … but we've been able to talk about it, even when things got a little heated at the table.”

He pointed out that numerous groups came together to address wide-ranging issues through the pandemic, some of whom “hadn’t necessarily done that before,” which brought a teamwork-oriented environment to the council table.

As part of the economic recovery task force, one accomplishment Campbell is proud of is bringing the See You on the Patio program to the downtown.

“I've had about three different business owners say if we hadn't done that program, they wouldn't have survived,” he said. “That’s powerful – that’s a person’s life.”

Aside from managing the city’s pressing needs with its finances, Campbell said his biggest hope for the next term of council is that it will build upon the teamwork environment established over the past four years.

“My biggest hope (is) we have a council willing to work together, willing to be open minded, willing to work as a team, and willing to face the challenges, the hard issues,” he said. “We won't accomplish anything if we can’t all get along.”

Reflecting back on his first term in office, Campbell conceded the job came with “a bigger learning curve than what I had expected,” and said the biggest lesson he’s learned is the need to take an open-minded approach.

“I think I've always been a pretty open-minded person, and I've always been willing to listen to people–that’s extremely important,” he said. “If someone throws an idea out there, you’ve got to be able to go and take that into the equation.”

“(You need to) not be afraid to say, ‘Maybe the decision we made last week wasn’t the best; maybe we need to revisit this because we have new information.”

If reelected, Campbell promises to continue doing his “absolute best” around the council table.

“I've worked really, really hard. I've tried to be very straightforward with people and very upfront. I've done my absolute best and I'll continue to,” he said.

Ted Emond and David Campbell are the current Ward 1 council members. Emond has announced he will not run again, leaving Whitney 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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