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By Mike Pickford
Having lived in Orangeville all his life, Trevor Castiglione feels the time is right to get involved and help shape the future of the community he calls home.
With less than 12 weeks to go until October's municipal election, the candidate for town council is encouraging local residents to inform themselves ahead of what he is calling a pivotal vote.
“This is such a crossroads for the Town of Orangeville. I've followed local politics for around 12 years now and I've seen some pretty brutal things. The spending over the past few terms has been atrocious, there has been clear negligence on many issues by certain councillors and our industry is failing,” Mr. Castiglione said.
He added, “I've lived in Orangeville all my life. Over the past four years, I've seen family members having to sell their homes because they can't afford the taxes in town any more. Things need to change. There needs to be a greater sense of accountability at town hall.”
A small business owner, Mr. Castiglione is no stranger to the hardships local entrepreneurs face on a day-to-day basis in Orangeville. Since opening Busted Knuckle Garage in 2014, he has taken a keen interest in the way town council supports its local businesses – and it's safe to say he hasn't liked what he's seen.
“One of my biggest concerns is the way this council, and the municipality in general, goes on about the importance of supporting local. I think it's time we practise what we preach,” Mr. Castiglione said. “There's all this talk of supporting local, yet this council, and councils before them, has a legacy of awarding contracts for municipal projects to out-of-town businesses.”
“Why isn't a business like Roto Mill doing any of our roads? Show me a local company that's doing any of our electrical work, roofing work, plumbing work. We have some very large companies in town. Yes, it may cost a little bit more for council to source locally, but we'd be generating into our own economy. Despite what is said, the town is not supporting local business, they're actually hindering them. It's time to take a stand and support our local business community.”
And it doesn't stop with local businesses. Mr. Castiglione would like to see council better support its residents in general. He wants this next council to be more approachable, more engaging than recent councils, noting he's seen a real shift in the number of residents attending the fortnightly meetings of council and engaging with our elected leaders. He'd like to make “precise” cuts to the budget so as to reduce the burden on local taxpayers, noting the public works department specifically as one place the town could look to save money. He'd also like to see more industry enticed to town. Those three key points, he believes, should enable council to make some real progress over the next four years.
Concerning the debate over the future of the Orangeville Police Service, which has reared its head once again ahead of the election, Mr. Castiglione said he would have no problem with approaching the Ontario Provincial Police for another costing proposal.
“The previous costing, council did not have all the information. The savings everyone said there was, I'm sorry, but I don't see it. I don't see $4.5 million in savings. At the moment, I'd rather know the devil I'm paying with the OPS, then enter into an unknown agreement with the OPP,” Mr. Castiglione said. “But, don't get me wrong, I love our OPS, but if you can show me the OPP can come in and do the exact same job and provide the exact same coverage for much less, only a fool wouldn't take it. But you need to show me the facts. I'm a facts person, not a let's guess person, especially when we're talking about taxpayers' money.”
Credited as something of an outspoken personality in Orangeville, Mr. Castiglione embraces that moniker, saying he is not afraid to stand up and speak his mind. He assures local residents he will approach each issue with an open mind and without bias. In voting for Trevor, residents will be gaining a real champion of the people.
“In my personal opinion I am one of the very, very few willing to find the facts. I will not have a personal agenda. I will try and look out for the best interests of the majority. I am not scared of admitting when I'm wrong and I'm not scared of putting myself forward on critical issues. I won't just sit back and allow other council members to decide what everyone is doing,” Mr. Castiglione said.
He continued, “I would only be one vote, but migod, my voice will be loud. And I'll make sure the public actually knows what is going on in those chambers. Right now, hardly anything is explained. That has to stop. The people need to know what's happening.”
“For too long we've had council members saying things they think the public wants to here. I'm not like that. I tell it how it is. If the people don't like it, it's not a matter of ‘I don't care', it's a matter of ‘this is something you need to hear'.”
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