Council candidate Kelly Zammit wants to see less divisiveness

September 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

After watching what she described as a dysfunctional council bumble through four years of political office in Orangeville, local candidate Kelly Zammit wants to see a greater sense of cooperation amongst the community’s next municipal leaders.

Having taken an interest in municipal politics shortly before the previous municipal election, Ms. Zammit says she has been shocked by the conduct of Orangeville’s current council. Speaking to the Citizen this week, she lamented some members for creating “an obvious divide” at town hall, which, she says, has left a sour taste amongst local voters.

“This present term, it has really bothered me how divided everything has been. These people are supposed to be working collaboratively together for our town, and it was just one thing after another, one argument after another, one controversy after another,” Ms. Zammit said. “There was lots of instances of butting heads, poking at each other… It was very frustrating to watch.”

As a small business owner running an aesthetician practice from her Orangeville home, Ms. Zammit would often talk politics with some of her clients. She would debate issues with her friends. Eventually, something clicked within and she came to the decision she wanted to make up part of the fabric of the community’s next council.

A local resident for about 20 years, she describes herself as a people person with an acute sense for managing money, Kelly believes she’s the perfect individual to come in and fix two of the community’s biggest issues – continuous residential tax increases and the lack of cooperation among municipal members.

“The number one issue in this community is taxes. That’s what I’m hearing from almost every resident I talk to. As a homeowner and single parent, I obviously don’t want to see taxes going any higher. One thing I will say is I have proven myself to be very savvy with money, managing my business and managing my household completely on my own,” Ms. Zammit said. “I have my own home, I run my own business and also serve as a property manager. I manage money really well. I don’t have any debt, I don’t believe in debt and I don’t believe in waste. I’d look to implement these principles on council.”

Referencing cooperation, she added, “At heart, I’m not an argumentative person. I’m aware that different people are going to have different opinions on certain issues. I’m a big believer in reaching compromise through healthy discussion. You can almost always find a happy medium if you take time to discuss issues effectively and respectfully. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen this over the past four years.”

A regular volunteer at the Orangeville Food Bank, Kelly was also a part of the team that helped to bring the first annual Classic Chrome car show to Orangeville over the summer. She has long served as the community lead in offering line dancing in town, something she says has been going strong for more than four years now.

With her finger on the pulse of all the big issues heading into the Oct. 22 vote, Kelly spent some time debating the municipality’s policing issue, the future of the community’s railroad and potential upcoming big-ticket capital expenses.

Right off the bat she refused to discuss the potential merits of reopening the debate on policing in Orangeville. As far as she was concerned

“OPP couldn’t guarantee any numbers, that’s a risk for me. It would be like going to the casino, playing roulette and hoping you win. There’s risk there. I’m more of a facts person, and the OPP couldn’t factually guarantee us any savings. The $4.3 million people have been talking about wasn’t an actual, factual number, it was an estimate,” Kelly said.

The mother of two went on to state that she doesn’t believe the community would get the same “personal care and attention” it currently receives from the Orangeville Police Service – commending Chief Wayne Kalinski for the job he has done in turning around the local force. With talk of a potential county-wide police service, perhaps encompassing Shelburne, a community dealing with its own policing issues, Kelly indicated that was something she would be in favour of pursuing.

With a new $8 million fire hall slated for 2020, Ms. Zammit said she’d need to hear more information and see “a real business plan” indicating why a new facility was needed before offering her support, while she talked about tough decisions potentially needing to be made regarding the future of the swimming pool at Tony Rose arena.

While some candidates have immediately declared Orangeville’s railway line as a liability the municipality should look into shutting down, Kelly sees some potential there.

“I think the railroad could definitely help the town. It’s helped our commercial industry a lot,” Ms. Zammit said. “I have spoken about this with Mayor Jeremy Williams and he has some really cool ideas in mind, like extending the santa train around Christmas time and running more dates. That’s something that could drive tourism to Orangeville. There’s a lot of good that could still come out of our railroad.”

One area Kelly believes the municipality could immediately look to save money is through the sale of its tourism building, located on Lakeview Court just off Highway 10. Currently, the facility houses the Town’s communications department, while providing office space to numerous other municipal departments. The facility also doubles as a home for Theatre Orangeville.

After learning of her grandfather’s involvement on the provincial political stage dating back to the 1920s, Kelly said she’s eager to follow in his footsteps and give back to the local community. With a council who, she hopes, would be willing to work together following the Oct. 22 election, Kelly believes it’s time for Orangeville’s council to tap into the community’s unbridled potential.

“Everyone is fed up with seeing the divide. This past council has done a lot of good things, but with a group of seven all pulling in the same direction imagine how much more we could get done,” Ms. Zammit said. “I have no problem working with other people, but at the same time I’m not afraid to speak my mind on important issues. I’m passionate about this community, I love Orangeville and want to see us doing good things.”

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