Orangeville council candidate wants to help community’s most vulnerable

October 1, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

When Vic Thapar first moved to Canada in 2009, he immediately went about immersing himself in his new community.

Then based in Edmonton, Mr, Thapar, a fully qualified doctor in his native India, spent time working for the provincial government. He learned about the ins and outs of politics in Canada and, generally, was impressed by what he saw. A community-oriented individual, launching himself into a career of public service has always been in the back of Vic’s mind.

Fast forward to 2012 and Mr. Thapar was presented with another opportunity – to move his family cross-country to lay down some roots in Orangeville. Since the move, he has worked at Home Depot in town, where he now serves as one of the store’s senior managers.

While he excitedly tells this reporter about all the things he loves about his new community, there was one thorn that continued to prick away at Vic – that being the constant animosity within council chambers. After experiencing first-hand the, at-times, venomous atmosphere at town hall, Mr. Thapar decided he wanted to help bring about much-needed change in the community.

“In my eyes, there are three major problems in Orangeville right now. First is the lack of industry to offset the residential tax base, second is an extremely high municipal tax rate, which is directly related to the first problem, and finally, perhaps the most important, is this council’s complete inability to function as a team. They fight all the time,” Mr. Thapar said.

Vic believes this community deserves a council more befitting of its values and its residents. When asked to expand on that comment, Mr. Thapar brings up a story from his first few weeks in Orangeville, where, he says, he was made to feel completely welcome in a strange, new place.

“One of my best memories… Shortly after moving here, I was walking downtown and it was raining, very, very hard. I didn’t have a car at the time and had to do some errands. As I was on my way home, a gentleman pulled over and offered me a ride. He didn’t care that I was drenched and would get his car wet – he told me to jump in and he immediately gave me a ride home,” Mr. Thapar said. “You don’t see this sort of thing in big cities. It was an immediate education on what this community is about, and one of the many reasons I love this town.”

If he were to be elected, Vic says he would fight against unwarranted tax increases, do what he can to attract new business, industry and jobs to Orangeville, implement a sense of controlled spending and wise investing at town hall and work to maintain Orangeville’s heritage and small-town charm.

He would like to do more for the community’s more vulnerable residents, notably the senior population. While there are lots of activities for pre-teens to engage in in Orangeville, Mr. Thapar says teenagers and seniors are often forgotten about. His solution would be to bring a YMCA to town, to offer programming to community residents young and old.

“We don’t have social services available for adults in this town, especially seniors. We only have a couple of senior homes here – I’ve visited them. What I have seen is people sitting, not having much to do. We need to do more and provide more for our seniors,” Mr. Thapar said.

Discussing some of the impending decisions this next council will likely have to consider, Mr. Thapar said he would entertain another OPP costing if the majority of council supported it, noting “any way we can cut down expenses, we should”. While many candidates have called for Orangeville’s railway line to be decommissioned, Vic believes that could potentially hold the key to bringing more business to the community.

He wouldn’t commit one way or another regarding his stance on the future of the swimming pool at Tony Rose arena, but he did express his belief that the town could likely do without having two official public libraries.

“I can definitely see that having two libraries in the community has its benefits, but we need to look at the numbers and see if it’s cost effective,” Mr. Thapar said. “One of our local high schools, Westside, has a wonderful library. If there was a way we could partner up with the school board and utilize that facility (in the evening), it could bring about some significant savings.”

Having had experience leading community initiatives back in India, most notably a volunteer clinic he managed and funded alongside his family, Vic hopes to be afforded the opportunity to give back in his new home.

“People should vote for me because I am a very dedicated, intelligent, caring and fiscally responsible individual. I care deeply about my community,” Mr. Thapar said. “Instead of just complaining, I want to roll up my sleeves and contribute to solutions in this town. As a sitting member of council, I can better identify inefficiencies and work to solve them.”

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