Sewer rates, Tony Rose pool, policing top Kidd’s to-do list

September 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

As the only sitting member at Town Hall seeking re-election as a councillor during the 2018 municipal election, Don Kidd wants to bring his brand of common sense back to Orangeville council for another four years.

Born and raised in Orangeville, Mr. Kidd has spent his entire life in and around the community. After retiring from Chrysler Canada, following a 36-year career in the automotive trade, Don took a keen interest in municipal politics, missing only three council meetings over a nine-year period prior to his election in 2014.

Mr. Kidd proudly proclaimed to the Citizen that since his election he has not missed a single meeting, be it a committee meeting or regular Orangeville council meeting. It’s that level of commitment, he believes, that makes him an excellent candidate to lead the community forward into 2022.

“I enjoy politics and like to do my little bit, if I can, to make the Town of Orangeville a better place,” Mr. Kidd said. “I’m pretty proud and happy with some of the things I was able to do in my first term as a councillor. I’d love to be afforded the opportunity to do more, again, next term.”

Looking back on some of those achievements, Mr. Kidd says the construction of a new parking lot at the corner of Mill and Church streets, something he championed, remains a highlight. “That’s great for businesses in our town,” Mr. Kidd said.

Having been assigned to chair Orangeville’s snow clearing committee, Mr. Kidd said he “couldn’t really win” whatever decision was made regarding the future of sidewalk clearing in town. In the end, the committee recommended that council stick to its commitments of clearing snow from all sidewalks in Orangeville – a decision Don says has been supported by a majority of local residents – as many as 66 percent according to a poll carried out by the committee.

What he sees as perhaps his crowning achievement over the past four years, aside from his attendance record, has been seeing the Lions Sports Park project through to completion. It having sat on the Town’s to-do list for more than nine years, he says that as chair of the community’s recreation committee, he made it a priority to get the project over the line. A grand opening for the new facility was held last May 26.

“That project is finished now, the residents who live in the area are happy, the town is happy and the Lions Club is happy. It’s a fantastic asset for our community,” Mr. Kidd said.

When asked what he believes to be the three key issues ahead of the upcoming election, Mr. Kidd answered fairly bluntly.

“There are three biggies for sure. Number one is sewer rates. That’s a drag on everyone’s wallets. I don’t really know what the answer is, but that’s something this next council is going to have to take care of,” Mr. Kidd said. “Number two is the swimming pool at Tony Rose. Are we, as a community, in a position to sink $2 million in to redo the place, or are we going to close it??

He added, “Then, the big one is the whole OPP vs OPS. Using Chief Kalinski’s own numbers, after taking into account different revenue streams from fines and other things, the Orangeville Police Service still costs us $8 million a year. There’s still $4.3 million in savings sat on the table.

“If I get re-elected, I could not predict, but I would hope that council would bring that issue back. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would certainly not have a problem putting a motion forward (seeking a new OPP costing). I would want to know there was somebody who would second that motion, but it’s certainly not something I would shy away from.”

If council as a whole doesn’t want to reopen the debate on the future of policing in the community, Mr. Kidd feels the only option members will have is to make cuts to some of its other services.

“There’s really only two ways to hit the budget – you either cut services or switch our policing model. If there’s another way of doing it, through four budgets, I haven’t seen it. We can pull $20,000 here, or $1,700 there, but to come up with hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of dollars in savings, it’s just not possible,” he said.

“Last year, my tax bill went up $116.89. Increases like that cannot continue. Nobody likes to talk about cutting services, but that’s the reality we’re facing. Something has to give.”

With the Labour Day long weekend now behind us, he said he will be entering campaign mode, once again promising to “be at every door in Orangeville”, just as he claims to have done ahead of the 2014 election.

“The people of Orangeville won’t elect anyone who isn’t as dedicated and hard-working as I am. I think the people see that. I try to attend as much as I can, I’m out and about in town and make myself available every day,” Mr. Kidd said. “If people want someone who really likes Orangeville, really wants Orangeville to get ahead, really wants to give the taxpayers of Orangeville a break – I’m the guy.”

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