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Courser hopes to 'get to the bottom of everything' on council

'City council needs to be part of the (housing) solution, but they can’t solve it. (They’re) not social workers and they need to work collaboratively,' says Amy Courser, who's running in Ward 4

Editor's note: BarrieToday is running profile stories on candidates for city council in each of the city's 10 wards. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can also find mayoral profiles and other election news. 

As one of only eight women running for Barrie city council in this year’s municipal election, Amy Courser hopes to bring a much-needed female voice to the chambers representing Ward 4.

The 51-year-old Barrie native says the idea of running for council first entered her mind about five years ago during a conversation with a friend, who is a professor of politics.

“We were chewing about how there are not enough women in politics and the impact that makes in our communities, our families and our world,” she told BarrieToday. “I quickly realized that I have the disposition, background and the skill set to become a really good community leader. It’s funny how women take a bit to realize that.”

Being one of only a handful of female candidates is definitely disappointing, she added. 

“I think that there’s something to be said about how difficult it is. I don’t think that’s the case for everyone, at least I am hopeful, but we need more women, especially on a municipal level because that’s where it really hits home,” she said. “These are the issues that affect our day-to-day lives like safe school zones.

"Unfortunately, it’s usually disproportionately women that end up having to do that run. Kids walking to school, accessible neighbourhoods… all of these things seem to disproportionately affect women so to have more women at the table to make decisions that affect them is important," Courser added. 

Having worked in a variety of different fields — from construction and assembly line to leading up an international marketing department — Courser believes her diverse background will serve as a definite strength should she be elected in October. 

“I am in a unique position. I can represent people from all walks of life. I have been a renter, I have been homeless. I have run the gamut of different life situations… and I have a diverse background that’s work related and that makes me uniquely qualified to represent people from all walks of life and to relate to them,” she said. “I am approachable and I think the fact that I have walked all of these different paths allows me to see things from different lenses.”

Courser says there are several key issues facing her north-end ward that she would like to address if elected, ranging from improving infrastructure to creating more accessible neighbourhoods. 

“The Sunnidale bridge is going to be out… and the actual congestion and amount of traffic in Ward 4 is challenging,” she said, noting accessible neighbourhoods and safe school zones are also top of mind for her. “People of all abilities should be able to access our parks and there are challenges to that right now.”

Homelessness is an issue that is on everybody’s plate, no matter where in the city they live, Courser noted.

“City council needs to be part of the solution, but they can’t solve it. (They’re) not social workers and they need to work collaboratively and with compassion with community partners — the people that are experts in this and figure out a way forward… and to make our community stronger for it.”

Courser described herself as “tenacious”, adding she always takes the time to research every topic, something she will continue to do if chosen to represent Ward 4.

“I need to get to the bottom of everything. I am like the toddler that always asks why,” she said. “I take an evidence-based approach to everything and I investigate everything and I need to have all the facts before I make a decision on something. We are coming out of COVID and there is a lot of healing that needs to happen in Barrie and I absolutely want to be part of that. I think I would be a great asset to that.” 

The municipal election is Oct. 24.