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Kungl taking aim at a second term as Ward 3 city councillor

'I care deeply about opportunities around supporting individuals to live well, and doing that through helping to make good decisions on how we grow,' says Ann-Marie Kungl

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. 

Ann-Marie Kungl is not planning to rest on her laurels if she’s elected for a second term to Barrie’s city council.

Kungl joined council in March 2020, after winning a by-election made necessary following the resignation of Ward 3 councillor Doug Shipley, who was elected as Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP in the fall 2019 federal election. She won the byelection with 542 votes, or 29.4 per cent of the ballots cast.

The 44-year-old health-consultant — who spends a lot of time working with and supporting a variety of not-for-profit organizations — has lived in the city for nearly 20 years, and told BarrieToday she’s thoroughly enjoyed her municipal service to date.

“Somebody new enters my life on a weekly basis. I am still learning and growing in this role, but I care deeply about opportunities around supporting individuals to live well, and doing that through helping to make good decisions on how we grow as a city, what services we offer (and) being an effective voice for residents (by) sharing what matters to them,” she said. “I think I have done a good job and hope that people feel well represented by me."

Being a first-time councillor during a pandemic was a “unique experience,” she acknowledged, adding she’s looking forward to what can be done and achieved in the next term of council to continue on some of the work and key initiatives they started.

Affordable housing is one area Kungl said she believes council has the opportunity to make a positive impact.

“Knowing that really involves Simcoe County as a housing provider and around social services and social housing, but also around our role to facilitate and advocate for ways in which we as a municipality can facilitate good development (that) supports individuals from low to medium incomes," she explained.

During her tenure, Kungl was a part of the city’s Affordable Housing Task Group/Force, and said she’s excited to hear back from staff about the strategies that will be coming forward.

“I would like to continue to champion that work and make sure it falls into the strategies of the next council and see where we can continue to play a role,” she said, adding she has been the city’s representative at county council’s committee of the whole and sits on the affordable housing committee there as well.

“I am able to highlight what we’re doing in Barrie, the pressures we are seeing here and the ways in which we can get some attention to the needs of individuals that are underhoused," she said of her role at the county.

Issues around infrastructure also need to be addressed by city council, she said.

“It is about being mindful around how far our dollars can go, where we are directing them and our capital. We know there are major pressures and it’s about balance,” she said. “I think we’ve done a good job keeping taxes reasonable coming through a pandemic… but continuing to support funds that actually go towards infrastructure - maintaining the roads, repairing the roads and also making sure we’ve got a connected network of infrastructure.”

With a background in public health and communications, Kungl said she’s able to use her experience to help connect residents and build more resident engagement and interest in the work that is done at a council level and also ensuring that their ideas are heard.

“This time around, they’re getting an experienced councillor. Over the last three years, I have learned and grown into the role (and) I have been able to support some initiatives across the city,” she said. “I think I have been effective and continue to really care about decisions being made at that table and the best interest of the city.”