Skip to content

Lewis wants to be the voice for all constituents at city hall

'I don’t agree with everything that’s happened here over the years, so I thought I would put in my two cents worth,' says Ward 4 candidate Michael Lewis

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. 

Michael Lewis wants to see Barrie reach its potential.

The 55-year-old Bell Canada employee, who has lived in the city for more than 40 years, told BarrieToday it was that love for the place he has called home that ultimately drove his decision to throw his hat in the ring and run for city council in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

“I don’t agree with everything that’s happened here over the years, so I thought I would put in my two cents worth,” said Lewis, who is running as a candidate for city council in Ward 4. “A lot of industry left town in the late '80s and early '90s from free trade and they really haven’t recuperated a lot since then. The last big one to leave was Molson and it just seems like there were a lot of good jobs that left with those companies.”

As a result of that, Lewis says Barrie ultimately became what is known as a “bedroom community”  meaning a suburb where a large percentage of residents commute outside of the community for work.

“Now we need to widen the highway to six lanes to accommodate all of the traffic going to the city because that’s where a good portion of residents work," he said. 

“I look at other cities like Mississauga, and they have a good core for manufacturing and a lot of (companies) there to employ a lot of people. Why can’t we entice some companies to come to Barrie again?”

In addition to attracting industry back to Barrie, Lewis believes this city needs to invest in additional housing options.

“I don’t think that single-family homes are the way to go. I think they need to put in a highrise here and there. … If they’re putting in four floors, why aren’t they looking at six floors? I understand the costs at this particular moment makes sense, but the city keeps growing… and the planning is just a little bit off.

"And I think we need to plan more for the future.”

In addition to being a longtime resident of Ward 4 in Barrie's north end, Lewis says his caring nature is what will make him a good representative at the council table.

“I care and I care about people. I remember growing up in Barrie and when I first came here I saw the slogan for the city (was) 'the people are the city.' I just don’t feel it’s like that anymore,” he said. “I look at the homeless people and I look at the addicts, and I look at people who are renting, and it seems to be that those people are not counted as citizens of Barrie.

“I feel that the people whose voices are being noted are the developers and the homeowners. I know they pay land taxes and such, but if I am a renter, I am still paying taxes because I am paying the owner of the property. Why do they not have a say at city hall? Where’s their influence?”

Lewis says having lived in Ward 4 for so long, and with no plans to go anywhere any time soon, he is invested in what happens there.

“I really care about what is going on here. I am looking forward to going out and talking to the residents and getting feedback from them as to how they want to be represented at city hall  and bring that to the table for them. I want to be a voice for them.”