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Ward 8 incumbent Jim Harris eyeing return trip to council

'Allandale was born through transit, through the rail, and there’s cautious optimism it could be revived,' says Jim Harris
Jim Harris is running for re-election in Barrie's Ward 8.

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. 

Jim Harris wants to take the message from Ward 8 residents straight to the next Barrie city council.

“You gather a lot of information when you campaign, you go door-to-door,” said Harris, 57, who’s running for re-election Oct. 24.

“That’s really the best part of the campaign is the learning,” he added. “It’s listening, so as we (council) have that strategic planning session we’re able to bring the voice of our constituents. I see that really as the first big step, a plan that will be guiding our work in the next four years.”

A health-care planner by profession, Harris is seeking his second term in Ward 8 and says his first priority would be a basic one.

“The first effort will be developing relationships with new council members,” he said. “We’re going to have a new mayor and at the very minimum, four new councillors.

“So certainly as Ward 8 representative, I need to work with the other councillors to ensure that we’re working co-operatively and collaboratively together. And that will allow us to work on the issues that are important to Ward 8," Harris added. 

And there’s no shortage of projects coming down the pipe in Ward 8.

The Allandale transit mobility hub, for example, to be located at 20 Essa Rd., is to provide inter-regional service, seamless transit connections between Simcoe County, Muskoka and the Greater Toronto Area and be integrated with two-way GO train services, located at the Allandale Waterfront GO station.

“Allandale was born through transit, through the rail, and there’s cautious optimism it could be revived,” Harris said. “But it has to be done thoughtfully and, obviously, collectively with citizens to see that it works for everybody.”

And not unlike most parts of Barrie, dense residential development is being planned in Ward 8 — in the form of six largely residential towers, with more than 1,800 combined units, in the Innisfil Street, Essa Road, Jacob’s Terrace area of central Barrie.

But moving off the Essa Road corridor, roads and the safety of neighbourhoods are a priority to Harris.

He would like to increase the options for traffic calming, noting Ward 8 has eight temporary speed cushions that can be relocated, according to need, an extra one shared with Ward 10 and now has four speed radar boards, along with permanent speed cushions, adding ones near Shear Park and Sheppards Park.

“I would like to see us invest in more permanent speed cushions — they have really been well received by residents in those areas — and also invest in other methods of traffic calming,” Harris said.

Like most candidates, he’s also stressing the need for more affordable housing.

“We do have a affordable housing task force, we need to focus on the items from that report and also improve our relationships with the provincial and federal levels of government and the County (of Simcoe), to make sure Barrie receives its share of funding from those levels of government, to address our significant concerns with both the cost of rental housing and the cost of purchasing housing,” he said.

Harris said the range of affordable housing concerns is long, from young people trying to find housing to seniors trying to downsize, affordably.

And there will be new leadership on Barrie’s next council.

“Obviously, it’s a big change in our city that Mayor (Jeff) Lehman is moving on, but I’m confident with our current candidates we have a selection of individuals who bring a lot of experience in municipal and other levels of politics, and in the city of Barrie,” he said, “so I’m confident that the next term of council will have a mayor that brings a great deal of experience, understanding of our city, issues and our residents.”

Harris is being challenged in Ward 8 by John Webb.

For more information on the city election, visit