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Harvey seeking re-election in Ward 7, hoping for more cohesion

'We (the last council) were sidetracked by a few sideshows that in my opinion should not have occurred,' said Gary Harvey
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Gary Harvey is running for re-election in Barrie's Ward 7.

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. 

Gary Harvey is looking forward to changes the Oct. 24 Barrie election will bring to city council.

The incumbent Ward 7 councillor also hopes the new council works better, and together.

“Change is always good. It brings new and fresh ideas to the table,” said Harvey, 53, who’s in law enforcement. “And I hope this council can work a lot more cohesively and stay in line with what our strategic priorities are that we identify at the beginning of this council term. 

“We (the last council) were sidetracked by a few sideshows that in my opinion should not have occurred. And it really detracted and slowed us down from being able to work for the betterment of the city.”

Barrie will have a new mayor for 2022-2026, as Jeff Lehman isn’t seeking reelection after almost 12 years in the position, while Natalie Harris isn’t running for re-election in Ward 6 and Keenan Aylwin hasn’t filed his nomination papers in Ward 2.

Deputy Mayor and long-time Ward 4 Coun. Barrie Ward is running for mayor, as is Ward 10 Coun. Mike McCann, along with Alex Nuttall, Rob Haverson, Gerry Marshall and Andrew Gordon.

Harvey said keeping annual property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation is one of his priorities, as is infrastructure to facilitate the growth Barrie has coming.

In the south end, that means completing infrastructure so the Salem land can be developed, getting the big sewage pipe across from the east side of the highway into Salem, so its second, third and fourth phases can continue to be built, Harvey said.

“Because in the interim, the two developers in phase one are spending…it’s like $7.4 million on a temporary pumping solution so that they could start building phase one now, as opposed to waiting seven years for this pipe to be completed,” he said.

And there’s no end to services and facilities residents want.

“Now that we’ve got the Holly Community Library opened up, I’ve already had people as recently as (Aug. 8) asking for a splash pad in the area, so it’s definitely something that we need to revisit,” Harvey said.

The idea received attention in 2019 through the city’s on-line suggestion portal. As soon as any suggestions from the public reach 500 names, a memo comes to council, which must then decide what to do with the request.

Harvey said city staff looked at Peggy Hill Team Community Centre, but it proved costly because of the need to build separate change rooms and bathrooms, and the potential for slip and falls.

Harvey, a first-term councillor, is currently running unopposed in Ward 7.

Nominations close Aug. 19 for the Oct. 24 city election.