Prepared to Make Difficult Decisions (NG Times – Oct. 22, 2014)

My name is John Barclay, I live in Oxford Mills and I understand the economic and social realities of North Grenville.

We need to maintain our infrastructure and manage growth. I’m prepared to make the difficult decisions over the next four critical years to prioritize our investments so that we are balanced in our spending but can maintain, if not expand, our services in the face of declining grants from the Province. I promise to make those decisions based on facts and evidence instead of ideology and through community engagement find the best “Made in North Grenville” solutions. My professional life has been spent producing effective communications so I’m confident I’ll be able to clearly inform and engage citizens as tough decisions are made.

One of the themes of my campaign for Mayor is building community to strengthen the ties that bind us both literally and figuratively. As a community we need more places and events to meet our neighbours and form the connections that create a dynamic, safe and friendly community. Council must work with and support community groups to find creative and sustainable solutions for new recreational opportunities as participation and demand surpass our current capacity. Building physical connections such as sidewalks, trails and bike lanes will allow for more opportunities to connect citizens and ensure safety and security. I will ensure the Municipality plays a leading role within the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in the creation of a coordinated rural transportation network in order to literally bring us together and help us get things done. Whether it’s a commuter connecting more easily to the OC Transpo network, a senior getting to the doctor’s office or the Library, a youth who wants to attend a program at the Youth Centre, someone who wants to get to a local job but can’t afford to run a car or simply a young family that doesn’t want to own a second car, this transportation network will benefit us all.

As Mayor, I want to focus on helping create well-paid meaningful work for residents right here in North Grenville. The more people work here, the stronger our local economy will be. I will be working to create the conditions to foster local business expansion.   As a rural resident, I understand that agriculture is currently the largest sector of our local economy, and I will work hard to support it through the expansion of local food initiatives and the retention of Kemptville College, our premiere agricultural education facility.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 30 years; building an award winning educational film company that has raised both private and public investments to create effective media. I’ve been through the ups and downs in the economy and have come out on the other side. I’ve learned that you absolutely need to save money for a rainy day while at the same time identifying the right time to invest and seize the opportunities to collaborate with others. As a small businessman, I’m naturally fiscally conservative and very strategic in my spending. Last year I worked closely with the merchants of Old Town Kemptville, as their BIA Coordinator, to promote downtown at a critical time during road and bridge closures. I’m currently working with the Beveridge family to re-develop the former Giant Tiger building and surrounding parking lot as a new commercial and social hub in Old Town. Finally, I’ve recently been nominated for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Bill Thake Memorial Award, given for Economic Development Leadership.

My track record of work with many diverse groups in North Grenville has made me sensitive to the needs of both youth and seniors. I clearly understand the tremendous value of our history and heritage and our leading role in the agricultural sector. My experiences in North Grenville have made me a champion of the local food movement and a firm believer of the economic benefits of shopping locally as much as possible. I’ve developed relationships with many people and gained an understanding of the different and often conflicting interests in North Grenville. It’s led me to believe you can’t have social development without economic development and that you shouldn’t have economic development without social development.

People recognize me as someone who can listen to often competing or conflicting interests and help groups of individuals to work as a team to resolve their differences. I’m engaged in the issues. I’m always prepared to ask the right questions and to press for satisfactory answers. I want to bring my experience and skills to the role of Mayor. I need your vote to make that happen. Vote John Barclay for Mayor. Thank you.

52 Weeks in North Grenville – Meet the Candidate: John Barclay

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52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

John Barclay: Besides seeing the stars at night, I love the independence, self-reliance and generous spirit of the people who call North Grenville home. I love Carey’s handshake, Fran’s smile and the way Jim sighs when he’s a bit frustrated.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

John Barclay: Not so much hidden, as under-utilized – Maplewood Park, Maplewood Hall and the former Oxford-on-Rideau Township Hall. They are all historic “jewels” located in Oxford Mills, the heart (and soul) of North Grenville.

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52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

John Barclay: The issues I’d like to tackle are:

  • How do we best to handle growth while maintaining a strong sense of community?
  • How do we improve fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency?
  • How can we have a stronger voice at County Council and at the other levels of government in Toronto and Ottawa?
  • How can we implement the 2013 Community Strategic Plan more effectively and on a faster timeline?
  • Finally, how do we improve job opportunities and recreational options for North Grenville’s many young families? ?

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52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

John Barclay: How else do you earn the right to complain?

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

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John Barclay: Sailing, vegetable gardening (beets for pickling), reading (non-fiction mostly) and building community through volunteering.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

John Barclay: I’m the Producer of “Resolving Conflict Creatively” an educational video series on conflict resolution that has been acclaimed and sold worldwide to schools, libraries, college and community centres. One popular episode entitled “Healing Circles” is used as an Anti-Bullying Resource.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

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John Barclay:  Economic development and social development are inextricably linked together. We need to strengthen the ties that bind us together including an appreciation and respect for nature, an interest in growing local business opportunities and support for our volunteer organizations and faith communities. I understand the economic and political realities of North Grenville – we need to maintain our infrastructure and manage growth. I’m prepared to make the difficult decisions that need to be made over the next four critical years and to communicate effectively the reasons why. I will be an effective voice for North Grenville at both the County and at Federal and Provincial levels of government.

Opening Remarks – First All Candidates Meeting (October 7, 2014)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the 2014 North Grenville Municipal Elections.

My name is John Barclay, I’m 58 years old and I live in Oxford Mills. I want to live in a community where reasonable people can get together, discuss things, work them out and get things done.

Before I go on, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the organizers, Wendy Chapman and the Chamber of Commerce and the other candidates up here with me – I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with each and everyone of them. Whether they are relatively new to the community or long time residents of North Grenville, they’re demonstrating great dedication to the community, as well as personal courage, in running for office. No matter what the results of the election are, we’re lucky to have people like these in our community (pause)

We need a Mayor who is engaged in the issues. We need a Mayor prepared to ask the right questions and to press for satisfactory answers. We need a stronger voice at the County, Provincial and Federal level. We need a Mayor with a proven track record of bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and interests to make great things happen.

One of the themes of my campaign is building community, strengthening the ties that bind us both literally and figuratively. As a community we need more places and events to interact and form the connections that create community cohesion and a feeling of interdependence. Along with building these opportunities, it is essential that we build physical connections, too – roads, sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes. For example, supporting a coordinated rural transportation network would be one way to literally bring us together and to help us get things done.

I will be focused during my term to ensure growth is smart and sustainable. To achieve this we need to effectively implement the Community Strategic Plan, in order to accommodate growth while maintaining the small town, rural charm of North Grenville. We need to support the expansion of local businesses, local food initiatives and agricultural education in order to achieve economic and environmental self-sustainability.

Another theme of my campaign is accountability and transparency. Consultation and effective communication with citizens must be paramount in the day-to-day operations of Council. I’ll promise to make decisions based on facts and evidence instead of ideology.

Ultimately, people recognize me as someone who listens. I’m approachable. I make decisions based on what’s best for the community. I have a proven track record for working effectively within a group to find the best ideas. I want to bring these skills to the role of Mayor. I need your vote to make that happen. Thank you.