Gravenhurst has an exciting future, says Terry Pilger, and he wants to help lead the town toward that future.
“We are on the cusp of remarkable things in Gravenhurst, and we need the right kind of leadership from the mayor’s office,” he says.
After 26 years on municipal council – 17 of them at the District level – Terry is seeking the mayor’s job in this fall’s elections.
“I’ve had the privilege of working under five Gravenhurst mayors and three District chairs,” he says. “You learn something different from each one. They each had a different leadership style. I believe I can bring the council team together for the common good.”
When asked about his proudest achievements in the past quarter century on council, he points to his role in helping to bring recycling to Muskoka. “This was long before most other municipalities were doing anything close to that,” he says. He was also an early supporter of lake capacity studies, designed to protect vulnerable waterways from overdevelopment.
Being involved in developing the Muskoka Wharf was also a special achievement, as well as being part of the committee working on the Wharf Revitalization plan – an exciting next step that is resuming after being put on hold to respond to the pandemic.
There will be challenges ahead, including the growing gap between haves and have-nots, as well as the ongoing affordable housing issue. And inevitably, there will be unforeseen events, like the 2018 flooding. “We need our emergency preparedness to be top notch,” says Terry. “The town’s policies and procedures need to be clear and consistent to respond to whatever comes our way.”
There will be opportunities, like the return of train service, particularly since Gravenhurst still has its charming and historic train station. It and other unique cultural heritage features are both an asset and an opportunity for the town. “And we also need new, creative, economic initiatives for the post-pandemic world.”
The town needs enhanced communications on all fronts, particularly when it comes to planning processes. “It’s currently difficult for people to stay informed in a timely manner, and it shouldn’t be,” he says.
“I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I see so many things that can be improved, they just need a nudge and a tweak to make them better. I will be available and responsive, a mayor for the people.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN