Jeremy D. Williams – Mayoral Candidate Town of Orangeville
How long have you been an Orangeville Resident?
I grew up just outside of Orangeville in the Hockley Valley and I have considered orangeville my hometown since 1979. I have lived within the town proper since 1992
What would you change and/or improve in Orangeville?
Orangeville consists of many things. There is the geography, the people, the built assets, and the municipal government. The first two I wouldn’t change at all. The second, the built assets, are constantly in a state of flux and have continued to change over time. For the most part that change has brought good things. New parks, better shopping and retail experiences.
We have over the years fought hard to protect and preserve our heritage areas. That fight continues. We have done extremely well for a town of our size. Making sure we don’t become a suburb of the city and that we retain our unique small-town feel will be something we will need to continue working towards.
One thing that I would like to see developed is a town square. I feel strongly that Orangeville will be here for a long time. Like our forefathers before us that built a town hall that has served us for over a hundred years, we should plan and think in centuries, not years. I proposed having a town square built in our downtown core a few years ago to our council. We currently own land north of town hall that could be added to Alexandra Park. Closing the streets adjoining those two areas and adding them as well, could provide a proper area downtown to have events like the Blues and Jazz, farmer’s market, Classic Chrome car shows and many more. It is the one piece missing for a town of our size. We currently close off those streets for events and they are not critical to the movement of traffic. For the surrounding area it would serve to calm traffic as an added benefit. The present council did back the plan at first, but got cold feet once preliminary figures came in. Again, our town will be here for a long time. We need to understand that and plan accordingly. Let’s do the things now that will make our town’s future even brighter.
As for our municipal government, the previous council just didn’t seem ready to make the kinds of changes that I feel we must make. In every sector of the world’s economy but one, technology, automation, AI and modern management techniques have been used to improve economy, efficiency and quality. Government alone has been relatively untouched. There are reasons government has lagged. But those reasons sound more and more like excuses to save government jobs the more you dig. With a forward thinking and cooperative council, we could do some truly innovative and creative things to bring municipal government in to the modern world.
If you were to receive a million dollar grant for the Town of Orangeville, what would you do with it and why?
A million dollars isn’t very much in the scheme of things. If it was to be treated as ‘found money’ than I would want part used to build a proper town square and the rest put in to roads and sidewalks.
What is your favourite place in Orangeville and why?
Easiest question I’ve been asked in this election! My backyard. The trees make it peaceful and tranquil. It’s a great place to just gaze at the nature around me. Throw a ball to Tipper our dog, have a BBQ or eat a meal with my family on our patio.
Born in Toronto, I grew up in the nearby Hockley Valley, moving to Orangeville proper in 1992. Educated at the University of Waterloo where in 1986 I met my future wife Donna. We have four amazing kids, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and Kathleen. I’ve been in business for myself most of my life, following in the footsteps of my father. I run an asset management company, which owns and oversees property throughout Orangeville. I enjoy spending time with my family and in the winter months can be found most weekends at a hockey arena as I’m on the bench for my son’s hockey team. In the summer I coach soccer and formed the Rattlers special needs soccer program in 2005.
My father Stewart Williams served on nearby Adjala council for many years, allowing me an ‘inside’ view of how councils work long before I was elected.
My mom is a senior who lives in Orangeville, making me familiar with the needs of seniors. My eldest son is special needs, which gives me a unique perspective on what families with special needs members have to deal with on a daily basis.
As councillor I served on 11 committees, chaired 8 and was vice chair of our Parks and Recreation committee. I helped to bring back Crime Stopper’s to Dufferin County, build Orangeville’s ‘Communities in Bloom’ and led the creation of this area’s first Sports Council. I serve on the board of directors for Orangeville Hydro as one of two voting members and I’m president of ORDC, Orangeville’s 54km railway. As mayor, I represent our town at the County level as a councillor for the County of Dufferin. As chair of the Orangeville Police Service Board I oversaw the transition away from the former adversarial relationship with the Police Association into one where we work together to build the best Police service in the province.
As former chair of Orangeville’s trail committee, I supported needed expansion with access to 6.6kms of Island Lake trails and over 1,000 metres of new trail within Orangeville. 2 vital bridge links were also completed. Amelia to ODSS and Victor Large area to Maywood park. I’m especially proud of Orangeville’s adoption of a 5 year future budget plan, a first in the county of Dufferin and something I have pushed for since the last election. Our budget has been essentially frozen at zero percent annual real growth after inflation and assessment growth, providing residents with stability and a no-surprises budgeting process. Orangeville’s finances have also been turned around with a strong year to year growth of our reserves and the elimination of decades of accumulated deficits. Our transit system has grown into one that provides residents efficient transportation, with two new full size buses added to provide the first two-way bus service along Broadway.
But more than anything, I’m committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard to make Orangeville better and keeping taxes under control. That means being here and putting in the hours. I’ve been here full time for our citizens since the first day I took the oath of office in 2010 as your councillor. With your continued support, I’ll continue to be just as committed and hard working being your mayor.
If you haven’t been to Orangeville, I encourage you to drop by. If you have visited, I hope you’ll be back soon!
Facebook: Jeremy D Williams