Dave Lewington says his campaign is going better than he expected.
He says coming into the race, he felt like he was the lesser-known candidate.
“I was expecting to hear a few stories from a few people,” he says. “But the amount of people that have reached out and asked me to visit them and trusted me with their stories has blown me away.”
During the campaign trail, he says he’s heard various concerns, but some stand out.
“I’m hearing from people about the fiasco at times that was enveloping the previous council. Folks want to be assured it won’t happen again,” he says. “They want to see people be able to respect each other a little bit, even if they don’t always agree.”
Lewington adds another topic he hears about is affordability, and “an ever-increasing tax rate”
“What we often forget about as politicians is almost every request we have to spend money [îs a good one]. Every cause is a good cause. But we forget that we have to actually take money from somebody in the first place in order to be able to spend it. What I feel sets myself apart a little bit is I’m saying as a council, [if elected] I would urge the team to make sure we don’t forget that,” he says. “That we always have to take before we spend. And we’re not really doing anyone any favours if we bury our heads in the sand and we forget that aspect. It’s just as compassionate to make tough decisions as a council to not spend money, so we can allow a senior for example to stay in their home just a little longer, instead of being the straw that broke the camel’s back by causing yet another increase in their cost of living by increasing the tax on their property.”
Lewington says if elected he would remind councillors to be ever respectful of the taxpayers.
When it comes to building consensus around the table, he says that’s very difficult at times.
“We have a system where we bring forward motions, they’re seconded, they’re discussed and debated and then voted on. Ideally, in a perfect world, we would be able to get everybody to first agree. “Unfortunately,” he says, “as we all know, everything is not always unicorns and rainbows.”
Lewington says when it comes to issues that councillors don’t agree on, it’s important to remember the system and follow it closely. “When we debate, we need to debate respectfully and not make it personal. we focus on the issues.”
Lewington says the next council will have a good tool when they receive the report from the ministry on how policies and procedures weren’t followed.
“I think it’s going to be really important for the next council to dig into that report, find out what went wrong, make sure we don’t just move forward and pretend everything in the past was fine. we need to learn from our mistakes, and we need to be as aware as we possibly can be of that, and provide a better example moving forward.”