Boddy Throws Hat in Ring for Mayor’s Seat

Ian Boddy - Owen Sound Councillor

Ian Boddy – Owen Sound Councillor

A fifth generation Boddy born in North Grey, Ian was born and raised in Owen Sound and comes from a long line of independent businessmen.

A graduate of the University of Alberta and Western University’s Faculty of Law, he was called to the bar in 1993 and immediately moved home to Owen Sound to begin his legal practice.

He has been the Fundraising Chair for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, coached Minor Lacrosse, and sat on the Board of the Georgian Bay Folk Society for five years, two of which he served as President. More recently, he was Chair of the Sesquicentennial Homecoming Committee in 2007, and was elected to City Council in 2010.

Incumbent mayor Deborah Haswell is a 13-year council vetern. In 2010, she unseated rival candidate Ruth Lovell Stanners by a mere 41 votes. Ian Boddy announced he will run against Haswell and Lovell Stanners for the position of mayor.

Owen Sound’s future success depends on growth. We need population growth, job growth and tax assessment growth. Do you have any strategies prepared to encourage local economic growth? Which issue should this next term’s council give to more focus to: A) Bringing in new business developments, or B) encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

Owen Sound’s future success depends on growth. We need population growth, job growth and tax assessment growth. This growth will benefit local business who need buyers of their products as well as increase the City tax base. An increased tax base will spread the burden across more tax payers and ease the impact on each of us. The City cannot cut costs much further without eliminating services, nor can we continue to increase taxes. Doing either of these will harm our ability to retain and attract employers and jobs. We must make economic development part of everything we do at city hall.

We need to attract new business development and encourage our present businesses. Job growth comes mostly from established businesses that expand. As an example, we have hundreds of people operating small businesses in the information sector living in our community. They sell their product through a modem and choose to live where they have the best lifestyle, and earn relatively larger incomes. We need to work with all of our industries and help them expand and grow faster. They will provide jobs for our next generation.

At the same time, we also need to attract new residents and employers. Not only do they bring their disposable income to our local market, they also often bring jobs. Boomers tend to be re-treading, instead of retiring. They are consulting, starting new businesses and hiring others to work with them. We have a better lifestyle at a better cost than large Cities, and should be attractive to people migrating out.

I have a plan to help grow our economy. Parts of it focus on enhancing established business and parts aim for new business.

Other Ontario communities are facing the same challenges we are but are managing better and are experiencing higher growth. 1. Establish ‘Best Practices’ Strategy

Other Ontario communities are facing the same challenges we are but are managing better and are experiencing higher growth. We should not only look at what they are doing but also build partnerships with others to ensure we’re doing things the best way possible.

2. Re-Engage and Activate the Community

The City needs to be seen as a facilitator of services, not always as a provider. We need to engage and partner with others in the community who have expertise and fresh ideas. For example, the hospitality industry has a vested interest in promoting tourism. We all need to work together to move forward again.

3. Pursue Broadband Economies

We’re living in the Information Age. More and more Owen Sounders are working and making a good living in the Information Technology sector. Along with our college and private businesses, we must establish a Centre for Innovation and Creativity to further develop our local initiatives and technology industries. We need to secure high speed connections. Much of our industry relies on high quantities of data transfer and need to be able to do so faster. We must ensure higher data transfer rates as soon as possible for existing and future business growth.

4. Expand Health Sector

We have the desirable lifestyle and attributes to attract Boomers and the jobs that come with them. Our largest employer and the fastest job growth sector in Ontario is Health Services. We have a regional hospital and a college with health services programs. The City must seize this opportunity. A Health Services Mayor’s Round Table should be established to develop a plan to enhance this sector spurring development and job growth.

Owen Sound has untapped potential to attract new residents. 5. Attract New Residents

Owen Sound has untapped potential to attract new residents. Many will move here from within the region for services and cultural activities. We must also attract people leaving the large cities. A marketing strategy must be implemented to ensure we reach out to those people.

6. Celebrate our Community

We’re approaching 2017 when we will mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary and Owen Sound will turn 160. It will also mark the 100th Anniversary of Billy Bishop receiving the Victoria Cross and the 100th Anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death. And for a hiking trek, the Bruce Trail will turn 50 and will provide a great opportunity for regional cooperation and celebration. This will be a great opportunity to build a tourism legacy for Owen Sound that will benefit us in future years.

What do you see has been the largest challenge over the last 10 years, faced by business operators in your region?

Over the past 10 years, we have had limited growth which has reduced disposable income being spent in our local market. In addition, tax increases exceeded flat growth rates. Many of our manufacturing jobs were replaced by mechanization within the plants, and then lost altogether when industry left Canada. This has resulted in lower wages and loss of job security for many workers remaining. That resulted in lower disposable income available to spend in our community. As the economy has transitioned to the information age, we have lost a step to other cities in Ontario that recognized this change and were able to react faster.

Do you think local business taxes are at a fair rate, or should be lowered or raised? Should there be any changes in the municipal services provided to businesses, (such as garbage removal)?

The City was required to reduce the tax ratios for industry and commercial properties relative to residential rates over time when we rejoined the County. Since being elected to council, I have actively worked to accelerate the transition to reduce the tax burden for businesses sooner. Council has taken that step and as a result, some industrial and commercial land owners have seen a reduction in actual taxes paid. While we had a reputation of having some of the highest industrial and commercial ratios in the province, we will continue to edge closer to the bottom. This has already helped attract new development and will benefit all.

One Response

09.23.14

May I ask the importance of being a “fifth generation Boddy born in North Grey” ? Does this carry more weight than a first generation, or an immigrant? Many people have asked me this.

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