John Christie Looking to Return to Council

John Christie

John Christie

Tell us a little about your background and overall platform.

Four years ago, I thought I was retiring from Council permanently. However, I am compelled to try for a return now because I want to help restore openness, transparency, integrity and trust to the Corporation of the City of Owen Sound.

The next council will face many challenges, and the first step in meeting those is to turn the Corporate ship around. Lately it seems that good things still happen here, IN SPITE of Council. I want to help return us to the days when, at least sometimes, good things happen, in part, BECAUSE OF Council.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing business-owners in Grey-Bruce?

Issues facing Grey-Bruce business owners include:

  • A still-recovering economy.
  • High overhead costs, including labour, utilities and, yes, taxes.
  • Difficulty identifying “niche markets”, and duplication of what already exists. (Do we really need any more Pizza places?).
  • In our downtown, there is a lack of consistency in store hours.
  • Competition from “Big Box” stores.
  • Transportation and Communication shortfalls. There is virtually no public transportation between communities in the region to bring car-less people in and fulfil our role as a regional centre. The lack of rail access to the area rules us out of certain mid-size and larger industrial development. Our WiFi coverage needs upgrades. We are not close to a four-lane highway, so we need to push for an extension of the 410 into the region. And, we need to get the harbour dredged, and maximize our potential as a commercial marine port.

What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

I see Council’s role in stimulating economic growth as a “facilitator”. We need to put as many planks in place as possible to ensure we attract business of all sizes, and encourage development.

The “openness” I mentioned before is an important part of this. I am hearing, for example, that developers and people who would create new business here find our municipal beaucracy difficult to deal with. We need to change that culture.

Openness also applies to new ideas and concepts. We need to “pick the brains” of our more successful businesspeople, find out what we’re doing right, and discover what we might improve. I see all of this as more of a team approach than a personal one.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on bringing in new business developments, or encouraging small businesses presently in operations?


Do you think local business taxes are should be increased, decreased or maintained at current levels?

In a perfect world, we would all pay lower taxes tomorrow. It is Council’s job, for now, to keep taxes within reason, and to provide value for money in terms of services offered.

In the longer range, there are already initiatives in place to gradually even out business and residential taxes, and this trend should continue. We need to work towards the day when we can all get a break on our taxes through the attraction of new business and development, which will result in new revenue.

Should there be any changes in the services offered to local businesses?

Yes, and the changes should involve eliminating the red tape which seems to frustrate so many in working with the City of Owen Sound.

I myself encountered difficulties in trying to construct a new lawn shed last year. If I found the process that difficult for something so simple, what in the world happens with those who have more involved and detailed plans?

May I also add that I have established a new, small business of my own, and have obtained a Home Occupation Business Licence. Let’s wish each other good luck and good management in our endeavours.

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A seminar series at The Technology Centre. Spend 45 minutes gaining new knowledge and skills for success and satisfaction in any area of your business or personal life. Bring your lunch, have coffee or tea on us. 12:00 – 1:00 alternating Wednesdays. Visit for more info.
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Phone: 519 371 7464
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Address: 954 1st Ave W.
Owen Sound, ON CAN N4K 4K5

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