Oct 15, 2014
Gerald Bray – a new broom
Gerald Bray has been a full-time resident of Addington Highlands for two years, but he first started visiting the township back in 1967, and has been visiting a family cottage in the township ever since.
He was a group leader at General Motors in Oshawa and when he retired after 30 years, he purchased a home on Highway 41 and the Mississippi River, where he has lived with his wife since 2012.
One of the skills he brought to Addington Highlands was that of fund raising, which he developed as a United Way volunteer at GM.
“We raised over $500,000, through the United Way, for Sick Children’s Hospital in just a few years,” he said.
Since moving to the township he has been involved in fund raising for the Flinton Library and the Land O'Lakes Community Services Food Bank as well.
“I've always been involved in the communities where I live,” he said. “I love this area and I’d love to see things done to improve it so I feel I have to dig in and do some of it myself.”
While living near Oshawa, he was active in local politics in the village of Solina, in the Township of Clarington, where he served on the community and park boards.
One of his concerns is with the state of the waste sites in Addington Highlands.
“I think the Mackavoy and Vennachar sites could be closed, and the Denbigh site re-opened as a state of the art site with a hazardous Waste Depot and other features, and we should keep up and upgrade the site at Kaladar,” he said.
He is also concerned about the disconnect between the township and its residents on Weslemkoon Lake, and thinks building a new road might be a solution.
“There is no road to the south shore of Ashby Lake, and if one were built and eventually extended to Weslemkoon - it would be a 5 or 10-year project for sure - that would be good for the people on the lake and the township as a whole,” he said.
He said that the township has been running on “an even keel” as far as he can tell, “but it is time for a new spark, some new enthusiasm,” and that's what he intends to bring to Council.
“It's more than just council, I want to be there for the people. A lot of my work is foot work, getting out with the seniors, working with the food bank, hearing people's concerns. If we need something like a toy mountain for kids to have Christmas presents, I would jump into that. I would get to know the people better and make a difference,” he said.
He also would like to promote more community involvement and economic development, perhaps by bringing more festivals to the township.
“I have talked to a number of families who think we need a boost in that way, and a way to bring up the summer season even more,” he said.
He is aware that he is new to local politics and is facing a long-term incumbent. He said he would have sought a deputy reeve position first if that were a stand-alone position in the township, but said that he is bringing a fresh way to look at budget problems and township services that residents deserve a chance to consider.
“There are possibilities to promote ourselves, and promote our township that have not been explored. I'd like to see us do that,” he said.