Photo of Mayor AlcockAaniin, Bonjour, Hello and Welcome

I’d like to thank Chief Ted Williams for being with us today, and more importantly, for his words of inspiration. I know our previous mayor has established a truly heartfelt relationship with you, and it’s my hope we will continue this friendship.

Speaking of Mayor Terziano, thank you for all you have done to leave this town in excellent shape. I do hope to live up to the standard of excellence that you set…and to those councillors who will not be rejoining us for this next term, I extend a wholehearted thank you for all of your hard work as well.

Congratulations to all of my council colleagues --- I’m so excited and honoured to be sharing a table with you. And to those candidates who participated in this last election --- I congratulate all of you --- it was an incredible and challenging campaign, which made everyone who participated better for it.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone here today for sharing in this time-honoured tradition of swearing-in your new council --- we will all be certain of holding this trust with great pride and care.

I'm looking forward to building on the past achievements of the previous council.

We know we must continue to maintain our roads, manage our resources, and ensure our infrastructure is capable of handling new development … this all goes without saying.

In this election, however, it was also clear, that our community asked us to listen and act on issues with respect to inclusion, accessibility, equality and the basic essentials of life. It is imperative that we reflect the voices of our whole community and put their needs into action.

This election was different from any I had experienced. We found a more engaged community than ever before … when I started campaigning, I wondered if people would be hesitant about receiving strangers at their door given the devastating experience with the pandemic … however, what transpired during the campaign was truly remarkable .. I found people wanted to engage, share their stories, and let us know about their concerns for parents, grandparents, kids, friends and indeed the whole community … asking us how we were going to tackle the issues we collectively know are urgent. Every day I was inspired by these stories.

We, your Council, are your collective voice empowered to make decisions to reflect your interests and aspirations while making our community the symbol of enlightenment where no one is left behind and people have the opportunity to achieve.

Since election day I have met every member of our new council to understand how their priorities would align with mine .. these interactions were invaluable and indeed helped to shape what we can expect from our strategic direction for the next four years. What I know is we all listened to you and this is what we heard:

  • We need to be collaborative in our approach to addressing the issues raised by all of our residents.
  • We need to be inclusive in our decision-making.
  • We need to improve our active transportation and public transit networks here in Huntsville and between our sister communities.
  • We heard we need to finally get it right when it comes to providing the much needed new and alternative housing that we know is essential if our community is to remain vibrant, healthy and sustainable.
  • We heard our citizens are concerned about the climate crisis and want us to collaborate with all municipalities in Muskoka to keep our promises with respect to climate adaptation.
  • We heard that you want us to maintain and enhance our community recreational infrastructure to keep up with the demands of an ever-growing population, especially our growing seniors’ community.
  • We heard you want us to do everything we can to work with our youth, especially those whose needs are great and opportunities are few.
  • We heard about the shortages of doctors, nurses and other health practitioners – and this council will continue to work diligently with MAHC and all representatives of our health-care sector to address these shortages any way we can.
  • We heard that you love Huntsville deeply and are worried that development pressures may put too much strain on our natural resources --- and while most of you are not suggesting we stop this unparalleled growth, you want to know it will be done in a balanced way, knowing our precious resources, our lakes, forests and wetlands, will be preserved.

And finally, you want your council to communicate so you are aware of the progress we are making.

Over the next month, our council committee structure will be struck and opportunities for input will be established.

It’s all about engagement – we will start by creating several new committees focused on the delivery of our priorities and we will call upon community members to be part of this process.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say how fortunate we are to be supported by incredible staff who are ready to work with all of us to achieve our community’s vision …. we are one team all with a collective responsibility to serve you.

We will continue to strengthen our relationships with our amazing volunteer groups, service clubs, not-for-profit organizations, local businesses and faith-based organizations, always ready and willing to be included in making our community a better place to live.

To our municipal partners, we are ready to tackle those issues that we must face together such as the future of our environment, health-care and local economic development.

Finally, I would like to centre out my own family and very dear friends for keeping me humble and for your unwavering support throughout these past years ---- most recently through this incredible journey of becoming Huntsville’s next Mayor! I know that I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today without your endless love and all of your encouragement --- I am truly blessed.

We have a lot of work to do and it’s time to get started!

Thank you!