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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Underdog hoping to upset Grossi

Mayoral candidate Peter Juras is hoping for a major upset over incumbent Rob Grossi that will vault him into the mayor's chair.
The first-time candidate will square off against Georgina's longest-serving mayor, who was first elected as a councillor in 1991, then capturing the mayor's chair in 1994. Mr. Grossi's only defeat was six years ago to Jeff Holec, in a nailbiter that ended in a recount.

"The next four years are going to be crucial for Georgina. We have many projects coming to fruition that we need to see through, like the Craft (Wal-Mart) development, Crate's Landing and Crates Harbour, creating partnerships for the Keswick business park, the Shouldice development proposal," Mr. Grossi, 53, said.

"I've got the experience to deal with issues like that and those at the region," he said, adding he has built valuable relationships with his provincial counterparts as well in helping to push the Hwy. 404 extension funding announcement. He also wants to bring environmental issues to the forefront. "We are at a crossroads now," he said. Mr. Grossi and his wife, Carolyn, have two daughters, Jaclyn, 11, and Madelyn, 4.

Mr. Juras' goals include working towards having a 24-hour medical facility capable of emergency room assistance, supporting the Georgina Trades and Training Institute and introducing an energy efficiency solution to the town.

"One of the issues that I feel is important to our town is growth. I would like to see a more balanced approach to growth that includes not only housing, but commercial and industrial growth, which will bring jobs and keep our taxes affordable," Mr. Juras, a 36-year-old contractor, said.

Developers should be encouraged to provide environmentally sustainable growth. "A steady pace of growth year after year is my goal, not overwhelming rampant development. I will also consult the public before considering any bylaws, allowing public monies to be spent."

Mr. Juras and his wife, Niki, have four children: Simon, 7, Hope, 6, Salome, 4, and Lily, 3. They moved to Georgina in 2003.


Deputy-Mayor Danny Wheeler will have the rare opportunity to do some campaigning for the upcoming municipal elections. Traditionally acclaimed to the seat, Mr. Wheeler, the longest-serving member on Georgina council (first elected in 1982 as a councillor), will battle it out with political newcomer Bob Cameron, 51, of Keswick.

Mr. Wheeler, also serves as vice-chairperson of the York Regional Police Services Board -- the first Georgina resident to serve on the board. Mr. Wheeler, who declined to reveal his age, said he's happy to be back on the campaign trail for the first time since he swept aside a challenge from businessman Barry Dell in 2000.

"I have played a major role in the progress of Georgina during the last 24 years and want to ensure the quality of life we all enjoy is continually being improved through initiatives such as the business park, Hwy. 404 and keeping taxes under control," he said. Mr. Wheeler is married to Fran, a nurse.

Mr. Cameron is a financial adviser who has lived in Georgina since 1989.

"I want to bring a stronger voice to council from Georgina," he said. "We have to get more from this position so that Georgina, in the growing years to come, will get a fair share of what are going to be the major issues." Those issues include making the Hwy. 404 extension a priority instead of a new subway connection in Vaughan, more and better infrastructure, increasing the industrial tax base, protecting the Lake Simcoe watershed environment and attracting more doctors. "There are ways around this problem that no one is looking at," he said.

As deputy-mayor, "I would hope to be useful in getting better communications between the residents and council. There seems to be a disconnect between the time residents find out about an issue and the time when council makes any decisions. So I would hope I could change that in some way," he said.

Mr. Cameron and his wife, Teresa, have one daughter, 28.


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