Dunn would focus on improving ‘core’ city services if elected mayor

If necessary, cost savings will come from libraries, parks, and recreation

By Kirk Winter

Pat Dunn.

If elected mayor, four-term councillor Pat Dunn says he has a plan for Kawartha Lakes that prioritizes core city services. He also wants to spearhead talks with the province to bring Metrolinx services to the city.

When asked why he wanted to be mayor in a telephone interview with The Advocate, Dunn said he likes “helping people out.”

“I still feeI I have a lot to offer. We as a council have gotten a lot done. We have many major developments in the works.”

When asked to comment on how council might operate differently under his leadership, the Lindsay-area councillor offered a couple of possibilities.

“As a council we will meet at least one more time a month. We need to better advance the agenda of our constituents. In the next four years, leadership will be required to achieve our goals. I hate that everything is a 5-4 vote. I want to see a council that looks for consensus and I am confident that with some of the people who are running for council that we can put together an awesome team.”

Dunn’s platform will focus on “core issues” for the first four years with priority given to roads, fire, policing, ambulance services, solid waste disposal and water/waste water improvements.

“I am concerned about tax increases,” Dunn said. “Our debt is very concerning. If necessary, we will have to find savings in ‘soft services’ like parks, recreation and libraries.”

“I also think it is time to take another shot at a GO train connection for the city,” Dunn added. “The premier told us at a meeting of municipal leaders that he wants to expand the service. I also want to see a second bridge in Fenelon Falls before we build a third one in Lindsay, and we need to move forward and complete the Coboconk Medical Centre.”

Dunn was asked as mayor how he would address the shortage of skilled city employees, like planners, that the city has been unable to recruit.

“We need to better sell to new staff a lifestyle they can’t find in the big cities,” Dunn said. “In some cases we are just going to have to pay more. We should also look to private industry to see how we can be more innovative in supplying services. We want to create a solid, committed workforce.”

When asked where he was in his campaign for mayor, Dunn suggested he is really just getting his team together, picking up his signs and printing his brochures.

“I have been trying to attend every function that I can,” Dunn said. “When I campaigned in Ward 5, I knocked on every door I could. That won’t happen this election. I will be mailing a copy of my platform to every voter. We will be focusing on the larger communities like Lindsay, Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon but I also have invitations from places like Sonya and Dalrymple where local folks have offered to campaign with me.”

Dunn was asked to comment on the changes he has seen in his almost two decades in municipal politics.

“When I was a Ward 10 councillor you used to get one to two calls a day from constituents. Mostly they were pretty nice calls. Now I get five to seven calls a day and 50 per cent are angry calls. If you disagree with the caller they get even angrier. Social media has made it even worse. People like to complain but have few solutions to fix the problems they call about.”

Dunn is very impressed with the quality of candidates running in his old ward.

“There is a really good list of people who have come forward. There are two to three of them that will do wonderful jobs. I won’t be campaigning for any of them because regardless of who wins I will have to work with everyone.”

When asked if he is concerned about both he and fellow conservative Bill Denby competing for the same voters, Dunn brushed this aside, saying he doesn’t think vote splitting on the political right will have much impact on the campaign.


  1. Liam C says:

    Libraries, parks and recreation are a big part of livable towns and cities. People who think these things are extras should reconsider.

  2. BILL DENBY says:

    i was shocked but not surprised that Mr. Dunn thinks he can attack our Libraries, Parks & Recreation on funding, they are the Back bone in any Community! If anything we need to Partner with the People to give back control of these great places that build our Communities! They should never have been taken away from the People & the Communities that paid to Build them! It is like all our Arena’s, Ball Fields across the City, they all need to be turned back to the Communities to operate! These are the very Places that Build & make our Communities whole & grow! I can make this Promise to all the Voters that if Elected your Mayor, all these Facilities will not Close, be neglected again on my WATCH!! I believe that by taking away Control of these Facilities as destroyed a lot of the Community Spirit, I will offer Back Control of all Libraries, Parks, Recreation Facilities to the People In each of the Wards across the City if they want to run them again in partnership with the City! We have to do things different if we are going to Build the City everyone wants & deserves! That is Why I am the Best Choice for Mayor! Together we will decide what we would like to do in these areas across The City, it is our responsibility as Council to help provide the Funds to make these places viable for everyone to enjoy! I am the only one with a Solid Plan that can deliver what the People expect from City Hall & their Tax Dollars! Mayor William J Denby Elect Thank you!

    • JM says:

      You sir are not fit for office. It was just a short while ago that your home/business on hwy 35 was littered with spray paint graffiti signs using the F-word and other profanity attacking our prime minister, mayor Letham, our police force and others. With school buses passing your place daily I used to think, what does this say to young minds and why isn’t law enforcement stopping this. Just because you have now cleaned up your place doesn’t mean you’ve changed your stripes. You’re a disgrace and a fraud.

  3. Joan Abernethy says:

    Just because our taxes are not used to fund local skating rinks, parks and maker spaces (libraries) does not mean they must disappear. It means local communities must organize to source funding elsewhere, like the province and the private sector. There is nothing wrong with the community administering these services. In fact, in some cases, we will do a much better job. This glass is more than half full.

  4. Chuck Waterhouse says:

    Given past record, lack of accountability, and inability to approve anything as a united group (5-4 does not represent constituents properly), no current member of our municipal government deserves re-election. Not one.

  5. Mark Doble says:

    The reference to Libraries, Recreation Centres and Parks as “soft services” is concerning. Visit one of our libraries or drop in to one of our recreation centres and see how important they are to the people using them. Far from being “soft services”, these are essential to our municipal infrastructure.

    In the next breath, Mr. Dunn talks about ensuring that our community has the kind of lifestyle amenities that will attract new staff. Indeed our City is growing and we need to be able to attract and retain. A large number of new residents are and will be seniors or younger retirees moving to the City of Kawartha Lakes to begin the next exciting chapter of their lives to live, play, and recreate (spend money and create jobs). Which will only serve to enhance the need for good accessible recreation and cultural centres, libraries, parks and walking trails.

    Mr. Dunn’s willingness to reduce or even eliminate these services hardly aligns with a vision for a vital, progressive and responsive community that will attract and foster much needed investment and growth.

    Lastly, I must respectfully disagree with Ms. Abernethy’s comment (above) where she suggests that these services may be better funded through other community measures or the private sector. Nothing could be further from the truth. Libraries, Parks, and Rec Centres are most appropriately funded through the municipal tax base. Ad-hoc or private sector funding (i.e. user-pay) towards these services would only contribute to their ultimate demise and disappearance – to the detriment of the wonderful communities within our City.

  6. Blair Morris says:

    The citizens of Lindsay should remember that it was Pat Dunn who spearheaded the move to put ATVs on our streets and was later found to have contravened the Ontario Municipal Act.

  7. Frances Laver says:

    The services you would like to cut are so important especially to rural ares like Dalrymple.

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