Last week I was honoured to be elected as the new Chair of the Eastern Ontario Mayor’s Committee for a two year term. This group includes the mayors of Kingston, Belleville, Brockville, Cornwall, Gananoque, Pembroke, Peterborough, Prince Edward County, Quinte West and Smiths Falls. At our first meeting last week, it was clear we had many common interests and priorities…and opportunities to advance Eastern Ontario.
Too often, we fall into the trap of viewing other communities as competitors for new development, tourism and investment and miss opportunities for collaboration to make the region stronger as a whole. In a 21st century global economy, the bigger danger to Kingston is not that we will lose investment to Belleville or Brockville, but that Eastern Ontario will lose investment to other areas of the province and the country. So rather than fighting for a larger piece of a shrinking pie, we’re coming together to grow the pie, where every community in Eastern Ontario, including Kingston, will gain.
Over the next few months I will be working with the other mayors of Eastern Ontario to establish key priorities we can then use in our advocacy with the provincial and federal government to make the case for increased investment. While my primary objective is and always will be to promote the interests of the City of Kingston, I am convinced that by taking a leadership role in Eastern Ontario, we can advance our entire region.