Today, Bracebridge realtor Curry Clifford announced that he will stand to become District chair.
In a press release Monday, Clifford said he has 36 years of experience in public service. He said since moving with his wife Libby to Muskoka seven years ago he has volunteered to make Muskoka better.
He said has put his economic development experience to work on the Economic
Development Committee in Muskoka Lakes as well as serving on the Board for Habitat for Humanity Gateway North and is a Gravenhurst Rotarian. Curry also serves on the Board of Muskoka Community Futures, chairs the Muskoka Founders Circle Membership Committee and is a Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce member.
“Volunteering, working with and building in our community has given me a deep understanding of Muskoka’s needs,” said Curry. “And that’s why I know my unique set of skills and experience are well-suited to this position.”
Curry released his vision for Muskoka District and said that housing affordability, community economic development and protecting our natural environment are
three interrelated priorities that he will address as District Chair.
“I’ve seen too many Muskoka businesses ready to expand but unable to do so because they’re short of staff,” said Curry. “And as a realtor, I’ve met too many people who want to buy a home here but who can’t afford it. And I’ve seen the crippling housing shortage here firsthand.”
According to the Smart Prosperity Institute, Muskoka’s housing shortage is now 2500 units and is expected to rise to 6500 by 2031, he stated. He said his non-partisan approach will help him be an especially effective chair. “Over 25 years working with the Ontario Government, Curry has developed solid working
relationships with staff in every political party,” states his release.
Curry has held senior positions in both the provincial and municipal governments during his career, including with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Labour, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO) and the Region of Peel. He has also led the Clarington public service as Chief Administrative Officer, leading a team of 400 staff and serving a municipality of 90,000 people, according to the release he issued.
“I’ve learned the only way you solve complex issues is through collaboration, instilling a sense of urgency and getting down to work,” said Curry. “That’s why I’m prepared to lead as Chair. I understand District Council, leadership, economic development, and I’m passionate about public service…I enjoy meeting the people of our community. I love being able to walk down to Lake Muskoka or Sawdust City Brewery from our home, and I’m grateful every day to be surrounded by our pristine natural environment.”
Outgoing Huntsville and District Councillor Tim Withey, District and Bracebridge Councillor-elect Don Smith and outgoing District Councillor Terry Pilger as well as outgoing City of Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman are also vying for the post.
Nominations for District chair close on November 15, 2022, at 4 p.m. The District chair will be appointed by incoming District councillors at their inaugural meeting on Monday, December 5, 2022, at 3 p.m. in the District council chamber at 70 Pine Street in Bracebridge.
The District chair performs a number of duties at the upper-tier municipal level, most notably acting as the Chief Executive Officer of the District Municipality of Muskoka. The chair is also tasked with providing overall leadership on the affairs of council and its committees and acting as a spokesperson for the District on major issues of policy and direction. The chair is also responsible for the District’s external relationships with other organizations and levels of government.
A formal meet the candidates/debate event is scheduled for Monday, November 28 at 3 p.m. Jean Polak will moderate the event.
Members of the public, including councillors-elect, are encouraged to submit questions to be considered during the event. The moderator for the event will be selecting the questions from those submitted. You can submit questions to the Clerk by no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 24, 2022. You may submit your question(s) in writing by emailing the clerk at [email protected] or by dropping written questions off (addressed to the clerk) at 70 Pine Street, Bracebridge.
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