SUMMERSIDE – Long-time Summerside resident, business leader, educator and consultant Bill Martin has given in to requests to enter municipal politics, announcing his intentions to run for mayor of Summerside.
Martin made the announcement before about 40 people at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, Tuesday afternoon.
“This has been going on for 12 years,” Martin said. “Twelve years ago, eight years ago, four years ago, I was approached all three times to consider running for mayor. Timing was right. I was full time employed in addition to owning a bakery. I no longer had my (Canadian Business) youth foundation. I retired two years ago. I’ve got time on my hands. I’ve been on a whole bunch of boards. I’ve come to realize that I think I have a reasonable, common sense approach to handling those things.”
Martin’s campaign slogan, “Putting People First,” comes from a lifetime of experience in just that.
“I’m a big believer in inclusion,” he said. “I’m a big believer in public access as opposed to behind closed doors.”
Martin said as Summerside mayor, he will promote transparency in all facets of city affairs
“You can’t make decisions in cottages that involve $1.5 million taxpayers dollars,” he said. “It was just prior to the last election and that’s part of the reason why some of those councillors may or may not have lost their seats. You just send a message to everybody.”
“I live in Lefurgey subdivision. They removed the baseball field without letting the citizens know they were doing it. That’s not transparency. That’s not communication. To me, transparency involves and revolves around communicating honestly, openly, in advance and, if not in advance, let people know what’s going on.”
Martin said he has already heard from some Summerside residents but admits he needs to get out and meet the public.
“I’m hearing just from people who have called me to express their opinions about how they feel that there are silos in the city that one department isn’t talking to another department and you can’t really get a consensus,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got to go out and talk to the citizens of Summerside and they’ll tell me what needs to be change. I’ll do my darndest to affect those changes. I don’t get a vote unless there’s a tie. But, on the other hand, I do get an opinion and that opinion is certainly going to be heard.”
The city’s lack of representation on the Summerside Port Authority needs to be addressed, Martin said.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” he said. “The City of Summerside has representation on the Summerside Regional Development Corporation (SRDC). SRDC is connected to the port authority. I would advocate for that. I would fight for that.”
Martin said he will develop clear goals for city debt retirement and also plans to implement both short and long-term plans around infrastructure upgrades and new projects. Another key area for Martin is sustainable economic development as well as the need for ongoing cleanup of the west end boardwalk beach area and the elimination of cosmetic pesticide use in the city.
Martin purchased the Water Street Bakery & Deli in 1988 which he continues to own and operate with his wife, Josette. He is also known for his work in training and consulting; he wrote and developed the “Fresh Start Life Skills Program,” a program that encourages people to reach their full potential. He has been involved for the past several years with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and actively chairs and co-chairs various organizational boards. His current titles include president of the Summerside Dolphin Swim Club and Co-Chair of East Prince Youth Development Centre. Martin also volunteers as a motivational speaker at community events across P.E.I. He and has three children – Natalie, Zach and Patrick.
Martin joins John Curtis as a candidate for the office of mayor.