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2017 IN REVIEW: Ten questions with Summerside Mayor Bill Martin

Summerside Mayor Bill Martin is reaffirming his decision not to run again in the 2018 municipal elections. Martin said made the decision so he can focus more time on his family’s business and his own interests.
Summerside Mayor Bill Martin is reaffirming his decision not to run again in the 2018 municipal elections. Martin said made the decision so he can focus more time on his family’s business and his own interests. - Colin MacLean

Editors Note: As 2017 was drawing to a close, the Journal Pioneer asked the same 10 questions to each of the mayors of Prince Countys six towns. Following is Summerside Mayor Bill Martins responses in the first of the six-part series. Martin answered these questions via email. 

LOOKING BACK

  1. What has been your community’s top achievement in 2017?
    1. Credit Union Place solar energy/storage with a major international giant (Samsung) as partner
  2. Tell us one thing you learned in 2017
    1. That patrons of the Lobster Carnival (formerly “Festival”) much prefer a simple, olden days, country, carnival-like event held in conjunction with a week of harness racing.
  3. What was your community’s biggest disappointment?
    1. From my perspective, a combination of lack of traction on the Immigrant Investment file and a lack of progress on affordable housing new builds.
  4. What milestone or achievement didn’t get the credit or recognition it deserved?
    1. Upwards of 200 brand new jobs created in the downtown core is a significant achievement with major economic impact, but local excitement much less than expected. IOS Solutions: They started with less than 70 in 2016 and continue to add employees.
  5. What has been your personal highlight or achievement in the last 12 months?
    1. Organizing and delivering eight Rotary Club talks in the Greater Toronto Area in a four-day period in September. This has led to potential business relocations and the City of Summerside now has a prime booth promoting our city at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto in June 2018.  An estimated 30,000 delegates from 130 countries are expected to attend.  Local Rotarians have already signed up to assist us.

LOOKING AHEAD

  1. What do you see as your community’s biggest challenge in 2018?
    1. Taking the next big step in energy self-sufficiency, i.e. a utility scale solar/storage project
      1. The carbon tax is coming and this is a shield for that
      2. Reducing dependency on energy imports and transmission
      3. Summerside’s reputation as energy leader solidified
  2. What do you see as your community’s biggest opportunity in 2018?
    1. Same as number 1
    2. Also, potential for one or more major affordable housing projects. The Federal government through CMHC appears to be stimulating interest in this.
  3. If there were no roadblocks or red tape standing in its way, what is the one thing you would want to accomplish or see created for your community in 2018?
    1. Major outward expansion of city boundaries, essentially making official the already key regional role Summerside plays for the 30,000 people in its catchment area
      1. Development planning would be far superior
      2. Economic development could be larger and more diversified
      3. Splintered political identities could be encouraged toward much greater unity and sense of community, while maintaining strong identity
      4. People outside now would gain a democratic voice on the inside
      5. It needs to be very clear that this would need to be driven by our outlying communities “buying in” versus Summerside pushing out
    2. Expansion of our utility customer base to supply power to all city residents
  4. Tell us the best thing about living in your community
    1. Community organizations and leaders are very well connected, giving a sense of local cohesion and vision. In short, our people.
  5. There is a municipal election coming up in 2018, are you planning to run?
    1. No

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