Larry would have been proud

Last summer Barrie lost one of the few true believers, a veteran local politician who believed devoutedly in people: Larry Taylor.  He worked for more than four decades, as a Mississauga City Councillor, then in Barrie in various roles, to advocate for a greater role for the community in decisions at city hall – and it brought him and I together during the race for Mayor in 2010.

Larry pushed me, during the campaign and afterwards, to continue the work I’d started as a councillor in creating neighbourhood associations in Barrie, and giving them a role in decisions that affect their neighbourhoods – especially planning decisions.  I’m a big believer in these groups but my enthusiasm was nothing like Larry’s was – he was a truly devout community organizer. 

At general committee last week we had a public meeting for a proposed five story building on Cumberland Street in Allandale.  The Allandale Neighbour Association made a deputation, but they also provided written comments, and their letter is the best reason I’ve seen yet as to why these associations are so valuable.   Click here to read the letter. 

This is great – not NIMBYism, but well-thought out argument; support for the development, but a desire for an improved proposal.  The ANA did their homework.  Exactly what a neighbourhood association can do to make a difference – as the Barrie Downtown Neighbourhood Association, the East End Neighbourhood Association, and other less formalized groups are doing in their parts of the city.  Larry Taylor would be proud of them.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.


3 Responses to “Larry would have been proud”
  1. Daniel Faria says:

    Yes and Larry is much missed in today’s political scene. I learned a great deal from him during his 2007 provincial campaign in Barrie when he was the NDP candidate — his knowledge, practical sense and dignified posture made him an ideal candidate at the time.

    • Patty Taylor says:

      Thank you for all the nice comments about my brother. He would have been 65 today and yes he would certainly be proud. Miss him lots.

  2. Barry Stuart says:

    I’d been a loyal Liberal support for decades. Larry swayed my vote and I supported him as an NDP candidate. He was a well respected leader.

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