The longest-standing member of Bradford West Gwillimbury Peter Dykie will be seeking re-election this fall in Ward 7.
Dykie first joined council in 1985 at the age of 18 and has served ever since.
It was his uncle, Bill Dykie, who was the deputy reeve of Bradford, and aunt, Natalie Dykie, who was a town councillor, that inspired him to run.
Dykie says he remembers helping them campaign, knocking on doors and handing out literature and promotional materials when he was just 15.
Once he was legal voting age, Dykie joined in the election race and won one of four seats at the council table. Back then, Bradford was separate from West Gwillimbury and the councillors were voted at large. It was not until 1991 that both towns were amalgamated into one.
At the time, Dykie was attending school for business administration at Humber College in Toronto, as well as running his own jewellery store in Bradford, splitting up his time between work, class and council meetings.
He has a lot of history in the community.
With his store located at the four corners of downtown Bradford, he is easily accessible to the public and has residents coming in daily to speak to him. Whether it’s about business, life, or concerns with the town, he said he always takes the time to listen.
Dykie considered running for the deputy mayor seat this term, but in the end, decided against it due to family commitments. With his oldest son headed to college, and the demands of the store and taking care of his elderly father, he says he couldn't commit to the full-time role and is happy to potentially continue representing the constituents in Ward 7.
"The next four years are crucial," Dykie told BradfordToday, noting the high-interest rates and pandemic recovery.
He says with the upcoming Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assessments, the values of homes in the community will be appraised higher.
"Hopefully that's managed to keep a tight hold on the taxes," he said. "We have to make sure that balances all out."
He also noted the three big capital projects coming down the pipeline for the town, including the SWAR (South West Arterial Road), as well as the Holland Street and 8th Line reconstruction.
Dykie says he has endured some tough terms of council in the past, but nothing as challenging as the last term due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am actually looking forward to door knocking because we haven't seen the people like normal," he said.
And although he represents the constituents of Ward 7, he says he is always willing to help any resident in town who may need assistance.
Looking back, he is proud of his work in getting Valleyview, Collings and Maplegrove roads reconstructed. He is looking forward to Luxury Park in his ward getting upgraded soon and the new speed cameras coming to Simcoe Road.
If there's one thing Dykie is most adamant about it's upholding the town's Official Plan, which is set until 2032. He noted the frustration he and other residents in his ward and the community are currently feeling about the developer who is hoping to build 900+ homes on the former Bradford Highlands Golf Course property.
"There needs to be a hold on that (subdivision proposal) until 2032, council and staff have to have a dialogue on how to deal with it...they can't just have the developer push his way in, this is our town, we have to stand up and protect our residents," he said.
Dykie is proud to say that he funds his own campaigns.
"I have never taken money from anybody and I do it on my own," he said. "I believe if you take from the development community, it's owed...I have always been self-funded."
This election, he has two others opposing him, Steph Sinclair who ran in the Ward 2 by-election in 2020, and newcomer Nathan Harris. Dykie commends them for stepping up and putting their name in the hat. He says people should vote for him because he lives in the ward and knows the community well.
"I feel very strongly that a councillor should be living in the ward they serve," he said. "I know what I can offer and what I can give back to the community...I am a generous person, I have a good heart. I do what I can because I have roots in this town, I grew up in this town, I have lived here my whole life and I am accessible downtown."
Election day is Oct. 24