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Gay Smylie throws her hat into Callander’s mayoral race

She feels that Callander currently sits at a critical crossroads where it could be vulnerable to the influence of larger communities and is at risk of losing its quaint small-town identity if it isn’t expertly managed
2022 gaye Smylie
Gay Smylie is running for mayor in Callander.

Long time Callander resident Gay Smylie has become the third person seeking the mayor's chair in Callander.

Saying, "The time is right for her to venture into municipal politics," Smylie feels she has a lot to offer the residents of Callander.

She is the daughter of the late Dr. Jack Smylie, a veterinarian who was dedicated to municipal politics. During a 40-year span, he served first as a school board trustee, then spent many years as a councillor and mayor of North Bay.

"Jack Smylie was a dedicated and hardworking man who listened to his constituents. He made decisions that supported the community’s views and goals for the future. He was a visionary that exemplified the qualities of honesty, integrity, and accountability," says Gay.

Since 1991, Gay Smylie has been an educator, first with the former Nipissing Board of Education and since 1998 with the Near North District School Board. For 18 years she served as a school principal. From 2005-2011 she was the principal of M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander.

"In 2015 she became the principal of Capital Planning where she assisted the board to make critical decisions regarding capital assets and future programming needs for students," says a news release. 

Since 2016 she has served as an Executive Officer and Superintendent of Education. In her current role, she oversees the Leadership and Development of Administrators, the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) Safe Schools and Early Years. She also supervises both elementary and secondary schools throughout the board. Gay has served as the Chair of many committees over the years and is experienced in leading teams through multi-faceted decision-making processes.

Smylie says she is passionate about Callander.

"As the residents of Callander already know, Callander is a great place to live and raise a family."

She says in the release that she feels that Callander currently sits at a critical crossroads where it could be vulnerable to the influence of larger communities and is at risk of losing its quaint small-town identity if it isn’t expertly managed.

“Callander requires strong experienced leadership to carefully navigate complex political issues. The future direction of the community, for example, will be guided by the new Official Plan so it is important that this ‘roadmap’ sets the correct foundational direction for the community moving into the future.”  

Smylie says she’s happy about the recent surge in development and expansion within the municipality, but notes that it is important that this is not done in a haphazard manner that could cause regret in the future.

"It’s easy to see that COVID has piqued the interest of those in high population areas looking for an improved quality of life and that this has created a great opportunity in Callander for the development and sale of property."

"Profits from high returns on real estate are a great motivator to strike while the iron’s hot," but the news release cautions that this needs to be carefully managed "by someone with a level head, who understands what residents want and can lead the council through potentially difficult issues."

Smylie notes that pressing issues include the future of the Callander Library, the development of the beautiful Callander Waterfront, the design and building of the new Municipal Building and Fire Hall and subsequent dispersal of the empty municipal buildings, and the ongoing concern regarding the capacity of the sewage lagoons.

The release continues, "Besides being ‘vision-focused,’ Smylie does not back away from making hard decisions and is not intimidated by the tactics of others. She is able to solve complex, multi-level problems and can effectively deal with difficult people and conflicts. She is a hard worker who ensures that all facts have been considered before making a well-researched, authentic decision that will reflect the mantra, 'What’s Best for the future of Callander.'”  

Smylie has been a resident of Callander since 1988. Her childhood was spent in Callander at the family farm, now known as Smylie Farm - a longtime Callander landmark.

She joins incumbents, Mayor Rob Noon and Councillor Daryl Vaillancourt in the race.

Today is the final day for candidates to register.