Meet the Candidate: Bill Forbes

It’s election day and I’m pleased to present my final profile!  Unfortunately I was able to connect with two candidates but detailed information is available on all candidates on the NG Times website.

You can vote in person, by telephone, or online until 8:00pm today.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

Bill ForbesBill Forbes: North Grenville has always been home for me for more than 55 years.  I have had many opportunities and career choices that would have taken me elsewhere and probably enhanced me financially but I always felt so comfortable here.  Growing up I saw the changes happen, I was part of the changes happening from when we constructed our first community center, (now the Curling Club).  As an 18 year old I was asked to start up a Summer Fun Program.  I did and surprisingly I had over 85 children show up.  It was hilarious on that first day.  I screamed for more help and the recreation director of the day saw fit for one assistant and you probably couldn’t do that today, one person looking after over 40 kids. All my family from back in the 1800’s are from rural North Grenville and primarily from Oxford Mills and Bishops Mills area.  In the late 50’s and early 60’s Friday night used to be bedlam in downtown Kemptville.  All the farmers came in and that was shopping night.  My aunts and uncles came in as well and then always came over to the house on Van Buren Street for some cards and beer.  I got to play with my cousins.  Things couldn’t be better.

North Grenville has rural history that makes it special and we can never forget that.  I have been on the inaugural Economic Committee in the late 1990’s and then again in 2005 until present.  With new committee members each election, I have seen the efforts of some to try and change our culture.  I ask them. Why did you move here?  To a person, they say the open green spaces, the schools, the friendliness of the residents.  Then I say, Why are you trying to change it?  I am the only person on that committee that has been around a really long time but sometimes I feel that I am the sheriff here in maintaining our rural heritage.  I could go on and on about North Grenville as I was on the first sports team in 1966 to win a provincial championship for North Grenville and I coached over 12 years at North Grenville High School and club teams.  Suffice to say I take North Grenville and its maturation personally.  I want it to remain in the best way possible for generations to come, just like I lived and was treated.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

Bill Forbes: When I was young there were lots of them.  There are not so many hidden anymore as most are exposed.  I think if I had to point out one it would be the Rideau River.  For 3 years during the summer months I went to University, I was the co-manager at Rideau River Provincial Park just across the Ottawa border going out Hwy 44.  At that time it was run by Department of Lands & Forrest, now Ministry of Natural Resources.  The amount of fun that families have on the river is overwhelming and I think this major asset is not used enough for North Grenville.  We have excellent areas of recreation in the Burritts Rapids area right down and past the entrance from the Kemptville Creek as I used to call it.  The stretch from Manotick to Burritts Rapids is one of the longest if not the longest on the Rideau Chain.  When we had our boat we used to unload and  dock at Bridge Street & Curry Park.  We would go under the bridges and end up on the Rideau River and spend a family day, sometimes skiing, tubing,  fishing, swimming, picnicking, etc.  We can still do that with motorized or non-motorized craft.  I would love to see us take advantage of our creek and Curry Park. All these benefit enhance our quality of life for our families and  we can also look at it as a financial artery for our downtown business core

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

Bill Forbes: My issues are well stated at this point.  I am concerned about North Grenville’s strategic growth and the cost of it, the benefits and who is benefitting and the load that it is putting on operational costs.  In the last 10 years we experienced 11 % population growth but 153 % increase in operational costs.  We went from 7.5 million to over 19 million in ten years.This is a trend that is unsustainable without major consequences.  Along with this, we need to partner with commercial entities to increase revenues and certainly make our business practice easier and more available to some of our entrepreneurs.  We are also wagering and struggling to an extent with out debt.  We don’t have much reserve, our infrastructure badly needs repair and upgrade and we recently received a report that gave us 3 failures out of 5 categories. I believe this is unacceptable and further contributes to unsustainability and higher tax increases.  We have marketing and branding issues with North Grenville.  Our political message is always coming from North Grenville, but in so many cases our business message comes from Kemptville.  Just check where Walmart advertises they are home to.  Finally on this point, I will go back and mention our rural heritage.  We can never lose that no matter who is trying to alter it or change it.

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Bill Forbes: It is a person’s right to be heard and our democratic system states that new choices are available to those citizens that wish to run for leadership positions and those citizens that determine who will represent them. I believe that if you don’t vote our rights can be compromised.

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

Bill Forbes: My spare time is limited.  For the last 30 years besides being a CEO for a company with over 10 million in annual sales and later a CFP (certified financial planner) for my personal clients I coached for over 12 years at different levels, became a director with the Kemptville & District Hospital Foundation, became a director for over 10 years and currently with Kemptville & District Home Support,  committee member since 2005 with the Economic Development Committee which reports to Council and member and Treasurer of the Kemptville & District Sports Hall of Fame.  I have continually volunteered on many levels to make North Grenville a better place to live and work.  We have lived in our current location for over 20 years and I believe we have the best neighbourhoods in North Grenville. I’m sure there will be other people who would take on that challenge.  When we get away, we do get away.  We have been to Australia, Europe, Mexico and places throughout the United States many times.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

Bill Forbes: I think before you meet me you may think that all I am is a serious business person.  However, it is opposite.  I am the most easy going person you will meet.  I think my coaching experience with over 1,000 athletes puts everything into perspective.  I have learned how to get along with just about anyone.  I have learned the art of negotiation and how to motivate people.  To have success with that, you need to be open and allow people to judge you on your actions and abilities.  Once they know what you are about they will allow you that reciprocal trust.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

Bill Forbes: This campaign has been very enlightening for me.  I’ve met and talked with many, many people and without my decision to run for mayor, this never would have happened so for that I am grateful.  Running for mayor will be an extension for me in what I’ve already contributed to North Grenville as a volunteer, but at a much more important level.  However, overall my purpose does not change.  We require leadership and experience which we haven’t had for the last four years and it has cost our Municipality on many different levels.  Our residents want professional business practice exhibited throughout North Grenville with transparent representation.  I am able, willing and ready to provide that but I will need the support of the citizens of North Grenville to do it.
For more information, you can check out Bill’s website,  on Twitter, and his Facebook page!

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