The Blue Mountains Councillor Rob Sampson has confirmed he will not be seeking reelection this fall.
Sampson told CollingwoodToday of his intention to retire from municipal politics during a break in council’s special meeting on Aug. 18. Sampson said it was a tough decision, but that it was time to concentrate on his business and personal interests.
“I don’t want to give up on some of the great things we’ve done. I will be following (the new council) and would be happy to help out,” he said.
Sampson is completing his first term as a member of council, but is a veteran on the political scene. From 1995 to 2003 he was a Progressive Conservative member of provincial parliament (MPP) in the governments of Premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. He served in two cabinet posts first as minister without portfolio and later as minister of correctional services.
Sampson said he is pleased with his time on council.
“I think we’ve done a hell of a lot. Four years ago our view was that there needed to be a culture change. We’ve started that and it continues,” he said.
Sampson noted that the issue of attainable housing has moved slower than he would have hoped.
“COVID didn’t help, we lost two years of productivity. If you take the two-year hiatus out, we’ve made great progress. I think a lot of good stuff has been done,” he said. “Developers are now coming to us asking if they can build attainable housing projects. That wasn’t happening before. I think there has been some great success.”
Sampson did admit to some frustrations with the tone of local politics at certain times. Sampson referred to the agenda items for the Aug. 18 special meeting and the council debate that consumed the entire morning.
“Today is a good example of what’s wrong with municipal politics. Today didn’t do anything for anybody,” he said.
He expressed hopes that the new council to be elected in October will move away from a political mindset into an attitude of “let’s get it done.”
Nominations for this year’s municipal election close at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. The election will be held on Oct. 22.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca