Barb Holland

To me, public service is a privilege and a trust. I have the skillset and experience to work hard for you as your Ward 7 representative on City Council. I am ready to get to work for you right away.

I’ve lived in Ward 7 for over 30 years and want to put 18 years of business, volunteer, and elected leadership experience to use for you at the City Council table, to continue improving Ward 7 and our city.

Experience is what sets me apart!

  • As a Business Owner
  • As Chair of the School Board
  • As a Concerned Citizen
  • As a Leader in the Not For Profit World
  • As Your Neighbour and long time Ward 7 Resident

I am the right person at the right time and would welcome and appreciate your support, your vote and your willingness to allow me to work hard for you as your Ward 7 representative on City Council.

Learn More About Barb Holland

1. Why are you running for Council?

So why City Council?

  • As Chair of the School Board, I invested significant time to ensure that our kids had what they needed so that they could step into a future filled with opportunity. But like many other parents in this community, I realized that while our kids were ready, those jobs could not be found here in Windsor. Three of my own four sons work out of province leading to a hard look at where our all of our kids need to land and grow. They need good jobs, a home they can afford in communities that are supportive, family friendly, diverse in nature and exhibit a wise, balanced approach to planned growth, maintenance and infrastructure.
  • As a Business Owner, I experienced first hand the difficulties that hamper job and opportunity development when those at the decision making table are not informed or aware of what business and industry need in order to grow and make new jobs available to the community.
  • As a Leader in the Not for Profit World, I saw the great needs families have that are simply not met or on the radar screen of those who plan our cities future.
  • As your Neighbour and Long Time Ward 7 resident, I share the frustrations you have around roads and traffic, the fear of flooding and the desire for safe neighbourhoods.
  • As a Concerned Citizen, I want my tax dollars used wisely, efficiently and transparently.

I made the decision to run for City Council so that I could work with stakeholders, government, business, industry and community partners to move Windsor forward in a way that maintains a pragmatic balance between taxes and the services we all rely on, while striving towards a vision of a family friendly city vested in the growth of their citizens.

But now, this is a very different election. Our priorities have changed. In this moment, when we are being impacted with the ramifications, socially and fiscally, of Covid-19, I want to be the voice at the table that represents our Ward as difficult and dynamic decisions are made for our community. There has been a dramatic shift in direction as residents worry about their families, their jobs, their finances and their futures. The deficits at the Provincial and Federal levels caused by the pandemic, will continue to impact our municipal budget and our ability to plan while focusing sharply on the needs to spend funds wisely, efficiently and strategically amidst the many issues that will demand our attention going forward. These issues, and emerging issues that are just waiting to present themselves as the pandemic continues, will require a candidate of the highest caliber, with the experience to lead through fire, the courage to make tough decisions and the ability to ensure priorities are identified and delivered in a way that is balanced and makes sense. Ward 7 needs a councillor people can trust, can talk to and who delivers. I am the right person at the right time. I have the experience. I have the skill set. I have the desire to serve. I will work collaboratively with others to improve our corner of the world. And I can confirm that this pandemic has not weakened, but has strengthened my resolve to present myself as the best candidate to represent the good people of Ward 7 as their City Councillor.

2. What is your current profession?

I am Co-Owner of The Holland Benefits Group.

I spend my days administering the activities of The Holland Benefits Group, a local, family owned firm that has operated in the employee benefit industry for over 30 years. My role includes strategic planning, budgeting and fund allocation, marketing and outreach, risk and liability analysis and relationship management with the owners and key personnel of many companies, large and small throughout Southwestern Ontario. As a business owner working with other business owners, I have a unique understanding of the issues faced by those trying to provide stable employment and comprehensive compensation packages for those in their employ while meeting the challenges of an economy that requires creativity and flexibility within a narrow financial margin. My work requires that I be familiar with current federal and provincial regulations that may impact our Business associates in addition to maintaining a sharp focus on emerging trends that may require mitigation and change to avoid a significant, negative impact on limited budgets. Over the years I have developed a keen understanding of the needs of the business community, their desire to keep their people working, their need to remain competitive, and the difficulties they, and their employees face, when collaborative efforts between government and industry, do not support their growth.

3. What is your work, education or other political experience that would help you on council?

I have Business Experience

  • I am a business owner, understand how a business works, how strategic plans deliver a vision, can identify risk and liability and can work with budgets that allocate resources of capital and people in a way that is fiscally responsible and respectful of our tax dollars.

I have Elected Leadership Experience

  • The people of Ward 7 voted for me in consecutive elections to represent them on the Catholic School Board. I served as Trustee for 18 years, and for 7 of those years, I led the Board as Chairperson.
  • I have worked collaboratively on many Boards and committees, both local and provincially and can play well with the other kids in the sandbox while delivering for my constituents.
  • I bring honest, principled decision making to the table, whether it’s popular or not.

I am a Problem Solver

  • As one of the Founders of the Do Good Diva’s, a Not for Profit that has raised over $580,000 to fund projects that improve Health Care in our community, and as President of WETRA, A Centre of Excellence for Innovative Equine Therapies, I managed projects, people and time to problem solve, plan and delegate while considering the impact of all decisions on the vision and goals established to serve the people of Windsor and Essex County.

I am a Decision Maker

  • I do the work, I read all the reports and I listen to the voices I represent so that every decision I make is informed, well thought out and viewed through many lenses.

I Actively Work with the People I Represent

  • I have been out of elected office for two years and still am called by people who trust me, who know I will listen and do my best to help them work through a difficult issue.

I Get the Job Done

  • I delivered a new St. Joseph High School to Ward 7 and played a critical role in enhancing the elementary schools and grounds in this area.
  • I listened to my community and worked to deliver a robust Middle School and Academy System which promotes Academic, I.B., STEM and Sports Academies along with Construction and Technology to promote the trades so that every student can get where they want to go in life – hopefully to good jobs here at home.

4. Are you affiliated with any political party?

Constituents expect the people they vote for to show up and do the work we were elected to do in a thoughtful and productive manner regardless of politics and party philosophy. I am not affiliated with any political party.

5. What is your dream job in politics?

To me, public service is a privilege and a trust. Making well thought out decisions that reflect the spirit and vision of the community I live in, and seeing the fruit of those decisions positively impact families is really the dream I want to pour my efforts into. Now, if you asked my four sons, they would want me to run federally so that we can order much better fighter jets for our Canadian Air Force (One of my boys is a Captain in the RCAF). When I served as Chair of the School Board, the perpetual ask was for longer recesses, followed by negotiations for an additional week for March Break and fewer exams, but Municipal Politics has an immediate impact on people and I look forward to using my experience and leadership at the city council table to make the everyday and yet profound decisions that will enhance our lives and that of our children.

6. Do you own a home in Ward 7 and what Windsor neighbourhoods have you lived in?

We own a home in Ward 7, vested here, are raising our family here and have been part of the community fabric for over 25 years. Prior to that, we resided in the City’s core in the Ottawa Street Area.

7. What is your overall view of the Mayor, Councillors and City Administration and what relationships, if any of them, do you have?

I do sense a spirit of collaboration that was not evident in the previous council. This is encouraging. The true test will be in the days ahead as we deal with the Covid-19 ongoing issues and the additional pressure they will bring to bear at the council table. I have served on City/Board Liaison committees in the past and am familiar with the people and the processes. As a business owner, I have interacted with City Administration. In terms of relationships at the table, I worked as an elected Trustee with one for several years, share a similar background with another and would simply state that many of the councillors are known to me through past work and that any working relationships that exist today are cordial, direct and respectful. I have a solid reputation, am respected and am viewed as open and extremely competent. I do not engage in block voting. I am not easily swayed. I make informed decisions based on research and input from the community. My history in other settings has proven that I am able to work successfully with others to get the votes I need to push through important projects.

8. What is your political negotiating style and how do you think your style will fit with the current council dynamics?

Interesting question. I believe that as time goes on, pressures mount and critical issues need to be addressed, the current dynamic will change. My experience in negotiating is generally successful. My style is collaborative in nature, but should that meet with resistance, I am able to adopt another technique to move towards my goal. I think my style will fit well simply because it is based on building relationships which leaves doors open for discussion. In addition, I have the experience to ‘read’ the room and adjust my delivery in a manner that may be better understood by those whose support I seek.

9. What is your level of knowledge of each of these projects?

There are a handful of city projects in various stages that are to take place in our ward.

I am aware of these projects, have studied the city documents that reference them and have followed up with city personnel regarding questions around timing, specific issues, process, limitations, resources, budget and community impact.

10. What is your general or specific opinions on these projects?

At this point in time, I wonder about the newer infrastructure issues that are growth related and driving a need for a response. In addition, with the impact of Covid-19 on the City budget, I find myself wondering how these projects, regardless of where they are in the process, will be impacted and if they are, to what extent. I wonder about measures that could be taken to expedite parts of the Banwell project that depend on the contributions of the provincial government and/or neighbouring municipalities. I wonder if projects that are hotly contested can be diverted instead to alleviate growing Banwell concerns regarding traffic flow and safety. The park improvements are good, as we need to steadily continue enhancing our parks and trails. They are well used and enjoyed by this community. The solution for Forest Glade at Lauzon seems to be m.i.a. but the long term flood plan for our area is a significant step forward.

I have spoken with specific Councillors and the Mayor’s Office in terms of how these projects are viewed, their importance in the City’s Master Plan and any alternatives they could be explored.

All of these projects require monitoring to ensure they stay on track, on budget, on time and on point. My focus these past months has been to ensure that present councillors and the Mayor’s office keep in mind that we have no representation at this time and that to move forward on any Ward 7 project that is currently under the spotlight in our area, specifically the extension of Wyandotte, would be wildly inappropriate and would illustrate a lack of respect to our ward’s residents that would reek of opportunism and a clear lack of vision and responsibility.

However, in reviewing the last four questions, I wonder if you really want to talk about the influence I would bring to the council table and what I would do with that influence in light of the project scheduled to extend Wyandotte through Jarvis for all of the reasons listed in the master plan documents. So let’s talk about that.

It comes down to this. There are 12 people vying for a single seat in this by-election and there are those on the ballot who will confuse their passion for a project with their ability to actually get it done. Who will assume that because they know someone on council, that they will automatically get that support when it comes time to raise hands and vote. And there are those who will tell you what you want to hear . . . that they will fight passionately to shut down the project you are concerned about and they have the contacts in their pocket to do so. These are, sadly, overused political gambits to get votes.

Votes are not freely given. A vote is something you are judged on by your own constituents. It is a record of how you act and implement your responsibilities and is carefully watched since your reputation is on the line. A vote is not squandered or given away simply because someone is a nice person and needs to get elected. Too much is at stake for everyone at the table. You either have the chops you need to do the job, or you do not. Saying who you know really doesn’t matter and when that angle is exploited, it can in the end become divisive and lead to block voting. We have had enough of that at the municipal level in past years.

Will I take the lead to address this issue as councillor if elected?

Yes, I will. How you feel about this project matters.

What will I do?

  • My first step would be to schedule a meeting with your group.
  • The second would be to arrange a meeting with the City through Mark Winterton to have their experts thoroughly explain to all affected residents exactly what will happen if the project continues to move forward and what will happen if it does not.
  • Rationale is that every taxpaying resident in the impacted area deserves to hear that information directly from City Administration and have an opportunity to ask questions to clarify any misgivings they may or may not have about preconceived gains or losses in their property value, services etc., if the project is completed or is not, prior to considering next steps.
  • After deliberating on what they have heard, and the input received, if the group decides that this project is not in their best interest and they would like to work to permanently delay the project, I will give it my all to deliver on that request.
  • If they would like to advocate for an Improvement Plan to address issues of importance in the neighbourhood, I will again give my all to deliver on that request.

You will have 100% of my attention to detail, 100% of my lobbying efforts and 100% of the energy I put into every important project. I am told that when I am focused on something, I am relentless in my drive to achieve it. That is how Ward 7 got a new St. Joseph’s High School, an achievement I am very proud of. So while I will not promise to pull a bunny out of my hat, or guarantee that the magic coins in my pocket will turn into votes, I can promise to work with you wholeheartedly every step of the way.

Based on the above questions, the next logical one is that you would like to know how I personally feel about the project.

I am a proud and committed Ward 7 resident and while I do not live in your specific neighbourhood, I do have a car and a pair of feet that have walked through the area to get a true sense of how it lays. I have listened carefully to Jarvis residents who have reached out, and Banwell neighbours who had much to say in door to door visits prior to Covid-19. I followed up those conversations with a long discussion with Mark Winterton to aid in my understanding of the rationale behind the project as written and conceived in the master plan. It is fair to say that I see the ‘why’ behind the project.

However, things have changed as East Riverside develops. New needs have emerged that demand attention and at the end of day, when all the information and input is weighed and measured, the scales are out of balance. I see very little return for the impacted residents, their families and their properties when considering the massive disruption to what they know and appreciate. In terms of the value this project would provide for surrounding Windsorites, their current access to arterial roads seems acceptable. Therefore, I find this particular project difficult to endorse.

Please share anything else about your platform that you would like us to know about.

I think I’ve covered off just about everything I can bring to the table to support the residents of Ward 7. I would be happy to speak with you, Zoom etc., with you or teleconference with you if you have any more questions. I am keenly aware of the need to control the spread of Covid-19 and will not put anyone at risk through door to door visits or personal meetings. Yes, it is difficult campaigning in a pandemic.

Let me close by saying this:

  • My platform is the experience I bring to the role.
  • My platform focuses on the skill-sets I bring to the role.
  • My platform is that regardless of current issues, or the ones we will meet head-on moving forward, I have what it takes to represent you at the highest level in the best possible fashion.
  • My platform supports the diversification of council by placing a highly skilled, open-minded business woman at the table who lives in and knows the Ward she will represent.

I am the right person at the right time and am ready to start the job day one. I would welcome and appreciate your support, your vote and your willingness to allow me to work hard for you as your representative on City Council.

My thanks to you and the Wyandotte/Jarvis Neighbourhood Group for inviting me to participate in this survey. I appreciate the opportunity. (Permission was given to share this survey).

With thoughts of health and peace to all,

Barb Holland
Candidate for Ward 7 City Councillor

This October, vote Barb Holland for Ward 7 City Councillor!

Contact Info:

Barbara Holland
3035 Claxton Court
Windsor, ON N8R 1P9
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