Editor’s note: With the new Kingston City Council beginning its term of office on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with the new and newly-re-elected members of council so that we could share a bit more about the 13 people who’ll be sitting around the horseshoe for the next four years. Using the classic Kingstonist model ‘Six questions with…,’ we present Kingston City Council 2018-2022 councillor profiles.
First elected to Kingston City Council in May of 2017, Gary Oosterhof became a member of council representing Countryside District following a by-election to fill the seat.
The Countryside seat was left vacant around the horseshoe after Richard Allen, the former councillor for Countryside, resigned in mid-December of 2016. Countryside constituents must have thought Oosterhof served them well, as he was re-elected in the most recent election, and will return to Council Chambers to start his second term on council this December.
Originally from Brockville, Oosterhof came to Kingston to further his career as an electrician after studying for trade school at Algonquin College. He lives with his wife, Corina, whom he calls his “best friend and soul mate,” and the couple have four children – three girls and a boy – all of whom are grown up, and one of his daughter who has special needs still lives at home.
What made you want to get involved in municipal politics?
I have watched and listened to municipal events all my life. Over the past 20 years, I have served on other provincial boards and felt the time had come for me to take my skills and energy closer to home.
What other work, if any, do you do? (Or what did you do before becoming a councillor?)
I am a Licenced Electrical Contractor and have had the pleasure of serving my community for over 30 years now.
What is the number one issue you want to address during this term of council?
The rural community has spoken and I believe that deteriorating roads are the number one issue that we face. Many residential areas have not seen significant road repairs or upgrades for decades.
Will you vote in favour of moving forward with a ranked ballot in 2022?
I will not vote in favour of ranked ballots. First past the post just seems better to me.
In your mind, what is special about the district you represent?
There is so much that makes Countryside special. First and foremost it is its people and their passion for country life. I do have a very diverse district in that it is so large and [has] many different needs and situations. From the farming community in the northeast and west to the hamlets like Elginburg and Glenburnie. Highway 2 east has beautiful river communities, right up to Gananoque. Sitting down with so many people over this second campaign has really helped me connect with my constituents and I want to keep it that way.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Hmm. Good question… Family is most important to me and we love to take our 5th wheel out on the road and discover all parts of Ontario. But I still play pick up hockey with my friends and I love that, too.