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 2006, Rob Hutchison is no stranger to Council Chambers.
While he’s not technically a native Kingstonian (Hutchison was born in Belleville, but grew up in Trenton), Hutchison came to Kingston for his post-secondary studies at Queen’s University. He remained in Kingston for seven years before he left to work in Toronto. He returned to Kingston in 1986 called it ‘home’ ever since, spending most of that time living in the district he will continue to represent for the next four years: King’s Town District.
Hutchison is no stranger to the classroom either. He has studied at the aforementioned Queen’s on two separate occasions, as well as George Brown College, and St. Lawrence College. When he’s not busy with studying, councillor responsibilities, or work, he can normally be found with his partner and his three adult children, all of whom have partners – and their son and daughter-in-law have awarded Hutchison the title of ‘grandfather,’ as they have one young son and are expecting their second child. Hutchison and his partner also have a dog named Molly, who is often seen taking walks with the councillor around King’s Town.
What made you want to get involved in municipal politics?
I have been involved in municipal politics for many years as a community activist because the issues are vital to the quality of life in our community and affect citizens in a multitude of ways. In my experience, it is important to try and influence the issues in one’s life because, if the outcome is positive and constructive, life will be better and, if the outcome is not so positive, then usually events are better than they would have been if one and others had not become involved. The issues and related values are what matter most to me. When others suggested I pursue public office, it seemed to be a natural evolution from those years of community activism.
What other work, if any, do you do? (Or what did you do before becoming a councillor?)
Until recently I was also the Property Co-ordinator (administrator) of Kingston Co-operative Homes, Inc., a housing co-operative of 102 houses near Princess Street and Portsmouth Avenue. When I first ran for city councillor, it was pointed out to me that running the Co-op was much like running a tiny microcosm of a municipality ,with management including governance, finance, maintenance, landscaping and community service elements.
What is the number one issue you want to address during this term of council?
There are a number of important issues including housing, the planning process, the Wellington Street Extension, Belle Park, King’s Town community development, etc.
Will you vote in favour of moving forward with a ranked ballot in 2022?
The ‘Yes’ vote for ranked ballot voting was decisive. I will vote in favour of proceeding.
In your mind, what is special about the district you represent?
The diversity of people, activities and functions. King’s Town District includes the City’s municipal centre, downtown business core, public centres and institutions, at least four distinct neighbourhoods, two (and soon maybe three) community associations, students and seniors, rich and poor, numbers of nationalities, languages, approaches and attitudes, entertainment, nightlife, quiet and busy streets, [and] parks of bird song and playing children.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Spend time with family.