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.
Born in Sudbury, Ont. where his father worked for Inco, Wayne Hill moved to Ottawa following a lengthy strike at the company. Hill resided in Ottawa until his father was transferred to Kingston in 1974, when family bought a home on Glen Castle Road. Hill went on to study at Queen’s University, at which point his parents left Kingston when his father was transferred again.
When Hill graduated for Con Ed at Queen’s, he went to Fort McMurray to begin his teaching career. He returned to Kingston and Queen’s in 1988, and he completed his Master’s in Education. At that time, Hill and his wife, Catherine, purchased a home from one of Hill’s professors, and, as destiny would have it, ended up back on Glen Castle Road, where he’s lived ever since. He and Catherine have three grown children, Megan, Thomas, and Grace, and this will be Hill’s first term as a councillor, something he is very excited about. While he admits there will be a “huge learning curve,” Hill said he is confident he is up to the challenge.
What made you want to get involved with municipal politics?
I have always had an interest in local politics. I have worked closely with local politicians in my role as principal and, although each person I have worked with has brought a unique perspective to the role, they all have had the best interests of the residents of Kingston at heart. I hope to contribute to the body of work from previous councils that has made Kingston such a great place to live. I do not have a particular issue that drives me, but rather I feel an obligation to be of service to my community. Our family has been incredibly blessed by this community. We have raised three children here and I cannot imagine a better place than Kingston to live and work and raise a family. I think I bring a skill set that will complement the work of council, and I am very anxious to be able to contribute to the long-term growth of the City.
What other work, if any, do you do? (Or what did you do before becoming a councillor?)
I am recently retired from the local Catholic School Board where I started as the board’s first manager of human resources in 1989. I have been a vice principal at both the elementary and secondary levels and, in 2000, I was appointed principal at Holy Cross. After five years at Holy Cross, I became principal at Regiopolis-Notre Dame where I worked for 11 years before I was seconded to Toronto as president of the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario. I completed my term in July 2016 and I have been retired since then.
What is the number one issue you want to address during this term of council?
I think that there will be a number of competing issues. There is a very real concern around the lack of affordable housing. We need to tend to this quickly, because housing is a fundamental need and we ignore it at our peril. We need to deal with our aging infrastructure – throughout the campaign, I heard from residents about the condition of roads and sidewalks and the deteriorating condition in many of our suburban parks. The level of taxation in the city is an issue. We have one of the highest rates of taxation in the province, and this is putting pressure on seniors who worry about being able to stay in their homes. As in life, there is never just one issue – we have to take a look at every pressure point and then make our best effort to prioritize and address them.
Will you vote in favour of moving forward with a ranked ballot in 2022?
I am struggling with this issue. I recognize that the plebiscite result was clearly in favour of moving toward a ranked ballot and we need to heed the wishes of the residents of Kingston. At the same time, the evidence coming out of London does not suggest that this system is clearly superior and in fact, after a number of recounts and considerable expense and time, the results in London were no different than had the process been first past the post. I certainly wish that more residents had voted in the referendum and that the decision had a clear plurality – using the pro sides own rationale, the total number of voters that support ranked ballots does not exceed fifty per cent of eligible voters.
In your mind, what is special about your district?
I think the natural beauty of Lakeside really sets it apart. We have more shoreline than any other urban district, and we are blessed with beautiful parks and open spaces. All of this really contributes to enriching the lives of the people who live here. Catherine and I raised our three children here and I can’t imagine a more beautiful, friendly and supportive community in which to raise our children.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I am a very bad, but totally committed golfer. I play oldtimers hockey twice a week, and I am a devoted fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Catherine and I are beginning to travel more, and we try to get to see our kids and their partners in Ottawa and Toronto as often as we can.