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Jim Riches looking to help Kawartha Lakes move forward if elected as mayor

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Jim Riches is seeking to become the next mayor of the City of Kawartha Lakes.

“I’ve been in the public sector for the last 20 years, dealing with the bureaucracy, and when I sit and watch the news, there are a lot of times I feel reactive to what is happening in government. I’d rather, at this point in my life, get a little more proactive,” Mr. Riches told The Standard. “Leadership is always something I’ve aspired to.”

He believes the municipality is currently on the right track and suggested he could help bolster communications between residents and council members with the use of social media. “I don’t applaud social media, but I feel it can be a tool to inform people,” Mr. Riches explained.

Growing up in Cambray, Mr. Riches learned the importance of hard work. “I grew up on the farm, in the country, with very deep roots. That taught me one very single-minded thing at an early age. Consequence is what builds character. On the farm specifically, the crops and animals needed to be taken care of. So, you had to put your head down and get to work, and you had to learn the consequences, of you not doing work, would cause death. Either the crops would die, or the animals would die,” he stated.

He believes his years of work have helped him better relate to other residents of Kawartha Lakes.

“I understand where people from all parts of our municipality are coming from.”

Mr. Riches was very complimentary of his opponents in this mayoral race. “I understand, these people are basically part of something they feel is a public service, and I applaud that,” he said.

He sees geothermal energy as the future and believes council should act to help prepare the municipality for the future. “Everyone in the environment and climate change industry are pointing to geothermal as the alternative,” Mr. Riches explained. “I have come up with an idea which makes perfect sense to me. Our small towns and communities, which are surrounded by nothing but farmland and open properties, partner with those land owners and ask them [to] go in and hopefully pay for it with federal and [provincial] grants, and within a month, have everything in place. All you’ll see is a little building on the corner of your property which will then be the geothermal hub for all the pipes we’ve buried underneath the ground.” He added, the city could then look at either lease agreements with residents for these hubs or offering shares to them in the utility.

“The generation I’ve talked to are desperate for answers,” Mr. Riches said.

He added, he also hopes to find solutions for the “disenfranchised youth” to find affordable housing in the municipality.

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