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Former councillor Kolodzie to fill vacancy

Joseph Kolodzie has been selected to fill the city and regional councillor position vacated by Bob Chapman. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A familiar face has returned to city hall.

In the culmination of a process that has been ongoing for months, former councillor Joseph Kolodzie, who served for 25 years as a councillor between 1985 and 2010, was chosen by a majority of council members to fill the empty seat left behind by the resignation of Bob Chapman.

In a special meeting on June 28, councillors heard from 17 of the 20 applicants for the vacant decision, eventually appointing Kolodize to the roll with support from Councillors Doug Sanders, John Shields, John Aker, Dan Carter, Rick Kerr, John Neal and Amy McQuaid-England. Councillor Gail Bates put her support behind candidate Elizabeth Jamischak and Mayor John Henry voted for Jane Hurst.

“It’s a great opportunity, I felt that I could give the city my expertise and I’d been encouraged by some of the councillors to put my name forward,” Kolodzie said.

During his pitch to council, Kolodzie described councillors as “agents of change” in the community, a trait he hopes to embody in the role. He says he’s also concerned with any provincial downloading that could occur under the recently sworn in government under Premier Doug Ford.

“If Mr. Ford gives us a 10 cent break on a litre of gasoline, we’re going to lose revenue because of the GST rebate so those are my concerns and municipalities will have to answer somehow,” he says. “I’ve been through the downloading, and now are they going to download some more to the municipalities? If they are, we are in trouble.”

Kolodzie was first elected as a councillor in 1985 for the previous Ward 1. During his more than two decades in municipal council, he served 20 years as chairman of the Community Services committee and championed issues related to public works, and parks and recreation. In 2010, council recognized his efforts by naming the Joseph Kolodzie Oshawa Creek Bike Path in his honour. He also served as deputy mayor and on many local boards including the Oshawa Historical Society, Oshawa Public Libraries, the Durham Trail Committee, the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

He believes he’ll have no issue getting up to speed with current issues, the most pressing of which will be upcoming discussions on the Oshawa Fire Master Plan review.

“I’ll hit the ground running,” he says. “The meetings follow the same formats, it’s reading the stuff that has to be read.

“I’m pretty excited about it and I’m looking forward to it.”