By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
To say Oshawa politics is in Bradley Marks’ blood is a bit of an understatement.
Marks, recently elected as the city’s Ward 3 local representative, is not the first family member to sit on council.
His great-grandfather, Ernest Marks, served as mayor in 1931, while his grandfather, Ernest Marks Jr., held the position from 1967 to 1968.
Marks told The Oshawa Express many residents he met during his campaign have memories of his grandfather.
“They remember him walking down Centre Street with his hat and cane. They would reminisce about their interactions with him as mayor and their family lawyer,” the younger Marks states.
With that history, Marks always knew he may eventually run, but knew he couldn’t simply rely on his family name.
“I wanted to make sure that I had the credentials and background,” he says.
He had been urged to run before, but didn’t feel he was qualified, and “delayed it a few years to make sure.”
While serving on the board of Durham Outlook, which has been pushing towards a new location, it has afforded him experience in dealing with various municipal issues and organizations.
Stating he was born and raised in Ward 3, Marks believes the ward system presented his best opportunity to serve his constituents.
“I had noticed that with the at-large vote, there was an anonymous relationship between council and the residents. We really didn’t know who to go to when we had a complaint, and councillors were not really accountable to each area of the city,” Marks says. “Now you have a face and name to come back to. They really don’t have to bounce through the 10 councillors to get to the right one.”
Continued growth has created some problems in his ward.
“The traffic along the regional roads and the increase in population has really put some stress on infrastructure.”
To him, several parks have become “dilapidated” and the maintaining of trees has fallen off track, namely in the Central Park Boulevard corridor.
“They have really become monstrous. I wanted residents to know I was a voice that would ensure these trees were being maintained.”
On a citywide level, Marks wants to ease the pressure on the residential tax base by attracting more commercial and industrial ratepayers. He says the 407 employment lands are key to this.
“We need to even the playing field with taxes,” he says.
He did praise the effort of the last council to pay down debt and boost reserves.
Marks says he has a “very good starting relationship” with his regional counterpart Bob Chapman.
“Bob has been very gracious and he’s been providing me with tips here and there.”
One of the issues the incoming council will address early is the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA) executing an almost 40-year agreement that binds the city to build a full extension of Harbour Road.
Marks noted the “high tempers and the contention” during the OPA’s annual general meeting in 2017, and is hoping to see a better relationship between the city and port authority.
“It’d be beneficial to all involved,” he says.
As for future development at the harbour, many voters Marks spoke with would want a boat launch, something he feels would be beneficial to users of the area.
While calling the discontinued plan to bring an ethanol plant in a “fiasco,” the first-time councillor would like to hear other possible development proposals that may be overlooked.
“I want to rehash that and see if any developers will come forward,” he says.
While “honoured” that he was elected to serve, Marks voiced his disappointment with the low voter turnout in Oshawa.
“I hope people are staying engaged because this is how things come to complacency when no one is watching. I hope we can shine some light on the big issues that people will become engaged in.”