Brooks to run for town council

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A retired banker has declared he is running for a seat on Gananoque town council.


Brian Brooks, president of the Gananoque Lions Club, former president of the Gananoque Curling Club and treasurer of the Stocking Hill apartments, said that running for council is the next logical progression in his community involvement.


Brooks worked 34 years in mainly commercial banking and was involved in a lot of negotiations with developers and business, he said. After a brief retirement in 2005, Brooks took a job with the federal banking ombudsman’s office to research and adjudicate disputes.


Brooks said his banking experience has made him unafraid to ask the tough questions, whether of staff or developers.


As an army brat and later as a banker working in different cities, Brooks said he really never had a hometown, so when he finally settled in Gananoque he decided to get involved in the town. Brooks’s family settled in Gananoque in the 1960s so he and his wife, a Gananoque native, visited often. They had a cottage in the area for years. When they retired, the couple turned the cottage into a full-time home.


“Gananoque is really on the verge of being discovered,” said Brooks, citing the condominium developments proposed for the town.


“This growth is good for the town, but we cannot have growth at all costs,” he said.


Brooks said the growth has to be controlled and it must be on the town’s terms, conforming to the Official Plan and Gananoque’s Lowertown Study.


The town paid a lot of money for its plans, and developers must adhere to them, he said.


“If they come to our park, they must play by our rules,” he said.


Development issues will be a major preoccupation of the next council, and his experience would be useful on council, he said.


Brooks said he is also concerned by the number of vacant stores in downtown Gananoque. The downtowns of such towns as Westport and Merrickville are doing very well, he said, while Gananoque, with the Thousand Islands, the casino and its proximity to the 401 and the U.S. is struggling.


Eventually if the the proposed condo developments succeed in bringing people to Gananoque, the downtown will improved, but it needs help before that, Brooks said.


Brooks said he is also big on the need to preserve the town’s heritage buildings. He feels council was wrong to turn down the proposed demolition bylaw.


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