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Ward 8 councillor steps down

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Coun. Jennifer Robinson has resigned.

Coun. Jennifer Robinson has resigned.

Jennifer Robinson has resigned from Barrie city council, effective immediately, for personal health reasons.

Robinson has been Ward 8 councillor since winning her first election in the fall of 2010.

“While this is rare to resign from public office, the reason is due to my health,” she told the Examiner. “That is why it is important for me to step down to take care of myself.

“While it is difficult to step away from the great team of this council and staff, it is vital that I do this for myself.”

Asked to elaborate on her health issues, Robinson kept them to herself.

“My health issues are my own and I will be fine,” she said.

Robinson's resignation will be considered at the next city council meeting, Aug. 13, at which point a vacancy on council will be declared according to Ontario's Municipal Act.

Council will then determine how it will fill the vacancy – either through a by-election or by appointing another councillor, at a date to be determined.

Robinson won a narrow victory in the Oct. 25, 2010 city election, defeating former Barrie councillor Alison Eadie by 22 votes. Next in the race was Don McLaurin, followed by Don MacNeil, John Webb and Ghulam Jilani.

Other Barrie councillors who have resigned before their term ended include Patrick Brown (2006), Brian Norton (2001), the late Anne Black (2000), Aileen Carroll (1997), and Joe Tascona (1995).

Brown and Carroll resigned after being elected to Parliament, Tascona was elected to the Ontario legislature and Norton was appointed a Justice of the Peace. Black stepped down for personal reasons.

A city by-election could cost $17,000 to $20,000.

Mayor Jeff Lehman thanked Robinson for her service to the city.

“Jennifer Robinson brought her unstoppable optimism, shining personality and a strong belief in Barrie to city council,” he said. “She was a tremendous ambassador for Barrie and will be sorely missed.

“In her time on council, I know that anyone who dealt with Jennifer came away feeling they had been heard and were well represented.”

Robinson expressed sorrow for her resignation.

“I am sad that I will no longer be the representative for Ward 8, especially since that is where I grew up,” she said. “The people that are engaged in the process of what happens in the city are positive about this council. I am happy that I was part of that for a short time.”

In an Aug. 1 resignation letter to the City Clerk's Office, Robinson also expressed her regret.

“During the last 18 months, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and will always cherish the privilege of representing the residents of Ward 8,” she said. “I have met so many wonderful Barrie residents.

“I will also miss my fellow council members and personally wish them every success as they continue to advance the vision we collectively share for Barrie.”

While the Ward 8 seat is vacant, residents there can contact the City Clerk's Office with concerns related to that area or other city issues.

Lehman says he will also help, as will city staff.

Robinson is a former Olympian and former six-time Canadian women's figure skating champion.

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