Brian Calver, the owner of the Davis & Davis hardware store looked at local politics in his town and decided he could offer a fix by running for the mayor’s seat.
“For 32 years, I’ve worked here and I’ve listened to people complain about how difficult it is to get a severance or how difficult it is to get an amendment to this or that and I honestly felt I could be of value to council,” he said.
“I feel I’d be a great asset in my role of leadership. I have a proven track record myself. I’ve turned businesses around that were going down and I’ve turned clubs around that were going down. I have a really keen aspect of business and that’s what we have to get back to.”
One thing Calver feels is broken is the way the town is working to bring business into the community.
“We need to change things around a little bit as far as our bylaws are concerned to try to invite new business to come to town. Right now, there’s a lot of red tape to go through and there’s no real incentives for them. There’s nothing to entice a business to come to Napanee.”
Calver said he’s been going to council meetings for a while to try to get an understanding of what causes delays and he said it seems a lot of things “go around in circles” when they should be straightforward.
Some of that he chalks up to personalities. As an outsider viewing the process, Calver said it appears council is divided and that people are working against one another instead of pushing toward the same goal.
Regardless of the issue — be it the pool, homelessness, or tax policy — Calver said cohesion on council will be crucial to moving forward.
“That’s my major goal to get everyone working as a team. The people who are running all bring a unique thing about them, so it doesn’t matter who gets in, we can all work together as a team.”
If there happens to be a lot of new faces, Calver sees that as an opportunity as it may be easier for everyone to jell together.
“It’s like a hockey team. When you bring in one or two new players, it’s a lot of work for them to adjust to the team and the team to adjust to them.”
Calver says he believes a focused council can put the pool issue to rest by examining grant funding and affordable options. He promises a serious discussion.
He’s also taken a keen interest in attracting doctors to the municipality and says it’s important that patients deroster to highlight the need for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Calver believes as many as 4,000 are without a physician.
Having grown up in the urban area in Napanee and now living on County Rd. 9, his home since the 1990s, and serving urban and rural customers at his store, Calver says he’s seen the perception rural and urban aren’t treated equally. He said it’s time to put division aside and move forward.
“While campaigning, I’m still seeing Township of Richmond signs up. Amalgamation was 20 years ago. We need to work hard to get everybody to realize we are one,” he said.
As far as creating policies to address fairness in taxation or otherwise, Calver said he won’t make any promises until he’s been elected and can review the actual numbers and talk with council.
Green bin recycling is also a program he says has merit and he plans to speak to Manco Recycling about what can be done.
As president of the Napanee Rod and Gun Club, Calver said he’s used to working with a team but also in making big decisions when necessary.
“I look at what’s right and fair. It might upset you and it might upset someone else, but the decision has to be made. You need to make a decision for the right reasons and make the decision that is right for everybody.”
Access is something Calver says won’t be lacking either. While his wife Monique and children Ryan and Alex offer him support to balance business and politics, he’s made his reputation by being available to serve others.
“People can approach me at my business. I’m here Monday to Friday and available 24/7 on my cell phone. I can always be gotten ahold of and talked to face-to-face,” he said. “My number has been on the door here for 32 years. I’ve always been able to look after my customers… Service is what I do. That will continue to continue.”