“I’ve been doing this more than half my life,” Ward five councillor and now nominated Federal Liberal Candidate Chad Collins tod the Bay Observer, referring to his long tenure on Hamilton City Council. Collins was appointed the party’s candidate to replace Bob Bratina in the riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek in an election which is set to be called Sunday.
He admitted it will seem strange, if elected, to walk away from files that occupied him as a councillor. “Housing and parks development have always been important to me,” Collins said, referring to his long-time chairmanship of City Housing Hamilton and his work developing the Beach trail and Confederation Park. He took some heat during the stadium debate for blocking consideration of Confederation Park as a site for the sports facility.
Collins’ name was mentioned as a possible Liberal candidate almost every time a federal or provincial election rolled around, but he always opted to remain on council. “I had small kids, and an extended absence was not possible,” he said. “But now the kids are in the latter stages of high school, and we made the decision as a family that this was the time.”
Collins has been a member of Hamilton Council since he was first elected in 1995. With 26 years on council, only Ward Six councillor Tom Jackson has served longer. “I’m still a relatively young guy, but I have more council experience than anybody but Tom,” he said.
He refused to get drawn into commenting on the current state of polarization on city council other than to say, “we’ve seen of late some fractured relationships on council, but even though we are elected as individuals, we have to work together as a team. I am proud of the way council has worked during the pandemic; it has been a very stressful time to be in any level of government.”
He is looking forward to the beginning of the campaign if it does come this weekend as expected. “I want to get back to Rosedale, which I used to represent” (before redistribution) and also the eastern parts of Stoney Creek, which were not part of my ward,” he said. “I’m looking forward to losing some of that pandemic weight I put on.”