July 2018

170 171 BVM: Mayor Molnar, can you give us some back- ground on the governing structure in Tillsonburg and your objectives as Mayor? Mayor Molnar: “I served two three-year terms as a City Councillor and 11 years as Mayor, so 17years in this capacity, as far as community contribution. I grew up here in Tillsonburg in a family that was very involved in service clubs, social committees, non-profit agencies–both public and private sector. I guess it rubbed off. “We are a lower tier municipality in a two-tier system in the County of Oxford.We have eight mu- nicipalities represented on the 10 member county council,which includes two elected at-large mem- bers from the city of Woodstock.Tillsonburg has seven elected officials; a mayor, deputymayor, and five councillors elected at-large in a ward system. I’m also chair of the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation (SCOR EDC). “Tillsonburg is unique in many ways.Our demo- graphics, our geography and our location along neighboring county borders brings unique pressures and also exciting opportunities.We’re a town of 16,000 people, challenged with servicing a popu- lation of 80,000 to 100,000 with our infrastructure, our healthcare, our education, and other provisions. We carry a lot more weight on our shoulders than an average community of our size.” BVM: How do you market to new businesses and residents? Mayor Molnar: “As our tag line says,we’re ‘Con- nected, Enriched, Inspired’–what’s cool about that is we reached out and understood we needed to spend a little more on our branding and our image. What I’m extremely proud of–besides the fact that TILLSONBURG, ONTARIO our branding/logo and brand story were recognized as the Provincial Economic Development award winner in 2016–is that this was driven from the ground up, as are so many accomplishments in our community.There were focus groups, and an ad hoc committee that reported back to council.Men,women, and our youth came together to dialogue about Tillsonburg: ‘Where are we now,what do we want to be?’ “Growth certainly brings opportuni- ty, but very quick abrupt exponential growth can bring an entire new set of problems,whether it’s in social services, or crime, or other issues.One woman re- cently said to me,‘We’ve researched all over the province.We wanted a progres- sive community with all the activities that people see as a benefit.What we don’t want is to change significantly the flavor of the community that we proac- tively selected.’That sentiment coming from a resident went right to the heart of the matter. “We’re so proud of our attraction of industrial, our expansion of commercial, our downtown core, our accessibility, the