Ward 13's Fyfe-Millar looks beyond council divisions to achieve goals for downtown
“I’m not accountable to the people (on city council) who voted me in. The important thing is being accountable to the residents of Ward 13,” said John Fyfe-Millar to CTV News London shortly after being appointed to fill a vacant seat on city council.
The second-place finisher in the 2018 election was appointed after a contentious debate and a narrow seven to six vote by London city council.
“I respect the fact that there was a lot of debate. I respect the passion that’s there,” says Fyfe-Millar. “To me, this (debate) is done. It’s time to move forward together.”
The ward includes downtown London and several core neighbourhoods.
“There’s a lot of great things going on down here, but I think we need to address some of those nagging issues,” he explains.
Fyfe-Millar commits to hit the ground running once he’s officially sworn into office.
“I think a real focus on the homelessness issue and the safety issue in our downtown has to be a priority. I also think when we look outside the downtown, there’s so much exciting happening in SOHO right now. There’s a development coming up there. I’ll be talking to the community about that. There’s also the development around Victoria Park and getting some insight on that.”
Fyfe-Millar will serve the remaining year of this council term, replacing Arielle Kayabaga who made the leap to federal politics.
He also commits to seek re-election in October 2022.
“My intent is to be here for the residents for the long term. Being here for the long term is committing to them in 2022. That makes me accountable today, tomorrow, and when I step into this role.”
Appointment followed contentious debate, narrow vote
Councillor Shawn Lewis voiced his support for the decision to appoint Fyfe-Millar.
“It’s not just the work he’s done on the DLBA (Downtown London Business Association), the Blackfriars Community Association, the Committee of Adjustment, Chamber of Commerce. He is deeply invested in the ward.”
Fyfe-Millar finished a close second to Arielle Kayabaga in the 2018 election.
But Councillor Jesse Helmer is not in favour of the decision.
“I am saying in the strongest possible terms that this is the wrong way for Mr. Fyfe-Millar to come onto council. If he wants to be elected to council, he can run again in 2022.”
Meanwhile the vacant seat in Ward Six will take a bit longer to fill.
Council backed a plan to hold an “open call for applications” before making a choice in November.
The appointment of Fyfe-Millar exposed the deep political divide on council.