Jim Kerr running to become the next Mayor: Green, sustainable, smarter and accountable - plus better communications from city hall.

By Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2022



Jim Kerr has been late getting into the race to become Mayor of Burlington and he has a lot of catching up to do.

He is a product of Aldershot, born, raised there and has called the community home all of his life.

He is a graduate of Western University and holds a Certified Management Accounting diploma.  Active in sports when he was younger Kerr was one of the several thousands who came down with Covid19 and had to be hospitalized for longer than he expected.

His work as a corporate restructuring consultant has taken him out of the province for much of the past two decades.

The day we interviewed Jim Kerr

His work experience is extensive, his understanding of the Burlington budget and the process used to determine what the tax rate should be is surprising high for someone entering politics for the first time.

Much of the work Kerr did at the restructuring level involved municipalities that were deeply involved in restructuring industry in their community’s – Kerr may not have sat in a City Council chamber, but he appears to have a deep understanding of what Mayor’s are up against.

His vision for the city is distinct – going from moving the bus terminal out of the downtown core to somewhere closer to the QEW area to looking for ways to focus on the city’s strengths and tighten up the city’s fiscal position.

He realizes the city has to grow and he understands that up is the direction residential housing is going to go. Kerr just wants to make smarter decisions and look for opportunities that don’t result in growth that distorts the city.

Infill housing, “granny flats” and finding a way to come up with an affordable housing solution are top of mind for Kerr

You will see the word “Smart” attached to almost every statement Kerr makes.

The consistent thread through the work Kerr has done in the private sector is “restructuring”. Changing an existing situation that no longer works and adapting to new circumstances.

One gets the impression that Kerr wants to think “smarter” about everything.

His view and approach seems to bring much of the innovation coming from city council rather than staff.  Were Kerr to become Mayor there would be significant changes in the way staff and Council work together. His background is in the corporate world where things are done very differently.

Accountability and delivering are prime for Kerr.  In the municipal world accountability is a word that gets tossed around and delivering is not always evident.

Kerr’s understanding of the city’s financial situation is that going forward what is being done now is just not sustainable. There is far too much debt.

Kerr and what we know about the people supporting him appear to be fiscal conservatives – spend when you have the funds and don’t rely on future revenue until you have it in hand.

Respect what reserves are – don’t raid them when you have a pet project.

Jim Kerr greet Rainer Noack

Transit is a real issue that Kerr thinks is going to take decades to resolve – there is a huge swing needed in the public perception of what transit is going to mean to the average Burlingtonian.

Kerr knows that we have to become greener – that need will be part of every step he takes should he become Mayor. He is also guided by the need to be sustainable – that’s where he inserts the word smart.

This Kerr, mentions that the seed of public service was planted years ago when he met George Kerr who was the MPP for Burlington decades who. That Kerr once chose to swim in the Bay to convince people that the water was safe.

Jim Kerr is strong on inclusion – “we are all equal” he said.

He also wants better communications coming out of city hall.

Has he missed very much?  The public will get to see and listen to him when he takes part in the Burlington Chamber of Commerce event on October 3rd.


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2 comments to Jim Kerr running to become the next Mayor: Green, sustainable, smarter and accountable – plus better communications from city hall.

  • Bruce Tidd

    Finally, a decent candidate

  • Mary Hill

    I believe the Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Debate is on October 4th not 3rd as shown here.

    Editor’s note: Mary is absolutely right – the event is on the 4th – not the third as we reported. We will re-write that story – Thank you Mary