Township of Severn is governed by a seven-member elected Council. Council consists of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and five elected Councillors representing each ward. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are also Councillors for the County of Simcoe

Members of Council 2022 to 2026

members of Township of Severn Council

Left to right (sitting): Mayor Mike Burkett; Deputy Mayor Judith Cox 

Left to right (standing): Councillor Philip Brennan; Councillor Dan Janssen; Councillor Mark Taylor; Councillor Wanda Minnings; Councillor Jim McIntyre 

Council meetings and minutes

Attend an upcoming Council meeting, review the agenda and minutes and learn how to present before council.

Meet Council

Get to know your municipal Council members. Visit the Mayor's Office and review our Council accountability and transparency policies. Council makes up a variety of committees, and members are appointed to sit on a variety of outside agencies and committees. You can also send an email to all members of Council to share your comments. 

Mayor Mike Burkett

Mike was first elected as Mayor in 2010, and the 2022 to 2026 term will be his fourth as Mayor of the Township of Severn, making him the municipalities’ longest consecutive serving Mayor. He has represented Severn as a member of the County of Simcoe Council since that time, and throughout his elected career, has been known for his warm personality, collaborative approach, and personal attention to the issues raised by the community.

Mike was born and raised in Severn, apart from six years when he lived in Brazil and Columbia as a young man. This experience living abroad instilled a new perspective and an even greater appreciation of Severn, and Mike is always boasting about the natural areas, pristine waters, historic charm, and inviting community. Mayor Burkett currently lives with his wife Melodie near Washago and is co-owner of Muskoka Wrench. As a public servant, Mike is personally guided by a few rules:

  • pay personal attention to issues and respond effectively and promptly
  • be a visible and active participant in events and happenings in your community
  • be a strong advocate for the Severn community
Mayor Burkett looks forward to supporting the 2022 to 2026 team and working with Council and staff to support improved broadband service, review the careful growth of commercial and industrial lands to attract businesses, and reinvigorate the development of the West Shore Recreation Centre to provide a much-needed community hub.

Contact Mayor Mike Burkett by email or give him a call at 705-345-2337.

Deputy Mayor Judith Cox

Judith is a long-time resident of Severn who lives in Coldwater. With 28 years of previous council experience;10 as Councillor and 18 as Deputy Mayor, Judith has the experience needed to work for all residents of the Township and is committed to listening and finding solutions that result in real change.

After working for 20 years as an Educational Assistant, Deputy Mayor Cox retired in 2018.

Deputy Mayor Cox is always working to organize and deliver community events, which has allowed her to get to know every corner of the municipality and give back to local groups and non-profit organizations. For Judith, a sense of community is important to establish equity and connectivity across Severn. The feeling of association, togetherness, and cooperation – all these help in establishing a healthy community and can contribute to one’s quality of life in Severn.

In her role as Deputy Mayor, Judith looks forward to actively engaging with the community and is grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact on the Township that she will always call home.

Contact Deputy Mayor Judith Cox by email or give her a call at 705-345-2336.

Councillor Mark Taylor, Ward 1

Currently in his seventh term as a Councillor, Mark has extensive experience serving on a variety of local and regional committees and boards on behalf of Severn. Councillor Taylor has represented Ward 1 since 1999 and believes a strong Ward 1 will help Severn succeed.

Mark grew up on a family farm in the former Township of Matchedash, now part of the Township of Severn.

Mark graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Food Science. Councillor Taylor worked 42 years in the food industry, holding positions as an Operation Manager in the dairy and beverage sector, an Account Manager for a chemical supply company, and a consultant, assisting food plants in achieving production and quality goals.

Councillor Taylor is committed to:

  • ensuring the budget process works efficiently and shows respect to the taxpayers
  • answering residents’ concerns in a timely manner
  • making certain our roads and bridges are in good condition in all seasons
  • keeping our fire and rescue equipment in good repair
  • prioritizing environmental protection and preservation of Severn’s historical past
  • continually improving our recreation facilities, trails, and access to our waterway

Mark looks forward to the 2022 to 2026 term, and working with Council to deliver on the Township's strategic priorities. Mark has a great support team which includes his wife, Dona, his two daughters and two grandchildren.

Contact Councillor Mark Taylor by email or give him a call at 705-345-7629.

Councillor Dan Janssen, Ward 2

Dan has been elected to his first term as Councillor. He is a 20-year employee at Air Canada and has more than a decade of experience as a workers’ advocate as an active representative of his union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Councillor Janssen’s interest in politics stems from his 20-year career at one of Canada’s largest workplaces and seeing how his skills were able to create positive change and help improve the lives of his colleagues.

Dan was selected to represent the NDP in the 2018 provincial and 2019 federal elections, as the party’s candidate in the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding. Dan has been formally recognized for his role within health and safety in his workplace by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and is a cofounder of the Toronto Pearson Worker Health and Safety Forum, a first of its kind initiative that has brought airport safety leaders together to tackle workplace wide safety initiatives. Dan was also active in the community organizing campaign, $15andFairness, which successfully lobbied the provincial government, achieving a minimum wage increase that positively impacted 1.5 million Ontario low wage workers.

Dan recognizes the beauty and services provided by Severn’s natural areas, parks, and open spaces, and the important role they have in fostering happy, healthy, and active communities. Councillor Janssen would like to ensure that our spaces are well-planned and that they are created to bring people together and develop new and positive connections. As a newer resident, Dan can see the unique qualities of each area of Severn, and he looks forward to supporting the community as they celebrate those special characteristics, all while encouraging smart development and responsible economic growth. 

Two years ago, Dan and his partner Kerri moved to Coldwater to be closer to family and friends, and they love living in Severn and look forward to continuing to grow their roots. 

Contact Councillor Dan Janssen by email or give him a call at 705-345-8209.

Councillor Philip Brennan, Ward 3

Phil and his wife Donna have been residents of Severn since 2013. In June 2022, Severn Council selected him to represent the residents of Ward 3 in response to a vacancy prior to the end of the 2014 to 2018 term. Acclaimed in October 2022, Phil is excited to serve for a second and full term on the Township of Severn Council.

Prior to his retirement from public service in 2013, Councillor Brennan was a Senior Manager with the Ministry of the Environment - serving over 20 years in senior leadership positions with the Government of Ontario. Phil has extensive experience in policy development, project management, and fostering stakeholder relationships.

Councillor Brennan has a Bachelor of Science Honors in Forestry from the University of Toronto and is a Teacher of English as a Second Language (TOESL) graduate and continues to develop his skills through executive development and leadership programs.

Councillor Brennan is committed to:

  • remaining authentic and accountable to residents and stakeholders
  • supporting the transition to a new, sustainable lifestyle
  • ensuring a healthy environment
  • increasing access to energy and to broadband internet

Contact Councillor Philip Brennan by email or give him a call at 705-345-5778. 

Councillor Wanda Minnings, Ward 4

Councillor Minnings has lived in Westshore with her husband Rick since 2016 and has long been a passionate advocate for her community.

Wanda acquired a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education from Brock University and is Lean Sigma Six certified. Councillor Minnings has worked for over 18 years with various government ministries leading complex portfolios in social services, economic development, and education- advancing to her current position as Manager of Information and Strategic Communications with the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services.

Councillor Minnings is excited to be working with Council. Wanda values the consideration of equity in the decision-making process and has a strong position that resources and opportunities must be fairly distributed within our community to meet the needs of all people, regardless of age, ability, gender, income, education level, culture, or background.

Wanda enjoys volunteering as a senior’s advocate and has done so since early 2016 as a member of the Orillia and Area Age Friendly Advisory Committee. She has sat as a board member on the Provincial Interministerial Council of Ontario Public Service and was appointed as a community representative to Severn’s Culture, Recreation, and Advisory Committee from 2018 to 2022. Councillor Minnings is a member of the Bayou and Cumberland Beach Ratepayers and has been active in leading safety initiatives, seasonal community events, recreation opportunities, and community-sharing programs in Westshore.

Contact Councillor Wanda Minnings by email or give her a call at 705-345-7297.

Councillor Jim McIntyre, Ward 5

Jim has been a sincere and committed advocate for the people of Severn since his appointment to Council in December 2020 and he is looking forward to continuing his service in a full four-year term. 

Jim has owned property in Severn for over 20 years. His family loved it so much, they made Washago their full-time home in 2015.

Councillor McIntyre’s background includes 45 years in the real estate industry. This experience gave Jim insight not just into the importance of the financial worth of their property, but the understanding of the emotional value of their neighbourhood and the importance of the surrounding environment.

Prior to serving in Severn, Jim was involved in boards and committees in the City of Mississauga including as Chair of the Property Standards Committee, a member of the Library Board, and member of the By-law Committee. Councillor McIntyre volunteered his time for many years as the Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society (Malton Region) and was very involved in enhancing fundraising campaigns.

Jim believes that solving issues needs coordinated effort not only among Council but with neighbouring municipalities. The unique contributions and individual strengths of each member are what make Severn so successful, and Jim believes Council will need to lean into those strengths this term to achieve its goals.

Councillor McIntyre currently resides in Washago with his wife Elizabeth and enjoys spending time with his three sons and five grandchildren.

Contact Councillor Jim McIntyre by email or give him a call at 705-345-0056.

Petition to Council

If you'd like to submit a petition to Council on a specific topic or issue, you need collect the name and mailing address from Severn residents who support your petition.

Submit a petition to Council

A petition to Council must include:

  • contact name, phone number and address
  • date
  • detailed description of the request to Council
  • name and mailing address of petition supporters