It’s election season in northwestern Ontario!

Q104, KenoraOnline and DrydenNow asked each Council and Mayor candidate for their thoughts on a variety of issues in the community, and we’ll be running a series of articles with candidates’ responses.

Please detail one special project or initiative that you would like to push forward and see happen in the community if you are elected?

- Andrew Poirier
“I would like to see the continuation of the Harbourfront Re-Development Project, which has been approved by the present council, in concept.

My support is contingent on the city receiving substantial financial support from both upper levels of government through a variety of funding streams, very little to no tax increases in local taxes to accomplish stages and a realistic schedule of implementation. This would be my dream project in the next council.”

- Mort Goss
“I believe that the time has come for a serious, in-depth study to determine a cost/benefit analysis of bringing the estimated 7500 year-round residents living just outside our municipal borders into our tax base. These residents use our bridges, roads, libraries, infrastructure and amenities that are funded with our residential tax dollars.

I’d also want to look into the recent report that suggests Kenora is home to possibly thousands of indigenous residents that are counted in their home communities, but living here for long periods of time for medical, social or legal reasons. If this is proven true, our funding formulas from the province are shortchanging us, and we are not being funded properly.”

- Sharon Smith
“The ‘hot topic’ now is the mental health and addictions crisis, homelessness and criminal activity impacting our community. These issues are not under the jurisdiction of municipal governments, nor core services supported by property tax dollars.

It is clear though that all agencies responsible for this work and senior levels of government should be at the table to address this problem. The community safety and well-being plan may be a good start in pulling  together a table to help with solutions.”

- Joel McGrath
“My initiative would be a Kenora Builds task force. People of all incomes and backgrounds need places in which to live. This would also follow the Housing First philosophy in service to homeless and addicted individuals.”

- Kelsie Van Belleghem
“Food insecurity is a growing problem everywhere, but food waste is also a huge problem.

I grew up in Kimberley BC, and they have set up a food bank program that works in conjunction with the local grocery stores to take any food that the stores are going to throw out but is still usable, and give it to anyone who can use it. They also have volunteers come in periodically and take any produce, meats, etc. that are going to go bad soon and cook them into stews, baked goods, etc. to extend the life of the food and offer prepared food options to everyone.

I have also seen very successful city-wide composting programs in southern Manitoba (thank you Composting Club), and I would like to see this work in conjunction with a good food bank program so that we are mitigating our waste, extending landfill lifespans and, most importantly, addressing the burgeoning food insecurity people are facing these days.”

- Mark LaBelle
“I would like to see a summer ice floor at the arena So that we would have an opportunity to have summer hockey and skating camps and indoor events at the arena like the Fall Fair and the Home show.”

- Chris Poate
“I was very interested when I heard about the potential redevelopment of the ‘Stud Mill’ property between Norman and Keewatin.  I believe that this property's ‘highest and best use’ would be for residential and commercial development focused on its access to Lake of the Woods.

I would like to see the City of Kenora encourage the relocation of the sawmill to other Commercial/Industrial property (probably near the Weyerhaeuser plant) by providing property trade, tax incentives, and/or other means.  This site would be absolutely great for development and really represents the only property available for such within City limits and on Lake of the Woods. 

I think that I might have followed one of the last log booms through the Keewatin Channel and to the Stud Mill holding areas back in 1976. They don't need to be on the water anymore and, in fact, it's probably detrimental to their operation.”

- Lisa Moncrief
“With the much-needed new hospital on the horizon, the construction and operating cost of a new special project at this time might not be prudent. I would like to focus on stable, supportive funding for existing services and stable staffing levels for departments that are operating thin.”

- Mark Perrault
“I listed 2 that I promise to get done or not run again. A GIS-enabled website and a Volunteer bureau.

A GIS system to allow citizens and businesses to access city information easily.  Layers of information over a google map so zoning, future road plans, city-owned property, social housing locations and applications;  snow plow routes and present plow locations can be seen with a click of a mouse.

All public information should be easily available and not require a freedom of information request.

A city-wide volunteer bureau – I promise will be running by the end of my term. People can submit their talents and interests and be matched with projects focused on improving accessibility, the environment and reconciliation with our area first nations.”

- Lindsay Koch
“I’m really interested in enhancing active transportation in the area, and getting a compost program underway.”

Every candidate was asked for their responses to five questions related to issues in the community. As of the time of publishing, we did not receive responses from Louis Roussin, Cecile Marcino, Logan Haney, Barbara Manson, Graham Chaze, Bob Bernie, Andy Scribilo, David Byers-Kitt

Advanced voting is underway in Kenora and it opened this morning in Dryden. The Municipal election will wrap up on October 24.