Kenora Mayor Andrew Poirier says he and his new team at City Hall are looking to hit the ground running in 2023, with a number of new housing and recreation projects for the new year.

In an interview with Q104 and KenoraOnline, Poirier says he and the new members of Council have spent the last five or six weeks in a variety of training and orientation meetings, with the group gathering for their first official Council meeting yesterday at City Hall.

“We’ve been busy. Outreach in the community. Meeting with a lot of different groups and individuals, listening to their concerns and the great ideas they’ve offered us. Looking forward to a few days of downtime at Christmas, and then hit the ground running again in the new year.”

During this year’s municipal election, Poirier ran on a platform of tackling a variety of social issues in Kenora’s downtown core, as well as supporting new housing developments and working alongside our First Nation partners. He says those are some of Council’s main priorities heading into 2023.

“We know we have some issues in the community that we have to address. We’ll begin to work on that to come up with some solutions to make that better and make our community better,” says Poirier.

Elsewhere, housing projects underway in the community include 30 units on Ninth Street North, 20 units on Matheson Street, 54 units for seniors on the Howard Property in Lakeside, 12 transitional units for women out on Sunset Bay and another 14 units at the old Northlands property.

The Mayor notes there’s also the potential for 88 apartment units on Valley Drive, with another 130 housing units split between townhouses and apartment buildings at the old mill property on Ninth Street North, if Gateway Casino’s project moves forward.

“There’s a lot of good things going on in the community. A lot of construction activity, especially in the housing continuum. That’s a good thing. We have a housing issue right from one end of the spectrum to the other, and we’re beginning to address that. There are more good things to come there,” he adds.

Poirier says he’s also looking forward to a number of critical infrastructure enhancements and new recreational amenities for the city, including a revamped Railway Street and phase 5 of Kenora’s downtown revitalization, as well as playground upgrades at Norman Park and Central Park.

“There’s a lot of good things that are happening. We’re going to continue to pursue funding opportunities for more initiatives on the books. We’re looking forward to it. We’re going to continue to look for our share of the pie.”

Issues still on the agenda for Kenora’s Senior Leadership Team include possibly twinning the Kenora Rec Centre, the continued reduction of policing costs, phase five of downtown revitalization, the Harbourfront’s redevelopment and the possible development of a casino at the former mill site.

Poirier was elected as Kenora’s ninth Mayor after October’s municipal election, as he received 64 per cent of the community’s 5,962 votes. The former councillor and Kenora Catholic District School Board member follows Mayor Dan Reynard, who he had served under as a Council member in the last term.