Kenora officially has a new Mayor and Council – who will serve until 2026.
At City Hall on Tuesday night, community members joined city staff as the City of Kenora held their official swearing-in ceremony for the newly-elected Mayor Andrew Poirier and Councillors Graham Chaze, Barb Manson, Bob Bernie, Kelsie Van Belleghem, Lisa Moncrief and Lindsay Koch.
The night began with members signing O’ Canada with a traditional Treaty #3 land acknowledgment. Veteran politicians Greg Rickford, Kenora’s MPP, and Kenora MP Eric Melillo then joined the meeting virtually to congratulate and wish the new council luck in the future.
Then, councillors swore their oaths to make things official. Afterwards, Kenora’s ninth Mayor – Poirier, took a moment to specifically thank his wife and his late daughter for their support, before giving his official welcoming address to the community.
“I want to thank my wife Marge for her unwavering support throughout my time as a City Councillor and now Mayor. And also to my precious daughter who is looking down on us this evening, with a big smile on her face. Your support has meant the world to me,” said Poirier.
“I’d also like to thank all of the citizens of Kenora who supported me throughout my campaign and believed in my vision for the community,” he continued. “A huge shout-out to acknowledge the hard-working and tireless efforts of staff, not only at City Hall but throughout the entire organization.”
“I am truly humbled to have worked alongside the members of our outgoing council. Under Mayor Dan Reynard’s leadership, we have once again moved the city in a positive direction with many great initiatives. Thank you Rory, Chris, Mort, Sharon and Graham,” he adds.
Poirier is a former Manager of Operational Services for the Kenora Catholic District School Board, who has served three terms as a City Councillor in Kenora and won October 24’s election with 64 per cent of the community’s votes.
During the election campaign, Poirier ran on a platform of creating a safer downtown core by addressing drug use and homelessness, by working with community and First Nation partners and by gathering support to tackle the issues from the provincial and federal governments.
He also spoke about the need to create a business-friendly environment in Kenora, the need to increase housing supply and physician recruitment and said he would strive to operate an open and transparent governance model.
Councillor and former OPP member Bob Bernie’s platform also speaks about the need to increase community safety, while Councillor Lindsay Koch’s platform detailed the need to decrease policing costs and increase social supports.
Incumbent Councillor Graham Chaze’s campaign goals list downtown revitalization and economic development with better services for taxpayers, while Councillor Barb Manson promised to work with the community to find creative solutions to the community’s issues.
Lisa Moncrief’s campaign stressed the need for change in Kenora’s leadership and noted economic development and a review of policing costs are in order. Kelsie Van Belleghem stressed the need for financial diversification for the city, as well as proper representation for community members.