The Quill Pub at Northern College was packed last night with residents anxious to hear from their potential Ward representatives.

Councillor Candidates from Wards 2, 3 and 4 were in the hot seat last night, discussing major issues concerning Timmins citizens in the Timmins Chamber of Commerce Municipal Election Debate.

The Ward 2 Candidates are Mickey Auger, Lorne Feldman and Walter Wawrzaszek. The Candidates for Ward 3 are Joe Campbell, Donna Dorrington and Carter Lucyk. And the Ward 4 Candidates are Pat Bamford, John Patrick Curley, Davie Gerald Shale and Jessica Trudel.

Things got started with each candidate giving an opening statement and among things brought up during this portion was the conditions of the South End, better transportation for seniors, a call for more education, the East End sewage pump, parking downtown, and bringing down the debt of the city. Other things covered in the opening remarks include cleaning up Porcupine Lake, the city’s homeless problem, tax reduction, affordable homes and improving the roads.



The first question of the night was about Stars and Thunder 2019 and whether candidates supported its continuation.

A popular idea was that the festival should continue only if it didn’t cost the tax payers anything, and it was perhaps 3-4 days instead of 8. Many, including Ward 4 Candidate Jessica Trudel and Ward 3 Candidate Joe Campbell, called for an audit of the first two years of the festival and the implementation of a business plan to include ways to raise money for the event so it will not cost anything to the taxpayers. Ward 2 Candidate Mickey Auger suggested that the Mayor and Council should not be involved with any entertainment business in the city, and the money should go towards fixing the roads and infrastructure projects. Ward 2 Councillor Jean Fex suggested promoters be brought in to help pay for the event and bring in musical talent.

The next question was whether the Councillors supported the new Aquatic Centre, as developed by Council.

Most of the candidates said they do not support the new swimming and sports complex, with many, including Ward 2 Candidate Lorne Feldman, saying we have a perfectly fine pool already. Some, including Ward 4 Candidate John Curley, said the time might be right in the future for such a project, but right now there are more pressing matters that need our attention. Ward 4 Candidate Davie Shale said the city needs to live within its means and argued that our own pool should be renovated before a new complex is built. Ward 3 Candidate Donna Dorrington was the first to state she did support the aquatic centre and that the project will bring people into the city and help with quality of life. Ward 2 Candidate Walter Wawrzaszek also supports the pool, stating that our pool in town is closed a lot of the time and that the pool won’t be built unless there is Federal and Provincial funding in place to cover the cost.


The topic of safety in the downtown area was next.

The general consensus among the candidates was that the downtown area is deteriorating and needs help. The issue of the growing number of homeless in downtown Timmins was a top priority for a lot of candidates, and Ward 3 Candidate Dorrington said this was not a city problem, but a human one. She suggested longer hours for the Living Space to remain open (24 hours a day) so people with addiction and mental health issues will have somewhere to go for support at all times. Ward 4 Candidate Trudel echoed this opinion and said the root cause is homelessness, lack of jobs and mental health support. She said putting the troublemakers in jail is only a band-aid solution and that the root cause of the issue of homelessness needs to be addressed if any change is going to be made. Lots of candidates supported the idea of more policing in the downtown area, and Ward 4 Candidate Shale suggested cameras be set up and watched by volunteers so quicker action can be taken. Ward 2 Candidates Auger and Wawrzaszek and Ward 4 Candidate Bamford all agreed more foot patrols in the downtown by the Timmins Police Service is needed. Ward 2 Candidate Fex agreed that more policing is needed, but also that more affordable housing is also a cause for the city’s homeless. Ward 3 Candidate Campbell and Ward 4 Candidate Shale said bringing more people to live in the downtown will liven it up and create a positive cycle of income and prosperity.Ward 3 Candidate Lucyk suggested finding work for the city’s less fortunate might help keep them busy, employed and off the streets.


The candidates were also asked what fiscal responsibility meant to them.

Many, like Ward 4 Candidate Trudel, said fiscal responsibility is about prioritizing needs over wants. She used the example of health and safety being more of a priority over non-urgent things that might boost the quality of life for residents. Ward 3 Candidate Dorrington said boosting morale by giving residents things to do can affect the population problem and lower taxes as more people come to Timmins to live. Ward 2 Candidate Feldman said affordability leads to enjoyment and restoring fairness and equal proportion of the tax system will help citizens enjoy living here. Ward 4 Candidate Shale questioned projects that go over budget and suggested that projects not get funded if the city has to borrow to fund them. Ward 3 Candidate Lucyk suggested that cutting public employees will help offset costs in the city.

The topic of attracting and retaining youths was next and the candidates had differing opinions on what brings youths into Timmins and what keeps them here.

Most of the candidates agreed that more job opportunities is the best way to attract young people to the city. Ward 3 Candidate Dorrington suggested an Anglo University be built to attract young minds and help with population growth. Ward 4 Candidate Curley also suggested more education opportunities in the city would help bring the young people here. Ward 2 Candidate Feldman suggested a committee for young people so they can be trained to take over businesses in town as a solution to businesses closing when owners leave or retire. Feldman also suggested having a tax rebate setup so young people who sign on to stay in Timmins for, say, 10 years, would benefit.

The topic of cannabis entering the community was next, and while many candidates expressed their concern with safety on the roads and to young people, a few candidates said this was an economic opportunity for Timmins. Ward 4 Candidate Trudel said the legalization of cannabis can bring new employment opportunities for youths and Ward 3 Candidate Dorrington agreed that this is an economic opportunity for the city and things like cafes and dispensaries can bring jobs to the city.

The final question of the night was about the loss of mining jobs with mine closures and how the city can offset this and bring jobs back to the city.

Some candidates, include Ward 2 Candidate Feldman, suggested diversification and bringing in more opportunities in the energy, agricultural and technology sectors. Some, including Ward 4 Candidate Bamford and Ward 3 Candidate Dorrington, said businesses need to look beyond Timmins and encourage exporting markets, an area a lot of businesses are going into. Ward 4 Candidate Trudel said there needs to be more attention paid to the downtown areas in the city, and not just downtown Timmins. She said there are other good economic centres here, like downtown Porcupine and Schumacher. She suggested promoting these areas more to open more unique businesses and attract more people. Ward 2 Candidate Wawrzaszek said the city needs to look at bringing more mining businesses to the area and we need to get the NORONT Smelter to help with jobs. Ward 4 Candidate Curley agreed and said education attracts students and teachers and this also leads to job prosperity.

The debate was lively but civil and saw lots of different opinions about a wide variety of important city topics expressed by the candidates. The residents in Wards 2, 3 and 4 go to the polls on October 22nd to vote for their council representatives.

The next Ward debate is tonight, for Wards 1 and 5. That is taking place at College Boreal on Oct. 11th from 6-8pm.

Filed under: Local News