Last night was a big night for Timmins’ city council and for the city itself.

At the inaugural meeting of the 2018-2022 city council, new council members and the new Mayor of Timmins were officially sworn in by Justice Martin Lambert.

Council chambers was packed with family and friends of the Mayor and council members, and past Mayors Vic Power, Tom Laughren and Steven Black were also present.

The swearing-in ceremony started with a performance by Pipe Major Tom Luke from the Timmins Police Pipes and Drums. After the Mayor was sworn into office, he delivered his inaugural speech.

George Pirie thanked those who had served the city before him, and made a point to thank Mike Doody for his years of community service. He thanked the city administration, and spoke of the importance of city officials and citizens to work together to make Timmins a better place.

“To the administration of the city here […], thank you for your efforts,” Pirie said, “We will continue to work together as a team. Dedicated to continuous improvement. Continuous improvement in our way of thinking, continuous improvement in the way we solve problems with everyone working together: administration, council, and the leadership within the city to address the issues we face.”

Pirie spoke of the more immediate issues our city must tackle; issues like the homelessness crisis, aging infrastructure, problems with the Porcupine sewage treatment system, debt threat, declining population and levels of taxation.

“The voters have spoken,” he said, “They want action. They want solutions. They want and deserve a council that will examine the status quo and make the necessary changes to our way of doing business to chart a new course to ensure our future for generations to come.”

Pirie touched on the importance of the administration and city council providing information to its citizens and being transparent.

“Our core value has to be that everything we do is in the best interest of our citizens and our taxpayers.”

Pirie said our future starts by examining our past and history. That includes the heritage of our land and its mining history.

“When I sit or stand in front of you in this chamber in city hall,” Pirie said, “I see around me the images of a proud frontier town carved out of the wilderness, built by incredible individuals with an unlimited supply of fortitude and belief in their future and the future of the Porcupine camp.”

The land itself was not the only part of the past Pirie talked about. He also addressed the importance of our Indigenous population, their history, and the reconciliation that we must work towards.

“We are nowhere near the edge of our possibilities and potential,” he said, “but if we are to obtain it, we must do it in partnership with our Indigenous People. There is a larger vision to be a part of, and it is the vision of reconciliation.”

Pirie said we must continue to nurture our cultural diversity, and that includes Indigenous Peoples as well as Franco-Ontarians.

Pirie also talked about our economy and how diverse it is. He said there is unlimited potential in every sector of our economy, from forest to mining to energy.

“We have unlimited potential in every segment of our economy,” he said, “Our economic development will engage the best individuals in the city and region. […] We need to think the unthinkable. We need to believe that we can do it here.”

Taking better advantage of our natural resources is not the only way to better our economy. Pirie talked about growing our tourism industry, and keeping our roads, bridges and trails open so people can have access to the beautiful landscape, rivers and lakes in the province’s north.

Pirie also spoke of the importance of growing our post-secondary institutions, and bettering our healthcare centres. He also wants to maximize the potential of our airport.

“We must recognize the fact that we are only an hour north of Toronto by air and we need to capture all of the economic benefits that means to the city.”

As Pirie began his speech by looking at Timmins’ past, he ended it by looking towards its future.

“What we do now in the next four years will lay our foundation for the future,” Pirie said. “A future where the world will come to us and ask “how do we get that done?” and most importantly: “how can we invest in your community?” […] The world already believes in Timmins. And every citizen of Timmins must as well.  We can achieve all of our potential if we all do the right thing, build teamwork and trust, and have a passion for growth and change. It is our future to seize.”

The first city council meeting of 2019 will take place on January 8th.

Filed under: Local News