Mayoral candidates talked about all things business at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce Debate.
Yesterday, all five candidates took the hot seat to discuss issues brought forward by the local business community. Some repeat topics from the first debate were brought up like Stars and Thunder, the proposed aquatic centre and labour shortages.
There were some new topics that arose as well including:
- What partnerships candidates intended to pursue to grow the economy
Daniel Fortier says the best thing to do is talk to manufacturers and bring more of them to the city.
George Pirie says Timmins needs to build better relationships with the region’s indigenous people because they are the future of the city.
Steve Black says he agrees with Pirie and that expanding relationships with Indigenous communities will bode well for Timmins.
Lauchlan MacInnes says working with Indigenous communities and talking to more manufacturers would help grow the economy. Especially when it comes to projects like the Ring of Fire.
Ray Burey says industrial partners, like big mining corporations, need to come to the table with some money. Burey says is the multi-million dollar companies pay their fair share, it will help the smaller businesses grow.
- How can the legalization of cannabis become an economic opportunity for the city
Pirie says there has to be a strict licensing regime when it comes to recreational marijuana stores. He says that is a social responsibility. Pirie says whether you opt in or out of the storefronts, the city is still up for $10,000 in funding from the government. He adds that the money should be put into a reserve to be used on police equipment.
Black says he supports Timmins opting into regulated cannabis storefronts. He says opting in ensures at least $10,000 in funding from upper levels of government, as well as tax revenue from those stores.
MacInnes says since the last debate he had a change of heart. He says before he was against opting into the storefronts, but now that he has thought more about it, he agrees with that stance. MacInnes says by supporting private sellers, you are keeping the tax money in Timmins.
Burey says Timmins needs to be mindful of cannabis otherwise, it will become like smoking cigarettes. He says Timmins shouldn’t open “cannabis cafes” in the downtown core because minimum wage workers work in the area and would have to deal with the constant smoke and getting second-hand high. Burey says he is for over the counter marijuana for medical purposes, but he has an issue with the recreational use.
Fortier says there is no choice because recreational cannabis is now here. He says it is a gateway drug and he doesn’t support it. Fortier says he supports getting money back to the city through store taxes but is against the drug.
- What is the candidate’s ideal Timmins looks like and how they plan on getting there
Pirie says Timmins has to stop the population decline and keep youth here. He says he would create a youth council so the city can understand what the youth actually want. He says he would also work towards diversifying the economy and partnering with Indigenous communities.
Black says population decline is one of Timmins biggest problems. He says Timmins is very reliant on big corporations so the city needs to work cooperatively with them. Black adds that Timmins needs to expand its quality of life and bring more to the community to have people stay as well as visit. He says if the city can do that then there will be more people spending their money locally.
MacInnes says Timmins needs to grow on the success that is already happening. He says beautifying the downtown core and parks will help, but Timmins also needs to focus on improving its infrastructures like roads and water mains.
Burey says he agrees with what most of what Pirie said, but the city also needs to become a “smart city”. He says you need to build the city core to bring people to it and really connect the community.
Fortier says that’s hard to say because everything is coming at the city so fast, like cannabis legalization for example. He adds that Timmins should start looking into more robotics. He says mines are starting to use more robotics and soon it will be seen everywhere you go.
Municipal election day is set for Monday, October 22nd. This year you can vote online or at a polling station.