Cutsey backs Gardiner
‘Don’t get me wrong, I love (Mayor) Al (Mcdonald), but this city has to change. You talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk’
John Cutsey didn’t hold back any punches Thursday during his official endorsement of North Bay mayoral candidate Gary Gardiner.
Cutsey, a successful North Bay businessman, joined former Nipissing MP Bob Wood and Gord Miller, former Ontario environmental commissioner, voicing a need for change at city hall.
“I’ve lived here all of my life, 70 years. I’m hiring five people per month, so I’m here to stay. But North Bay is going nowhere. We need a change,” Cutsey said from his boardroom at FDM4 International Inc. on Airport Road.
There hasn’t been growth in North Bay for years and the population signs continue to plummet, Cutsey said.
“There’s been major mistakes made. Mistakes after mistakes after mistakes,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love (Mayor) Al (Mcdonald), but this city has to change. You talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk.”
Cutsey says he didn’t know Gardiner before the election, but liked what he read about the mayoral candidate, as well as Gardiner’s vision for the future.
“My support came from deductive reasoning,” he explained.
“I don’t want Al and the existing council in for another four years. This quote isn’t mine, but it’s perfect for this occasion: ‘Don’t be afraid to change, be afraid to not change.’”
Cutsey quoted cost estimates for projects such as Mcdonald’s proposed multimillion extension of Marshall Avenue.
He said the ski hill sewer extension could see the construction of 750 homes in the future, but will saddle the city with major financial obligations for generations with no benefit in return.
“Gary isn’t against growth. In fact, what he doesn’t want is negative growth. He wants smart growth,” Cutsey said.
“No more wasted money spent on projects with little to no return. When you look at the ski hill sewer extension, by the time those 750 homes are built and occupied, our great-great-grandchildren will not even see the benefit. It’s a bad decision. On the surface, it looks like growth, but it’s adding expenses and higher taxes.”
Before handing the microphone to Gardiner, Cutsey weighed in on the proposed development of a casino in North Bay.
Cutsey supports a casino, but only if it’s attached to a hotel and convention centre that will bring people to North Bay and keep them here.
Gardiner took the opportunity to clarify a few misconceptions about himself that he has heard while on the campaign trail.
“I want to be clear I’m all for growth,” he said. “However, I’m in support of smart growth. Growth should pay for growth.
“When you expand infrastructure, it should pay for itself. But that doesn’t happen here,” he said, noting there should be enough uptake to pay for the cost.
Gardiner called the Cedar Heights standpipe another project that wasted precious resources.
“People say it’s to help the college and university. However, we already spent $7 million on new infrastructure on College Drive to address those issues,” Gardiner said.
“The standpipe is supposed to be for future growth, benefiting 10,000 people. However, just look at our population. That’s not coming any time soon. When we’re a city that is shrinking, it’s simply not a wise investment,” he said.
“When things change so should your plans. Business people understand that.”
John Cutsey, seen here working at his computer at FDM4 International Inc. on Airport Road, has thrown his support behind North Bay mayoral candidate Gary Gardiner.