New coun­cil sworn in

Home­less­ness among key ar­eas of con­cern iden­ti­fied by Tim­mins Mayor Ge­orge Pirie

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - LEN GILLIS

Mo­ments af­ter be­ing sworn in as the eighth mayor of Tim­mins in 17 terms of coun­cil since amal­ga­ma­tion, Mayor Ge­orge Pirie said one of the most im­me­di­ate is­sues he wants city coun­cil to deal with is “the home­less­ness prob­lem”.

“To that end I will be calling for the for­ma­tion of a task force man­dated to pro­vide a so­lu­tion at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble date. I am con­fi­dent we have the lead­er­ship within this com­mu­nity,” said the mayor.

The swear­ing-in event it­self fol­lowed the tra­di­tion where the new mayor and coun­cil mem­bers were piped in by Tom Luke, the pipe ma­jor with the Tim­mins Po­lice Pipes and Drums.

Fol­low­ing that, the swear­ing in was car­ried out by Tim­mins Pro­vin­cial Court Judge Martin Lam­bert, who presided over the Dec­la­ra­tion of Of­fice and Oath of Al­le­giance.

Pirie then took his seat as the head of coun­cil over­look­ing the semi-cir­cle of coun­cil seats for Mickey Auger, Michelle Boileau, JoeCamp­bell,JohnCur­ley,An­drew Marks, Kristin Mur­ray, Noella Ri­naldo and Rock Whissell.

Pirie jumped right into the home­less­ness is­sue and need for the city to take ac­tion.

“We know we have a home­less­ness prob­lem, some would say cri­sis in the city. Within that is­sue is the need to put in place a warm­ing shel­ter to pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment for those most at risk,” said the mayor.

He said he is con­fi­dent there is lead­er­ship in the city to work on the prob­lem ef­fec­tively.

“I wit­nessed ev­i­dence of this lead­er­ship at a re­cent lun­cheon hosted by Gold­corp where 10 agen­cies ded­i­cated to serv­ing the com­mu­nity, do­ing truly out­stand­ing work and per­form­ing es­sen­tial ser­vices were present. Be­hind those present stood hun­dreds of vol­un­teers. I know we have strong cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship and a ded­i­cated com­mu­nity. Truly we are still the city with a heart of gold. I am con­vinced, on the ba­sis of the in­di­vid­u­als I met at that lun­cheon that we can get this done.”

He said the new coun­cil needs to have the “dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions” and be coura­geous enough to “make tough de­ci­sions” and not to ig­nore the ob­vi­ous is­sues.

“The world is chang­ing all around us and we have to adapt. Com­mu­ni­ties that bury their head in the sand are doomed to medioc­racy and will slowly crum­ble from the in­side out. We can­not be one of them,” Pirie told his new coun­cil.

“Tim­mins is not alone in this chang­ing world. Every other mu­nic­i­pal­ity of our size is fac­ing the same so­cial is­sues we see on our streets. To that end we have to be­gin the con­ver­sa­tion with the so­cial ser­vices agen­cies to find a so­lu­tion to these is­sues here in Tim­mins. Sta­tus quo is not an op­tion.” Pirie’s speech touched on sev­eral other is­sues in the city in­clud­ing the need to be more open to ac­knowl­edg­ing the his­toric role of the Indige­nous peo­ples and to be more open to in­clud­ing First Na­tions in the fu­ture of the city. He also com­mented on the rich cul­tural her­itage and back­grounds of the ev­ery­day peo­ple of Tim­mins and made a spe­cial men­tion of the city’s fran­co­phone her­itage.

Pirie also com­mented on the ad­min­is­tra­tion team at city hall and the im­por­tance of col­lab­o­ra­tion.

“We will con­tinue to work to­gether as a team ded­i­cated to con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment to 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.

He also urged coun­cil­lors to be their best selves.

“Re­spect and trust are para­mount. Rea­son­able peo­ple should be able to dis­agree rea­son­ably and then get on with the busi­ness at hand,” said the mayor.

Part of the cer­e­mony Tues­day night in­cluded the of­fi­cial re­sponse to the mayor from the most se­nior mem­ber of coun­cil, that be­ing Coun. An­drew Marks. He chal­lenged his fel­low coun­cil­lors to “be for­ward think­ing” and to con­sider projects that will en­hance the com­mu­nity for the years and decades to fol­low.

“Coun­cils can do great things dur­ing their term of of­fice. They can be for­ward think­ing, ad­dress­ing cur­rent and fu­ture com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ments like pre­vi­ous coun­cils have,” said Marks, who pro­vided sev­eral ex­am­ples.

“The de­ci­sion to move for­ward with a new li­brary – now the pride of our city; the con­struc­tion of a new po­lice sta­tion, to en­sure the safety of our res­i­dents; the build­ing of the old TeleTech call cen­tre which cre­ated over 400 jobs in the down­town core when it was op­er­a­tional, now the newly named Michael JJ Doody Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence, hous­ing our ex­panded Tim­mins Mu­seum and Tourism of­fice and the Tim­mins Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.”

He said one of the most im­por­tant past projects was the de­ci­sion by coun­cil to fi­nally move ahead on the long term plan for re­pair­ing and up­grad­ing the Con­nect­ing Link, the main sec­tion of high­way that passes through every ward in the city.

“All of these projects have im­proved the com­mu­nity in which we all call home,” he said.

“I am truly look­ing for­ward to work­ing closely with our new mayor and fel­low coun­cil mem­bers over the up­com­ing four years to bet­ter our com­mu­nity, grow the tax base, con­tinue with in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, and ex­pand our busi­nesses both big and small.”

He also men­tioned two spe­cial “thank yous.” One was to can­di­date Cory Robin who came within two votes of Marks’ vot­ing tally in the Oct. 22 elec­tion. Marks said the re­count process was en­tirely pro­fes­sional and re­spect­ful. He thanked Robin and said he hopes to see Robin’s name in fu­ture elec­tions.

Marks also men­tioned a spe­cial thanks to his wife Chris­tine Reid for her love and sup­port over the past 14 years of their mar­riage.

“Lastly, I hope this coun­cil can look back in four years with pride know­ing we worked to­gether through the dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods, cel­e­brated the many wins and growth that I am con­fi­dent Tim­mins will ex­pe­ri­ence, and know that we have in­deed made the City of Tim­mins a bet­ter place for all of our res­i­dents to live in,” said Marks.

LEN GILLIS/THE DAILY PRESS

Tim­mins Pro­vin­cial Court Judge Martin Lam­bert, right, presided over the Dec­la­ra­tion of Of­fice and the Oath of Al­le­giance for new Tim­mins Mayor Ge­orge Pirie who was of­fi­cially sworn in at City Hall Tues­day night, along with the new city coun­cil.

LEN GILLIS / THE DAILY PRESS

The of­fi­cial por­trait of the re­cently elected and newly sworn-in Tim­mins city coun­cil shows that for the first time the nine-mem­ber coun­cil has three women. The new coun­cil of­fi­cially came to­gether Tues­day night for their first meet­ing since be­ing elected in the Oct. 22 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion. The new coun­cil in­cludes in front from left, Coun. An­drew Marks, Mayor Ge­orge Pirie, and Coun. John Cur­ley. In the back, at left, city coun­cil­lors Rock Whissell, Noella Ri­naldo, Michelle Boileau, Mickey Auger, Joe Camp­bell and Kristin Mur­ray.

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