Friel joins may­oral race

In­cum­bent seeks sixth term

The Expositor (Brantford) - - NEWS - VIN­CENT BALL EXPOSITOR STAFF

Brant­ford Mayor Chris Friel is run­ning for re-elec­tion.

Friel, 51, for­mally reg­is­tered Wednesday as a can­di­date for mayor in the Oct. 22 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

He said he will cam­paign on his record.

And he said a big part of his cam­paign will be to make sure Brant­ford gets its fair share of sup­port from the provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.”

“Right now, we have a good foun­da­tion for growth but we have to build on that,” Friel said af­ter fil­ing his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers.

“And I be­lieve I’m the best per­son to lead the city as it moves for­ward.

“We also have to make sure that we get our fair share from both up­per lev­els of gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“Right now, that’s not hap­pen­ing.”

Friel’s en­try into the race brings to five the num­ber of can­di­dates run­ning for mayor. The other can­di­dates are: Kevin Davis, a lo­cal lawyer, who served on city coun­cil from 1985 to 1991; Dave Wro­bel, a for­mer city coun­cil­lor who ran un­suc­cess­fully for mayor in 2014; and John Turmel, a peren­nial elec­tion can­di­date. Both Wro­bel and Turmel ran un­suc­cess­fully in the June 7 provin­cial elec­tion.

He was first elected mayor in 1994, win­ning re-elec­tion in 1997 and 2000. He lost suc­ces­sive races to Mike Han­cock in 2003 and 2006. Fol­low­ing Han­cock’s re­tire­ment, Friel re­claimed the mayor’s of­fice in 2010.

He won re-elec­tion in 2014 and is the city’s long­est-serv­ing mayor.

Friel, who is plan­ning a for­mal launch of his cam­paign and re­lease of his elec­tion plat­form, said he can point to a num­ber of ac­com­plish­ments over the past four years. They in­clude im­ple­ment­ing the Safe Brant­ford strat­egy that was a big part of his 2014 cam­paign.

Safe Brant­ford en­com­passes a lot of dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives but one of its big­gest ac­com­plish­ments was the launch of the Brant­ford Brant Drugs Strat­egy to com­bat the opi­oid cri­sis, he said. The strat­egy fo­cuses on harm re­duc­tion and in­cludes an ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign in­volv­ing nu­mer­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing St. Leonard’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, Brant County Health Unit and the school boards.

As well, two sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives – Healthy Brant­ford and Grad­u­ate Brant­ford – are also un­der­way.

Although the city’s job­less rate rose to 7.5 per cent in May, Friel noted that over the past cou­ple of years the city’s un­em­ploy­ment rate was well below that of both the prov­ince and the rest of the coun­try.

“One of the things I think we need to do is to bet­ter match peo­ple with the jobs that are avail­able,” he said. “There are help wanted signs pop­ping up all over town but em­ploy­ers are hav­ing a hard time find­ing peo­ple to fill those po­si­tions.”

Friel also noted that in April it was re­ported that Maclean’s mag­a­zine and MoneySense had de­ter­mined Brant­ford as the best place to buy real es­tate. MoneySense tracks real es­tate prices across Canada and looks at 35 ma­jor cities and judges more than 2,000 real es­tate mar­kets.

Look­ing back over the past four years, Friel also pointed to the work that has been done on the Green­wich-Mo­hawk Lake Dis­trict, in­clud­ing the re­me­di­a­tion of the for­mer Green­wich Mo­hawk brown­field site.

He said that the city, as it moves for­ward, must look at its prop­erty taxes and find ways of shift­ing the bur­den away from prop­erty own­ers. One of the chal­lenges is that the city must find ways to cover the cost of provin­cial pro­grams that aren’t suf­fi­ciently cov­ered by dol­lars from Queen’s Park, he said.

The mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion will be held Oct. 22.

Can­di­dates have been able to file their nom­i­na­tion forms since May 1. Nom­i­na­tion pack­ages are avail­able at city hall. The dead­line to fil­ing nominations is July 27 at 2 p.m.

Those wish­ing to file a nom­i­na­tion must ac­quire en­dorse­ments from 25 el­i­gi­ble vot­ers. There is a $200 fil­ing fee for the of­fice of mayor and a $100 fil­ing fee for all other po­si­tions.

Can­di­dates will re­ceive a re­fund of the nom­i­na­tion fee only if they file a fi­nan­cial state­ment and au­di­tor’s re­port be­fore 2 p.m. on Dec. 31.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.brant­ford.ca .

Right now, we have a good foun­da­tion for growth but we have to build on that.” Brant­ford Mayor Chris Friel

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO BY HEATHER CARDLE

Brant­ford Mayor Chris Friel is seek­ing re-elec­tion in the Oc­to­ber mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

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