The race is on: Flin Flon council candidates outline platforms

While Mayor Cal Huntley was acclaimed, 12 candidates are vying for seats on council. Here, they discuss their priorities for the city.

Advance polls will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 8 am to 8 pm at Flin Flon City Hall. The general election will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 8 am to 8 pm. Generally, residents who live below Ross Lake will vote at Northminster United Memorial Church. Residents who live above Ross Lake will vote at Flin Flon Community Hall. To be eligible to vote, residents must be at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, and a resident of Flin Flon for at least six months. Voters must bring photo ID to the polling station.

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David King

Tell us about yourself

I am a third generation Flin Flonner, married to my wonderful wife, Lois. Flin Flon is also home to my daughter and my grandchildren. I am recently retired after 40 years at HBM&S with the majority of that time being a foreman in the surface and transportation department. My passion, some would call it obsession, includes keeping a pristine home and property. I love a green lawn and a clean vehicle. Recreation includes boating and travel.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

I see my fellow retirees and myself as a significant aspect to Flin Flon’s future. Keeping people here is critical and seniors’ housing is a big part of that.

My work experience includes heavy equipment, road maintenance and managing those types of resources effectively. Given that, I believe I may be able to help provide more cost-effective options and opportunities to do more with the existing resources and dollars we presently have.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

I would say the upcoming closure of 777 Mine. We need to encourage government to make exploration as easy as possible. Mayor and council should be talking to the government and industry to make sure this happens to an even greater extent than it is right now. Secondly, we need to work as hard as possible to try attract different businesses and industries into our community and region.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

We are a great place to live and a wonderful place to visit. We need to promote ourselves from a lifestyle point of view: a safe community, reasonably priced housing, and from a tourist perspective: beautiful lakes, wonderful campgrounds and great social events. We still need to explore any and all initiatives that involve the utilization of our natural resources and people.

Just to note, I believe a clean community is an attractive community and I would promote any initiatives around clean and green.

 

Karen MacKinnon

Tell us about yourself

Flin Flon became my forever home in 1977. My family has grown here over the years and we couldn’t have found a better place to spend our lives. In 2006, I was given the privilege of being elected to city council. This role has kept me busy being a part of many community committees and groups. When I am not doing this, you can find me enjoying our city’s many events and activities.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

I hope to achieve a high quality of living for Flin Flonners by providing the services they need while being fiscally responsible with tax dollars. I want to continue to pay special attention to the needs of our youth and senior populations that are especially important. Overall, I feel that as a councillor it is my duty to continue to work hard for solutions to all our challenges and build on the advantages we have in our city.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

We need to become a sustainable community by not relying on one major industry, while also continuing to support long standing business. I have learned in my role as northern director on the Association of Manitoba Municipalities we can do this by continuing to lobby governments to again make Manitoba one of the top mining provinces in Canada and recognize the uniqueness of our community and what is has to offer. We must show that we are open for business.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

As the president of the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce, our community’s economy is one of my priorities. I support initiatives such as Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach councils working together to form a Regional Economic Development Committee. I also support our city council’s work on branding our area and marketing our communities to the world around us. I feel we must work together, be innovative and build on who we are as a community to grow.

 

Colleen McKee

Tell us about yourself

I am one of the incumbents seeking re-election. I am local, raised here, and raised a family in this great community. I have volunteered for over 35 organizations over a period of 40 years. I currently sit as the city’s finance chair; Regional Economic Development Committee appointee; Clean and Green initiator; Chamber of Commerce director and was co-chair for Flin Flon’s homecoming. Flin Flon is one of Canada’s best kept secrets and I am hoping to change that.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

I am hoping to continue the work I have started with regard to community sustainability. The next term will be about establishing and supporting a strong strategic plan for community diversification and development. The incumbent council has started some good work in this direction with our involvement in the Regional Economic Development and the development of a strategic plan. Other areas that I would like to see progression in are community safety, health care, seniors’ housing, and the aqua centre.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

Sustainability, as our major employer curtails their activities in our community, the impact will be felt. Combined efforts and self-investment will help minimize the impact. As a community we have to find ways to invest in ourselves, to increase our independence. Multiple medium to large businesses can replace or augment our current primary employer. We need to move past what we were and work on reinvention.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

Regional partnerships are critical to our future success and we should support all “building” initiatives. I support progressive organizations such as the Regional Economic Development Committee, and am interested in initiatives including self-invested business initiatives, where we develop our own backyard; community driven initiatives like the pool committee; the hosting of large community events like the newly created Blueberry Jam. When people visit our community they fall in love with the place. One day, the right people will visit, and want to build their business here.

 

Thomas Heine

Tell us about yourself

In 1992 my family and I made Flin Flon our home. Throughout this time, I have volunteered for various boards and community organizations, including Scouts, Flin Flon Ski Club, Ham Sandwich (our theatre group) and the Flin Flon Station Museum. Until my retirement in 2015, I worked as the regional geologist with the Manitoba Geological Survey. As a career geologist since 1977, I have a good understanding of the mineral exploration and mining industries and the roles they play in our region.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

Flin Flon is moving into a particularly challenging period in its history. Existing municipal resources need to be wisely used to maintain our existing infrastructure. Considerable effort must be made to encourage opportunities for economic diversification before the 777 Mine finishes production about 2021. To successfully meet these challenges we will need strong municipal leadership and a clear vision of how we want to proceed into the future.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

A declining population and tax base have forced an increased tax burden on many homeowners. Provincial fees collected from property owners outside city limits should benefit our community and not be lost in government coffers. Our city has relied on significant funds in lieu of taxes from Hudbay Minerals to pay for the municipal services it delivers. Can we depend on these funds in the future? Our economy needs diversification!

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

Tourism has been an underrated and undervalued, industry for much of northern Manitoba. Full advantage needs to be taken of the recently announced Flin Flon brand to promote our community. With our new ER facility, we have the potential of becoming a proper regional health care centre. This, along with the development of improved seniors’ housing, is of prime importance if we wish to stop many seniors moving out of our community due to the lack of adequate medical care.

 

Ken Pawlachuk

Tell us about yourself

My name is Ken Pawlachuk. I worked at HBM&S for 39 years as an electrician, miner and refrigeration mechanic. I have been married to Janice for 46 years. We have four children and nine grandchildren. I volunteer on Greenstone, Flin Flon Arts Council, Northern Manitoba Mining Academy Board, Flin Flon Revitalization, Flin Flon Community Choir, Blueberry Jam Committees, and historical walking tour, designed by Gerry Clarke. I have served eight years as city councillor on the engineering, personnel and protective services committees.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

Work on Main Street revitalization to encourage new business and assist existing business; dealing with safety issues in core area and substandard structures. Partner with stakeholders to provide better senior accommodations, services, accessibility and safety. Encourage new brand and promote tourism as a real asset to our community. Enhance economic development with Creighton and Denare Beach. Lobbying government for exploration funding. Encourage government to mediate agreements with natural resource industries, First Nations and government for prosperity of all northerners.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

Downsizing and keeping present infrastructure, recreational services, living conditions, especially for seniors and current residents. Making Flin Flon attractive to encourage new business, new people, and a strong sustainable economy.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

Create Flin Flon as a supply hub. Provincial government has to invest in northern exploration. Agreements with First Nations, industry and government need to move ahead for mining or any other natural resource development to take place in the north. Grow tourism in Flin Flon. Support rebuilding of railroads. Grow senior services, transportation and safety. Revitalization of the core area. Working on infrastructure within the city, including water, sewer and roads. Development of industrial area for business opportunities.

 

Colleen Arnold

Tell us about yourself

I have worked in the hospitality industry, legal aid, correctional officer, and as the executive director for the Women’s Resource Centre for the past 16 years. I have sat on various boards throughout my years, currently sitting on the Friendship Centre Board, Aboriginal Advisory and Rural and Remote Advisory Board for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, and Trout Festival Committee. I look forward to offering my time and commitment for the betterment of our community.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

I would like to have more consultations with the community, be a voice for the voiceless, and bring social issues to the table. I have a vision of hope that includes all members having an equal voice, being heard and represented. Have more discussions with ministers regarding mining in the north, have a concrete plan in place to increase tourism in our community. Secure additional federal and provincial dollars towards our infrastructure.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

Our dependence on the mining industry and how we can thrive as a city going forward.  We need to promote tourism, promote more businesses, and build new housing. We need to reduce the crime rate and should be sitting at the table with other community committees invested in reducing crime. The homelessness in our community needs to be addressed and we should be working with the Homelessness Community Committee on this issue.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

I am in support of offering training, tax incentives or grants to kick-start entrepreneurial business and discount rates on city land to new businesses that will employ more community members. We need to invest more in First Nations and provide more jobs and training for indigenous people. Promotion of tourism using the new branding of Flin Flon and continue working with Travel Manitoba to promote this.

 

Tim Babcock

Tell us about yourself

My name is Tim Babcock, and I’m seeking reelection for a third term on Flin Flon city council. My wife Hollee and I are heavily involved in the community, volunteering with numerous organizations. We are both long-time members of the Flin Flon Kinsmen and Kinettes. This year I’m serving as the District 2 governor, looking after 44 clubs in Manitoba and Ontario. I also sit on the Bomber Board and the Flinty Committee.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

Being on council isn’t about individual achievements. It’s not about me, it’s about the people who elected me. They trust me. The biggest red flag during an election is candidates who stand on their soapbox and make promises they can’t keep. As a councillor, you have to listen to everyone’s concerns. What is important to one person might upset the next. I just want to make sure I’m doing what is best for everyone.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

The biggest concern I hear from voters is public safety. We have a Protective Services Committee, but there is a lot more we could be doing when it comes to making our neighbourhoods feel secure. I’m proposing that we change the focus of this committee to take a closer look at the root causes of this issue, and that we work with all stakeholders to make our town safer. It’s time for action.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

We spend a lot of time chasing business opportunities when one of the biggest industries in Canada exists right in our backyard. Tourism in Canada is an $80 billion-a-year industry. That’s bigger than lumber, fishing and farming combined. I’ll support any initiative that benefits Flin Flon. People are already visiting our region. We need to do more to take advantage of this and bring these dollars into town by offering better services.

 

Joe Buie

Tell us about yourself

I moved to Flin Flon in 2001 with my family, we loved it from the minute we arrived. Right away I became involved on various boards and volunteering. I belonged to the Rotary Club, served as Chamber of Commerce president and director, volunteered to work with the sea cadets, serve on the Flin Flon Neighbourhood Revitalization Corp., newer member of the Flin Flon Station museum board, an active member of the Flin Flon Kinsmen Club and various boards.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

I have a background in rural and economic development and was involved with economic development for 12 years in the region. Being that economic and community development is my background; I would like to achieve more economic development opportunities, develop a plan and seek out funding sources. I would like to engage in conversation with the Northern Health Region regarding the comments I have heard from residents about health care. I would like to continue our pursuit of suitable senor’s housing.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

Our biggest issue is declining population and the maintenance of our aging infrastructure, less incoming dollars vs more repairs and upgrades. This issue is not unique to Flin Flon and with limited infrastructure funding we must prioritize, plan and communicate with other communities in similar situations to evaluate their plans and ideas.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

To grow you have to maintain some the things you already have. A healthy looking community looks good to outside investors, grant providers and to those that have already invested in the community. I think we need to look at some more smaller sized industry opportunities to begin to build on.

 

Guy Rideout

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in Flin Flon, and worked for the City of Flin Flon for 27 years, mostly at the Whitney Forum. My parents are George and Iris Rideout, both long time residents of Flin Flon. I have two brothers Glen (Ronna) in Flin Flon, and Gary, (Donna), in Calgary, as well as one sister Sherry (Richard), in Flin Flon. My common law spouse is Loreen - we have no children, our kids have been our pets.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

If elected to council, I would like to be focused on our always challenging local issues such as our aging infrastructure, seniors housing, also the pending potential changes with Hudbay Minerals. I also would like us to keep our recreation programs strong for all ages to enjoy, and attract doctors to relocate to our community.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

One of our biggest challenges is our infrastructure and how to systematically fix critical spots throughout our community with limited funds available. We have and will continue to face these challenges. There is no easy fix for these costly, ongoing issues, but we will have to prioritize projects as they arise.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

I would support any new interested parties who would invest in our community with employment opportunities, including industries, new businesses, continued exploration for our future mine and tourism. In summary, I know we as Flin Flon residents have some hurdles to get over but we can do it as a community.

 

Patricia Sattelberger

Tell us about yourself

Hello. I am Patricia Sattelberger and I work for the Northern Regional Health Authority as a public health nurse. I have a masters’ degree in nursing. I moved to Flin Flon in 1987 to start work in the hospital. I am married with two adult children who were both born and raised here. I have always had a passion for supporting my patients but also the community in which they live. I have been a school trustee for 12 years.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

As a councillor, I want to encourage businesses to invest in Flin Flon by promoting the brand and the area itself. I want to encourage tourism to diversify the economic portfolio of the city. I also want increased housing and accessibility to all areas of the city.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

The biggest issue at this point is shrinking populating affecting the tax base. This affects everything from infrastructure to fire protection and policing. We are seeing parts of the population on fixed income having difficulty maintaining an individual residence. We need employers to keep young adults working in the community and we need to look at viable alternatives for housing for those who cannot manage. Taxation may need to be reviewed as well to address some of these issues.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

There needs to be focus on the area brand and tourism to the area. Improvement to the area such as park upgrades, new bylaws relating to vagrancy, affordable housing will increase the look of the city and safety for the population living here and visiting. Support for community events such as the Blueberry Jam Festival provides opportunity for tourism. Partnerships with other groups such as the Chamber of Commerce enriches economic opportunity.

 

Jordana Oulette

Tell us about yourself

Hi! My name is Jordana Oulette! I was born and raised in Flin Flon, and am quite in love with our little town. I’m passionate about art, music and people! I consider myself an activist and love being part of things that make a difference.

If elected to council, what do you hope to achieve?

If elected to council, I would hope to be able to draw more residents in to council meetings. I would hope to get younger people actively involved in participating. I think we need to discuss issues together as a group, rather than on social media.

What is the biggest issue facing Flin Flon and how should it be addressed?

The biggest issue facing Flin Flon right now is residents’ safety and theft and vandalism. If elected, I would love to be a part of a solution to make our town and residents safe again. This would require teamwork and a detailed plan to come to a solution. I believe we can collectively achieve this.

What initiatives would you support to grow Flin Flon’s economy?

Initiatives I would support to build our economy would be bringing more new and exciting events to Flin Flon. I would love to bring a large event here to draw in more people from all over, such as a concert or guest speaker. More people drawn into town equals more local revenue.

 

Alan French

No comments available

 

Advance polls will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 8 am to 8 pm at Flin Flon City Hall.

The general election will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 8 am to 8 pm.

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