Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eight now vying for town council

Decisions, decisions.
With two candidates running for mayor and eight vying for the six seats on town council, the number of choices Fort Frances voters will have when they mark their ballots next month continues to grow.

Dan Belluz and Ed Haglund were the most recent to file for council, doing so Friday afternoon.
Belluz, who not only has served on the school board for about 25 years but has upwards of 40 years’ experience sitting on many different municipal committees, said he’s “looking for a different challenge.”
He feels his experience will be an asset to council.
“I’m running for council with no preconceived ideas, agenda, or anything like that,” Belluz noted.
“I would just [like] to participate in some of the decision-making that’s facing the town.”
Belluz noted he sees forest tenure and the Point Park as major issues that need to be resolved.
“I really feel it’s going to take a co-ordination of all the municipalities in the district that benefit, not just Fort Frances,” he stressed.
“Whatever affects Emo, Devlin, and Barwick affects Fort Frances—it’s the whole district.
“I’m thinking district-wide,” Belluz added. “I am concerned with the issues facing Fort Frances, but I’m also interested in the issues that are facing the district.
“I think if we all work together with all of the First Nations and everything else, we can accomplish great things in this district,” he remarked.
Belluz said he firmly believes in Fort Frances, and will do his best to try and better the community.
“We’ve got a beautiful town,” he noted. “With the number of parks that we’ve got, there’s probably not too many towns you can compare it to.
“But there’s always more to do,” he reasoned.
Haglund, meanwhile, said he’s “curious as to how to the town really works.”
He noted the mill has shut down, many jobs have been lost, and the tax base is dwindling—and will dwindle further in future as Resolute and other businesses apply for tax reassessment.
“I can’t understand where money’s coming from to spend on things that aren’t needed at the present time,” Haglund remarked.
Haglund said one of his pet peeves is the Rainy Lake Hotel, noting the town should have demolished it long ago and made it a higher priority than projects such as the Huffman Court subdivision on Williams Avenue.
Haglund recalled that he was selling his homemade syrup on Scott Street earlier this summer to some Americans, and one of the tourists was looking at the murals on the front of the old hotel when he started coughing.
The building was affecting his allergies.
“There must be a lot of mold around,” Haglund said. “[And] this was on the street. We don’t know what’s in that sewer pit.
“That should have been one of the primary projects before spending money on building a subdivision that we’re not too sure about.”
Haglund also said mayor and council has to spend more time looking at infrastructure problems.
“People used to complain about potholes,” he noted. “You go down the street now, even by the mayor’s home, and there’s ‘pot hills.’
“They’re going the other way.
“Of course, you can’t do anything about the weather but we spent an awful lot of money on broken water lines and sewer lines [this past winter],” Haglund added.
“I think those old lines have to be replaced. That’s a priority.”
Haglund also noted anything that affects people’s health and safety, such as fire protection, should be of great concern to council.
After serving in the military as a young man, Haglund worked in the mill here for 37 years.
He is a long-time member of Royal Canadian Legion Br. #29, belongs to the local advocacy group, Seniors Retirees Against Pension and Elder Abuse (SRAPEA), and was instrumental in the local Sea Cadets for 20 years.
Haglund has expressed interest in being a councillor before. He was among the four people who submitted an application to fill the vacancy left by the late Coun. Sharon Tibbs, who passed away in early 2013.
Incumbent councillors John Albanese and Ken Perry already have filed their papers, as have newcomers Jennifer Greenhalgh, Jennifer Horton, Scott Krienke-Turvey, and Charleen Mallory.
Mayor Roy Avis and Coun. Andrew Hallikas, meanwhile, have filed to run for the mayor’s chair.
Candidates must submit their nomination to the town clerk by 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12.
Mail-in ballots will be sent out to voters in early October.

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