Despite some aggressive media releases from some of the candidates in recent days, it was a cordial mayoral debate on Country 600 CKAT.

The four candidates outlined their platforms and discussed a host of issues including drug strategies, growth, leadership, infrastructure and a ward system.

The only real back and forth came between Sheldon Forgette and incumbent Al McDonald when asked about service cuts to save taxpayers money.

Forgette wants to get rid of parking meters in the downtown.

McDonald says that will take money out of the city coffers.

“That’s a $700,000 hole in your budget,” he says.

Forgette says he looked at the books too.

“After you factor in all of the costs, the average profit, per say, is about $300,000 or $400,000,” he says.

“So you want to increase taxes by a half a per cent to provide free parking?” asked McDonald.

“I think it would be beneficial to economic development of the downtown core,” Forgette responded.

McDonald says he’s all about growth and wouldn’t cut any services.

Will Boissoin doesn’t want to cut anything either.

“One of the things I’ve been working on is Red Bull Racing, that could be pure profit into the city and right from there you don’t have to cut anything,” he says.

Gary Gardiner says there’s a couple ways to avoid cuts; create more revenue or find better ways to deliver services.

“Staff sometimes can be quite creative and they can find ways to save you money, and so you can reduce your budget and deliver the same service,” he says.

With specifics on growth, Gardiner says the city needs to build on strengths and deal with smart growth.

“I don’t want to extend infrastructure until there is enough uptake in terms of housing units to pay for that growth, we need to instead invest in existing infrastructure and prepare for our future,” he says.

Boissoin says the tax base needs to be expanded and says attracting companies to the airport is one way.

“Let’s go after a space company, since it’s gone to privatization there are billionaires out there looking to get to space, we have everything already here for them,” he says.

Forgette talked about additions to replacing the West Ferris Arena, to attract sports and event tourism, but for local use too.

“I’d like to see an indoor green field go into that community centre and with North Bay being in winter almost half of the year I think it would be something super beneficial to our city,” he says.

McDonald offered up nine points, including procedural bylaw changes, attracting newcomers, investing in infrastructure, focusing on retention and expansion, addressing skilled trades shortages and more.

 “We have 65 mining companies and they’re having trouble attracting individuals as well, so I think it’s going to take everyone working together to make a difference,” he says.


CLICK HERE to listen to the full debate.


There’s another mayoral debate tonight at 6:30 pm in the Nipissing University theatre.

That debate is being hosted by the Nipissing/Canadore Coalition for Political Awareness.





Filed under: North Bay Votes 2018