It’s election season in northwestern Ontario!

Q104, KenoraOnline and DrydenNow asked each Council and Mayor candidate for their thoughts on a variety of issues in the community, and we’ll be running a series of articles with candidates’ responses.

Please detail one special project or initiative that you would like to push forward and see happen in the community if you are elected?

- Shayne MacKinnon
“I have been a lifelong resident of our community and through 30 years of law enforcement have seen many situations where adults and children have suffered from poverty. In many of those past situations, we could provide help and relief for those in need.

Times and circumstances have changed, however, and we are at a point in our community where we need to take action to help homeless folks not only find refuge but in some cases survive.

I would like to see a homeless shelter established in the community by the end of 2023.

In the interim, a warming space of some type should be opened as a temporary measure to get people through the winter. I have been advocating for a warming space since 2019 to get people out of our walkway elevators, out of bank vestibules and doorways and give them a destination on a freezing cold night.

A full homeless shelter is a larger conversation with our KDSB, City, Law and Social service agencies and the local business community. But Dryden has been known for its resilience, creativity and above all our generosity. We can lift up folks in need and treat them with understanding and dignity.”

- Jack B. Harrison
“My main priorities as Mayor would be the wise use of our tax resources and focus on our core services such as maintenance and improvement of our infrastructure in the city.

However, a special project for me would be to work to further develop our waterfront across from the Domtar Mill and along the river up to and including the vacant city land at the Van Horne Dock. I want to enhance that location to encourage folks of all ages to enjoy the outdoor areas of our city and have places to get together for families to build memories and people to build friendships through experiencing the beauty of the nature around us.”

- Martin MacKinnon
“If I’m re-elected   I have 2 projects that remain near to my heart.  

Development of the Government dock area complete with sewer and water to enhance tourist and community well-being and bringing the Dryden Homeless Shelter issue to a successful conclusion.”

- Bill Latham
“I would like to see Dryden attract new business by promoting Dryden as a regional business and transportation hub.

Also, more to attract our youth to stay in Dryden. After a meeting with some youth at St. Joseph’s School, I asked the students what they would like to see – an Arcade, Trampoline Park or a Go Cart Track.”

- Catherine Kiewning
“There luckily isn't just one thing I want to see happen. If elected, I would prioritize some of the really great ideas that local youth shared with me.

Simple and refreshing ideas that make the community safer and more fun for youth like adding lights to the skate park, a teen-friendly concert series, improvements/expansions to local bike and snow machine trails, bike lanes and bike rentals and a homeless shelter.

I would also love to see Dryden become a Climate-Ready city which means our community is prepared to face the various challenges that Climate Change presents.

It looks like new innovations to our existing energy systems and investing in green technology where it fits, implementing a city-wide composting program, bringing clean energy industry to our area, solar panels, revisiting by-laws that restrict wild lawns that support pollinators, an electric local transit system, expanding recycling to include glass among any other great ideas that citizens have.”

- Ritch Noel
“If elected, I would like to see our waterfront developed similar to that of other communities in our area.  It is a huge opportunity for us to showcase what we have to offer here.  The space at the end of Van Horne avenue and/or Cooper park are 2 very attractive areas that would be the ideal location to expand commerce and beautification of our city.”

- Brad Pareis
“I would support and promote a city-wide plebiscite on the question of whether a Deep Geological Repository to bury all of Canada's nuclear waste should be located 45km outside of our city limits.”

- Bryan Tardiff
“I have long been interested in alternative revenue streams for the city especially in the area of district bio-energy production as it would also result in reduced energy costs for residents, lowered operating costs for business, more jobs and job security within our forest industry.

We have been told that product diversification and value-added industry are something that is needed to keep area forestry sustainable and we need to be at the forefront of such an initiative. The technology and funding are available, we just need to take the first steps to make it a reality.”

- David Burch (added afterwards)
“If elected I want to push hard to get the first-ever First Nations and Inuit Museum. This museum would be the biggest of its kind in Canada. I would like it set up similar to Cabela’s.

Cabela’s is another one of the other businesses I am interested in bringing to town. It would feature full-size animals and displays. Everything would be authentic and from Canada and the tribes involved. Drums and drum groups could gather and have a place to practice and entertain.

This would be a government-run and funded project and part of the truth and reconciliation they desperately need. Lots of good paying government jobs but also set up a market-style area for residents to sell their crafts and beadwork. This would bring a lot more tourism to Dryden and be a step towards healing. I love Dryden and want to see our city flourish.”

Every candidate was asked for their responses to five questions related to issues in the community. As of the time of publishing, we did not receive responses from Michelle Price.

Advanced voting is underway in Kenora and it opened this morning in Dryden. The Municipal election will wrap up on October 24.