Not everyone was happy with the format, but a lot of people showed up at ward 2 (Thurlow) Belleville council candidates event Thursday
Almost 200 people nearly filled the Gerry Masterson Community Centre near Foxboro for a Belleville Chamber of Commerce organized
candidates “meet and greet”.
At the end of the formal part of the meeting, a resident expressed his frustration because questions were not allowed from the floor.
“This has only been 45 minutes long, why can’t we ask questions? It’s not worth showing up.”
Chamber CEO Jill Raycroft told the man that the format was no different than at any other Chamber candidates event and had in fact been the same for many years.
She stressed that the Chamber had planned for lots of time after the formal meeting so people could ask questions of the candidates in person.
“We’ll take your concerns into consideration for the future.”
Meanwhile, the formal part of the meeting featured a few pointed comments from some of the candidates.
There are six people running for the two Thurlow ward seats on council. They are incumbent Paul Carr, Kathryn Brown, Nick Mulhall, Barry Robinson, Bill Sandison, and Lisa Warriner.
Three of the four candidates running for two Belleville seats on the Hastings Prince Edward School Board, Michael Rush, Krista Duvall-McConnell, and Lisa Anne Chatten, were also heard from.
Kathryn Brown, a 10-year resident of Thurlow and owner of the downtown Belleville business Kate’s Kitchen told the crowd that
while it wasn’t long ago that Thurlow was mostly an agricultural community, it had grown up a lot and rapidly.
“Our population has almost doubled in the past several years.”
Brown said her priorities as a councillor would be good roads, fast reliable internet service, pedestrian/bicycle access across the
401, public transit, and more recreational space.
She detailed a long career with BMO Financial Group in senior management, handling multi-million dollar projects.
Lieutenant General James Bartleman had challenged her and her team to raise one million dollars for indigenous people living in communities
in the far north. “We did it and did it in six months” she said to applause.
Incumbent ward 2 councillor Paul Carr said he’d learned a lot in his past four years on council. He highlighted a detailed road
maintenance program to be carried out year after year that he championed.
“What I’m most proud of is the fact that the funding for road maintenance program was almost evenly split between urban
Belleville and Thurlow. That is a good deal, as Thurlow residents pay only about 17% of the the taxes.”
Carr said he’d continue to press for reliable high speed internet service everywhere in Thurlow, make sure the road maintenance
program stays on track and re-introduce a motion to set up a lobbyist registry.
Other priorities were public access across the 401 and continued communication with ratepayers with bi-annual public meetings with
Candidate Nick Mulhall introduced himself as the son of a former and well known reporter for the Belleville Intelligencer, the late Harry
Mulhall branded himself as a “proactive candidate”.
He wanted to set the record straight when it came to public transit for Thurlow as a number of candidates had mentioned that would be a
priority of theirs.
“Thurlow is car dependent now and that’s unacceptable. However, a public transit system up here won’t be easy to get and it won’t be free.
Your taxes will go up, and you can’t afford higher taxes.
I would push for a Uber type system of public transportation to serve Thurlow. It would provide a good, affordable service for residents.”
Mulhall also believed an economic hub should be developed in Ward 2 and that the Belleville Agricultural Society which now operates out of the fairgrounds in urban Belleville be moved into Thurlow.
Candidate Barry Robinson thanked councillors Jack Miller, Jackie Denyes, and Mike Graham for their service on the present council. All three have decided to not run in this election.
“Belleville is on an upward trajectory.”
The candidate emphatically stressed his support for Mayor Taso Christopher and his plans to grow the city, especially plans
to develop the waterfront.
Robinson went on to say that a mayoral candidate, other than Christopher, had said council had held no meetings with officials
at Loyalist College in the past four years. “That is simply untrue. Egerton Boyce said it was a lie.”
Robinson wanted to set the record straight on what he called another “untruth” being bandied about in the campaign.
“Mayor Christopher was not convicted of conflict of interest! I was present when the judge said the mayor made an error in
judgement with no intent.” And, in an obvious poke at candidate Bill Sandison he said “I’m not in the least interested in who’s
having breakfast with who!”
Candidate Bill Sandison is retired after years in senior management with Nortel.
Sandison said financial management would be a main priority for him if elected to council.
“The city’s debt has gone from 50 million to 97 million dollars from 2014 to 2017 and it will grow further
with the new police headquarters project. Overall liabilities have jumped from 102 million dollars to 184 million.
We’re at the point of dumping major debt on our children and grandchildren.”
Sandison said the city needed a new strategic plan as the current one wasn’t being acted on and a new management team
might be a good idea.
“We can improve public transit, roads, and police presence.”
Candidate Lisa Warriner said Thurlow ward had a lot of catching up to do when it came to infrastructure. “We’ve grown so
much and so fast and we’re simply lagging behind as far as municipal services are concerned.”
As a councillor, her priorities would be expanded broadband service, road maintenance, pedestrian/bicycle access across the 401,
and a close look at options for public transit in Ward 2.
The 15-year resident of Thurlow said she was a woman who got things done. “I’m not a “keyboard warrior” hiding behind a
And in a swipe at candidate Kathryn Brown, Warriner said “I say enough with downtown revitalization! You need a councillor
who doesn’t own a business downtown!”
She went on to describe her volunteer work with the Salvation Army and her career as Executive Director of Victims Services.
Three of the four candidates for two Belleville seats on the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board also attended the meeting.
All expressed their gratitude to the Chamber for allowing them to introduce themselves to the residents.
School board candidate Lisa Anne Chatten said new faces are needed on the board. She said she’d push to have the local
school system be a leader in inclusive education.
“We need to communicate with the public better. We need to be transparent. I will push to have the board’s meetings streamed live
online just as many councils are doing right now.”
Chatten said there has been a breakdown in trust between the community and the board. “I want to work to bridge that divide.”
Candidate Krista Duvall-McConnell said the board needed to communicate better and she’d work toward the creation of
a sustainable strategic plan.
“I’ve been in and around the education system for 18 years. I received my Masters in education degree and have extensive
experience with business and accounting. I appreciate both student and teacher needs and I’ll work toward improving transparency
between the board and the public.”
Michael Rush is in the running for a seat on the public school board. “I was educated in the Hastings Prince Edward School Board’s system.
I went to high school at BCI and then attended Loyalist College.”
The candidate has over 30 years business experience in various disciplines.
Rush said that over the years the education system has been gradually declining in quality.
“However some things are being done right. I want to help fix the problems while keeping the good. We need to restore trust in our