Mark Bentz- At Large Candidate
1.Businesses are frequently the targets of crime and on the front line dealing with societal problems in the area; what steps do you think should be taken to ensure businesses are protected and our community is safer to explore, shop, work and play in.
As a local government we need to do a better job of creating partnerships and advocating for funding that address the social issues we face. Excessive crime is typically associated with a variety of issues (poverty, mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction) that can be dealt with if proper resources are funded and put in place. The police also play a central role and need to be proactive in the methods they use to keep the cores safe for those wishing to visit them. Proper management of police resources and morale is the responsibility of the Police Chief and the Police Services Board.
- What is your impression of the Fort William Business community? What is one thing that is done well and what is one thing that needs to improve?
My impression is that it has potential that is not being realized. Much of that is due to the truncation of the core by the Victoriaville Centre. I supported the removal of the structure to open up possibilities for the core again; I also currently sit on the Downtown FW Revitalization Committee. I am very optimistic that we can make the core a popular historic shopping and residential destination in the city.
- With the revitalization of downtown Fort William project underway there is no planned community center for the area after the project is completed. Victoriaville provided an important and safe gathering place. What vision do you have to recreate a similar environment for community connectivity?
I think that this is still a work in progress. If the community wishes to have a gathering place in that area of town, then it should happen. The needs for such a centre would need to be determined but I support such a concept. Community connectivity will be key to that area of town thriving.