Tracey MacKinnon- 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.
Honestly, I think if community members had the necessary supports they required, this would lead to less crime in the area. Whether it be a hand up out of poverty, living above the poverty line rather than below it with OW/ODSP community members, injured workers or those on small pensions, and the working poor. As a poverty advocate myself, also someone living on ODSP & paying fair market rent, FW is the only area I found which had accessibility I needed having moved from PA as I couldn’t afford to live in that area as a single person. With the 5% increase to ODSP end of September 2022, this will help a little, though NOT nearly enough for those surviving in poverty. I didn’t say living in poverty as it’s not living it’s surviving.
Those surviving in poverty are the most vulnerable in society, as they are targeted by those coming from out of town with bad intentions via home takeovers, needing somewhere to sell their products out of.
As a former front line support worker at our local downtown FW homeless shelter, where I was once a resident for 3 months myself, years ago. Having been kicked out as my time was up, with no place to go, with the wait list for housing years long as a single person with no kids. I know the struggles. I have seen them first hand.
Years ago I looked into reopening Norma Jeans Restaurant on May St across from the Shelter House. It’s those small businesses which need investment. I needed to write a business plan which I had no idea how to do. I believe FW needs investment from the city to be competitive with downtown PA.
We can’t be afraid to reach out and give someone a hand up. To ask what they need. One thing is clear when walking the downtown core, we need more options, choices for those ready to make a change in their lives, whether it be to get off the street, into detox, treatment or mental health supports, counselling or other forms of treatment.
Years ago, Ron Chocomolin ran for Mayor, he was advocating for a Treatment Centre, This is what is needed to help those suffering from Indian Residential School & survivors and their children. Land based therapy, back to grassroots, back to nature where pre contact with crown agents this was their way of life. All that was taken without consent, and they were required to assimilate to the white man ways. This is not their way of life, this is not how they would have been raised if their relatives had not of been forced to attend Indian Residential Schools. This is Colonization. If the Shoe was on the other foot, wouldn’t we reach out to help others reach their full potential rather than passing judgement & a blind eye to the poverty in our neighborhoods?
2. 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?
I have always had good impression & interactions with the local FW Business community as a resident & community member over the past 10 years.
One thing I find that has been done well, is the welcoming feel I get when I walk into a business for the first or 21st time.
One thing that needs to improve? We need more local investment in local business in the area.
3. 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?
With the reopening of TBPL it is also a gathering place, where community members can access a variety of services on site.
With the colder weather just upon us, today being the first day of fall, officially, the weather is starting to get colder during the day, not to mention the evenings. Now with the SOS van not receiving funding from TBDSSAB to continue its work and Elevate NWO filing in the gaps, funding for these programs, seems to be a challenge every year. I’m not sure why funding isn’t secured for longer, however, as a NWO community/city with a population of 110,000 people. We need something downtown FW. We need investments in our area to replace the lack of community supports in this area. We lost Dease Pool even with many Rally’s, protests, marches. We need investments not less. How can FW be a thriving community without the proper investments? How can the community much less the children who live here, thrive & grow without the proper investments which are affordable to one and all, not some?
I would like to see something build at or around the Inter city area, versus Chapples Park area. We need central location, accessible via transit, car, bike or foot. We need more green spaces, not less. More safe places for families to explore, like walking paths, parks and playgrounds much like the new accessible playground at Boulevard Lake & Centennial Park locations. Those are investments in the local children in PA. What about the local children in FW & WF areas? Don’t they matter too?
Chi Miigwetch, Tracey MacKinnon – At Large Candidate