Council candidate and present mayor of East Ferris Bill Vrebosch, defended his decision today to run for North Bay council alongside his daughter Tanya.
She is already a city councillor, and the two are sharing election signs leading to criticism that they, if elected, would form 20 per cent of council and vote together on issues.
"My original premise, that the voters of North Bay would accept both my daughter Tanya’s and my candidacy for council has not changed," he stated in a news release. "The comments at the door back up the fact that voters realize that together we have 51 years of municipal experience and that we can both be trusted to give honest and objective consideration to the subjects at hand.
"Many people have mentioned the similarity we have to the Copps family of Hamilton. Vic Copps was the Mayor and his daughter Sheila, sat on the same council and eventually became Deputy-Prime Minister of Canada. This multi-family situation may be new to North Bay but there are many similar and successful examples throughout Ontario."
Vrebosch, born and raised in North Bay says he still has the desire to represent the city on council.
"I am a 'shake hands' genuine person who likes the person-to-person approach. I have always been able to do this in East Ferris but things are very different in this election. Social media plays such a major part of elections these days that I have found it difficult to get to as many doors as I would like to do. Each day seems to start off with a barrage of questions, from an individual, or a special interest group asking for opinions. I don’t like to just give the 'cliche-type' answer, so I tend to take a little more time thinking about my answers. There just doesn't seem to be enough time for everything."
One thing he does want is a change in the procedural bylaw.
"As far as for the big projects such as the new community centres, the dock, the second access on Marshall and the sinking police building, etc., the word I am hearing is that residents want discussions and action. The old ways of shifting things to committees and consultants is no longer acceptable. Some of these projects may qualify for Infrastructure Ontario low interest loans and grants. Delaying some of these projects means that the costs are going up. Inflation and COLA are automatic increases of at least 1 1/2 to 2 per cent per year.
"This shifting to committees and consultants is my definition of 'sloppy' politics. We have competent staff and a CAO that should be able to give council as much information as necessary. This should be the case unless the CAO suggests that we need outside assistance, but, this should be the exception and not the rule.
Vrebosch says he's bothered by some candidate's treatment of the OPP policing question. He should know as the OPP patrols his community.
"A city force such as the North Bay model is the best form of policing for this city. I am not against getting a costing from the OPP, but we have to compare apples to apples. The OPP is a fine force, but their policing methods are not as personal as a city force. The OPP is basically a 'rent-a-cop,' incident-based type of policing. The municipality simply gets billed for the number of certain types of incidents plus administration. If the new OPP reorganization goes forward, municipalities will be forced into very large management boards whereby a municipal person would not be allowed to be a chair, or, sit on the financial committee. The decisions would come down from Orillia and local input would deteriorate. I don’t know the boundaries of a North Bay and area board but in Kapuskasing, the boundaries would be almost 300 miles across."