Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 2 p.m.
More business development and a recreation complex dominate candidates debate
A crowd of at least 200 filled the seats at the Embrun Community Centre for last night’s second all-candidates debate in the Russell Township municipal election. Expanding opportunities for local business development and creation of a multi-use recreational complex dominated much of the discussions.
All three mayoral candidates were present for the start, but Shawn McNally (far right in photo) had to leave after the opening remarks. He excused himself, explaining that he had to attend to a family emergency.
“I want to attract more business to the township,” said McNally, during his introductory speech. “Then we can afford the amenities.”
Mayor Pierre Leroux and Charles Armstrong, one of the other challengers to the post, also highlighted continued economic development in Russell Township.
“We need to cut the red tape,” said Richard Renaud, a councillor candidate, arguing the township needed to present an “open for business” attitude to outside investors.
Community recreation sparked comments between some candidates vying for councillor seats. Incumbent Jamie Laurin said the township must get started on building a multi-use recreation and sports facility like those in other municipalities.
“We cannot continue to build standalone facilities that require separate staffing and maintenance,” he said, noting that he has lobbied for a recreation complex since 2008 during his first term on council.
“You’ve had 12 years to do something about this,” criticized Renaud.
Incumbent councillor André Brisson noted the recreation advisory committee has been involved in advance planning review work on the matter.
“This is a project of maybe $20 million or $30 million (value),” Brisson said. “It’s something we have to take time with.”
Other councillor candidates like Rick Kargus, Nicolas Daoust, Mike Tarnowski, and Isabelle St-Amour also said that a recreation complex is a major project which requires careful planning. Incumbent councillor Cindy Saucier listed rehabilitation of the two existing arenas as the first priority for the township with a recreation complex and/or an indoor pool as the next priority.