Machin mayor optimistic as he gears up for another term

MACHIN — Gord Griffiths says being re-elected as mayor is different from the first time he was elected.

“We get up the next morning after the election and there’s things to be dealt with [immediately],” he said.

Griffiths was re-elected as mayor and will be re-joined by incumbent councillors Dennis Peterson, and Ray Pilkey. They will be joined by Tony Blair and Greg Swanson are newly elected to council.

“It gives you a good feeling that the people have the confidence in you to get the job done, when I did the door knocking people generally seemed to be quite pleased with what we were doing,” Griffiths said.

“The job doesn’t pay well, there’s some days that are a little rough, but it kind of helps when you realize people at least appreciate what you’re going through and what you’re trying to do for the community.”

Griffiths said he’s very optimistic for what council can accomplish in the next four years including the development new housing needed for the community.

“We’re trying to do a subdivision. We started on that in the last term. That was part of the reason you run for another term, there was things we’re part way through, you kind of like to see it get completed.”

He said council’s big frustration with getting more housing built is the red tape bureaucracy.

“You get the premier and prime minister saying we want more housing, but they forgot to tell the bureaucracy I guess because they want to hold you up every time you make one step ahead, they want two more backwards,” he said.

“All the different studies and things that want you to do. You have to bring in consultants and lots of environmental testing, and that type of thing that’s very, very expensive. In some situations, I could see where it might be needed but, in most of the places that we’re trying to do things, I just don’t understand why they put us through that.”

Griffiths said, being a small municipality, Machin doesn't have a lot of money for those requirements, which makes the process very difficult.

Still, he said, Machin is prepared for opportunities that may come.

“We also bought some property, when the grants come out, [Senior levels of government] want everything to be shovel ready is the expression. We finally do have properties now, so if something comes up, we’re ready.”

Griffiths said signs point towards improvement citing a slight growth in population and a rise in Municipal Property Assessment Corporation assessments.

“So we have had growth, now we need it right along the highway. We’re short a restaurant. We should have a service station. There [are] things we really need in this community,” he said.

He also said council is working towards building a new medical clinic, with the ambulance base attached to it.

He's hopeful the recent sale of privately owned property could point towards economic development and something positive for Vermilion Bay, which has seen businesses close over the years.

“I think we’re just on the verge of seeing that rebound and start to go the other way. So I’m kind of excited about that, I think once one or two projects happened, were going to see a number of them happen [as well],” he said.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source