The municipal elections are just around the corner, and Raymond Bélanger has announced his intention to run for mayor of Mattawa. He’s outlined three main pillars of his platform—increasing housing, renewing and investing in the town’s infrastructure, and ensuring accountability and transparency at Town Hall.
“My ultimate ambition is to serve the public,” he said. “It’s an honour to serve our town and the great people. Mattawa needs experienced leadership, and a strong vision for the future, and I want to provide that. I still have a lot to give” to the town, he said.
Bélanger is a lifetime resident of Mattawa and has seen the town “from all angles, and I want to put my knowledge and experience to their best use.” When he was 23, he was elected to council and served from 1983 to 1985. Soon after he took over the family grocery store. When Belanger Grocery changed hands, he found a job with the town working at the rink.
That led to career with the Town that lasted over 30 years. He held positions in parks and recreation, tourism, public works and with water and sewer. From 2015 to 2020 he was the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer. When he says he has “a 360-degree view Mattawa,” he means it, having been involved in practically every municipal department.
On top of his work with the town, Bélanger has volunteered much of his time to the community. He was the President of the Mattawa Ball Association from 1987 to 1990, President of the Mattawa Minor Hockey Association from 1994 to 2001 and was also a founding member and Commissioner of the Nipissing District Hockey League from 1994 to 2005. He has also coached hockey for over 20 years and was Bar Chair for Mattawa Voyageur Days from 2007 to 2012.
Housing is important to Bélanger because essentially, he wants more people to move to town. Creating an environment that helps foster development of “all types of housing” will help attract more residents and create business opportunities while enhancing the bottom line of existing businesses. “The time is right,” he said, as “both levels of government are advocating for more housing”
“Making better use of Municipal land by developing new housing models to meet the needs of all citizens,” will help achieve this goal, as will “carrying out a business retention and attraction plan.” He also wants to complete the Municipality’s asset management plan to ensure infrastructure remains sound, and has plans to update Council’s procedural by-law, zoning by-law, and official plan.
Creating “a long anticipated formal Municipal strategic plan will guide Mattawa’s promising future,” Bélanger said. “I want to create the conditions for our youth to be able to prosper in Mattawa and for our elders to be comfortable in their senior years.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca