Daryl Vaillancourt announced this morning he will be running for Mayor of Callander, and so far, he is the only one in the race. Driven by the “incredible potential” of the community, Vaillancourt is making infrastructure improvements a key component of this campaign platform.
“I think it’s really important that the municipality continues to invest in infrastructure,” he said, emphasizing the need to maintain the roads and the sewer system to ensure the town has room to expand.
Encouraging growth in the area requires adequate infrastructure investments, and “without growth, you don’t have new revenue to keep your tax base as low as possible.” Callander’s budget hovers around $8 million, and there are about 3,800 people in the community, quickly “nearing 4,000,” and Vaillancourt foresees more people moving to town, and he wants to ensure the infrastructure can support them.
“Your roads, your sewers, those are critical” to a town he emphasized. “Those are the things you need to focus on first before you focus on the nice to haves.”
Infrastructure always means a lot of money, and Vaillancourt is fully aware that $8 million only spreads so far, but he acknowledges that with planning and saving, the necessary work can be accomplished. “I’m a strong believer in living within our means,” he said, and compared the municipal budget to one’s home budget, and how sometimes one must save for improvements.
He is pleased that Callander has recently received funding for municipal projects and understands the importance of working with federal and provincial representatives to help bring these larger plans to life. “There are some good plans in place,” particularly the waterfront development, and “we have to work with those levels of government to help us with these projects.”
See: Federal money washes into Callander’s waterfront
Infrastructure is a key focus, and Vaillancourt also stressed the importance of the Callander business community. “I think the Main Street businesses and the rural businesses need our support,” he said. The town is currently working on “a community improvement plan” as part of the municipality’s official plan, and Vaillancourt wants to ensure the council continues to “support businesses with the incentives that the Municipal Act allows.”
Currently, Vaillancourt serves on Callander’s municipal council. He was appointed to the position in 2020 after the passing of councillor Maurice Turgeon, who held a seat at council for 19 years.
Although relatively new to Callander’s council, Vaillancourt is no stranger to municipal politics. He was elected to North Bay’s council in 2003 and served four consecutive terms. During most of this time, Vaillancourt was also the executive director of the North Bay and District Humane Society. In 2018 he moved to Callander, where he currently resides with his wife Michele.
“I’ve thought about the mayor’s position before,” he said, but “the timing just wasn’t right.” Now the timing is right, and his campaign begins. “I’m here now, and I feel that I have the background and the experience to lead council and get Callander moving.
“Callander is a beautiful community with incredible potential, and I’m looking forward to working collaboratively” with businesses, politicians, and community members “to focus on community investment and growth to enhance the quality of life” for everyone.
“I’m really counting on the community’s support,” to materialize this vision, “and I’m asking for everyone’s vote.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca