After 45 years in the automotive business in Elliot Lake, Charles Flintoff is taking a run at city hall.
The general manager of North Shore Ford was one of several people who filed nomination papers last week, in advance of the Aug. 19 deadline for getting his name on the ballot for the Oct. 24 municipal election.
ElliotLakeToday asked him a number of questions about his decision to join the campaign of 2022, seeking a seat on city council.
ElliotLakeToday: What has prompted your decision to run?
Flintoff: I was born and raised in Elliot Lake. Throughout the years, I have been involved in many community organizations.
To name a few, I was past president of the Elliot Lake Men’s Commercial Hockey League, director of the Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Vice President of the Elliot Lake Chamber of Commerce.
I have always felt that it is important to be engaged in my community. I now feel that it is my time to stand up for these values and represent the interests of those residing in the city that I love.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you have any suggestions for improving our election process? Maybe in the areas of nomination, registration, voting, campaign reporting, training requirements, and such?
Flintoff: I am actually quite impressed with our election process. The staff at the City of Elliot Lake have been very helpful. In terms of improvements, moving towards online or virtual voting would be beneficial.
ElliotLakeToday: What qualities, attitudes, experiences, or aspirations should the voters look for when they examine the field of candidates registered to run in next fall’s municipal election?
Flintoff: Voters should look for candidates that are efficient, assertive, and approachable. Candidates should be confident in their ability to get things done for the city.
They should take a people-centred approach by listening to what people want and helping in the best way that they can.
Every issue has two sides, and voters should look for candidates that can make well-informed decisions that consider the facts of both sides.
Working in sales for the last 45 years of my life, I’ve learned that it's important to keep a positive attitude even when things don’t work out.
Candidates should be able to roll with the punches by powering through and working towards goals even when it’s difficult.
Voters should also look for candidates that are involved in the community, understand the history of our city and our people, and who want to make positive and lasting change for Elliot Lake.
ElliotLakeToday: How do you feel about the current training requirements for newly elected councillors?
Flintoff: The training requirement is a major commitment, but so is being an elected official. If you want to be on council, you can expect to have to put in the work.
It's an important job that requires good training. I took the online course with Fred Dean, a municipal coach, about what is expected of a councillor back in the spring and it was very helpful.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you feel any changes need to be made to the current Elliot Lake City Council committee system? i.e., selection process, makeup, remuneration, responsibilities.
Flintoff: I think that councillors need to step back and let the committees do the job that they were brought in to do rather than trying to micromanage them.
ElliotLakeToday: We all know about the impacts of inflation. Although council has not had a wage review since 2017, should remuneration be looked at again this year?
Flintoff: No, a candidate should not be in it for the money. If elected, I would vote against a remuneration review.
ElliotLakeToday: As a newcomer, what is or are your best hope(s) for change in Elliot Lake in the next four years? Please explain.
Flintoff: Well, I am not exactly a newcomer here. As I mentioned, I was born in Elliot Lake before St. Joseph’s Hospital was built.
I feel that we have lost our way in promoting Elliot Lake. We have a jewel in the wilderness, and it seems like recently we are trying to sell some treasures for a quick dollar instead of letting the community embrace them.
I was not impressed with the way the golf course and ski hill matters were handled and it really made me feel like it's time for some new direction.
I want to take stock of all the resources Elliot Lake has available and improve them rather than get rid of them.
Years ago, there was a saying ‘Destination Elliot Lake’. Let’s get back to that. In my profession, I have met many seniors that have just moved here and love it but cannot find a family doctor.
This needs to be rectified and if elected I will work as hard as I can to do that.
ElliotLakeToday: About plans going ahead for the Arts Centre on Elizabeth Walk. Do you agree with council’s decision to go ahead with it right away when our arena is on its last legs and will only last another four years maximum? Please explain.
Flintoff: For me, this is not an either-or situation. Both the Arts Centre and the arena are vital to the city of Elliot Lake. We need both.
The arts community has had to wait over three years for this and they need a home now. I really hope this isn’t a quick fix where we spend $3.6 M and problems arise down the road.
The arena should have never gotten to this state, to begin with. We can’t hope to grow as a community if we don’t start preserving what we have.
Let’s not wait another three years to address a dire situation. Action needs to happen sooner (rather) than later. This hub decision has gone on way too long.
One just wonders how much money has been spent on reports, surveys, and designs.
If elected, I will do everything in my power to make sure situations like the Arts Centre and arena don’t drag on for years.