‘I feel like we’ve lost our way in promoting Elliot Lake,’ says council candidate Charles Flintoff
After 45 years in the auto business in Elliot Lake, Charles Flintoff is making a run for city hall.
The North Shore Ford chief executive was one of many who applied last week, ahead of the Aug. 19 deadline to put his name on the ballot for the Oct. 24 municipal election.
ElliotLakeToday asked him a number of questions about his decision to join the 2022 campaign, seeking a city council seat.
ElliotLakeToday: What prompted you to come forward?
Flintoff: I was born and raised in Elliot Lake. Over 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, Chapter Director of Trout Unlimited and Vice President of the Elliot Lake Chamber of Commerce.
I always thought it was important to get involved in my community. I now feel it is time for me to uphold these values and represent the interests of those who reside in the city I love.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you have any suggestions for improving our election process? Perhaps in the areas of nomination, registration, voting, campaign reporting, training requirements, etc.?
Flintoff: I am actually quite impressed with our electoral process. City of Elliot Lake staff were very helpful. In terms of improvements, a move towards online or virtual voting would be beneficial.
ElliotLakeToday: What qualities, attitudes, experiences or aspirations should voters look for when considering the field of registered candidates to run in next fall’s municipal elections?
Flintoff: Voters should seek effective, assertive and accessible candidates. Applicants must be confident in their ability to get things done for the city.
They should take a people-centered approach by listening to what people want and helping them as best they can.
Every question has two sides, and voters should look for candidates who can make informed decisions considering the facts of both sides.
Working in sales for the past 45 years of my life, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep a positive attitude even when things aren’t working out.
Candidates must be able to roll with the punches by going all the way and striving to achieve goals even when it’s difficult.
Voters should also look for candidates who are involved in the community, who understand the history of our city and our people, and who want to make positive and lasting change in Elliot Lake.
ElliotLakeToday: What are your thoughts on the current education requirements for newly elected councilors?
Flintoff: The training requirement is a major commitment, but so is being an elected official. If you want to be a board member, you can expect to have to work.
It is an important job that requires good training. I took the online course with Fred Dean, a city coach, on what is expected of a councilor in the spring and it was very helpful.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you think any changes need to be made to the current Elliot Lake City Council committee system? ie selection process, composition, remuneration, responsibilities.
Flintoff: I think councilors need to step back and let the committees do the job they were appointed to do rather than trying to micromanage them.
ElliotLakeToday: We all know the effects of inflation. Although the board has not conducted a salary review since 2017, should compensation be reviewed this year?
Flintoff: No, a candidate shouldn’t be there for the money. If elected, I would vote against a pay review.
ElliotLakeToday: As a newcomer, what is or are your best hopes for change in Elliot Lake over the next four years? Please explain.
Flintoff: Well, I’m not exactly new here. As I mentioned, I was born in Elliot Lake before St. Joseph’s Hospital was built.
I feel like we got lost in promoting Elliot Lake. We have a gem in the wild, and it looks like we’ve recently been trying to sell treasures for a quick buck instead of letting the community adopt them.
I was unimpressed with the way the golf course and ski slope issues were handled and it really made me feel like it was time to move in a new direction.
I want to take stock of all the resources Elliot Lake has 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 who have just moved here and love this place, but cannot find a family doctor.
This needs to be rectified and if elected I will work as hard as I can to achieve this.
ElliotLakeToday: On upcoming plans for the Arts Center on Elizabeth Walk. Do you agree with the council’s decision to move forward immediately when our arena is exhausted and will only last for a maximum of four years? Please explain.
Flintoff: For me, this is not a situation of choice. Both the Arts Center and Arena are vital to the City of Elliot Lake. We need both.
The artistic community 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 million and problems arise later.
The arena should never have come 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 deal with a disastrous situation. The action should happen sooner (rather) than later. This hub decision has gone on too long.
One wonders how much money was spent on reports, surveys and designs.
If I am elected, I will do everything in my power to ensure that situations like the Arts Center and the arena do not drag on for years.