Mayor's State of the City 2024

Mayors State of the City


Thank you to Mitch Dumas, Interim President and CEO of Northern College, for the introduction.

It is with a heavy heart that I stand before you to deliver the Mayor's State of the City Address, in the wake of the passing of the City's longest-serving mayor and undeniably great leader, Victor M. Power.

Mayor Power was a pillar of the community and an inspiration to many who aspire to a career in public office. He concerned himself with the prosperity of the community and the sustainability of municipal government, with a clear vision of Timmins as being a thriving and distinctly northern city.

His genuine optimism and love for Timmins will continue to inspire. We will remain forever in his debt for the significant contributions he made to the place we call home. Please join me in a moment of silence in honour of Mayor Vic Power.

Thank you.

I would like to recognize our friends at The Chamber. To Keitha and the team, and the Board of Directors, both past and present, congratulations on your 75th Anniversary!

You have been the voice of business in Timmins for the last three quarters of a century and, if anything, the crowd in here today is a testament to your efficacy and to the unwavering support of your membership.



It's important to acknowledge that February is Black History Month in Canada and this year’s theme is, “Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build”.

I like this theme because it invites us to not only celebrate the contributions of black people in Timmins, but to also embrace new opportunities for the future. There are more and more people immigrating from the Caribbean and countries across Africa, choosing to come to Timmins for study or work, and to make a home for their families. Over the past year and a half, I have witnessed the creation and growth of the ‘African Community in Timmins’ (ACIT), an organization formed by people of African descent who have come together to support their community members here in Timmins. This is one example of the increasing diversity among our local groups and associations.

We often find ourselves talking about your widespread labour shortages, or the need to diversify and grow our economy. With the fastest growing global population being in Africa, and to that I would add the largest French-speaking population in the world, I believe it is high time that we start to look to that talent pool to meet local labour market needs.

Si nous, la communauté francophone, voulons maintenir et accroître l'offre de services en français à Timmins, si nous voulons fleurir. Il est le grand temps que nous misons sur le vaste continent africain et les gens talentueux qui y sont.

More diversity of people in Timmins equates to more diversity in business, among business owners, types of businesses, and most importantly, diversity in the ways of thinking and innovating.

All of these things are welcome in my vision for the City of Timmins.


Council Priorities

When I was asked to give my first Mayor’s State of the City Address at this time last year, I had only been in the role for three months. I had barely settled into my new office. I took a look at my notes from last year and I was reminded that despite how fresh it all was, we knew what our challenges were then, and we were eager to get to work.

Now, with over a year in the job, I can tell you that I am just as, if not more optimistic, for the future of Timmins. Not only do we better understand the challenges we face, we also better understand the opportunities we have to embrace.

For the first time in recent history, City Council has established a strategic direction for our four-year term. Last May we released the City of Timmins Council Priorities for 2023-2026. Myself and Council discussed the issues facing our community and the need to take a strategic approach to these opportunities and challenges. We agreed that by identifying strategic priorities for Council, we would help improve accountability and transparency, while also helping to inform every day decision-making and long-term, future planning.

The Timmins 2020 strategic plan laid out a vision and mission for the community, which Council felt are still relevant today.

Our Vision:
Timmins will be recognized as a growing, innovative, regional hub that is culturally and economically diverse and offers a unique, northern quality of life.

Our Mission:
Timmins will promote a sustainable, diversified economy by enhancing community services and infrastructure, engaging people, and celebrating Timmins as a great place to live, learn and play.

With this in mind, we are committed to working with each of you to make great strides in key focus areas, which include housing, infrastructure, safety, recreation and tourism, economy, environment, and core services.

We also recognized that other areas such as Indigenous engagement, Continuous Improvement (CI), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and labour force development are also foundational to the work we do at the City, as they are both independent and yet interlaced with the seven (7) priorities of Council.



Council has made it a goal to see “more homes built faster” in Timmins.

The City’s Planning Department continues to be focused on bringing available surplus municipal property forward for acquisition, with an emphasis on residential development. Our Enforcement Services Department is actively working on the housing file through the enforcement of our Property Standards By-Law. Last year, Enforcement Services ordered the demolition of eight derelict properties, making room for new builds. This represents a 63% increase over the number of demolitions in 2022. Another four demolition orders were submitted in the first month of 2024. Council has also requested that a Vacant Buildings By-Law come back for approval, which would allow staff to monitor registered vacant buildings to ensure safety and that property standards and Building Code requirements are being met.

In order to stimulate new residential and intensified housing builds, the City is now exploring the cost of development, including required infrastructure and feasibility. In late 2023, Council directed administration to prepare a report outlining the estimates for providing services to the remainder of the Melrose Heights and Park Avenue subdivisions. If completed, both city-owned subdivision plans could generate upwards of 150 new residential units in the City. We know it will be costly to prepare the land for development, but it is our belief that by proactively providing municipal infrastructure and utilities, we will offer greater incentive to future builders. We should expect the administrative report on this to come to Council at the end of the month.

Council has also requested the development of a three-pronged Housing Strategy based on 1) Subdivision development, 2) Infill and regeneration of existing stock, and 3) Purpose-built housing.

I have been working closely with the City’s housing service manager, the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) as they prepare plans for new housing developments. Last month, we spoke to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) about potential projects, including a 60-unit expansion to one of our seniors’ buildings; 3 fourplexes or 12 apartment units for medical professionals and learners; and, a 49-unit mobile, modular facility for transitional housing. These are all projects that we hope to realize with the support of the province over the next few years.



We know the City has aging assets beyond usable life, and limited resources from a low tax assessment base. The City has long-term financial and asset management plans in place that prioritize infrastructure renewal. We are also investing in infrastructure to support long-term growth. Because, we are planning to grow.

In order to help inform planning, Council approved a Growth Management Study, which will be undertaken in 2024, updated from the last study in 2006 as part of the Official Plan. We know we will have to review our Official Plan once we receive the revised Provincial Policy Statement. A Growth Management Study will help us get a jump start on that work. Likewise, we also have a Water and Wastewater Needs Study currently being completed. These activities are essential as they will help inform our decision-making as it relates to proposed development.

Like our local MPP, Minister George Pirie, I also believe that Timmins can become a city with a population of 50,000 over the coming years, and eventually even a 100,000. In order to support that kind of growth and plan for the future, it’s important to know where our existing capacities are and where we have limitations.

Speaking of planning for the future,  redevelopment of the Golden Manor is moving forward. As I’m sure you are aware, work is well underway. In January, we saw the completion of all the exterior footings for the north wing of the new Golden Manor. The contractor will continue to work inwards, pouring footings and backfilling while continuing to build new footings for the middle wing throughout February. Foundation work will continue to progress north to south to complete the rest of the building’s substructure. Management will start reviewing furniture and equipment requirements for the new build starting this month, which will allow them to select and purchase the furnishings for their new building early next year.

Since 2016, the City has also been managing the Connecting Link rehabilitation work. Timmins has one of the largest and most complex Connecting Links in the province, extending from Kamiskotia Rd. to the Porcupine ONR crossing. In 2022, the provincial government announced an additional $73.8 million dollars in funding over 8 years to helps us expedite the Connecting Link construction, bringing our anticipated completion date to 2030.

In this coming construction season, we will be completing Segment 8 which spans from just east of Balsam St. to just west of Brunette Rd. We should expect to see the old ONR overpass come down in early spring. We are also planning to relocate the snowmobile crossing along Algonquin Blvd. E. adjacent to Hollinger Park.

In addition to Segment 8, we will complete $3.5 million in upgrades to both the Mattagami and Porcupine River bridges as part the Connecting Link rehabilitation. Council has also awarded the contract to rebuild the Porcupine River Bridge (Connaught) at a cost of just over $5 million.

It’s also worth mentioning that last year, Council made a record investment in the City’s pavement program, and we plan to continue that trend with another $2.1 million budgeted for road repair this summer through our grind and pave program.



Safety continues to be a concern for residents and local business owners, and Council shares this concern.

The City has invested $18.1 million in policing in 2023 and we expect to increase the Timmins Police Services budget by another 3.7% for 2024, as they really are the ones mandated with crime prevention, law enforcement, and public order maintenance. I continue to have faith in our police service, and I believe that this will be a year of great strides for the Timmins Police and for our community.

In addition to investing in policing, Council also approved investments of just over $418,000 in services related to safety. These investments include the contracting of a security service for the Timmins Transit Terminal on Spruce St., an overnight security patrol throughout the city, and after-hours outreach services through the Mushkegowuk Fire Keepers Patrol.

Some of the programs we’re investing in, like outreach services and our encampment response, are support services for people experiencing homelessness and/or mental health and addiction. These types of initiatives are vital to ensure the safety of people living precariously, and to ensure all residents have access to safe shelter and basic needs.

Furthermore, in October 2023, City Council approved updates to the Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP)’s Safety Improvement Grant. With this, the eligible business area was expanded to include all commercial property owners and commercial tenants in Timmins. We also increased the maximum grant allowance and adjusted some of the application requirements.

  • By the end of December 2023, 24 applications had been approved totaling just over $127,000 in grants.
  • Since the expansion, 15 new applications were submitted with six being from the expanded area.
  • Eight applications were for fencing, safety bars, or physical barriers.
  • 16 applications were for security cameras or camera upgrades (presenting an opportunity to contribute to the Timmins Police Service’s future CamSafe program).

For 2024, Council has approved funding the Safety Improvement Grant through the City’s portion of Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) fund, taking the costly burden of enhancing safety measures off the taxpayer. We’re hopeful that this, in turn, will allow us to refocus some tax dollars into further improving quality of life in Timmins.


Rec and Tourism

We’ve heard from the business community that recreation and tourism are areas that require our attention to help with your employee recruitment and retention efforts. Council is committed to making Timmins a great place to live, stay, and play by improving access to affordable recreation facilities and programming, investing in tourism opportunities, and upgrading and modernizing our recreational assets.

Council received and approved the updated Recreation Master Plan in June of last year, and received the draft Culture & Tourism Master Plan in December. A new multi-use recreation complex was recommended with ice surfaces, aquatics, event space, and more. Council has agreed to engage with a consultant to create an implementation plan, recognizing that this would be a major undertaking and, yes, a major expense, which we could only commit to with the financial support of upper levels of government.

In the meantime, we continue to work on enhancing the wonderful assets we currently have.

Last summer, the City partnered with the Porcupine Agricultural Society on a land use agreement at the Mattagami Waterfront, an area I’ve been endearingly referring to as Pavilion Park, to allow for the construction of the Mountjoy Farmer’s Market structure. The facility is available for rent through Service Timmins. This year, we have more plans for that green space. Our Parks and Recreation Department is preparing to order a couple of canopies and picnic tables for the site; walkways will be addressed during the Mattagami Bridge rehabilitation work; a paved path will be created into the park; and, they’re sourcing out a portable/temporary water station for the area.

We are also looking to repurpose a dock for that side, as we clean up the area with a bit of grubbing along the shoreline. We’ve also budgeted $2 million for repairs to the Mattagami Boat Launch pier and the retaining wall. This waterfront area has been under-utilized for far too long, and we are looking forward to providing the investment and attention our riverfront deserves.

Parks and Recreation are also working on a plan to establish the city’s first real cricket pitch, with the hopes that our local cricket club, the Timmins Tigers, can practicing on the pitch by the end of their 2024 season.

The City also plans to rejuvenate the Roy Nicholson Park this year by adding accessible playground equipment, more seating areas with shaded canopies, refurbishing the walking trail, and adding flower beds. The goal is to make sure that people of all ages and with differing interests can fully enjoy themselves and in our community’s green spaces.



Council’s plan is to see Timmins grow, and we have the potential to do so.

We have identified the need to diversify Timmins’ economy in order to build resiliency against shifting market trends, and to promote development and production. Supporting a diverse economy can be better accomplished by investing in economic activities that are aligned with the work already being completed by the City.

To this end, Council has decided to integrate economic development within the City's corporate structure. We directed Administration to provide notice of termination of our MOU with the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) and to commence the transitioning of TEDC employees into City of Timmins employment. Not a decision we took lightly, but one we made confidently.

We believe this change will provide better unity with the City's overall strategic objectives, ensuring that economic development activities support and complement Council's priorities. This will also provide the opportunity to more closely align economic development with other municipal departments like building, planning and tourism.

Why is this important now?

Because Timmins is poised to be a global leader in sustainable, environmentally responsible and, dare I say, net-zero mining. We are essential to Canada’s electric vehicle and critical mineral supply chain. This means long-term direct and indirect job creation to support the ‘Timmins Nickel District’, which will only add to the diversification and stability of our local economy. We are grateful to have our partners in the mining sector continue to invest in Timmins and region, providing benefit to our people and our community.

I’m also excited about our budding space sector. There have been a series of activities taking place in recent years that have positioned Timmins to become a niche location for space exploration and experimentation. Most notable would be the $5.1 million addition to the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base and the subsequent 10-year lease agreement signed by the Canadian Space Agency. In conversation with the president of the Space Agency, she made it clear to me that the CSA has a few ideas on how they can utilize the facility between regularly scheduled balloon launch programs.

Timmins and the traditional territories of the Mattagami First Nation have also become the preferred site for the Launch Canada Challenge, which is Canada’s premier national rocket competition. Last summer, we saw 18 rocketry teams put their rocket engineering to the test, and this year, the event has plans to grow bigger with 30 registered teams coming from every province in the country. From what I was told, the only other rocket launch site available to Canadian university rocketry teams is in New Mexico, USA.

We have something special here. So much so, that Timmins has also been identified as a potential new location for a major satellite operator.

How are we preparing to seize these opportunities and launch Timmins forward?

By continuing to invest in our transportation infrastructure, making it easier to travel in and out of our community.

There’s a good reason our airport is named the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport. Mayor Power recognized the importance of air service to our regional economy, and we intend to build on the foundation that he and other leaders before us have set in place. That’s why the City has seen over $15 million of investment go into our airport over the past 5 years or so, and why we have another $1.5 million planned in the 2024 budget.

Similarly, we’ve also begun to plan for the ‘New Era of the Northlander’. The reinstatement of passenger rail service to Timmins will be a game changer for our community. As we continue to work closely with our partners at Ontario Northland on the development of the new Timmins Train Station, I would implore all of you to start thinking about what this could mean for your own business and how you can harness this opportunity.

All of these examples speak to why council believes it makes sense to bring economic development under municipal direction to encourage growth and sustainability.



The City of Timmins is committed to improving the sustainability of our community. We plan to continue demonstrating leadership in climate change adaption and mitigation, and actively position Timmins for a green future by prioritizing sustainable production and operations.

Like many other municipalities, and much like our corporate partners, we are turning our attention to opportunities for electrification and energy generation. This past Fall, Council supported moving forward with 30% design engineering for Source Separated Organic Co-digestion and Energy Generation at the Mattagami Wastewater Treatment plant. We also requested information for a collaborative funding delivery model for the project, which will help inform Council’s decision on whether or not to move on to Phase 2.

There are several comprehensive environmental programs that the City of Timmins is actively working on as part of our Community Climate Change Adaption Plan. Becoming a climate resilient and sustainable community is a collaborative effort. As such, we will be engaging with you, and developing partnerships across the community, to help implement this plan.


Core Services

I’m reminded almost every day that the City is in the business of delivering quality core services to our residents. There are many examples I can provide that demonstrate the continuous improvement efforts of administration and staff. Like bringing taxi licensing over from Timmins Police to the City, which will help alleviate the administrative burden on our police service and help improve access and service for residents and taxi brokers.

We’re also implementing new software to enhance our recreation services and an online platform to provide personalized accounting services for residents.

Something that I am especially excited about are the planned enhancements to Timmins Transit. 2024 will be a year of modernization for Timmins Transit. Our City’s public transportation system will be updated with four (4) new conventional buses, a new fare box system, and the introduction of a micro-transit pilot project for riders in Porcupine and South Porcupine. The City’s paratransit system has been re-branded ‘Timmins On-Demand’ and service will be expanded to new parts of the City.


Thank you

I am constantly impressed and inspired by the people I get to work with. There is so much more that I can talk about - so many great things that the City is doing to improve quality of life for residents.

I am honoured to be part of a tradition of great leaders who loved Timmins and who believed in the success of our community, and I feel privileged to be in a position to lead Council in a direction of further growth and prosperity.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the City through your hard work and investment. 

In turn, my commitment to you is to continue to help foster an environment that supports you, your family and your business in achieving success.

Thank you to the team at the The Chamber for inviting me to speak to your members.

Je suis toujours reconnaissante de votre chaleureux accueil, et de votre collaboration envers l’épanouissement de notre belle communauté.

I’ll conclude with a sincere thank you to the event sponsors, Northern College and Lake Shore Gold, for their partnership in supporting today's luncheon.

Merci. Meegwetch.