By Kevin Woodhouse
The Red Barn in Baie d’Urfe was filled with 120 citizens this past Thursday. It was an opportunity to meet the candidates vying for council and mayoral seats with the Nov. 3 municipal elections three weeks away.
There are six district seats to fill, plus that of mayor. Thirteen candidates have entered races for all the positions.
Mayor Maria Tutino is facing her first challenge after being acclaimed in 2005 and 2009. Her opposition is newcomer, Jacques Lorrain, a management consultant and new to the municipal stage.
The main area of contention for the citizens is the expansion and renovation of city hall.
The population is questioning the tampering of a Heritage house, which has a cost in excess of $100,000.
“This topic has been on the agenda the past three years. The building needs to be brought up to standards and to accommodate the expansion of staff.” said Tutino.
“I have brought in an additional surplus of $5,000,000 during my tenure, therefore the cost is justified” added Tutino.
She went on to point out four examples of this transparency. “July 2012, we published in the News and Views as to why expansion? Sept. 2012, we set forth eight pages of public information. Oct. 2012, I made a 20-minute presentation at the town meeting, and I ask my opposition why they were not present? Nov. 2012, we published four additional pages of information.” addressed Mayor Tutino.
Challenger Jacques Lorrain would like to control expenses. “I oppose the expansion. Fritz farm and the Public works building have empty spaces, which can be used. The citizens must be involved in the decision-making. We need to run the town like a business. “said Lorrain.
A secondary matter addressed towards office was the lack of family doctors. “I have met with Geoff Kelley, MNA Jacques Cartier, as well as Philippe Couillard, leader of the Quebec Liberal party, working on a solution for this matter.” said Tutino.
Brian Manning, vying for seat number two, received the largest ovation of the evening upon receiving a question on the conflict of interest between his landscape company and town tenders, should it surface. “If elected councillor, I will not take contracts from the town, period,” he said.
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