Candidate sees room for rural growth

·3 min read

OLIVER PAIPOONGE, ONT. — James Cassan wants to see growth in the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, but within the approved boundaries and with people who enjoy the country lifestyle.

Cassan, who has been on the municipality’s Committee of Adjustment for almost 12 years, filed to run for a councillor seat on Friday. It will be his second attempt to crack council after unsuccessfully running during the 2018 municipal election.

With the dance card starting to fill up — four candidates have come forward for the four councillor spots so far — and if he should get elected, Cassan would like to see some urban renewal in Rosslyn, but hands off the green spaces.

“I won’t say more, but I will say growth (for Oliver Paipoonge) — residential, industrial, commercial,” said Cassan, who worked for the former Great Lakes Forest Products mill for over 30 years.

“I want to see the residential, specifically, utilizing the subdivisions that are already in place — Rosslyn and George Burke-Whitewater. They are already approved as subdivisions and are ready to go. They just need houses, especially in Rosslyn. I’d like to see that.

“I don’t believe we need more very large houses out in the middle of prime agricultural land. It takes away from the agricultural land and, historically, many of the people that have built or bought these houses get in way over their heads and realize ‘I’m spending how many hours of the day driving my kids to the city and back? I don’t need this size. I’m not using this size.’ Some people bemoan the fact that they live in the country. That’s the purpose of it. I don’t think we need that.”

The expansion that Cassan has an eye on is the Rosslyn brickyard development. The former Superior Brick Company, also affectionately known as The Brickyard in its day, stopped making bricks in the early 1980s on the property and had the buildings demolished in the mid-1990s.

The property on Harstone Drive is ready for development, but there have been a few naysayers along the way.

“There has been some (vocal disagreement) against the brickyard development, but that has been approved by councils in the past,” Cassan said.

“(The brickyard development), as far as I know, is shovel ready and yet some people will still be against it.”

Veteran incumbent councillor Allan Vis, who created some controversy at a council meeting last year when he opposed a day of action to end anti-Asian racism and wondered aloud when a day would be declared for white people, filed his nomination papers on Monday leaving Bernie Kamphof as the only current council member to not file so far.

Current councillors Rick Potter and Brandon Postuma are vying for the mayor’s post against current Oliver Paipoonge Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis, who filed her nomination papers on Thursday.

Sabrina Ree and Dan Calvert have also registered for councillor spots.

The deadline to file candidate nomination papers for provincial cities, municipalities and townships is Aug. 19. Municipal elections are set for Oct. 24.

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal