New Timmins mayor warns against putting 'head in sand' in inauguration address

A new mayor was sworn in in Timmins Tuesday night, and he immediately announced that he wants to take immediate action on homelessness.

Homelessness, recongnizing Indigenous heritage key in new mayor's platform

Mayor George Pirie says he wants to make sure that Timmins isn't "doomed to mediocrity" by ignoring social ills. (George Pirie)

A new mayor was sworn in in Timmins Tuesday night, and he announced that he wants to take immediate action on homelessness.

George Pirie, a former mining company executive, said some in the community have referred to homelessness as a "crisis" on Timmins' streets.

To address the problem, Pirie will be looking for the support of some new faces around the council table, as only two councillors are returning from last term.

Tuesday night, Pirie addressed council during his inauguration.

"The voters have spoken," Pirie said. "They want action. They want solutions. They want and deserve a council that will examine the status quo and make the necessary changes to our way of doing business to chart a new course to ensure our future for generations to come."

"Communities that bury their head in the sand are doomed to mediocrity and will crumble from the inside out," Pirie said. "Timmins is not alone. Every other municipality our size is facing the same social issue we see in our streets. Status quo is not an option."

Pirie also encouraged council to look at the past to gain a better foothold moving into the future.

"I see around me the images of a proud frontier town carved out of the wilderness," he said.  "What they do not show is who or what was here before the discovery of gold."

"There is no recognition of the indigenous population that lived here for thousands of years, moving east and west between the mighty river systems that empty into James Bay," Pirie said. "This is where we need a paradigm shift in our thinking if we are really going to achieve all that is possible."

"Our future depends on this. "

You can listen to Pirie's full inauguration address by clicking the audio link below.

A new mayor and council have now been sworn in in Timmins. The new mayor George Pirie gave his inaugural address. He announced that he wants to take immediate action on homelessness and has a big vision when it comes to working with Indigenous people in northern Ontario. You can hear part of his address. 3:18