Municipal election “Town Hall” forum

The Current invites Madawaska Valley voters to use the “Leave a Reply” form below to ask questions of one or more candidates in this municipal election. In addition to questions, you can also pass on points of view relevant to issues in this election.

Your question or comment will be forwarded to the candidate(s) to whom it is directed, who will be able to reply online. Any replies will appear underneath the question.

In addition to using this online forum, you can also ask questions and make comments in the usual way underneath the various interviews of the candidates that can be found in the Municipal Election section of our website. Click HERE to visit.

By submitting a question or point of view to this Town Hall forum, you confirm that you are registered to vote in Madawaska Valley in the municipal election. The Current will moderate the questions and answers. In keeping with our normal practice, please provide your full (genuine) name and email address. We reserve the right to decline to publish comments without this or if the content is offensive.


  1. I have a big question for the entire new council. As a business owner myself I would like to see more People start business in the Township Of Madawaska Valley. Do the people running for council, that includes the mayor, support business development and growth In the township? I would also like to see a brochure that profiles all the businesses and that would be distributed within Renfrew County. I would be happy to work with any council member or mayor in the next council on this brochure project.

    • Mark Willmer

      Business development is very important to the future of the Madawaska Valley. I believe we need to work at finding ways to encourage small businesses to locate here. Our beautiful environment sells itself and allows for many opportunities particularly for eco friendly businesses, but we need to create a greater awareness and sell potential entrepreneurs on the opportunities that exist in MV.
      Ensuring that we have high speed internet throughout the township is extremely important as more and more people are interested in operating businesses out of their homes and in the MV we certainly can provide the perfect environment.
      I believe the MV has tremendous potential and we need to be actively pursuing business opportunities and encouraging businesses to consider our township. We need jobs to be created in order to retain young people in the community and provide opportunities for young families to relocate here.
      In addition it is important that we support our local businesses so that they can continue to provide the many services that we have in our community, new jobs and new families would certainly be a benefit and strengthen our business community.

    • Elser Lee Faith Archer

      As a member of this community I strongly support business development. I have helped local community members write business plans and helped to jump start their businesses.

      I own a small business in this community called Sage Diversity Management Counselling & Mediation which I started in the City and ported to this community in 2008 working between Toronto’s GTA, Ottawa and Windsor. I am living proof that you can live and Play in Madawaska Valley with your family, work remotely and travel as needed. If that’s true we can attract entrepreneurs and celebrate existing entrepreneurs and the unique businesses they bring to the valley. I have done individual and family counselling locally as well as my consulting and mediation. I have done work across the province and sometimes in the US. Point being we can bring entrepreneurs who practice their craft here or rely on the internet for efficient communication.

      We need to enhance our internet services. While on council I have advocated for this. Cultivating an environment for Business Development profiles our community in a positive way and has job creation spin-offs that benefit students and retirees. We need to promote year round tourism and other economic development projects to promote year round job creation. Our 2010 Economic Development Strategy strongly encouraged entrepreneurship and if you take time to read it you will see it is a blue print for moving forward. Before 2014 I sat on a community economic development committee with Alan Pepper, Doug DeLamatter , Sigrid Geddes, Ted Bialy and several others we did a visioning exercise to explore possibilities for business development. Moving forward in my opinion requires a collective effort from the community, council and staff at the municipality.


    • Carl Bromwich

      As Chair of Economic Development back in my last term for 1 1/2 years our committee implemented almost 85% of the Economic Development Strategy Plan that was written in 2010 and didn’t get any attention until I started in Council in 2013. The resulting implementation and successful grant achievements we garnered to enhance programs and develop a business friendly community set us on a path that saw MV Township attract developments which are in full swing today. Tim Hortons was one example of having an attractive township that made their move here not only exciting but provided many new jobs that didn’t exist. The establishment of the BIA was another positive creation that has added to our Townships success.
      High Speed wireless goes without saying that it is a necessary component in modern day business affairs and advertising in the form of films and brochures have exposed our beautiful area to many out of town and out of country visitors.
      The list goes on but as I’ve stated before now we need to start aggressively instituting our Path Forward Plan to continue the momentum we had a year ago. EcDev attracts business which creates jobs and in turn demands more Recreation Culture and Heritage initiatives to make it a “fun place” to live!

  2. Linda Neuman

    I have a question for all candidates:
    What are your views on having members of the public on committees and giving them voting privileges on those committees even though they are not ‘elected’ by the public?

    • Mark Willmer

      I feel in some cases having members of the public on committees, particularly advisory committees can be helpful as it brings expertise from the community to the table. It is though important that the committee structure be established in a way that leaves all decision making to the elective representatives. This is usually accomplished by only having the elected representatives vote. Any public representation on advisory committees should be thoroughly vetted to ensure potential candidates are knowledgeable in the field that the committee serves and not just there to represent a certain interest group or push for a certain agenda..

    • Carl Bromwich

      I have publicly stated my position on non elected participants on committees with a vote since day one of this term. I was against it from the very start. My reasons are as follows. Why would someone who was not in the election race as a candidate be accepted as a member of a committee and granted a vote giving them the same power as an elected official?
      When asked to sign our Code of Conduct policy the public participants refused using the “Freedom of Speech” argument, yet elected officials basically had to in order to follow our Procedure Policy. Since that day of signing I have held that Code of Conduct Policy in high regard.
      There is an option for public participation and I personally have been on two of these Committees before taking public office. They are called Public Liason Committees and we’re actually promoted by Queens Park decades ago to deal with specific initiatives such as waste site closures or openings. Being a member of a Public Liason Committee does NOT give you a vote! The public input was considered to be the plan behind these committees and worked fairly well.
      I’ve said it before and will one more time, that if a person wants to be part of the governance of their Township with voting rights for 4 years, they should have put their name on the nomination platform and run a public campaign asking for votes to represent the electorate.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      My opinion on community committee members having the right to vote on issues is this: They are not elected officials but their opinions should be a priority for council.

    • David Shulist

      No, the only people that vote should be elected officials. It is great to see the public being engaged in the process of governing, but they should not have a vote. The public can add to the discussion and that is very positive because it can sometimes help council with decision making. If anyone wants to have the power to vote, please put your name on the ballot in the next election.

  3. Linda Neuman

    This is a question for Ernie Peplinskie:
    In 2014, Ernie, you were a member of the CAC. The group was of the opinion that council of the day was “untrustworthy”. (Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don’t have a problem with that). When you campaigned, you ran on the slogan’Restore the Trust’. Today, in 2018, you are again running on the slogan ‘Restore the Trust’.
    1. Does that mean that the council of the day, which you are an active councillor on, is untrustworthy?
    2. If you couldn’t restore trust during the last four years, will this time be any different?
    3. What steps do you plan on taking in the next four years, if you should be elected, to ‘restore that trust’.

  4. Wilmer Matthews

    To each of the incumbents : Love, Archer, Peplinski, Bromwich and Maika—What one thing have you learned from your time on Council that will make you better at your position if re-elected?

    To: Challengers: Willmer, Kaminski, & Shulist—What one strength would you like to bring to the Council table if elected?
    To: All candidates—What do you see as the top priority for the new Council?

    • Carl Bromwich

      “What one thing have I learned from my time on Council that will make me better at my position if re-elected?”

      I have served on Council now for 1 1/2 years of the last term and now a complete 4 years during the current term. I have chaired Recreation, Heritage and Culture. I have chaired Economic Development. I have chaired Fire and Protection. I have chaired the Lipusz Twinning Committee. I have chaired the Community Policing Advisory Committee. I have also Vice Chaired Emergency along with being a member of all Committees when we were Committee of the Whole during the last term. Throughout this time with the various duties and interactions with our staff who do the heavy lifting with policy and procedures I have learned one thing.
      Staff will bring their plans and initiatives to the table for approval or dismissal of Council. Our staff is our strength and if allowed to do what they are hired to do the Township will be a success and growth and improvements in our quality of life within the Madawaska Valley Township will be very evident. I know the strengths and weaknesses within our township and I know what needs to be done to succeed. This is what I bring to the table and if elected I will continue to promote this strategy at all costs.

      “What do I see as the top priority for the new Council?”

      I would suggest that there are two immediate priorities. The first and foremost is to re-staff our present office with key personnel that will develop new initiatives to get our township “back on track” as it was over a year ago when we were designated the number one destination in Renfrew County. Of course that designation was mostly due to the very active events throughout all 4 seasons of our year and the focal point of our Arts and Culture at the Railway Station.
      The number 2 priority goes hand in hand with number 1 and that is the implementation of our strategic plan developed by input from the community and is called “ The Path Forward”. This dovetails nicely with the full compliment of professional staff as it is a blueprint for success much like our earlier Economic Development Strategy that was used so wisely to create the above success as THE destination of Renfrew County.
      We have the plan and now we need the Council and staff to implement it. This is what I bring to the table as immediate priorities.

    • Mark Willmer

      If elected I will bring a wealth of municipal experience to the council table including 21 years as a member of council and 30 years as a municipal employee. My experience includes , strategic planning, property management, and various other roles in culture, recreation and special event planning. I have chaired all major council committees including planning, recreation, finance and public works.
      I will provide strong leadership and I work well as part of a team. I have the ability to get things done.

      The top priority of the new council should be to get the township moving again. I feel over the last four years progress has been hampered by infighting and bickering at council. Staff need to be empowered to do the jobs they are trained for and were hired to do, while council needs to get on with governing and implementing documents like the strategic plan.

    • Andrey Kaminski

      I am running for Mayor because I am interested in positive change and good growth which showcases our beautiful area so it can reach its full potential. I am tired of seeing business fail here that should be saving you tax dollars. Consensus building is my strength. Every idea no matter how “off the wall” is worthy for consideration by council. I believe in brainstorming and we are a small council with the time for imaginative ideas. I will have an open door policy while campaigning and after I am elected. We are not Muskoka and we do not want to make the mistakes they made for growth at the expense of our natural beauty.

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