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Whiten third and final candidate seeking mayor’s seat

Richard Whiten

By Olivia Timm
Richard Whiten, owner and operator of Picton Lube, is the third and final candidate running for for the position of mayor of Prince Edward County.

The Picton resident filed his nomination papers July 26, just before the deadline, making it a three-way race with Ameliasburgh councillor Dianne O’Brien, who filed in June,
and South Marysburgh councillor Steve Ferguson, who filed in May.

After moving here from Haliburton in 2002, and working for many years in several construction companies as a welder, mechanic and millwright, Whiten said he became the manager of Picton Lube in October of this year.

He said he enjoys working in a central location because he gets to meet all kinds of people and hear things they are passionate or worried about in the community – topics he also shares an interest in.

“Affordable housing is a huge issue. We need to have a workforce here. I feel we’ve rapidly been losing it for years,” he said. “A lot of construction companies are popping up. We are experiencing a bit of a boom right now, but they are having trouble hiring people because there simply isn’t anyone to hire. We need a stronger workforce, and the problem is, we can’t get a workforce if we don’t have enough jobs in the industry but also if we don’t have affordable housing for those people.”

Another concern is a strong workforce won’t be possible without active transportation options. He said he’d be interested in looking at the feasibility of a public model.

“I don’t see too many towns of this size that have public transit, so that makes me think it isn’t very cost effective,” he said.

If elected as mayor, Whiten said he could bring a unique perspective to council since he sat on the parent council at Queen Elizabeth Public School in Picton for close to five years.

“I don’t have past experience in politics, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an interest. I’ve thought about running for several years, but this year, I decided I’d seen too much not being done and thought: ‘If you want something done, do it yourself,’” Whiten said.

Whiten’s wife and five kids are his biggest support system and were happy when he made the decision to enter the mayoral race.

“My youngest was really excited to hear the news; she thinks it’s really cool!” he laughed.

In light of recent discussions such as the cancellation of the wpd White Pines wind turbines, the Cherry Valley music venue which just hosted April Wine and local band Crimson Cay last month, and the community residents who came together to fight for an open discussion around the Quinte Isle trailer site expansion project just this past Thursday, Whiten said he hopes, if elected, to better communicate issues with the public.

“Our local government is meant to work for the people, not against them. The purpose is not to tell them what they want or what they can have. I was at the Cherry Valley concert working security, and it went very well,” he said.

Whiten said his goal is to advocate and be the voice for residents in Prince Edward County. He said he often works for the underdog, fights for what people believe in and feel he shares concerns and passions for topics that matter to them.

Thirty-seven candidates have come forward to have their names stand for election to county council on Oct. 22.

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  1. Steve Staniek says:

    There are 2 high priority issues that need to be corrected in PEC immediately.
    1. Anyone who has followed County politics closely, knows that we no longer enjoy traditional property rights in the County since the PEC Heritage Committee voted for hostile designations against property owners in 2012. This is hidden information that local journalists avoid discussing.
    2. The Ministry of Transport is preparing to build us an unsafe bridge that will knowingly put travellers in harm’s way. It will not be safe for anyone using the Skyway Bridge because it will not be safe for pedestrians and cyclists. The MTO claims it does not have the 200 million required for a safe bridge because they mismanaged our taxdollars on other projects. Our local politicians went dark on this issue, leaving us to defend our families on our own against a lack of safety culture at the MTO.{I note that a government’s first duty is to protect its citizens, and 4000 pedestrians are hit by Ontario motorists every year, and about 100 die from those injuries.]

    So, if Richard Whiten is clued in and willing to: a) restore property rights in the County, and b) protect all travellers by demanding a safe upgrade to the Skyway Bridge, ie: a protected pedestrian walkway that will ultimately protect all travellers, and keep our families safe, I may vote for him.

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