(Barret Leudke speaking at Temagami Candidate Night. To learn more about the candidate's stance on key election issues, read their interview for Keep Temagami Beautiful below.)
Interviewer: The Temagami Access Road (aka The Mine Road) provides a convenient and centralized access point (and parking) to the Hub area for cottagers, camps, contractors, deliveries, tourists, and guests. In addition, Temagami First Nation manages a sizeable footprint in the vicinity of the Mine and Manitou landings. The Mine Landing is the most convenient trash and recycling point for much of the Lake. However, the road’s location results in many users bypassing the services and access points offered in Town, resulting in lost revenues for businesses.
Q.1a Do you feel that the Temagami Access Road (aka The Mine Road) has negatively impacted business in the Town of Temagami, and allowed/encouraged lake visitors and residents to shop elsewhere and perhaps not even go into town?
Key Candidate Quote - “There are some bold ways out there about ways we could draw more attention to Town from a needs basis for supporting the commercial activities that are in Town… I would like to review everything, to consider all these options to help keep Town active, like, the businesses that are there… I think the next recession’s going to present more difficult challenges than the 2008-2009 downturn that the Americans faced, which spilled over into Canada… The road’s important. We don’t own the road… close those illegal access points. A good assessment of how often they’re being used and who’s going there and trying to maintain that access.” - Barret Leudke
Candidate Barret Leudke: The answer to that, in my opinion, is from a Town perspective, because I work in all neighbourhoods within the community, some businesses in town do feel that it negatively impacts, and that road’s always been a contentious issue ever since the Mine Road was left after the mine closed that they felt that the road should be closed.
In today’s economy, in today’s world, I don’t think that’s practical now because so many of our residents and businesses and that depend on the road. So it’s kind of a yes and no answer.
For my business, and my parents’ business of 35 years in the tourist business, it’s important to their business. My parents own CANUSA Vacations. I grew up here as a kid in the tourism business. So they rent cottages and they used to rent houseboats. Their retired out of that now, but they still have a cottage business.
And the tourism business on Lake Temagami is dependent, and so too are the camps, the canoe camps, and, like it’s mentioned in the question, First Nations are dependent on that road, where Town they are being bypassed.
The road’s important. We don’t own the road. A lot of people are unaware of that. It’s a forest access; the Ministry of Natural Resources doesn’t even consider it a road, contrary to what is being listed on the sign out at the highway. The landings, as a municipality, we do not own. It’s a Land Use permit, that’s on a one year extension right now.
There are some bold ways out there about ways we could draw more attention to Town from a needs basis for supporting the commercial activities that are in Town. I know the Town would be appreciative of that, but it would take a collaboration and a lot of work by re-looking at our official plan and what we consider mainland development, because even building a road, a new road or re-directing a road, if that was one of the bold ideas to get more traffic through Town, would take a lot of work. I would like to review everything, to consider all these options to help keep Town active, like, the businesses that are there.
Our bank’s down to two days a week. I’m fearful our bank’s going to be in the next recession. This is what I fear, we might lose our hardware, bank and our grocery store for good. I think the next recession’s going to present more difficult challenges than the 2008-2009 downturn that the Americans faced, which spilled over into Canada.
So if we were to work and create like a resource sharing agreement of some sort, no different than the First Nations would be interested in doing like a mine or other resource extraction, opportunities come to the community. I’ve been a proponent, and I’ve said it at committee at different times, we should be looking at our access points and road as a resource that’s shared by both communities, and it might mean a joint Ec/Dev initiative. So then if we decided to recoup some of the expense of maintaining the landings and the road, the legitimate and landings and road that are recognized in the Tenets as being legitimate, Strathcona and the mine landings, we could create a revenue stream of parking and collection or what have you, and help recoup the costs of managing our dump and maintaining the dump and what have you in a different model than what we’re used to now.
Right now, it’s all the burden of the municipal taxpayer, and, not to create a wedge issue, however, but we’ve never really got to the table with First Nations in a more collaborative way to share the expense of the road. And I’m vice- president of LaTemPRA, and we’ve put road front and centre, and the maintenance and care and the quality of the road is concerning to everybody on Lake Temagami. Maybe not as much in the concern of the Town, like it was mentioned in part of this question, because they don’t see how the road stopping six kilometres short of town supports the businesses 100%. If the road was in better quality, you might be able to draw more people to Town.
So we’ve had kind of a mandate to try to leverage different levels of provincial and federal government for funding. We’ve already done kind of a quasi study or quick study on what it would cost to fix the road: $32 million to bring that road up to any provincial standard. But you would never spend that kind of money unless one of us or jointly, we owned the road. It’s still Crown land, and it’s going to border set aside lands, possibly an extension of First Nation Reserve. So we have a lot of work to do here.
Interviewer: What is your vision for the Temagami Access Road and associated landings to balance access, convenience, and services for the users listed above (including TFN), with the Town of Temagami and its local businesses' economic needs?
Leudke: Well, we have a 2007 landing development plan. It’s been 11 years and it’s still not completed. But we’re enjoying new docks, but we don’t have the clean separation from contractor use side, it’s partly done, to seasonal residents and other residents use side. Like, you come to the landing, you fight and trip over lumber to get your garbage to the dumpster and what have you. We were trying to work to get that, and that was part of LTAP, the landing improvement plan, over the winter.
More as a citizen than a committee member, I stepped back from being a committee member to try to get other people included. I was on enoughcommittees in the time, but I did participate as a citizen commenting in the audience and bringing my experience to the area and what my needs are at the landing as a contractor. Mine are different. As electrical contractor, I’m different than, like, Julian Davies or Kirk Smith or George Mathias. They’re moving more materials, bigger materials than myself,.
So we had an opportunity here to wrap this project up and finish the contractors’ side of the landing, and it was met with some obstruction and interference by some other members. They felt it was strongly too much in mainland development. And we’re worried about our screening of our shorelines, but as it’s stated in the Tenets, we have to maintain a skyline, but there’s going to have to be some exceptions made to make some of these services, which a landing and a road is, more efficient for use, for us all to enjoy.
So we had an opportunity to finish the project, and that opposition and interference to finishing it was from the perspective, to be fair, that it encroaches on mainland development.
In he 2007 plan, we had detailed on the map a relocation of this building to that location, and I wanted the capitalize on that opportunity. Not to force your hand, the TLA - and I’m a TLA member. Not to force the TLA or our board’s hand on closing this building necessarily, like, tomorrow or the next day, but to get that maybe in a more encompassing facility. Like, I’ve been at that previous AGM. The washrooms is a concern at the landing. We don't’ have any washroom facilities. We could have this building or other stakeholders’ interests in their own little office within a collective building at the landing where it accommodates TLA and maybe LaTemPRA, or maybe collectively one office is shared by all; First Nations interest; have washroom facilities.
There’s been talk, and I’m in full support of boat washing. We’ve got to stop the invasive species, it’s on our doorstep.
But to do all those things, and to be fair to the individuals that were against furthering completion of our 2007 plan, ...
Interviewer: Who was against that?
Leudke: Biff Lowery, straight up. Him and I had a discussion, because in the 2007 plan, behind the scenes, far back behind the scenes, almost towards the Temagami Barge cutoff, on the plan - I didn’t bring my LTAP book - there is a road that was supposed to be put in, if we had the funding to do it, and create pods, sections that are not even within sight of water. And it’s within the LUP dimensions and the perimeter of our Land Use permit. And we talked at LTAP about creating those pods, and maybe we recoup some - if a contractor wanted to rent one, put a shipping container there, have that as a lay down area prior to moving onto the lake, onto the barges when it suited him. That’s where gravel could come to or other heavy materials get staged, coordinated, and then moved to the landing to get put on a barge. And we thought this before we realized what the rules were around an LUP, what you could and couldn’t do by the ministry.
So we said maybe a good revenue recuperation would be to charge a contractor for one of those pods. Well, Biff and I had another conversation. He said, “When I heard that at LTAP, that’s where I drew the line on mainland development. You want to create an area where the municipality would generate area to recoup costs. I see that as mainland development.”
So our plan to accommodate TLA, if they were to leave this spot and go on our dashline designated area on our plan and build a building there is mainland development as well. So as tings are written, I can’t necessarily argue with him. We have the Tenets, which is our anchoring document and our guiding principle. The weight in the official plan, though, is this: section 7.2.1 called a special managements area on Crown land. So this is Crown land, not set aside lands, and it covers two kilometres of protection zone. It says, “No new hunt camps, huts, warmup shelters or permanent shelters shall be permitted within the two kilometres inland of the shoreline of Lake Temagami.” So we have a challenge ahead of us. We created a landing development plan, put on it that we might want to relocate a building, make it a building that might service the people on the lake.
So I’ve been accused of being for mainland development; I am in that respect. We need to modify portions of our official plan and zoning by-law to allow us to develop, like, as an example, on the landing improvement plan, the location of a multi-use facility that might benefit all.
So that’s the thing, should we rush to re-design the plan right away? Well, let’s review it and see if it’s palatable to the community as a whole. I’m finding as I’m campaigning and I’m meeting other people that are interested in me talking, how uninformed a lot of our community is. Most of our community don’t realize, we don’t own that access road. They see our municipal grader grading it and maintaining it, they don’t realize we do not own the landings where our dumpsters are. It’s a Land Use permit with a one-year extension.
And First Nations has interest.
Interviewer: And that’s from the province?
Leudke: The province has Land Use permit, Ministry of Natural Resources, and around the Land Use permit are strict rules of what you can and can’t do. Up until this point we’ve been charging permanent residents for parking. Technically under a land use permit you can’t do that. You clan’t generate revenue from it, the way our land use permit’s structured. They were trying to talk us into a land lease. So a land lease, what that would have brought the municipality was, you’d get an assessment by MPAC and then the municipality would have been on the hook for annual taxation to the province. So they were trying to steer us in that direction.
Fortunately for us, First Nations come to that. The very final meeting with the MNR, the Ontario government changed, they went into a care taking period, and they said we are not meeting with the public, we can’t comment on this, that or the other thing. First Nations showed up at our meeting, they got invited in. They wouldn’t allow the rest of the public to attend, which was actually a benefit to us, because it clarified that we need to get together with First Nations to come up with effective use of the landings and the road and the ownership of, however we want to structure it.
Interviewer: What are they paying now?
Leudke: I don’t believe they’ve been billed for anything.
Interviewer: Yeah, I think it’s a very minimal amount.
Leudke: It’s very minimal. And if I bring it up saying they haven’t paid their bill in four years, immediately it’s a wedge issue. Like, I don’t know what the agreement is, honestly. I’m a councillor candidate, I’ve been on three committees, I’m on public works, and I’ve asked that question about the dumps. They have an agreement through their memorandum of understanding, I believe. I’m not an expert on memorandum of understanding. There’s a lot to it, and I’ve never been included.
There haven’t been many meetings, unfortunately, with our First Nations with regards to that, and it may be partially due to our state of the council in the last four years, and the lack of collaboration, and there’s been disparaging comments made by other councillors that have caused wedge issues with regards to, like, their project, moving trailers on the road.
We have some challenging, challenging things here in our municipality that need to be addressed, and it’s not to force one stakeholder over the other to pay more money or to pay their share. I think we have to come together as a group and say, look, what can we leverage from the federal and provincial governments.
We had a meeting, our permanent residents’ group, with John Vanthof, our MPP, and Anthony Rota, our member of federal parliament. And they both said on separate occasions, “Get together with First Nations and get to the table.” We’re going to have more leverage that way. It hasn’t happened.
Interviewer: The bottom line is you’ve got to get collaboration.
Leudke: We need all collaboration. We need support from my group, I’m still a TLA member and I’m a permanent resident. Our group, like, front and centre was the road, better cooperation in First Nations, and include them in more of these meetings. Like, they always have first right of refusal on severances and all that stuff, that we have a duty to consult.
But what if they come ot the table and say, “We have a different interest in the use of the landing and we want to compete for that LUP.” I don’t think they have to apply for LUPs, they could easily make the landing an extension of their reserve, if they were allowed to. We don’t know. But we need to get to the table, like you’re across the table, I’m across the table, have them sitting there and say, “What are you feelings on it?”
I don’t want to be part of a municipality that says, “Here, you haven’t paid in four years, here’s the bill.” That’s not going to bode well.
Interviewer: There’s a good chance now, obviously with some of the candidates running, at least two of them have a connection with the First Nation.
Leudke: I think Jamie Koistinen is well connected. I respect her. I work with her on the project over at Bear Island now. She’s extremely talented. She runs big projects. Like I said, I’d love to sit at a table with her and get ideas and take on things.
I’m not trying to sandbag these questions and make them longer than they are, there’s just so much to talk about on every one.
Interviewer: Temagami’s pristine natural environment, which the Tenets endeavour to preserve, gives the region a priceless brand that could be sustainably exploited for the broader economic benefit of all stakeholders in the Temagami community. Further development of Crown Lands surrounding the Lake devalues that magical Temagami brand. We also live in a time when new technologies and work patterns might create new more sustainable and clean paths towards prosperity than past drivers of economic growth. With these thoughts in mind: Do you view the Tenets as a significant inhibitor of economic activity?
Key Candidate Quote - “This is something to help and protect our semi-wilderness environment, it’s something that’s marketable. We have to better market it…Like, what Temagami has to offer.” - Barret Leudke
Leudke: No, not at all. The Tenets is a great - I don’t mean to sound repetitive - anchoring document and guiding principle. It is.
It can be made better. Like, I stood up at the AGM, I don’t think you were in attendance, and I brought the attention to the Tenets. As a PAC member, we’re starting a comprehensive [review] and everything should be reviewed. And as a LaTemPRA vice-president and a permanent resident, being one of the stakeholders in the creation of the Tenets - I wasn’t around when the Tenets were created. Well, I was around, but I wasn’t involved to the level I am now.
Is it time just to put it back to the stakeholders and just review it?
I’ve become more aware and paid attention with our Truth and Reconciliation and making our amends with First Nations, and the way some of this is written, and in my opinion only, it’s heavily weighted that there be no development, as its stated here, on the Shining Wood Bay, like, that access point and parking area. I do not agree with having available to any other resident, but, however, I am aware that that’s part of their new set aside lands.
And it’s been brought to my attention that the memorandum of understanding might cover any concerns that First Nations has with that access point. I think if that is their set aside lands and that becomes in their interest to develop in the next 10, 15, 20 years, whenever the settlement’s finally done, that we could better write this and maybe all it takes in the Tenets is to say, “With the exception of Federally agreed set aside lands,” just to make it clear.
Interviewer: You don’t even need to write that in. I mean, the TLA is on record of saying whatever happens, that will supersede. The agreement that the TFN has, that will supersede the Tenets.
Leudke: Yeah. And where is that written for me to digest? Like, that’s where I need to see, I would like to see it. And, like I’m saying, this could be a moot point altogether. But no one at committee has ever said, “Take the Tenets out for good.”
Like, I honestly looked at it with this book in front of me as we went through. That’s where all my points are here, I write in red to show, add things, fix this, look at this, leave this. It still has to go to the public for consultation. A committee doesn’t have that power, nor does a council to say this is the direction we’re going.
We have an issues table that’s to come. I’m on record of trying to expand PAC back to nine members, and I’m on record of saying we should ahve First Nations at this table. Now, others have argued that it’s not done that way, they’re more nation to nation, but maybe I’m a new era guy. I’m going to be 45, I don’t like to think I am, I’m getting older, but what would be wrong with them at our planning table? We have a composition to maintain, 50% representation from the lake, I understand that. I see them as lake residents. Yes, they’re on a Federal Reserve. Sadly our Federal government’s created this debacle. They’re created this debacle for us all to deal with, even at the municipal level.
If I had a chair there, and I saw resistance and interference again at the planning table. It was, like, not welcomed to talk that way. And I found it frustrating. You know, if Jamie Koistinen gets elected, and she might end up as a chair of our committee or at the table with us at the committee.
I personally want to cut off the whole path to Ottawa and maybe get some opinion from them while we’re going through this so that we don’t create something to put to the issues table, try to put it in text, and then find out they’re opposed because at the higher level, then we have to start over again. Let’s nip it in the bud.Like I said earlier, we have duty to consult on a severance. So they have opinion of municipal affairs, direct / direct. Like, when we put out an application for a variance or a severance or a consent, they get notice and they get to comment, feedback, or reject or oppose.
You know, we got ourselves in trouble. We’re not infallible. We approved a severance. I have my reasons why I kind of went with not conceding to an archeological study, because previously the property was severed and then it merged on title, then they were trying to put it back to what it was, and there was no construction going on, there was no application to build anything. So that was the decision I made, and I would stand in front of all First Nations and say, “I think I made a mistake there.”
We have duty to consult. I would like to do the same during the process of reviewing the plan, and that’s the only concern I have with the Tenets. Is there anything in the Tenets that they found offensive and maybe it is written somewhere. Somebody sent an MOU, I talked to Dick Grant about that and he said some of that was covered back, back, back when, when the Tenets were created.
What brought my attention to the Tenets, there might be some ill feelings towards the Tenets on the First Nations’ part, one, I’m not going to mention her name, but she’s in administration there, and I asked her how she felt about the Tenets in the middle of a council meeting. They were in closed session, in- camera. And she said, “There was times there where we felt it was obstructing our land claim initiatives,” and there might be a way to re-write this a little better.
However, if it is covered in another agreement, like the MOU or a side agreement or described in some writings that the TLA possess, I’m good with that. The Tenets should be there.
You know, I’ve even went to the extent, and I’m on record of saying it in some of my meetings. Like, when I look at these other access points, Cross Lake, Austin Bay, Blue Bay - that’s closed. But then most recently I was informed that maybe not bite off more than you can chew. That’s still provincial Crown land, the province is very staunch on who gets what to say on Crown land. I’m adamant, I’d like to close those access points. There’s no benefit to having people sneaking in fromSturgeon Falls to the bottom of Cross Lake. Well, Begin, the southwest arm group doesn’t like that. You get the River Valley clowns there, they’re partying and camping. I would love to close those points and focus on our points, as stated in the Tenets, we got the Lake Temagami Access Road landings, Strathcona, Finlayson Park. Invest in those, make them more efficient, more effective for all, and accept that, yeah, okay, around that landing which is now deemed a Land Use permit, let’s make some exceptions in this to allow some development there, controlled development. I’m talking only a multi-use facility.
Are we going to offer boat washing there? That comes with challenges. You can’t just let water run on the ground after you’ve sprayed a boat with Javex. So now I’m backed off on it. We can’t have the boat wash station here, it should be in Town.
Would that be a way to draw people to Town?
Interviewer: Sure. Make it mandatory, you can’t come to the lake until you’ve been through.
Leudke: But I had an idea of re-routing the Access Road, a portion of it, to get through town.
Interviewer: How would that go?
Leudke: Well, cut it off two or three kilometres in fromHighway 11, turn it and go north, stay out of the view of any water. There’s a perfect spot to travel up through the bush this side of Jesse Lake, this side of Crab Lake, connect with the Strathcona Landing, come out past Temagami Marine. This is where it gets difficult. We’ve got to get across the highway and the tracks. That’s going to take collaboration with the province. This is just an idea. I said this at one of our gatherings.
Interviewer: Any idea how much that would cost, per mile?
Leudke: Well, they said to fix what we got, a corduroy road full of mining muck and gravel, it’s going to be $32 million to bring it to any provincial road standard, with fixing the curves. Sometimes fixing something - like, renovating a building like this for me as an electrician is more money than roughing it in the first time if it was built.
Leudke: It’s just an idea, though. A discussion. I brought it up at one of our last gatherings, and some people thought that was a great idea. And I said, “Remember this: it’s just an idea.”
We got before us, the Ministry of Transportation is talking because of our highway conditions, I don’t know if you winter here, but we’ve had a lot of people killed on this highway, and there’s a movement by the province, and John Vanthof’s heading it up, to get some improvements to that highway.
Some people think four-lane’s coming. No, we’re a long way off that. The numbers don’t allow it. With Trout Creek, South River, and all the stuff I drove through the two-lane all my life, that now has bypassed those towns, I’ll be dead before we see that here unless we get the chromite find, unless we get the Ring of Fire developed. It might come fast; I highly doubt it.
But they’re talking about three-laning, some European model of improving the highway.
So we got to be at the front of that, as a municipality. Even if it’s being whispered, we don’t want to be too far behind that.I wonder if, I’d like to go to South River, Trout Creek and all those other communities and say, “Were you guys ahead of it or behind it?” You know, the province always consults, but was it in their radar? This might be a good thing to get in our radar. If they three-lane, what are they going to do when it chokes Temagami Marine Road or if they want to do something different along the highway from Liskeard to North Bay, should we be at the table and say, “We got another idea we’d like you to incorporate: can you give us a bridge? Can you give us a better way to enter and exit the Town?”
I would like to see everybody directed through Town. I don’t know what the final numbers are, the TLA have all the stats. You guys have great stats. Is it 8,000 people visit this lake over the course of a summer? I was told by the Knudsens there’s 66,000 paddlers in its peak that paddle through the Temagami system, from Lady Evelyn down; 66,000 people.
Interviewer: Just a few years ago, 10,000 did the Sharp Rock portage into Diamond.
Leudke: Okay. So where are they starting and stopping from? You know, I’m not slaying Temagami has to have it all. Like, you’ve got to come and start and stop here. If they have to buy park passes, get the ministry to try to get that back into Town. Like, let’s figure out a reason to get them to go through Town. That would lift the economy.
You know what? The road is like a pie in the sky, it might be a romantic fantasy that I’m excited about, but, you know what? To do it, though, is cumbersome. You have the special management area that’s two kilometres from the shoreline, the road might infringe on that. So, there again, would we be willing to make an exception in our book to allow that if it meant better economy spread out through the municipality.
Interviewer: Each one has to be a variance, that’s what you’re saying. Are there other factors that are deterring investment and household formation in the area — for example, do high business and property taxes discourage both "clean" industry and remote workers from relocating to Temagami?
Leudke: Hard time getting workers to stay.
Leudke: I’m an electrical contractor here, I’ve been for 13 years. At our peak, we had six people working full-time, on Lake Temagami. Never had to leave the community. I had two boats going.
Everything goes in cycles. I don’t have my head in the sand with that. We have a decline there to be able to attract and retain youth. I pay 34 an hour for a licensed electrician. I’m right in step with the industrial sector. We work in the Elk Lake Sawmill in Gogama as well. I’m at the peak rate for an electrician. I’m willing to pay more. I can’t get people.
Leudke: They won’t stay. Why, is the second question. Because there’s nothing here for them, and they won’t get their money back out of the area.
A lot of my work force, if I was trying to attract a young apprentice here, he’s going to have to commute from town. That’s probably the only place he can afford a house or rent. There are opportunities here for young - I bought here at 32, I think I just got in the gate on a reasonable purchase living in the hub.
Nobody can afford to get on this lake and then start. And all the contractors that did have kids, all their kids are leaving. I don’t understand that. Don Johnson’s son Spencer’s leaving now. He’s at the door step of opportunity here and he can’t -. Okay, in fairness, he’s a Millennial, maybe he’s choosing not to. This isn’t for him. That’s what’s scaring me.
I’ve brought it up at other talks. Our economy is in trouble. We have 75 fewer people work in the construction trade here than ten years ago. I can go through the list with you, but we don’t have time.
If you look at George Mathias, he had a crew of 25 guys. Cathy Dwyer and Kirk Smith were 25, with their garden centre and all that stuff going. When I got here, it was Ivor Jones, Bob Farr, Gerry Gooderham. Now, in fairness, a lot of them are getting to the age where they want to retire, but nobody’s filling in underneath.
And it was said to me that I talk about the decline, but how’s it going to affect the economy here? Longer wait times, higher cost. There’s people here that complain they can’t get anybody to show up and even price a job.
I like to think I’m a really proficient and good contractor, I get a lot of compliments on calling people back and showing up when I say I’m going to show up and finish the job. I’m the exception to the rule because I do a lot. I’m a firefighter in Toronto, I’m trying to get in council; I just have a lot of energy.
But, for example, my business partner I sold half my business to, he decided to buy his house in Liskeard. He didn’t even buy here. He said, “I’ll never get back out.” And his interest wasn’t the lake, but he didn’t want to even stay in town. And Mark Corbett, our last electrician, his brother quit. He bought his house in Haileybury. They’re all trying to get out, and they were born here, raised here. They see it’s on a decline. So that’s our problem. We’re sliding down a hill and people are trying to get out.
I went for a respiratory therapy appointment the other day in New Liskeard, and my respiratory therapist, she says, “My husband and I are looking for a place to retire, we’re interested in Temagami, but the grocery store, it’s not year ‘round.” Like, people don’t do the bulk shopping maybe necessarily at that grocery store. Walmart and Costco are hard to compete with. But just to infill, if we don’t have a grocery store here after - these are all concerning issues.
I didn’t think it was going to go this way. I’ll be fine. Like, if somebody asks me, “What the F do you care? You’re doing well.” That’s why I’m always doing well. Barrett will always have a job in the boat here, but I can’t get any bigger, I don’t have the people to draw from. I can’t take on any more.
And in the winter, for a good example, there’s no projects running in the winter; none. There’s no cottages still being constructed, there’s no lumber being delivered to the landing. We’re in a cycle down. It’s not to fall on the shoulders of bad policy, I don’t think, or a group’s interest in the area. Like, you know, you guys are pretty staunch on some of the things. I don’t think that’s directly affecting the construction trades. There’s something bigger going on here. All the north is experiencing it: we’re losing people out of the north.
So are we open to reviewing some stuff to see where we can make things better? In this plan there’s a definition of “home occupation” and “home industry.” You know if they enforced that when I was at my peak, starting to climb and hire more people, I would have been held to two employees. That’s scary. And thankfully they didn’t enforce it. We were booming! Like, I had, you know, all these projects going on and I had four people on the boat with me some days going to the same job. And jobs we call anchor jobs.
When a building like this size goes up, we call it an anchor jobs. It’s not coming here to fix a few plugs in the counter. You’re here for a few days on a rough-in; you leave. The dry wallers put their stuff up, they do the interior, then you come back. It kind of carries through the summer.
Interviewer: Does the townsite and Municipality of Temagami have the infrastructure to support "sustainable development"?
Key Candidate Quote - “We have a hardware store that still exists. We still have a grocery store, and it has a foundation. We have the components to get it back. Like I said earlier, if we lose three of those components, it’s going to be so hard to get back… Three dumps! What municipality has three dumps… To me, it’s a balanced economy. We need to market our tourism better… Our capital asset management plan was under funded. There was three metrics to get the funding, we failed on our capital asset management plan… I was told by the Knutsens there’s 66,000 paddlers in its peak that paddle through the Temagami system, from Lady Evelyn down; 66,000 people.” - Barret Leudke
Leudke: I think we did at one time. We have a hint of it now. We have a hardware store that still exists. We still have a grocery store, and it has a foundation. We have the components to get it back. Like I said earlier, if we lose three of those components, it’s going to be so hard to get back.
Like, Earlton or Englehart just lost their CIBC, and it come out with a huge protest. Scotiabank’s on two days a week. It’s affected our business because you have to plan, now, around those two days to do your banking. I go in and see the teller; I’m not an ATM machine guy, because we’re doing business banking where you’re doing those deposits.
So the townsite and the municipality have some infrastructure that is creating a liability now. Like, our arena is under utilized. Maybe it needs to be better marketed, but then we don’t have the accommodation availability for people to do big events. So it’s like this push / pull that’s hard to figure out.
Interviewer: Yeah, no, I hear you. What other infrastructure? Like, what about the water and sewer and everything?
Leudke: Well, this is another thing. I’m finding as I campaign around and talk to people how uninformed they are. People in this municipality for 20 years don’t know that we have three dumps to maintain. Three dumps! What municipality has three dumps.
And then the binder, when the Ministry of Natural Resources run the dump, this was the thickness of the compliance orders. Now that the municipality has taken ownership of the dumps, they’re handing us binder after binder. I’m on public works; you should see the compliance that we have to comply with.
We have an issue with our dumps. Some of them are half life. And all the rules to properly run a dump and maintain a dump. So we have three dumps, we can market that. We got three dumps; nobody wants to bring garbage here.
With this, we do have the infrastructure, but it’s actually at our detriment. The infrastructure of having three dumps is actually a negative because it comes with a huge cost to do it for each one. When you have a dump, and you have a dump, and you have dump, blow garbage has to be covered. We’ve got no fill here in Briggs. We’ve got to truck it in to cover it. You can only go so high and then you have to backfill and compact. We’re not compacting.
So there’s some underfunded liabilities in this municipality: dumps, two water treatment plants, two lagoons. Most municipalities aren’t burdened with this much. Well, big ones are like the City of Toronto, but, I mean, a municipality with 950 people, and seasonally 2600, give or take two or 300 oneway or the other.
Interviewer: There are two water treatment plants?
Leudke: Two water treatment plants in the Municipality of Temagami: one at the waterfront where the old MNR building is, and we got one at Temagami North.
Our capital asset management plan was under funded. There was three metrics to get the funding, we failed on our capital asset management plan. We under funded it. So now we got to pay out of pocket a million to two million, I don’t know what the final number is, to fix that north lagoon. It’s under performing. Where is that money going to come from?
So we have two major tax basis, not to create a wedge issue again, TransCanada Pipelines and our valued properties here. How much is the property owners here willing to endure and not have it create a wedge issue?
You got people in town saying, “That road costs us a fortune.” The road doesn’t cost us a huge fortune, it’s like 120, 130 a year, and it takes in all the depreciation on the new grader. I did the numbers. It’s pretty reasonable.
I did a quick a math thing. If we have 750 property tax owners, it works out to about 500 bucks a year on each property. That’s a pretty good deal. We get our garbage picked up at the landing, but all that’s going to have to change. We have new orders. We’re just buying time with dumping garbage in a open dumpster. We’re supposed to have cameras up looking at that. The MOE wanted it. We got the bear thing under control, we’ve cycled out of that, but that’s not allowed anywhere else in any other place in the province.
Interviewer: And that’s why it’s on a one year probation, sort of, is it?
Leudke: No, the LUP is who’s got tenancy under a Land Use permit for the landing. The dumps is a different issue, and garbage handling and garbage movement.Where can you go in Ontario at three in the morning and throw something in a dumpster? These are the issues that are being under - by both sides.
Like, we’re bringing it up at LaTemPRA, and we have a small collective. Like, theres’ 35 of us left that are permanent residents, and it’s shrinking. Look at the age of everybody. Keep this in mind: Reina and I, my wife and I, are the only two putting kids on a bus at that landing. There’s no other kids. Bear Island has its own school, separate on First Nations. Nobody else is moving to the area. I’m going to be 45 this year; my kids are going to be 9 and 11. When we’re done, they’re off to high school, out of high school and on to hopefully their vocation, whatever they decide to do, there’s going to be nobody here. That’s a worry.
Interviewer: They’re coming back to take over your business, aren’t they?
Leudke: Well, if there’s something here for them. And how can you convince all your kids to do exactly what you did? Right now they love going with Dad, but I haven’t got into the teenage years yet.
Interviewer: What are the main factors deterring investment and new-comers to the area? Select the top two from the list below: Tenets; business obstacles; property taxes; non-property taxes; internet services; skilled labour; or, other things we might not have listed.
Leudke: The Tenets are nowhere there. Like, people don’t come and read the Tenets and say, “Oh, I’m not moving there because of that.” This is something to help and protect our semi-wilderness environment, it’s something that’s marketable. We have to better market it.
Like, what Temagami has to offer. One of the reasons my wife came here, she’s from British Columbia. Who moves from BC to Ontario? It was this lake, this area that attracted her to stay. She can’t believe the sunsets. They don’t get sunsets in the mountains the way we do.
So business obstacles, well, having an efficient and a road is a business obstacle. Right now the contractors - like, it’s something we could do later. I could walk you and show you some of the obstacles there. It’s not finished. We have a great landing plan, let’s finish it and not argue and bicker over three cedar trees, left or right?
Property tax is going to be a concern. Like, our property tax, if I get re- assessed, I’m probably staring down at a $8,000 property tax bill. It’s 1% per 100,000. I don’t know what they’re going to value it. I’m worried my neighbour across from me’s going to sell, Wayne Yeo. And whatever he sells for, then MPAC starts looking, and they look at the most recent sales. We’re all in that boat.
How are your kids, if you decide to transfer ownership of that, afford that? We’re not seeing the incomes out of new employment that we all got to enjoy.
I’m a civil servant from the City of Toronto. It’s all for public record. I made over a $100,000 a year. I do this crazy commute tolive here and we run a business, but I’m going to be moving into retirement some day, and property tax is going to be a concern.
So is fire insurance. Like, what happened this year with the forest fires was unique since 1977, this many all at once, and people were looking at their fire insurance renewals and the insurance companies weren’t renewing until this was all -.
Do you that there were no real estate transactions allowed when the Lady Evelyn fire was burning in New Liskeard for a couple of weeks there?
Interviewer: Is there? I didn’t know that. I’m up in Timmins, though. In ‘77, is that when it was that far back, when the big burn over there?
Leudke: In 1977 was the Obabika Lake fire that you see that the new growth is.
Interviewer: I thought it was the early ‘70s, because we just got here in ‘69, so -.
Leudke: Well, maybe I’m wrong on that, the exact date. Everybody talks about the ‘77 fire, and they say that’s the one. I was four years old, so I can’t nail down for sure the date.
Interviewer: Yeah. We were in Kirkland then, and I’m sure it was earlier than that. Anyhow, any of those other?
Leudke: Well, I think if the time is right to charge - like, there isn’t a contractor at the LTAP meeting who said they wouldn’t pay a user fee to use the contractor landing and have a pass. No. Like, I said I’d pay, I’d be willing to pay for dockage. Like, we’re competing with a marina offering free parking here, there is a business respect there that has to be had.
Like, Ken and Carol are saddled with immense commercial tax there, and the shadow that all their floor docks create are considered attached to the bottom of the lake, the province has said. You know, you put a cable down, you’re still covering the lake bottom. The feds own the water and the province owns the land. So they have to pay an immense amount of tax for all that square footage of dockage that’s offered, then we’re allowing all this to happen here.
Now, arguably people who own the property say this is my municipality and that’s my road to my municipality, and maybe we can make an exception for taxpaying residents, but we got all these people coming and using - there’s people here using that landing, I think over-extending their use of that landing. They’re parking there all week.
I’m not the guy that enforced that. We need good by-law enforcement. We don’t have it in place either. Parking’s out of control over there. Like, we got dump trucks going between cars all the way out to Boatline on the big weekends. We have a chance in the landing plan to clean up these parking lots behind here, take the rest of the trees, re-organize all this parking. Like, take the trees in the middle.
Interviewer: With the pods, you mean?
Leudke: No, you know when we get these long strips of parking back here? We got trees in between. We were talking about cutting all them, re-designing this whole parking lot, making better, effective drive in straight and drive out trailer, on diagonal use. Look how it is! It’s a mess. And this is all fixable.
But, again, we saw some interference and obstruction, and I think we got to all get over ourselves. Okay. Like, if somebody doesn’t like my idea and their idea isn’t getting tabled, just get past that. Let’s talk collectively and say, okay, who votes for this? You know, there’s too much, “That’s mainland development.”
Okay, you’re right, the way this is written, if we start taking more trees, it needs a permit by the MNR, it’s on a Land Use permit, but where do you draw the line on what’s mainland development and what isn’t? It’s well written here there shouldn’t be, but are we willing to make some exceptions to make things more fluid? That’s the goal.
And it’s not about creating wedge issues. That’s why I’m running. It was time for some change, just to bring some new ideas to the table. You know?
Internet services, this is a big one on LaTemPRA. We need better communications here, and I read through some of the other stuff about ...
Interviewer: What are your top ones, though? You don’t need to go through each of them. I mean, internet is huge, is it?
Leudke: All these are top.
Interviewer: Is it? Okay.
Leudke: Skilled labour, I talked about earlier. We can’t get skilled labour here.
Okay, it’s affordability. Who doesn’t want to live on the lake versus the townsite? Come on. But there are some people that say, “I don’t want to incur the additional cost of an MPAC assessment living on the shoreline of Lake Temagami. I don't’ mind living in town and working on the lake.” And there’s a whole bunch of guys that do it every day.
But skilled labour, they’re all old. We’ve got nobody under 40 working in the trades here, except for the odd guy that’s here for the summer. Or putting their roots in here.
Julian Davies bought Manitou, he’s got three girls, his wife works for Hydro; they still are reluctant to pack that in and move here. She’s connected to Hydro, it’s a 45 minute drive. He’s here doing the summer thing, and they’re here on weekends. Like, they’re not deciding to move here and put their kids on the bus.
Okay, in all fairness, maybe their kids are involved in other extracurricular activities. We chose not to chase hockey and dance and all that - well, I can’t really say dance, they’re boys, but we’re giving them the other experience, kayaking, fishing, all the other stuff that’s great.
Skilled labour, all of this is - with the exception of the Tenets, the Tenets shouldn’t even be on this list. The Tenets and the way they’re written is not deterring investment. This is an overlap of what we have in the SMA. SMA protects two kilometres, and this is a great guiding principle. All I’ve ever said about the Tenets is, is there a chance we could just improve upon it? I want to go raid those townships and get them back into the municipality; somebody kind of talked me down off of that. They reminded me that we have nine water bombers here working hard to keep our home municipality from burning, don’t open a can of worms that may not be worth opening. I still think it’s important. Like, close those illegal access points. A good assessment of how often they’re being used and who’s going there and trying to maintain that access. It’s debatable.
Monty Cummings, our bylaw enforcement officer said he goes down there once a year, and he says the threes are grown in so bad, what I’m scared about is a cowboy from River Valley or something saying, “Let’s take a skidder up there and bulldoze it open again.” That’s what my worry is. And now it’s active again.
You talk to Bruce Wright [ph] at Tamar, he’s a lodge owner at Tamar, and he goes down and checks. He says, “There’s a few guys still sneaking in.” They got these side-by-side machines now. I’m a recreational sport guy, snowmobile and that, but if those things will make it through there, and pull a boat behind it. I haven’t finished my platform yet because it’s kind of evolving here.
Interviewer: Down at the Cross dam there, the Cross River dam.
Leudke: No, the dam side has an ATV access for the Hydro guys. I’m talking further up on the map, right there, is a legitimate access point. This is the one. It’s right in - what bay is it in? It comes from this way, and Blue Bay’s accessed this way. There’s Austin Bay and there’s the southwest arm. These townships, we don’t have. We have a portion of some of these townships.
I saw it as a chance to re-write that and say let’s close themfor good. However, it was brought to my attention, just watch what you try to take on because you could ahve the province backing another group from another municipality come out in so much force that it antagonizes them to open it back up. So maybe some stuff’s better left alone.
You know what? I’m throwing ideas around. It’s not going to be my way. I just want to get ideas out there and let’s talk about this stuff. So all this is important, the Tenets come right out of there, it does not interfere.
Interviewer: Will further Crown Land lot development on or near Lake Temagami generate lasting /re-occurring economic activity on a meaningful basis?
Key Candidate Quote - “I’ve been accused of being for mainland development; I am in that respect. We need to modify portions of our official plan and zoning by-law to allow us to develop, like, as an example, on the landing improvement plan, the location of a multi-use facility that might benefit all… Crown land lot development on or near Lake Temagami, again, there’s none available outside of the special management area… if First Nations is driving it and it’s going to bring some industrial jobs to the area, lunch pail swinging jobs, it’s going to be a bonus to the entire community… So, yes, I’m for development on the mainland, outside of the skyline reserve, as stated in the Tenets, outside of the special management area, that the community would be in support of as a whole, assisting First Nations in their determination to create economic prosperity for their people …If you have patented land and you’re going to sever, you need a minimum two acre lot.” - Barret Leudke
Leudke: Crown land lot development; in what respect? Like, we have no available Crown land to development other than if we decided to take our two LUPs at the landing over. So the landing’s its own thing. It’s got a Land use permit, and we may try to develop a multi-use facility on it. That would generate some economic activity. If we took this over in a different respect from an LUP, then we could generate some proper parking collection and what have you that would Crown land lot development on or near Lake Temagami, again, there’s none available outside of the special management area, so let’s go back off the shoreline, past the Tenets overlap of 200 metres, and go back two kilometres. Lot development, does it fall under mining, if they want to they want to put a mine shaft up?
I don’t know what’s to come with resource extraction. If anything happens, it’s giong to be driven by First Nations. And that’s got to be on our radar too. And they’re doing drilling, active drilling on the Access Road. They held off this summer because of the forest fire risk.
Interviewer: Yeah, Nimkie or whatever the name of the ...
Leudke: Well, Nimkie or whatever, that’s Randy Becker, and he’s working with Raymond Daneault, and they’re working with a geologist right now.
Interviewer: Isn’t that Indigenous?
Leudke: Yeah, but that’s outside of the set aside lands, and it’s within the two kilometres. Now, that whole area up there hasn’t been drilled off. Like, tell me this isn’t two kilometres here. The south side lands might be all this. We’re within two kilometres, they’re on this side of the Access Road, so they’re going to be drilling all the way through there. This hasn’t been drilled off since the ‘60s.
So if there is a find, and once you find something and everybody’s excited about it, it takes 10, 15 years to get a mine shaft. That Crown land will develop, not lots but development of that resource, would generate economic activity. You can’t deny the fact that the sawmill in Gogama and West Tree that I work at, and what goes on in Elk Lake, doesn’t help those two communities. Fifty jobs is great, lunch pail swinging jobs; so too would be 150. Will we ever see that ever again? I don’t know. Would I be in protest of it? I can’t say that I would because, if First Nations is driving it and it’s going to bring some industrial jobs to the area, lunch pail swinging jobs, it’s going to be a bonus to the entire community.
And keep in mind, we had all this at one time. I don’t know how many years you’ve been here, you said the ‘60s, like, we had that mine there, which built the road, we had the Sherman. When I was a kid here, this lake was booming.
Interviewer: Oh, sure. And of course their mill.
Leudke: We had three sawmills, I think at one time, if we date yourself back far enough. So you’ll never see a sawmill here again. I’m so in tune with that industry. They got so much ability to take capacity at Elk Lake and Gogama, and Timmins has a huge one. Eacom’s Timmins is the monster that makes them all the money. The only reason Gogama’s going is they take all the tree tops from Timmins and makes Timmins look really good.
You’ve got Nairn Centre that’s under utilized west of Sudbury. I know the sawmill industry, and we’re at the peak right now. We’re going to see a decline. So that’s not even on the radar. And our merchantable timber here is no good.
I’ve been with the scaler at Elk Lake, he said, “Nobody wants to go. No contractor wants to go there. It’s a hot bed of environmental activity, they don’t want to take the risk. When they get into some of the cuts, they have to deal with all of the stuff they cut, and a to of our trees are rotten in the middle, and nobody wants to cut hundred year old trees. We’re all in favour of stopping that. So there really is no merchantable timber here. It would be on such a small scale, like, that the First Nations will be driven.
So, yes, I’m for development on the mainland, outside of the skyline reserve, as stated in the Tenets, outside of the special management area, that the community would be in support of as a whole, assisting First Nations in their determination to create economic prosperity for their people. They’re on that. You’d have to have your head in the sand to realize this is not going on in the country. They’re getting involved, and they deserve to be. They’ve got screwed over for a long time from the feds and the province. We parked them on four square mile reserves, as postage stamps across the country, and said, “Make a go of it.”
I had one guy tell me that on Bear Island. He said, “We want a crack at some commercial opportunity.” He said that. I didn’t make that up. That’s not an observation of mine, it was told by me [sic]. “They park us on a reserve and they say, “Make a go of it.” Stay there and here are the carrots that will help you succeed.
Now they want to expand out and be like us. Like, they want to be business owners, and I’m all for encouraging that. I had employed people from Bear Island. I full Jason Ball through a full apprenticeship to journeyman electrician. He chose to go back to his community and work there. He’s such a skilled guy, I wish I still had him. But, you know, their family interests and where they wanted to live and go took him away from me. The Tenets are not to blame for that, the official plan’s not to blame for that. That’s the truth.
So, I mean, we need more discussion in this community of what’s causing some of this and how we can mitigate it and how we can attract people to the area. And a semi-wilderness environment that offers this, I just don’t see it right now as affordable to a young guy or girl that wants to come here and run around in my boat. They’re going to have to commute in from town, and that wears on people. Their driving their own vehicle down the road.
There was a point where I was giving guys my own trucks to drive to keep them interested in here, and I was paying them - you book from the minute you leave town. Who does that as an employer? Book on the minute you leave town, I’ll pay you to come down the road to come to work. After a while this road wears on people. You know, you can only endure so many flat tires in a week. It’s gotten better, though. Our municipal guys are doing better.
Interviewer: In your opinion what constitutes sustainable development?
I hope I covered that there. To me, it’s a balanced economy. We need to market our tourism better. What are people willing to accept for tourism, though? Some locales have put in ATV trails everywhere. That’s going to drive all of us nuts, hearing them things. I think. I don’t think this is the area of have a mecca of ATV trails.
We already saw resistance at one AGM two years ago about people coming in from the west side of the Obabika Road down to the sand point, and we do have all this old forest road network that’s attractive to that kind of recreation user, but I don’t like that either.
You’re going to have a hard fight with me trying to take away snowmobile trails. I’m a snowmobiler in the winter, but that doesn’t damage the forest the same as an ATV.
But we have mountain bike interests, right? Like, there’s places in southern Ontario people go strictly for the mountain biking. Well, the environmental concerned participant in this community allow that? It’s a discussion. It’s not a fight to say you have to allow this.
So sustainable development, variations of tourism opportunity.
Sustainable development, a balanced economy that still supports construction. We might have a small industry. Like, you talk about our industrial park, we never finished it either. Our industrial park is shaped like this, let’s call it a long length lake. We’re supposed to have a road behind Manderstrom’s mill.
Russ Manderstrom owns the mill now, that used to be Beauchamp’s, and we have these industrial lots. Bryan Youngs just bought one. We walked up there and he said, “Look at this, the road isn’t even done, and we can’t get services to it.” He’s trying to start a drill shack there to do geological assessment on core samples, and we’re trying to figure out how to get power in there. If the municipality had that done, then these properties might have sold a long time ago. So there is interest here of people trying to set up and do something, but they’re met with resistance with our council. And it’s happened. I’ve got proof of it in past endeavours that were being pursued.
So maybe with a new team, we can start opening their eyes to that, and not be obstructing the interests of, first and foremost, the TLA, LaTemPRA. Permanent residents aren’t part of both groups. Everybody has a different interest here, let’s just talk about it instead of just saying no. You know, and no way am I accusing TLA of saying no.
Interviewer: Keep Temagami Beautiful respects the rights of patent property owners. Likewise, we are opposed to any additional development of the Lake Temagami mainland as detailed in the tenets. With this in mind would you support development of the Ferguson Point and Ferguson Mountain properties if development included the purchase of the adjacent waterfront Crown Land strip from the province?
Key Candidate Quote - “I asked this at committee, is this just a mining claim or is this actually patented property? We need to understand that… in the concern of respecting rights of patented property owners, I would say I would support our patented property owner. It’s not proven to me that that’s a patented property… If it’s not a patented property, it’s over. If all it ever was a mining claim, then that’s it.” - Barret Leudke
Leudke: Well, I’m aware of some of this, but particularly Ferguson Point, an application by the current landowner or request or attempt to buy the waterfront frontage was made, and it was rejected. The Town sent a letter, I guess to inform the MNR that our zoning - you know, there’s some particular zoning around that that’s in the SMA. So I read a lot of that. I think O’Sheas own that property.
What I’m not clear on, so I can’t say a lot on this, is I don’t know if that is patented land. Okay, the top, “respects the rights of patented property owners.” I want to always respect the rights of patented property owners.
I asked this at committee, is this just a mining claim or is this actually patented property? We need to understand that. We never got the answer. Well, I got an answer, they said it’s a mining claim, and another party said, no, it’s actually patented deeded land.
Then it was brought to my attention, and it was through my own reading, that this is one of the first properties, Ferguson Point, Ferguson Mountain and Ferguson Island, are the first three properties ever cut from the cloth of this area before island development was even considered. And back them, we had no consultation with First Nations. You know how we beat the drum there, that way. We went our own direction as a Crown.
So I guess one of my questions is, has a property owner been zoned out of his property rights? This, I think, is going to end up at a higher level, if it’s ever challenged. There’s been no application.
I asked questions at committee that got some people’s backs up. Particularly Biff Lowery, in the audience, was, like, afterwards, saying that, you know, “You’re asking these questions, da-da-da.” We got into a discussion outside at the committee level. He was just a participant, he’s not on committee. But that’s what has got me concerned is when you ask a question, just trying to get some history, there seems to be all this resistance and concern over it.
And nobody’s got an application to develop it.
There’s a lot of buzz and activity about there’s a threat to have it developed. In all honestly, I’ve never seen any attempt to develop it, with the exception of somebody trying to buy the waterfront, the 66 foot frontage.
Interviewer: I mean, obviously to make it more developable. I mean, what do they want to do?I mean, that’s a big piece of property.
Leudke: I don’t know what their intentions are with it. Honestly, I don’t. I’ve never seen an application. I hear rumblings.
I’ve been accused in this campaign of wanting to build a Holiday Inn Express on that property. There’s a group going out there saying, “I’m for all mainland development.” This is what’s being said right now, and it’s funny. And I want to develop the Ferguson Point to a Holiday Inn Express. That’s going to be interesting, a water access Holiday Inn Express. And I want to put a 36 acre golf course on Ferguson Mountain. Okay? I just find it hilarious.
Ferguson Mountain’s 36 acres of, some argued private patented land, others say it was only ever a mining claim. I don’t have the answer to it. I don’t’ know what to say.
And then if I was on committee, it’s not the committee’s level to say, “Yes, we’re going to approve development on that.” It would have to go through the whole process, no different than a variance for the municipality to let the public comment on.
Interviewer: But you would be expected to have an opinion.
Leudke: I would be expected to have an opinion. So in the concern of respecting rights of patented property owners, I would slay I would support our patented property owner. It’s not proven to me that that’s a patented property.
Interviewer: Not yet, no.
Leudke: You know, I’m asking you that question. Is it?
Interviewer: No, I agree.
Leudke: If it’s not a patented property, it’s over. If all it ever was was a mining claim, then that’s it. Mining claims have their own rights to construction and whatever, it’s within the two kilometres, the SMA covers it. Right now, as I see it, that property is not patented land from any information that I have.I’ve only been told it’s a mining claim, and it falls within the special management area.
Behind Ferguson Mountain is actually another mining claim, Copper Sand Lake was actually a mine. Like, you go down to Copper Sand Lake, that property line for Ferguson Mountain’s up the hill a bit. Copper Sand Lake was a mine, it’s up there on the map. It was actually an active mine at one time, back in the old time days, I guess.
I don’t know how to answer that.
Interviewer: Conflicts of interest arise in many different ways, some overt and others less obvious. The clear avoidance of conflict of interest, or even the appearance of a conflict, on the part of public officials is essential to building trust among your constituents, to providing good governance and to attracting and enabling sustainable economic development.
Bearing that in mind, keeping in mind your [current] professional occupation and/or your ownership in any business or other entities that are active in the municipality, do you have, either directly or indirectly, any conflicts of interest and, if elected, how will you manage these conflicts?
Key Candidate Quote - “If I’m helping create a tender... that, to me, is a direct conflict of interest. I will remove myself in those cases.” - Barret Leudke
Leudke: Well, I’m an electrical contractor, as everybody knows. I work in residential, commercial and industrial and utility. The utility side of it, I’m in demand from the municipality to help with their pumping stations in the water treatment plant and what have you.
So I’m sitting on public works and I’m watching a capital asset - or a tender going out, I’m going to have to remove myself from that. Temagami Electrical will, without a doubt, step out of competing for those projects that come up because I’m going to have an inside track. If I’m helping create a tender, I got an inside - and that, to me, is a direct conflict of interest. I will remove myself in those cases.My business, I’m for, without a doubt, for the record, a healthy construction industry here. But it could easily be said, “Well, you’re biassed.” Maybe I am, but like it was said to me, “What are you worried about, you’re going to have a pension from the City of Toronto and you’ll always be busy.” Yeah, I’m thinking about the community, though, as a whole. Like, contractors like Cathy Dwyer, Julian Davies, any new upstarts, if they’re not putting walls up and putting trusses on, I have nowhere to put my lights, I have nowhere to put my receptacles, therefore I can’t hire any more people to do it.
So I don’t think that’s a conflict of interest, I think that’s interest in an economy, and I’m directly bidding on work and going after work from an individual property owner. I’m not trying to manipulate this book in any way that makes it easier for me to get more electrical work. I’m looking at the construction industry as a whole, not as what’s good for Temagami Electrical.
Now, I’ve been on record as speaking about solar and geothermal and wind. I don’t’ do any wind, but solar and geothermal and wind are green energy technologies everybody’s aware of. The province had some great programs previously that were promoting this stuff. I’ve built those systems, I’ve been part of them, I still am, I’m a dealer, and I’m a constructor of those systems. Any revisions to this book that it doesn’t make it harder to achieve those technologies.
One being, we got to put solar panels somewhere. And to some, they look ugly on the shoreline. But if that’s the best location to put a solar array to make it perform for you, and you’ve paid me $60,000 to put it in to under perform because we have a rule that it’s got to be 50 feet back in the trees, that’s the stuff I want to bring to light that we got to back off on a couple things. Because a lot of people aren’t aware, they don’t work if they’re not in the sun. They won’t work if we have restrictions of getting the pipes through the shoreline, into the water, for geothermal. And I could talk about each one for over two hours.
You know what the benefit the municipality gets with a guy like me, with the technical background I have, and bidding jobs similar in industrial, I can vet whether we’re getting screwed or not. Like, I look at some of the pricing contractors are bringing in, because I’m current in it outside the municipality, bidding with private. I’m, like, “Whoa, we’re getting screwed here.” I’d be the guy saying, “Let’s go for another quote because I know the price of that.
Like we looked at our street light upgrade program to LED, I talked the municipality out of ti. The cost they were getting back, I said, “I can get better pricing on these lights.” I can’t provide them, but I can give you the contact. You guys will buy them direct from my wholesaler, and I’m stepping out of that work. That could have been work for me.
But, see, I’m a taxpayer here too. Like, do I want to inflate something so I benefit? That’s wrong, and that’s what we’re going to stop.
Interviewer: To me, you know, I’ve listened to all of the PAC meetings in preparation for this, and council meetings, the recordings of them. Do you see that happening now? I mean, to me, you know, the conflicts are so, so obvious on council, in particular.
Leudke: Well, in my personal opinion, there’s a wall of not opening their mind to changes. I’ll stand by anything I said on any of those meetings and tapes. Let’s open this up for better discussion. Let’s look at some stuff.
Like, we went through this book. There’s stuff in here that doesn’t apply any more. Like, Kendrick’s noted as saying about the Ministry and their forest plans and stuff, we got to go consult these other agencies and levels of government to make sure this stuff’s still current.
Interviewer: While we’re talking about John Kendrick, what is your position on the five neighbourhoods? I mean, obviously the Tenets don’t apply to them.
Leudke: No, and I think ti’s contentious because the Tenets are at the front of the book, front and centre. I don’t mind the Tenets being at the front of the book. I’ll tell you right now, Marten River’s a different beast. They’re more anti- government, anti-control. They did not want site plan control.
I’m not saying Kendrick said this; it come out. They didn’t see the necessary of having site plan control. Site plan control, though, to a guy like Biff is so important. You know, you’re creating blasphemy if you speak against it.
Well, if it’s not good for Marten River, if the consensus there is they don’t want it, why don’t we listen to them? But I think the fear is on this side, for Lake Temagami neighbourhood where site plan control is important, they’re saying, “Well, if let one of the five neighbourhoods not have it, then there might be resistance to it in our neighbourhood,.” So maybe that’s why they just blanketed everybody with site plan control, to stop that.
But then are we respecting the other neighbourhoods? I work in all the neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood that gets ignored a lot is Cassels Lake group. They wanted in their waterway, they were doing their own little buoys, like reds and greens. There’s a mecca of shoals, if you’ve ever been on Net and Cassels. Like, Cassels to Rabbit, it’s a crazy ride. Go for a ride with Rene Laperriere. You get in the boat and you’re weaving and you’re bobbing; they don’t have straight runs like we do. It’s crazy.
And I’m looking at all these floating, old propane tanks painted green and red, and then there was the Barretts over there, their last name’s Barrett. They have their own committee, and they said, “We were trying to get money to just contribute ...” - they look at us, this municipality. I take care of the buoys here, I know what it costs. It’s 8,000 bucks a year to maintain the buoys.
That’s not me buying them. The town has to buy them, the chain, the weights, supply me with all the equipment, and I keep them in place, and I climb the towers, all 16 of them, make sure the lights are blinking and working and the batteries are good.
They look at that whole infrastructure’s available to us, and they’re like, “All we asked for was a little bit of help, a little pittance help.” They didn’t want the full $8,000, they just wanted some money to put together their own little buoy system. And their buoys don’t look anything like ours. They’re not the big, tall ones.
They just said, “Even if you got some old, red ones,” you know? The ?Town ignored them. They were pissed.
I was over there doing a solar job with them, with Stan and Kate Barrett, and I said, “I don’t see why, like, they would do that.” Like, we have it; they don’t. So their sentiment in some of the other neighbourhoods is that there’s more focus here and more TLA involvement and - “control” is a scary words, but you had a lot of involvement, the TLA. Look at the members that are on council that were TLA members? Look at our composition of our committees. So some of the other neighbourhoods are feeling it’s heavily weighted,. That’s where some of the angst is in some of those communities towards us.
So, you know, I think I’ve neighbourhoods is good, listen to the people in each neighbourhood, but sometimes it works against us.
Interviewer: My understanding, it was the PAC’s idea to do the big review.
Leudke: Well, we have a comprehensive review, we’re obligated to do it. The province has a provincial policy statement.
Interviewer: Right, no, I know that. I know the official plan, I’ve been through it too.
Leudke: You guys were for amending only.
Interviewer: Well, we were very concerned about, you know, whether it was out of miscommunication, we were very concerned about the interpretation that the PAC was taking and the want to review it, and in particularly reviewing the Tenets’ place within the official plan.
Leudke: Well, the Tenets place is maybe its position within the plan.
Interviewer: Well, not physically. And to us, it was like the whole that with the amalgamation that went on, the Town needed us, and okay, we’re happy to be part of it. Paid all our share of taxes.
Leudke: And in return you were going to get a solid plan.
Interviewer: The Tenets sort of became, like, part of the constitution. You know, just like the States, you’ve got your constitution, you don’t play with that. You have amendment number two or - you don’t do it. So we were very interested in that, we were very interested, and we wrote a letter to the council, and it was rejected.
Leudke: I think somebody made an issue of it.
Interviewer: We spent a lot of time on that letter.
Leudke: Yeah, I think I got the letter here.
Interviewer: It was done in good will, but there was some obvious flaws in the draft terms of reference to that. You know, I know that you weren’t on council, but you spoke out at council publicly. Didn’t you? You’d read our letter and everything, and you were obviously intimately involved with the PAC.
Leudke: Yeah, we had some other initiatives at PAC that got our back up, some of our members, of trying to comply with the provincial policy statement, as it was written, to include second units. We wanted to get into the discussion of second units. And we were, like, stonewalled, stonewalled, stonewalled. We still haven’t accomplished it.
I looked at that letter and at first flush, it looked like it was another way to try to stop something moving forward. And maybe I read it wrong. And I don’t know how vocal I was on recordings and that against the letter, per se, but the second unit policy, like, even local interest needing review, second unit policy is right front and centre for the preparation of the entire official plan, nobody’s digested that properly. I don’t know who’s communicating back to your board, whether it’s been effectively transferred back of what our intent was.
I’ll tell you it’s oil and water at that PAC meeting. Like, I sat in the Ministry of Municipal Housing and Affairs seminar, they come right to Temagami. Chris Brown said, “Second units can’t be contested at the Ontario Municipal Board. You have to include it in, in some form, your new official plan.” And the discussion that needs to be had is, well, how is it going to impact development on the lake.
I see it as a bonus, I see it as a way of improving things. I have my own pitch on it, my own take on it.
Interviewer: In what way would it improve?
Leudke: We’re going to legitimize first what people really want. I’ve seen a multi-generational transition of properties here. Like, Tamburro’s, you know him, Paul Tamburro. He had a property down at Chimo, and Rocko and Charlene had their place, and they come together on one property. They do a lot of stuff collectively: dinners, lunches. However, Rocko and his wife retired to their own sleep cabin. They have maybe a bathroom and a little kitchenette there. They can have their morning breakfast there, not interfere with the rest of the family, but they all get together.
I’m seeing more of that, and more need of that, on this lake. Like, that’s an exception. Younger generations can’t afford to have their own property, so they’re joining the parents. We know that’s happening.
We have in our plan the ability to have - you know, if you had your main building and then you had a sleep cabin or bunky, there’s rules around that. You can only have a bathroom or a kitchen in it, you can’t have both. But the second units thing is saying you can have both in a second unit. So let’s just move that direction.
Then if somebody applies for a second unit, you need a class four sewage system. We had a chance here to force people into some sewage system upgrades. And Biff and I had great discussions about this. He’s worried, legitimate worry. They had a three-quarter acre property, some day the government changed the rules, and if you had a bathroom and a kitchen and it constituted another similar to the main dwelling, people’d be chasing to try to sever that property. We know our severances can only be two acres. Right?
If you have patented land and you’re going to sever, you need a minimum two acre lot. I love that. I went back and forth on that a little bit. I see the concern of what the narrow subdivision brought; too much congestion, too close. And then I thought, well, maybe that will help spur some development if we went back to a one acre property. Now I’m off that now. The separation’s good because it gives you a buffer between the next property.
I’m for a 50 foot setback. We got to take in account Fire Smart with controlling what’s dead on the property and stuff. That’s a whole other discussion, that actually could circumvent the 50 foot setback, but we’ll talk about this another time.
But getting back to the second units, they said in their policy, and it’s written somewhere, I can’t provide it for you now, it’s in this pile. Provincially, if you concede to a second unit, your property’s not severable. That’s a bonus. Why don’t’ we just write it in that way?
Say it isn’t there, let’s write it in.
Sopers down the lake, one of my customers, she has a great island. It looks like this. Across from White Bear. Cottage here, main dwelling here. Kitchen, bathroom, all the amenities in here. This one’s almost the same size footprint, only the kitchen. They had to, 15 feet away, put a little wash house to have the bathroom in.
Do you know what her sewage does? And she’s not making any complaints about this. This is an observation of mine of what could have been fixed. She had to run her pipe underneath to her lift station here, then the sewage pipe runs underneath again to the sewage bed. This one pumps sewage this way.
Why couldn’t have toilet been incorporated into this building? Now you got an additional roof with shingles to deal with. You know? And she’s still bound by square footage. We’re not changing that. We’re not saying, okay, it could be bigger. It actually has to be smaller, the second unit.
And we know when people were gone, after they took their building out, they’re sneaking it in anyway. Not everybody’s defiant like that, or are doing it to be malicious, it’s just what do people really want? That’s what I want to listen to.
If our demographic’s changing and the use of their property’s changing, let’s listen to them and give them what they want.
Interviewer: Would you vote to maintain all the Tenets in any developed O.P. for the Municipality of Temagami?
Key Candidate Quote - “We have duty to consult. I would like to do the same during the process of reviewing the plan, and that’s the only concern I have with the Tenets. Is there anything in the Tenets that they found offensive and maybe it is written somewhere…I’d like to see it maybe updated back to all the stakeholders, the Town, LaTemPRA and the TLA, and have a discussion, if we’re going to only remain the three stakeholders, and say are we happy with it, does it cover everything, could we re-write it to make it stronger? Is it time? It’s been 20 years.” - Barret Leudke
[Please note: The candidate voted to adopt the Terms of Reference for the New Official Plan for Temagami, which recommended a reexamination of the Tenets, vegetative buffer zones and local neighbourhood policies in the new OP. Here’s a link to a letter from TLA to Council (which Council voted not to recognize) outlining TLA’s concerns. Fortunately this motion has been withdrawn, for now.]
Leudke: In its current form, my only opinion, I’d like to see it maybe updated back to all the stakeholders, the Town, LaTemPRA and the TLA, and have a discussion, if we’re going to only remain the three stakeholders, and say are we happy with it, does it cover everything, could we re-write it to make it stronger? Is it time? It’s been 20 years.
Actually, this was created by, I believe, Biff Lowery’s wife’s dad, and has it every been looked again? I want it in there, and made stronger, and not be offensive. First Nations people, not that they’re saying, “It’s offensive to me,” they’re not saying that. At times they said they felt it might have obstructed some of their land claim initiatives. And again, maybe that’s all taken care of in another document, the memorandum of understanding, which I’ve never read in its entirety. I could be completely off track here.
So any of my discussion on the Tenets was with a look at it to make it stronger, and is it positioned in the right spot in this book that respects the interests of the other neighbourhoods.
I don’t know, really, how Cassels Lake feels about the Tenets, and, of course, there’s people that are TLA members there. Buy Marten River was a totally different beast. I don’t know how much time you spend there. We talk about mainland development or lot creation, we’ve done lot creation studies and we’ve looked at warm water lakes. Well, to the warm water lake people, they don’t have the lake trout holding thing that’s on our lake, and a lot of the lakes across the whole north and Northern Ontario, but they’re just as interested as not having over development on a warm water lake as we are on a cold water lake.
So we can’t just throw that around and say, “Well, we don’t have it here. We’re going to lot create on a warm water lake like Feeding Bear or Marion Lake. Kendrick doesn’t want to see development out of control on Marian Lake, which is road access, some of it.
Interviewer: But we’re saying that’s the whole idea, the five neighbourhoods, is not having a blanket thing to do it.
Leudke: Right. So is it okay to have the discussion is the Tenets in the right spot in the book?
Interviewer: But the Tenets apply to Lake Temagami, they don’t apply to Marten River, they don’t apply to Mattabichewan.
Leudke: Right. But when you read this book, sometimes people take it as that applies to the entire book.
Interviewer: But surely when people come applying for land, you know, they surely realize ...
Leudke: I’m not trying to argue with you at all, it’s just a feel of the book. And it’s a discussion. If we go to the issues table and put it all out there, if the feedback is heavily weighted keep it, everybody should respect that. I don’t know if it’s a fear that if it’s put out there, that it’s going to get challenged by somebody we don’t see coming. It’s not going to be by me.
And it’s buried in one of my texts there, the lady that brought up about the Tenets, at one point, being obstructing their land claim initiatives, said, “First paragraph, great; second paragraph, could be cleaned up a little bit.” That’s all she said. And what does that mean exactly? Like, can we include them as a stakeholder or is that a no go zone?
Like, say to the First Nations, “This is our guiding principle, how do you feel about it right now?” I really don’t think you’re going to get from them, “Get rid of it,” because it’s our OP. And that’s an olive branch to say we’re including you, and how we feel about the area.
I don’t know, it’s just an idea of mine. I’m not trying to destroy it.