Mitch Panciuk has been a resident of Belleville for the past 13 years along with his wife Lisa, and his daughters Caralyn, Emily and Samantha.
Mitch is the owner of the Belleville Boston Pizza franchise at the Quinte Mall.
“I’ve actively participated in Belleville since I first moved here and opened our business.”
“I’ve had the good luck to serve my community through many community groups and boards. We have a great city and I would like to give back and serve the citizens of Belleville.”
“As a member of Belleville city council, I will bring my energy, ideas and creative problem-solving skills to the table each and every day. Let’s Make Belleville Better!”
“Your Voice, Your Vote: The QNetNews Municipal Election Project” sent out the following questionnaire to all the candidates for mayor and council in Belleville. Here are Mitch Panciuk’s responses.
1. One concern we’ve heard from a number of people is about the future of jobs in Belleville, and where job growth will come from.
What role do you see city council playing to help bring new jobs to Belleville?
What kind of jobs do you envision in Belleville’s future?
How does council help make that happen?
Response – Good jobs come from a local economy which grows our community. It is the job of our City Council to create & foster an environment where people want to live and do business.
My involvement with the Chamber of Commerce demonstrates an understanding about how and what to do to create that environment.
While there are many sectors that we need to focus on for types of jobs – we are also facing a labour shortage in our manufacturing sector as current employees will retire. It is essential that we ensure those vacancies are filled to protect our economy.
2. We’ve also heard from a number of people who say, with regards to young people in Belleville, that there’s not enough for them to do here, and there’s not enough to keep them here after they graduate, whether that’s from high school or from Loyalist College. For the purposes of these questions, we’re defining young people as being between 12 and 24.
What role does the city play in providing interesting things for young people to do?
How does the city keep more of its young population here after they leave school?
How do you envision the city working with Loyalist College to do just that?
Response – As the parent of young people and as an employer of many, I know that educational opportunities and jobs are the most important item to maintain the interest of young people to remain in Belleville. I’ve addressed the issue of jobs in the prior question.
With respect to education – we need to assist Loyalist College in expanding their course offerings to allow more young people to stay here instead of needing to go away for post-secondary education.
In addition, I served on a University Investment Attraction Committee as a representative of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce and we need to continue those efforts.
3. We also heard a lot of concern about poverty in Belleville, especially child poverty. There are two main concerns tied to the discussion of poverty in this community – food and shelter.
One in three children in this community face food insecurity issues. What can council do to address that?
What role does council have in providing more affordable accommodation for more people in this city?
Does Belleville need a men’s shelter for those who are temporarily homeless?
Response – Council can continue to assist the Gleaners Food bank and encourage more business’ to contribute. Current groups like Rotary and businesses like Boston Pizza contribute to the Food Bank and hot lunch programs in schools. We need more to do so in the future.
I would like to see the Fairgrounds property on Bridge St W/Sidney redeveloped to allow for a mixture of high-density, other residential and commercial purposes including an expanded affordable housing component.
I do not have enough info to make give an informed opinion on a Men’s Homeless Shelter. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that we do need one.
4. Council recently passed a Transportation Master Plan.
What are your thoughts on that plan?
How would you characterize the existing public transit system in Belleville?
What would you do to improve it?
What can the city do to improve cycling infrastructure in this city?
Response – I have been to the Transportation Master Plan public meetings and feel there is a lot of good planning already included. I would like to see some of that plan accelerated as many citizens need expanded services right now.
It is wrong that in 2014 the City of Belleville does not even have one dedicated bicycle lane. I supported the original proposal for a pilot project along Bridge Street East before it was changed at the last minute in favour of the Bridge St W project for $2.8million.
The entire City needs a comprehensive network of cycling routes.
5. Sometimes it seems the future of downtown Belleville is a more popular topic of conversation than the weather is.
How do you see downtown Belleville being revitalized?
Response – I believe we need to get people to visit the downtown district. For a number of reasons most do not wish to visit today and there are a number of low-cost initiatives in terms of seasonal activities to bring people to that area. Infrastructure improvements are necessary and we should proceed with the underground work.
6. What role does council play in supporting a vibrant arts community in Belleville?
Response – While financial assistance is always welcomed, City Council can provide even more support by attending events and assisting with the promotion of our community. Arts and Culture is a large sector and is a labour of love for those involved and I support many of their activities through my business Boston Pizza Belleville.
7. Many people pointed to tourism as an important economic driver in this city. What role can the city play in both bringing more tourists to the city, and keeping them here longer?
Should there be a better connection between the Bay of Quinte waterfront and Belleville’s downtown?
How does the city make that happen?
We should continue to support our regional tourism organizations and also focus on the growing Sports Tourism market – especially because young athletes who visit Belleville do so with their families when they compete in amateur sporting activities. This is a huge economic benefit to the entire region.
Response – Downtown should make greater use of our waterfront areas both on south facing the Bay as well as along the riverfront.
8. What are your thoughts on a casino in Belleville? Why/Why not?
Response – I support the proposal to have a Casino in Belleville. It will be an economic generator for the city in the revenue-sharing component and will generate taxation revenue, jobs and purchasing opportunities.
9. Who should pay for upgrades to the Yardmen Arena?
How important do you think it is that the Bulls remain in Belleville?
Response – Regardless of the Bulls’ issue there are necessary upgrades to the Yardman and the other areas of the Sports Centre. This is a City owned facility and it is the City’s responsibility to maintain it.
In terms of the Bulls, they are obviously an important economic driver and branding instrument for Belleville. I think it is important for them to stay in our community and I will work to find a balanced solution that is not solely financed by City Taxpayers.
10. We heard complaints from people in Thurlow that it’s the forgotten part of this city, especially when it comes to city services.
How do you respond to those complaints?
Response – I agree that people in Thurlow do not feel they receive proper services, representation or consideration from City Council. While I am running in Ward 1 Belleville, I will be willing to assist and work on issues for people in Thurlow Ward.