The longest-serving mayor for the City of Timmins has died.
Victor M. Power died yesterday (Feb. 3). He was 89.
Flags at City of Timmins facilities are being lowered in his memory. There will also be a book of condolences for the public to sign starting on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m. in city hall.
“On behalf of city council and municipal staff, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to family and friends on the passing of our former Mayor," said Timmins Mayor Michelle Boileau in a statement.
“Mr. Power was a pillar of the community, an inspiration to many who aspire to a career in public office. He led with conviction and understood the power of decision and opportunity.
“His genuine optimism and love for Timmins will continue to inspire. We remain forever in his debt for the contributions he made to the city we call home.”
Power was born in Timmins on Feb. 22, 1934.
His political career spans four decades, starting as a councillor with the former Town of Timmins and later moving up to the mayor's seat after amalgamation.
He first entered municipal politics in 1966, serving as a city councillor for 14 years. He successfully ran for mayor in 1980 and served for eight years. Following a defeat in 1988, he returned as mayor in 1991 and served continuously until 2000 when he announced his retirement. He returned to politics several years for his final term as mayor from 2003-06.
"Power was considered progressive by his peers and remained unfailingly optimistic about the future of Timmins. He considered his hometown an important business and service centre for northeastern Ontario, recognizing the value of the region’s natural resources and industry investment," reads the City of Timmins news release.
"He was also steadfast in his admiration for municipal leaders, both before and after his time in office, understanding the challenge of making critical decisions in a changing municipal landscape. As community leader, he considered himself part of a team, working together to create a sustainable city."
Over the years he also served as chairman of the Northeastern Ontario Mayors Action Group, commissioner of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, vice-president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities.
In 2007, the city's airport was officially named the Victor M. Power Airport.
In 2009, he received the Order of Canada.
Throughout the years, Power became known for his ability to remember people's names and his devotion to the city.
In 1991, in his inaugural address, Power recommended to council that the city's debenture debt of $16 million should be wiped out by 2000.
In the fall of 2000, the last debenture was burned on the steps of city hall.
One of the biggest accomplishments he had a part in was bringing the city together following the amalgamation of the town with its surrounding communities and townships in 1973.
“To say there was tension and raw feelings at that time would be an understatement,” Power told Northern Ontario Business in a 2012 interview. “But the city came together over the years and the hard feelings from the various areas dissipated and a new spirit emerged.
“At that time it was unthinkable for someone from the east end to be mayor and now we do. It tells me we did bring the city together and I am glad to have been part of that.”
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Do you have memories you want to share about Power? Email them to email@example.com.