It's a historic day in the City of Timmins.
Kristin Murray says it's a great honour to be appointed as the new mayor. Of Chapleau Cree First Nation and Jamaican descent, she's the first Indigenous person and person of colour to sit as mayor. She is the second woman to serve in the position.
“To have people be in this room and see all different individuals on the wall is so important. I think it’s important for young people to understand politics, to be able to vote and they grow up and they see themselves in spaces like this. It’s big win for everybody,” she said after the meeting.
Murray was elected as Ward 5 councillor in 2018 and was sworn in Aug. 9 as mayor. She'll fulfill the mayoral duties for the next couple of months until a new mayor is elected Oct. 24.
She acknowledges the significance of being the first Indigenous person and person of colour holding the seat, “especially for a community that’s growing in terms of diversity."
“I don’t want people to just see me as a person of colour. I’m really committed to this community, love the grassroots level and working with community to create good change. I’m just ecstatic, it’s quite a good moment for me,” she said.
The mayor's seat has been empty since early May when George Pirie stepped down to run in the provincial election. After he was elected Timmins MPP, council declared the seat vacant in June.
In Timmins, when the mayor is away the deputy mayor chairs meetings and fulfills the duties at community events.
A deputy mayor is not elected here, however, a schedule determined at the start of the term has each councillor taking a turn in the position. Murray started her time as deputy mayor on June 1.
Under the Municipal Act, when there's a vacancy at the council table, the municipality has 60 days to appoint someone to fill the position or call a byelection.
Holding a byelection isn't an option with the mayor's seat right now as the Municipal Elections Act doesn't allow for one after March 31 in an election year.
Murray's seat on council will remain empty until it's filled in the October election.