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Councillor Vinni running for Mayor

Last Updated Jul 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm MDT

PHOTO. Councillor Allan Vinni announces he is running for Mayor for the RMWB. Melanie Walsh. AFTERNOON NEWS ANCHOR.

Vinni running for mayor of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Vinni claims his seven years on council and experience are strong assets

Personal and business bankruptcy are not relevant to the role

Councillor Allan Vinni announced that he is running for Mayor in the upcoming Municipal election on Monday, October 16, 2017.

“I’m running because quite frankly I believe I have the experience, skills and knowledge for the task at hand, mostly I have the passion to represent the hardworking, fun loving people of this region.  I look forward with excitement to community working for the people for this region,” said Vinni.

While he gave several reasons for his candidacy the main topics he wishes to address if elected Mayor are the land tenor system, helping the uninsured and under-insured home owners of the 2016 wildfire, fly in and fly out and business taxes for rural communities.

 “I just feel that I can be the guy who can continue what we are working towards, what everyone wants, a strong, sustainable, livable community,” said Vinni. 

Vinni told reporters that he got into local politics seven years ago to see what he could do to fix the land tenor system in the region.

After serving as a council member, he says that becoming Mayor will give him the opportunity “to have the time to put in.”

For Vinni, his main priority is the land tenure system.

“It’s not a very sexy campaign quote (sic), ‘Vinni is try to fix the land tenure,’ what the hell is that,” he said. 

He also plans to continue the rebuild assistance for those who were uninsured, or under insured and lost their homes in the 2016 wildfire.

To address the issue of fly in and fly out jobs in Fort McMurray and the Oil Sands, he advocates his big idea to secure some type of a commuter airline that would utilize the Fort McMurray International Airport.

Vinni would also like to adjust the business taxes for rural communities.

“To give those businesses in the smaller hamlets the opportunity to work on a level playing field, to have the chance to thrive, we need the provincial government to designate the boundaries of those hamlets as urban service areas, so they can enjoy the same commercial tax rate” said Vinni.

Running against Don Scott

Scott and Vinni have a long history together, both working as lawyers in Fort McMurray.

Vinni made it clear he had nothing against Scott.

“I’m not running against Don Scott, I’m running to be the Mayor of this region.  I’m running because I’ve been here for seven years, I think I have a good understanding of what we need to do and how it needs to be done in Municipal government and I’m just passionate about it, I love this town, I love this region,” said Vinni. 

Vinni’s Financial Situation 

When asked about his finances, liabilities, debts and bankruptcy, Vinni said ‘I don’t think my personal life, to that extend, is a factor in my ability to be a mayor.”

He elaborated on his bankruptcy saying that a little over six years ago, the Penhorwood condominiums, where he owned four units, were evacuated to building code violations.

Vinni still had to pay the mortgages on those units, which was $10,000 a month for five years.

“It was equivalent to lighting $10,000 on fire at the end of every month,” said Vinni.

As the market turned downward, the fire was the last straw and Vinni declared bankruptcy.

Currently Vinni is around $1 million in debt for residences after walking away from mortgages his house, multiple Penhorwood condominiums and losing his business.

Vinni became rather agitated in front of reporters, thinking that people would not be concerned with his personal bankruptcy.

He credited his seven years on council and seven budget processes, adding, “It’s not like I’m going to sign the cheques.”

Vinni insisted that people should understand more about bankruptcy.

“In this country, it’s made out to be like a bankrupt person to be a failure, a loser, one of life’s loser.  Let’s cast them into the ditch, that’s out there, I get that,” said Vinni.  “If people are considered about doing business with bankrupt people or having bankrupt people in charge, they will probably be surprised to learn of all the successful people in this town who have gone bankrupt in the past.”