David has spent most of his life in the Kenora area surrounded by some of the most beautiful lakes and forests in the Province. Following high school he worked as a carpenters’ helper in the Ottawa area for the summer; however, he soon returned to Kenora for work in the wood room of a local paper mill. That marked the start of David’s 32-year career in the forest industry, earning his hoisting engineer ticket in the process.
David is an avid outdoorsman with a love of fishing, hunting, boating and pretty much anything that puts him in touch with nature. He also has a passion for his community that led to being elected to Jaffray-Melick Town Council in 1991and as Mayor in 1995. In 1999, Jaffray-Melick amalgamated to form the new City of Kenora (estimated population 16,000) with David as its first elected Mayor.
Working in the industry, David saw firsthand the importance of the forest industry to the people of his community and lived through the painful fall-out of the forest industry crash that closed three of four mills in Kenora between 2005 and 2008. Those mill closures put David and over 1,000 others in Kenora out of work, reduced the city’s tax base by nearly 30% and forced hundreds of citizens to move elsewhere to make a new start. Hundreds more still travel to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for work in order to feed their families and pay the mortgage.
“Kenora had to reinvent itself following the global collapse of the pulp and paper industry. Things are starting to rebound and we see a bright future for our community in value-added products and dimensional lumber,” says David. “Forestry is the only renewable natural resource that we have and we must continue to use it prudently to create jobs and support communities. If we don’t, we’ll see it and those opportunities go up in flames.”