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Mazzuca was a political force: Mayor

By: Bill Bradley - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Sep 10, 2009 - 12:08 PM |
Frank Mazzuca was mayor when Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez was sitting as an NDP MP in Ottawa. The two politicians had many dealings over the years and Rodriguez said Friday afternoon, Mazzuca was still political, even this year. File Photo.

Frank Mazzuca was mayor when Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez was sitting as an NDP MP in Ottawa. The two politicians had many dealings over the years and Rodriguez said Friday afternoon, Mazzuca was still political, even this year. File Photo.

Still pitched for his community near the end

Frank Mazzuca, was still a political force even months before his death, said Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez. The longtime local politician and businessman passed away Sept. 9 at the St. Joseph's Health Centre. He was 87. He had also been a Capreol businessman, opening his own business, a furniture store, in 1950.

The funeral will be held Monday at Our Lady of Peace Church in Capreol at 11 a.m. Visitation will be Sunday 2-9 p.m. at the Lougheed's Funeral Home, 4605 Michelle Dr., in Hanmer.

Mazzuca, who spent much of his life advocating for his community of Capreol, was still at it this spring, Rodriguez said.

“I came out to Capreol this spring as part of my community visits around the city. At the Millenium Centre, we had a meeting. I asked his son, Frank Jr., to have Frank Sr. sit with me. Frank was still pitching for Capreol,” said Rodriguez.

“He complained about the roads, especially a back lane in the business section that needed attention. He wanted some of the infrastructure money the city was receiving to be spent in Capreol.”

The comments were duly noted and later acted upon, said Rodriguez.

Though Rodriguez said he had some disagreements with Mazzuca about having a referendum over de-amalgamating the city in the recent past, he said he respected the veteran politician. Mazzuca was Rodriguez's mayor when he lived in Capreol from 1972 to 2004, before he moved to Joe Lake in Hanmer.

“Frank was a delight to be with. What you saw is what you got. You could be yourself with him. You didn't have to put on any airs.”

Rodriguez recounted a time in the mid 1980s, during the Mulroney Conservatives era, when VIA Rail hatched a scheme to shut down the old train station in Capreol.

“Via Rail wanted to relocate the east-west continental passenger station to Sudbury. Frank asked me to set up a meeting with the Minister of Transport, Don Mazankowski. I did that.” Both men then drove to Ottawa together.

“At the meeting the next morning, Frank carried the ball in the discussions with Mazankowski and his officials. He firmly reminded the minister about the importance of the railway to Capreol — the jobs and the economic spin-offs from the passengers when they got off the trains to sightsee. He owned several businesses in town and knew first-hand all that. So he could make a good case.”

Rodriguez said about three months later, he got a call from Ottawa from Mazankowski.

“He minister said he wanted to come out to the train station for an announcement. Then he flew in. At the train station, he announced not only would he keep passenger service through there but he would build a new train station. Frank was so pleased he asked the minister to come over to his house to sample his wife's cooking. He said Rose made the best pasta and bean soup anywhere. Off we went to Frank's place. The minister amused himself by watching Question Period on Frank's television.”

Rodriguez attributed Mazzuca's success with the train station issue to his bluntness.

“He laid out the facts. He told Mazankowski, it (the train station service) has been this way for 100 years. To take it away would be a blow (to Capreol).”

Mazzuca served as mayor of Capreol from 1975 to 1998, when he was elected chairman of the Regional Municipality of Sudbury in a by-election following the death of then mayor Peter Wong. Mazzuca served as the the final chair of the Regional Municipality, which was amalgamated into the current City of Greater Sudbury in 2001. He was succeeded as mayor of Capreol by Dave Kilgour.

The community is invited to sign a book of condolences for Mazzuca, in the main foyer of Tom Davies Square, and at all Citizen Service Centres during regular business hours. The book will remain available for signing until Monday, Sept. 28, and will be given to Mazzuca’s family on behalf of the City of Greater Sudbury.

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