Tell us about yourself.
I have been a resident of Castlegar since 2005, when I was transferred here to manage the Safeway store. My wife Cathy and I have 2 adult children and 3 awesome grandchildren! Since retirement in September of 2009, I have had more opportunity to become involved in our community, and when the by-election was called in 2021, I decided to run for City Council. This had been a longtime interest of mine, dating back to my junior high school days, and the opportunity to serve and give back to the community has been very rewarding.
What is the biggest issue facing the city and how would you address it?
We face the same multitude of issues that are faced in our Province by all communities large and small. Our biggest concern in my mind is our Mental Health crisis. We lack resources to aid the mentally ill, and as a result we are seeing a huge rise in homelessness, drug overdoses and property crime. We need to lobby provincial and federal governments for the resources to help in our communities. Steps are being taken at the local level to bring our community groups together to collaborate to help find solutions but more is needed and quickly.
What are your top three city priorities?
Housing, Health care, and City services.
Housing is addressed below.
Health care is a major issue in Castlegar. We have many residents who do not have a family doctor. Our family physicians are doing an amazing job but like many rural communities, attracting doctors is not easy. We are short of paramedics for ambulance services. This issue requires a multi-faceted approach as what works in major centres often does not work in rural areas.
We are aware of the issues with the South Sewage Treatment Plant. This will need to be a priority and funding options will need to be found.
How do you think the city could address the housing shortage?
The most pressing here is lack of housing. We need to work to create the opportunities for a variety of housing to be built including single family, multifamily, and seniors’ housing. These need to be a mix of market based, affordable housing, assisted living and B.C. housing projects. We have a solid housing plan in place. Now we need to look at each project proposed and find the benefits and work with the developer to make it happen, be that in reductions in development charges, expediating permits or in-kind contributions.
What type of development would you like to see in our community and what steps would you take to attract it?
We need a variety of development in Castlegar. Our downtown area plan is ready to be implemented. The Art Gallery and housing project is moving forward. An Economic Development Strategy designed not just to add retail spaces in town to complement existing businesses but to also attract secondary industry to take advantage of our forest products will increase jobs in our area.
What skills or experience do you have that will make you a good councilor?
My 43 years in retail work has prepared me well. I understand the business side of City Council and know we are managing the taxpayers’ money. Each decision I make is based on the big picture and how it can affect all the taxpayers, either positively or negatively.
Why should local residents vote for you?
I am committed to the community and all its residents. I am always available to talk and discuss concerns. I have enjoyed my short time on council and look forward to four more years serving our community. I am a consensus builder and am able to look through a wide lens at issues, to see what I may have missed, need to review and discuss before coming to a decision for our community.