Castlegar News sent questions to the Castlegar mayor and council candidates as well as the Regional District of Central Kootenay Area J candidates.
Each candidate was given a maximum of 100 words to answer each question. Answers appear exactly as submitted, unless they were shortened due to being over the 100 word limit.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a long-time resident of Castlegar. I was married to my wife Jodi for 49 years before her passing in 2019. We have two grown children, and two grandsons. I worked at the Celgar Pulpmill for several years as a millwright, then became a paramedic with the B.C. Ambulance Service where I worked for 29 years until my retirement. I served on Castlegar City Council for 28 years, 13 of those years as Mayor.
What is the biggest issue you see facing the city and how would you address it?
The biggest challenge I see facing the City of Castlegar is maintaining infrastructure and the costs associated with it. Over the last several years, the City has endeavored to replace aging infrastructure and it is quite the undertaking. I believe Council needs to set its priorities, and further lobby other levels of government for assistance and support. We need to look to the future and what the need will be. From there we need to continue with sound fiscal management in order to position ourselves for issues that arise.
What are your top three city priorities?
My top three priorities are to listen to the community, listen to staff and gather information. There’s always something that needs doing. City staff are up to speed on many of the priorities of what needs to be done and when. We need to rely on their expertise to help drive the decisions we make. Further, take the time to listen to the people who elected you. They have placed their faith and trust in your hands, to make the tough decisions when needed, but to also consult when there’s something they want to see done. From there, develop priorities.
How do you think the city could address the housing shortage?
The issue of the housing shortage is complex. It involves partnerships with multiple agencies in order to be successful. It’s not just a matter of just building apartments, duplexes, houses, etc. It’s talking with people who know the pulse of the housing situation. Where is there a need? How do we remedy that? We need to work with the province and B.C. Housing to help provide housing for our most vulnerable.
What type of development would you like to see in our community, and what steps would you take to attract it?
Castlegar has so much to offer and developers are starting to take notice. As a corridor of Highway 3, Castlegar is nestled in the valley and its lifestyle options and beauty are an attractant to those passing through. We are very unique in what we can offer potential developers. We need to market our community based on what is deemed to make Castlegar flourish, both now and in the future. There is competition all around; we need to be proactive and seek out investors that we want to see choose Castlegar.
What skills or experience do you have that would make you a good mayor?
I have a wide variety of skills and experience that would make me a good mayor. I have the ability to work with, and listen to, different levels of government. I have a good track record as being mayor previously and I have networked with many ministries both at the provincial and federal level. These partnerships are key in seeing our City grow and move forward. I take the time to listen to the citizens of Castlegar and advocate for their concerns.
Why should local residents vote for you?
Why should residents vote for me? I have the experience, the commitment and the passion to lead this community. I have lived in Castlegar my entire life and have watched it grow. I know how far we’ve come but I also know where we need to go. I am dedicated full-time to serve the residents of Castlegar, to forge ahead with new and exciting initiatives and help create a city where opportunity meets lifestyle. I am reliable, dependable and I am driven. I am approachable and want to make Castlegar the best city to live, work and play.