With the deadline to enter the race arriving at 4 p.m. Friday, three new candidates have officially filed their papers to run for city council.
Each candidate was asked about their background, why they decided to run and what their goals and priorities would be if elected.
John Phillips has lived in the Castlegar area his entire life. After working for Celgar for 40 years, he is now retired. John has never run for public office before, but has been active in the community for many years.
He has served as president, coach and general manager with the Castlegar Rebels and has been involved in minor hockey, girls softball and the local Good Samaritan Club.
Frustrated over how the city has been spending large amounts of money on projects he feels are unnecessary, he was provoked to run for council.
When asked what his goals for the coming term would be, Phillips stated, “To get spending under control and spend money more responsibly on projects that are not frivolous, but are necessary; on infrastructure, making sure we have enough money to do those projects. We have an aging infrastructure in this city that is going to require money. We need to have resources put away.
“When I saw that council voted to take money out of the reserve fund this year to put into the budget, that is when I decided to run. It is not right to take money out of the reserve fund to build projects like they have, to put up lights and rainbow crosswalks; that is not what the reserve fund is for.”
Another issue he would like to focus on is improvements to the Castlegar airport.
Kere MacGregor was born and raised in Nelson and moved to Castlegar in 1994 to be the principal of the Robson Community School. He then moved on to be the vice-principal of the high school and is currently the co-administrator of Castlegar Primary.
This is MacGregor’s first try at running for elected office. He has experience on the Board of Directors of BC Principals and Vice Principals Association of BC and as the international director for the local Rotary Club. He and his wife also own the local Remax office and are involved in real estate development.
He stated, “One of the reasons I want to run is I have been given so much from this community, I want to give back.”
One of his priorities is the revitalization of the downtown area.
“I would like to see council come up with a plan as to how we are going to revitalize the community. I would love to see residential and commercial get together in a consulting process.” Making sure that everything continues to run in a fiscally responsible way is also important to Kere.
“For me, it is about growing the community, not fixing it.”
Born and raised in Castlegar, Bruno Tassone is also giving running for office a try for the first time. He has worked for the City of Castlegar for over 35 years. He also has owned an excavating business and the local Shell stations.
In order to run for election he has had to take a leave of absence from his job. In his time with the city he has worked in a variety of positions from labourer to foreman. His community involvement mostly revolves around sports.
He has served as a coach and referee in junior and minor hockey, soccer and baseball. He loves fishing and the outdoors.
“The main reason I decided to run is my knowledge of the infrastructure. I think they need some fresh minds as far as making the right decisions on what to fix first, and what not to put up. I also think there is not enough transparency with the public.”
Concerns over the way the Connors Road project was handled and the overpass light project played a role in his decision. He believes the city needs to be run like a business. “We just need to spend our money wisely and try to stay in budget.”