1) BIO OF FRANK WRAY
Current and past relevant occupations and education. Time in the valley and if you moved here, why. Any past political experience.
I’ve worked for the past year as the Assistant Manager at the B.C. Liquor Store, but most of you may know me from my time at Safeway or through the various sports that my 4 children were involved with. I moved from Vancouver to Smithers almost 25 years ago because I felt it would be a great place to raise a family, and I’ve never regretted that decision. I have been active in Minor Hockey and Junior Softball, as well as several years involvement with the Bulkley Valley Kinsmen. It has been my privilege to serve on Town Council for the past ten years.
2) TOP PRIORITIES ON COUNCIL
My top priority on council is always to remember that I represent everybody, and to contribute towards fair, balanced and consistent Council decisions. More specifically, here are some of my top priorities if re-elected:
Ensure that existing infrastructure receives proper and predictable funding for maintenance and upkeep. This is our main mandate, and must be done with an eye to fiscal responsibility.
Continue to help find ways to ensure business is able to succeed.
Implement recommendations from our recent Paved Roads Condition report.
Move Library/Gallery project forward to referendum.
Continue working towards better communication and collaboration with other local governments in our area.
Continue working in partnership with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs towards Reconciliation
3) LIBRARY/ART GALLERY
I support moving forward with this project, especially considering the favorable grant conditions. If we are successful in the Grant process, I will support forming a Building Committee that will look at both capital and operating costs of this building with an eye to making this project a good fit for our community.
Housing has always been a priority issue throughout my ten years on council. There is no “magic bullet” solution. The next logical step would be to consider the Chamber’s proposal to allow housing to be built on “skinny lots” by studying how it has been implemented elsewhere. I would also support revisiting past initiatives (legalizing laneway homes and secondary suites) to see if we can increase the usage of these two tools. As always, Council must continue to work with BC Housing to diversify the housing stock in Smithers, including affordable market housing projects.
I have advocated for Council to start with Asset Management plans, and we should be seeing the first of them (Water and Sewer) come forward in the near future. As well we have our recently completed Paved Roads Condition report. We must implement the recommendations in these plans to ensure that our basic infrastructure remains intact in the long run. The paved roads study recommends a large increase in spending over the next several years. I will fight to see these increases are done in a fiscally responsible manner.
6) TAXES AND SPENDING
We face several challenges over the next few years as we begin to get infrastructure spending back in line. I understand all too well the effect of large tax increases on residents and businesses alike. As always, I will look at every budgetary expense with a critical eye. I will support having every council agenda contain a running total of spending increases (or decreases) that have been approved by council since the last budget. This will help us to be informed before we go into the yearly budget cycle.