To kick off our municipal election coverage, The Interior News asked all the candidates to prepare a 250-word submission that answered the following questions:
1. What is the most pressing issue facing your municipality?
2. As mayor/councillor, what do you intend to do to address that issue?
3. What is it about your background, experience, knowledge and/or personality you believe makes you qualified/suitable to be successful in the position you are seeking?
Housing affordability is impacting families, business owners, and forcing long-time community members to move away. Though there has been some progress implemented: carriage homes, additional incentives for suites and increased construction of multi-family structures we still face a shortage. Currently, we do not have the housing supply needed to recruit nurses, teachers, and doctors to fill vacancies within Smithers.
My priority as a councillor for Smithers would be incentivizing the construction of more suites/carriage homes within existing neighbourhoods and having more multifamily dwellings in new builds. These incentives would only apply to units that: use a 30 per cent formula for monthly cost and have medium to long-term rental agreements. To avoid using taxpayer funds to subsidize more Airbnbs that do not help the local housing crisis.
I am a problem solver, my experience as a union activist, and working as a community support worker has helped me to be able to look deeper to identify root causes, also the contributing factors. These experiences made me an effective advocate, finding (often out of the box), people-focused solutions. Communication, whether written or verbal is one of my strengths, and that ties into my ability to understand and explain bylaws and policies. I am also knowledgeable regarding the role of a municipality in the levels of government. There are many positive things that a mayor and council can implement or change, but there are parts that do fall outside of our purview, knowing that can be equally as important.