John McDivitt wants to stop payment on Hwy 16 bus to Burns Lake

Telkwa mayor candidate McDivitt said the poor condition of Telkwa’s water pushed him to run.

Coarse language is used in this article.

Change is coming to Telkwa.

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen has announced he will not be seeking reelection, opening the door for someone else to lead the village.

Telkwa Senior Housing Society president John McDivitt and current Village of Telkwa councillor Brad Layton are vying for the job.

McDivitt, who served two terms as a village councillor for one term in the early 2000s and the other in the previous council, said the poor condition of Telkwa’s water pushed him to run.

“I have been drinking horrible water for about four years and it stinks,” McDivitt said. “I decided nobody done nothing and I was labeled a bitcher, so the best bet is [to] fix the problem myself.”

McDivitt said he is already in contact with someone knowledgeable about water treatment plants that can fix the issue.

If elected, McDivitt said he would cancel Telkwa’s contract with BC Transit for the bus that travels from Smithers to Burns Lake and back, stopping in Telkwa along the way three times per week.

According to McDivitt, this would save the Village $6,750 a year.

That bus route has all municipalities and regional districts along Highway 16 pay for routes from Terrace to Prince George. The $5 Smithers-Burns Lake route and $2.75 Smithers-Witset route are the least used according to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, which listed about 100 rides per month on the Burns Lake route and 90 per month on the Witset route as of this past February.

Prince Rupert chose not to take part in the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan program, though BC Bus North replaced Greyhound and connects the coast to Prince George weekly. Telkwa does not pay for BC Bus North, which is backed by $2 million in provincial funding.

Read more: BC Bus North ridership rising

Smithers and Telkwa also have a bus route that runs Monday to Saturday.

Another priority for McDivitt is lowering taxes. The housing society president said he would drop taxes on sewer and water by $400 in his first year.

When asked how the Village, which has struggled financially for a number of years, could afford this, McDivitt said would institute a hiring freeze and stop unnecessary purchases to come up with the money.

McDivitt pointed to the Village buying a new plow truck as wasteful spending.

The housing society president also proposed using tax breaks to attract more businesses to Telkwa.

McDivitt said he isn’t interested in the fame or power that comes with being mayor as he simply wants to do what’s best for the village.

“I strongly think politicians, especially here, they might go in with really good ideas [but] once they get a taste of politics they want something more,” McDivitt said.

“They want provincial politics or federal politics … and they forget who elected them in the first place.”

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