The Interior News gave all the candidates in the upcoming Smithers municipal byelection an opportunity to provide 500 words about their candidacy.
What they wrote was entirely up to them, although we did suggest they include some biographical information, why they wanted to run, what they thought the most important issue is or issues are and what they wanted to do about it/them.
I am a lifelong and passionate Smithereen!
For over 20 years, my working life has been primarily focussed on promoting this town and its tourism opportunities. I have had the great privilege of serving on Smithers Town Council for the past six years including the last year as acting mayor.
Smithers is a unique place, surrounded by stunningly beautiful scenery and inhabited by people who are excited to live here and are deeply involved in community. It is that active citizenship that motivates me to run for mayor. I know that’s where I want to put my energy, to the responsibilities of being mayor and working with council and Town staff. I am eager to work with residents and businesses in determining together the future of our community I bring experience, an ability to work with people and commitment.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects every issue, including Town finances. People and businesses face financial hardship, including difficulty paying property taxes. This requires advocating to, and working with, our provincial and federal colleagues to ensure Smithers receives the support needed to maintain services and infrastructure.
Smithers Regional Airport. The airport is an economic pillar – essential for businesses and residents. Advocacy for our airport, and communication between airlines and airport users, are key to ensuring the proper match between schedule and capacity. It’s great news that scheduled service is returning in October. I commit to working with all involved to keep our airport open.
Housing affordability. Much has been done, from providing the land for Goodacre Place, to rezoning an area of town for R-2 (low density residential), to approvals for laneway housing and the first skinny home. Changes in tax regulations are encouraging development with residential units downtown. Smithers’ current hot real estate market means the demand for housing of all kinds is high. One potential solution is remediating the LB Warner site for future affordable housing.
Strengthening the relationship with Wet’suwet’en leaders and people. As 2020 comes to a close, we have an opportunity to be part of the future being described via the Memorandum of Understanding between the hereditary chiefs, B.C. and Canada. It is important to be part of creating a new and better future together.
Infrastructure. Whether it is underground, like water and sewer lines, or above ground, like roads and buildings, well-built and maintained infrastructure contribute to quality of life. It will take working with council, staff and other levels of government to achieve the financial resources to build what is absolutely necessary along with amenities that make Smithers the desirable community it is, including the proposed library-gallery.
Sustainability. Explore renewables, purchase energy-efficient products and meet our GHG emission reduction targets.
Finally, accessibility. Future construction and renovation must consider all users.