Thank you for considering me as a candidate for the City Council of Prince George.
I believe in a practical approach to problem solving through engagement, attendance, hard work and the empowerment of others.
Accountability and Transparency is required for real change; it begins with elected officials and extends to all City staff. I will ensure that I am accountable and transparent through consistent communication in person and online; personal declaration of any real or perceived conflict of interest and recommendation that other City staff and councilors do the same; support referendums for major issues; and advocate for fewer in-camera meetings.
Community Engagement is vital to a healthy exchange of ideas; a supportive and welcoming atmosphere will be cultivated at Council meetings and events. I will stay engaged by hosting regular “Coffee with a Councilor” sessions to hear concerns, listen to ideas, develop relationships and answer questions from my fellow Prince Georgians.
I will advocate for town hall meetings on at least an annual basis.
Participation of youth in city politics is at an all-time low; increasing youth interest in politics and community affairs is of particular concern. The youth have the most at stake; the direction we take the City now impacts their future. I will work with City Council and Staff to develop and implement a plan to foster youth engagement.
Encourage City Hall to ensure that City staff are engaged, respected and provided meaningful opportunity to make suggestions and otherwise provide input. Successful organizations will tell you their most valuable assets are their employees.
Citizens of Prince George have faced greatly increased taxes and fees; families are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet. To ensure the continued success of our families and to encourage population growth we need to find a balance and offer stability.
It is no secret that Prince George has aging infrastructure; the recent sinkholes, water main breaks and potholes throughout the city support this statement. These issues are not going to take care of themselves; an action plan is required to triage and address them. The plan must allow for the continued growth of our city both in population and economic activity. It is past time we addressed these issues and the longer we wait, the greater the cost will be to the city and taxpayers. I believe that we must first address the immediate needs of the many prior to addressing the wants of a few; I believe in the greater good.
Meanwhile, maintenance programs and other projects must be quality work; short cuts don’t save money in the long run. Thoughtful planning and consideration of economic, social and environmental concerns must be standard prior undertaking any project. Let’s ensure that the money we spend on projects and maintenance is of good value and well thought out. Beautification of our main thoroughfares and downtown must be given due consideration prior to undertaking any project or maintenance activity. Let’s be smart about it.
Social & Culture
Prince George has a reputation as being one of the most violent cities in Canada. While many of us know Prince George as a welcoming, friendly and supportive community, those that have not had the opportunity to experience our hospitality may be deterred from investing in, moving to or visiting our fine city. Let’s address the violence issues in our community, a positive by-product will be a repaired reputation for Prince George.
I will work with service providers, youth organizations, the RCMP and other groups to develop and implement a plan to tackle the social and economic factors that cause violent crime. We as a community need to be proactive in taking back our city from the minority that damage its reputation. Let’ find the root cause and work together in the prevention of violence. #violencefreepg
Our community as a whole must #takeonpg ‘s reputation and work to rebuild it. I am excited about the Canada Winter Games and encourage all citizens to assist with showcasing our community.
Vibrant communities offer a healthy balance of both economic and social opportunities for all citizens. Parks, recreation, the arts, libraries and education lead to a healthy community, economic growth and social change. This is of vital importance for reducing violence, attracting new corporate and residential citizens and fostering overall community well-being. I advocate continued support of cultural organizations and events in Prince George.
Strong communities encourage citizen involvement; belief in change is the first step to implementing change. I will support citizen driven initiative and intend to investigate alternative voting and referendum methods. Let’s find ways to encourage participation through accessibility.
On a lighter note, I support the erection of Community Bulletin Boards in strategic locations throughout the city. This is will provide people a place to gather for a moment and assist in the promotion of civic pride through community events.
Environmental & Safety
A Sustainable future requires proactive and sensible planning. I believe that Prince George can grow by diversifying our economy without compromising the green space, parks or environmental integrity of our city.
Green Jobs are the jobs of the future. Cities and Industries that develop and implement green strategies will be ahead of other organizations that react instead of being proactive. Prince George can lead the north in supporting and creating green initiatives. Green jobs are the fastest growing sector in BC and most are built upon already existing practices which have been adapted to make them green. It will take a plan and community support to find balance and compromise for both industrial and environmental initiatives. I believe that Prince George can and should become the Northern BC leader in environmental initiatives while still providing support to industrial activities.
There are solutions; let’s find them together. Commercial transportation is extremely important to our city, surrounding area, businesses and of course, citizens. Motor vehicles incidents continue to happen with an alarming frequency rate, I will consult with transportation leaders and citizens to work to find solutions to current safety, environmental and operational challenges, perhaps a Transportation Safety Task Force is option, I think it is but I would like to speak more with experts and stakeholders to get their opinions.
With industrial activity and transportation on the rise in the North, we need to ensure that Prince George has well-developed and practiced emergency and disaster response plans. But first, we need to know and understand what the hazards and risks are. A detailed hazard and risk analysis should be undertaken to determine the probability, frequency and severity of events; the results and recommendations should be communicated broadly. By preparing for emergencies we are working proactively to prevent incidents because ultimately, I think we can all agree that we would prefer that that emergency situations and disasters do not occur at all.
I am a father and a husband; well-known to friends and family as someone who enjoys movies outside on hot summer evenings and throwing impromptu BBQs. I am an avid baseball fan and play for the Titans; I enjoy snowboarding (still do it although not as often as I would like) and while I miss it I must admit that I mostly just watch skateboarding now (my wife says she prefers that all of my bones remain unbroken). I ran for the position of Mayor in 2005 and City Council in 2008. In 2009, I moved to Port Alberni to work for Service Canada and returned home in the fall of 2012. I have decided to run for City Council as I love the City of Prince George and believe that I can bring Real Change for a sustainable future.
I have over 20 years of management experience in the public, private and not for profit sector. I am currently a Team and Contract Lead for the Province of British Columbia as well as small business owner. My wife and I recently took over Spa of the North, in the Coast Hotel. My previous small business experience includes owning a Skate and Snowboard Shop, Managing a retail clothing store, Team Lead for the Government of Canada, sitting on the Board of Directors for several non-profits societies and working for social service agencies within Prince George. This experience has allowed me to listen and work with many diverse groups within the community.
Working with youth has been one of my top priorities. I have enjoyed coaching baseball for over 12 years; learned a lot from teens and families in a role I held for three years as a youth pastor, and hope that I made a difference when working with youth at risk in various capacities for over 20 years.
#1 “Why should Prince George Vote For you? ” Why should the citizens of Prince George vote for you? 4335 citizens of Prince George voted for me in 2008 and I am still deeply humbled that I was able to have that many people believe that I was the right candidate for council. I have learned a lot since that last election as I have spent the last 5 years working for both the Federal and Provincial governments in a leadership capacity. This experience has enforced my belief that what is needed is open, honest and candidates with integrity to run for various levels of government. I will work closely with citizens in order to listen, act and make decisions for the best interest of the community. I will not always make the most popular decisions but I will not run from them and I will face each of you by offering regular scheduled coffee with councilor meetings so that I will be accountable to each and every voter.
#2 “What can the city of Prince George do to engage our youth to keep them busy, safe, and out of gangs?” What can the city of Prince George do to engage our youth to keep them busy, safe, and out of gangs? Keeping kids out of gangs is a complex social and economic issue that will not go away without a reasonable plan in place. Working with Social Agencies, the RCMP and many community stakeholders a plan will need to be developed and implemented to tackle the many social and economic issues facing youth at risk of entering the gang life. This means that education, sports and recreation and youth organizations will work together to engage the youth to keep them busy and out of trouble. These activities will need to be assessable for the many youth of city to participate in.