-18 C
Fort St. John
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tel: 250-787-7100
9924 101 ave Fort St. John, B.C.
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Candidate Darwin Wren says economic diversification and attracting new residents his goals if elected mayor of Tumbler Ridge

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Wren is finishing his first term as a district councillor, and he said he is eager to bring his leadership and vision for the community to the mayor’s seat.

“I think I can bring a lot of leadership to that seat,” he said. “I think have a good vision for the future of Tumbler Ridge, and I think my level of commitment as a councillor will be indicative of how much time I will put into the role of mayor.”

He said one of the first things he would like to do if elected is develop a strategic plan and define specific portfolios and goals to assign to individual councillors.

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“I think when you do that you get a fully-engaged council and can get a lot of productivity and results. I think that is something that throughout my life I’ve been able to demonstrate a good ability to do, is to understand people and put them in positions they can excel at.”

Wren said with the amount of growth the town is expected to experience in the next few years, one of the priorities of the next council should be to take advantage of opportunities for economic diversification. He said two specific projects he is proposing towards that goal is to develop a ski hill for the community, and to continue to pursue a biomass plant, even though a proposal supported by the current council was rejected by BC Hydro.

He said one of the keys to a diverse economy will be to make the town attractive for young families to live there by ensuring different types of housing are available.

“One of things I would like us to do is develop one-acre estate lots so people have lots of room to raise families.”

He said there is land available for development, and applications pending for the acquisition of Crown land, and he is confident once that land is acquired, council can streamline the process for developers to build quickly. He added they also need options for entry-level housing.

Wren chairs a family needs committee he helped to establish earlier this year, and he said he would like to see the work of that committee continue.

“Some of the work of the family needs committee right now is to build a purpose-built daycare facility for the community. Hopefully, heavy industry will be big partners in that project. We have already allocated district property for that building.”

He added he would also like to see a waterpark built in the downtown area for young children to enjoy.

Despite the ambitious list of new projects, Wren said he is confident they can be accomplished through funding partnerships and an increased tax base, not by raising taxes.

Wren has lived in Tumbler Ridge for nearly a decade after moving from Fort Nelson. He is currently employed by Northern Health as the clinical team lead for the mental health and addictions unit. In the past, he has coached minor sports, sat on the boards of the Tumbler Ridge Childcare Society and the Tumbler Ridge CARES Society.

He and his wife have two young children.

He will be running against Brenda Holmlund in this election.

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