0.5 C
Fort St. John
Monday, November 19, 2018
Tel: 250-787-7100
Email: contact@energeticcity.ca
9924 101 ave Fort St. John, B.C.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Candidates Running for Council in Fort St. John

Below are the individual responses from each candidate.  Out of the 12 candidates running for Council, only 10 responded to our questions by the publication deadline.

The responses below have not been edited in any way and have been displayed in alphabetical order.

We have also sent questions to the candidates running for Mayor in Taylor and the Peace River Regional District Area C.  We will post those responses in the coming days.

[wptab name=’Trevor Bolin’]trevorbolin
Trevor Bolin

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election? After being fortunate enough to be elected in the last two elections, I do not feel I have been able to finish everything I started in 2008.  Having been on the Site C committee for the last six years dealing with the housing, socioeconomics and transportation issues around this mega project, I would like to be able to continue to ensure if the project is approved, I am able to ensure Hydro and the Provincial Government are held to the standards that will benefit Fort St John.  There has been no better feeling than coming out with new bylaws, policies and programs and hearing back from the public that while on Council, I was able to do the right thing.  The roll out of curbside garbage collection, the new curbside recycling, the Kinds Arena Field house, the opening and naming rights of the Pomeroy Sports Center, more parks and playground equipment, lowering the tax rate for 2014 tax payers all have been projects that I want to continue this city on the path towards economic sustainability and planned growth.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal? Fiscal responsibility is a big one, as we move into some of the large projects possibly coming to fruition, we need to remain a must have community and eliminate some the wants that are not realistic moving forward.  Fort St John is a very fortunate community and blessed with a lot of things, but now is the time to work even harder to ensure that what makes us fortunate is carried over the long term.  We must renegotiate the Fair Share Agreement with the province and ensure Fort St John is given back whats deserving.  We must be open for business as LNG starts to “break ground” in the province, we must ensure our housing market stays attainable for new buyers and new families moving into our city.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community? Right now Fort St John is in a situation not seen in most communities.  With several large projects impacting our community, we need to ensure we are at the table for each and every one of them.  With one project announcement, there is another waiting to be approved and we need to continue to be proactive and not reactive.  Council for the past six years has never taken a stance towards or against a project, only that we as the elected officials want to ensure Fort St John is better off when the project is done, than when it was started.  We need to keep this attitude moving forward and ensure that Fort St John will benefit from everything going on in the community.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?    Ensuring we are protected, ensuring the fundamentals of the cities positive growth attitude is followed and sometimes that means taking a stand to ensure the safety and protection of our community and the great people in it.  I have spent the past 6 years dealing with Site C on the committee put together by Mayor and Council, this work although having come along way, is not done yet.  Fort St John stands to be impacted the most with the projects, we also stand to potentially gain the most through the negotiations carried out by our committee.  Many communities not only in BC, but Canada wide would love to have the “issues” we are faced with.  In good times and in bad times, we need to ensure the city comes first and for the next four years, that is my commitment.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?  At the current time Fort St John does not have an issue with undergrowth, we have an issue with keeping up to the growth.  We need more trades people, we need more retail shopping, we need more schools, more doctors/nurses and more police.  As Fort St John is becoming more well known throughout the province and the country we need to ensure that the true Fort St John is represented.  My family moved here in 1929, and for the past 85 years, five generation have been proud to call Fort St John home.  Through the good times and the bad times, this will always be home for so many of us, and we need to ensure our home is protected and that the provincial government is willing to come to the table to ensure we have the same standards and quality of life that anyone living in major centers has.
[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Bruce Christensen’]bruce christensen

Bruce Christensen

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

I feel, because of my business background, I have the ability to continue to work with members of council, and staff, to manage the growth of our city and yet do it in a sustainable, safe manner.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

My main goal is to keep our city financially stable. To obtain this we must balance our wants and our needs. We must run the city like a business, recognizing that it is not a business. Business plans must be prepared and we must continue to consult with our citizens.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

I feel the biggest issue will be how we are able to deal with the massive growth predicted for this region. How do we supply the needs of the residents of the North Peace Region. We will need to expand our boundaries so as to provide land for commercial entities to build so they can service the industry expected for the region, as well as housing for the workers who will be involved in the LNG and construction of Site C. (If it goes ahead)

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?

We must make sure that we have the resources, such as quality trained professionals in our community that are familiar with the issues which will arise from the expected growth. We must have well planned infrastructure that will be able to deliver the services required. It will be difficult to keep up with staffing issues, both professional and unskilled. Affordable housing, policing, medical facilities and education facilities will all be pushed to the maximum.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

I do not think anyone or anything is holding back the growth of our community. We are growing faster than the provincial rate. Probably the biggest stumbling block will be staffing, and housing for these staff.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Dan Davies’]dan davies

Dan Davies

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

This will be my fourth term on council. The Davies family has been here since the 1940s – this in my home, and always will be! I truly love and believe in our community and know that I can still make a difference in this city. I love what I do for our citizens and have a deep passion for the care and well-being of the city. Fort St. John will be facing some very challenging times over the next few years and having proven leadership back on council is important. Being a fulltime school teacher, working in the construction industry during the summer and working with the cadets, the Legion and Restorative Justice, I feel that these valuable experiences provide me with broad depth to view and deal with issues affecting our city. I want Fort St. John to be a great place for my two children to grow up in, play in, work in and to raise their own families in!

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

Keeping Taxes in check: It is easy to let spending get out of control if you are not cautious and diligent. We must ensure that we are buying what we need, expanding where we need to and not spending tax money on frivolous items just because we can. There is only one tax payer and that is you. Fort St. John can boast one of the lowest tax rates of any resource municipality, and I want to keep it that way. With the expected growth, experience on council will be ever important to manage our cities budget as we plan for long term infrastructure, services, recreation etc.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

Managing growth: The city will be facing a significant growth over the next few years, especially if all the LNG projects and site C move forward. We must ensure that the city is ready to handle this growth and be ready for the expected influx of people, but more importantly, do what is right for those of us that live here now and plan to call this home for the long term. We need to ensure that our infrastructure is being built and maintained in a sustainable manner to keep pace with the growth. We also need to ensure that we can advocate to senior levels of government to ensure that a plan is in place to recruit people into health care and social services to mention only two.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?

LNG is an incredible opportunity for us here in the Northeast. As we have been saying, there is no LNG without the NG that we will provide. Natural gas development is a long term sustainable way for us to grow our economy and provide a future for our children. We have been blessed with a diversified economy in Fort St. John, with agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, tourism and coal. That said; our mainstay has been within the oil and gas, more specifically the gas industry. Natural gas will always play a role in the Northeast. Site C, for or against is out of our control now and in the hands of our legislators to decide. This decision will have an impact on our community. If Site C is to move forward we will need to ensure that we can advocate for better social services, policing and health care needs. This will require some creative planning. We do not want to re-invent the wheel in dealing with sudden and significant growth and can look to other communities such as Fort McMurray for some best practices.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

Fort St. John and area is growing. A real concern for the city is the growth just outside of our boundary. As boundary expansions are not easy, we need to have a strong plan in place to meet our needs for many years to come. While it is near impossible to control the economics around us, regardless of what happens, our city will grow. The other side of this formula is creating a sustainable plan to managing infrastructure needs within this expansion.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Larry Evans’]Larry evans

Larry Evans

1.     Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

I believe a candidate for City Council should have the time to commit to all the duties it entails.  I am retired and while I like to keep busy with other things, I have the time to commit.  I have been on Council for three terms now and have a very good understanding of what is required of me.  With my experience with the Fire Department, along with being involved with numerous events in and around Fort St. John, I find this gives me a very good base of knowledge to make fair and responsible decisions when I’m on Council.

2.     What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

My primary goal is to work for the betterment of Fort St. John and its citizens. By working with Council, and other levels of government by forming partnerships, I believe we can achieve that goal.

3.     What is the biggest issue facing the community?

Over the years there have been numerous changes in Fort St. John and it has become a very vibrant and energetic city.  There has been unprecedented growth and with this come the challenges of strains on our services and infrastructure, such as affordable housing, physician shortages, and services for all people, young and old alike. In my past three terms Mayor and Council have worked diligently to resolve these issues.

4.     What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?

Personally, I am against Site C, but I also know as a City Councilor we must be prepared if Site C is built.  Too often these projects have been built on the backs of the nearest community without any thought of how this affects the infrastructure and services of a municipality.  This is why we developed the “Let’s Talk Site C” pamphlet.  Northeast B.C. is the center of Natural Gas exploration and development in the province of B.C.  This, along with other viable industries, drives Fort St. John’s economy and we have to prepare for this, especially with the prospects of an increase in activity if LNG comes on market.  We have to be prepared to the advantage of both these projects to make sure that the City of Fort St. John grows at a pace that it can keep up with.

5.     Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

While Fort St. John is growing at a phenomenal rate, there are different issues that are slowing it down.  There is a lack of labourers, trades people and professionals needed to provide the services to the growing population in Fort St. John and area.  There is also a lack of affordable housing and then here is the health care crisis we are experiencing.  These issues could keep families from moving to this fantastic city.  While some of the issues are being alleviated, there is a lot of work to be done to solve the shortage problems.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Becky Grimsrud’]BeckyGrimsrud

Becky Grimsrud

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

The main reason I decided to run in this municipal election was because I would like the opportunity to affect positive change. Basic infrastructure needs to be given priority, but I also feel that with more community input into the city’s decisions we can all have a city we can be proud to call “home”.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

The primary goal I would like to see accomplished is a higher satisfaction with council’s decisions, whatever they may be. To achieve this goal, we need to have adequate input from our community about as many decisions as possible.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

We are experiencing a period of growth within our city, and need to focus on primary services, such as health care, education, security, and affordable housing, before our already strained resources reach the breaking point. The time for talk is over! There absolutely needs to be active commitment from the council, as well as our community to find real, lasting solutions.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)? 

Although these projects are not yet certain, we need to push for additional resources to ensure that any approvals do not come at the expense of our city’s already taxed health care, security, education, infrastructure, and affordable housing.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

The growth of our community is affected from all sides of the spectrum. A healthy, vibrant community needs input from everyone in order to truly thrive. I would like nothing better than to be given the opportunity to help bridge the link between the council and the city, and ensure that all citizens are easily able to voice their opinions.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Gord Klassen’]gord klassen

Gord Klassen

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

My name is Gord Klassen and I am running for a second term on Fort St John City Council.

Fort St. John is where I grew up, went to school, and got my first job in construction.  This is where I married my childhood sweetheart, Sharon, and where we raised our own 3 children.  And now, it is my privilege to watch my grandchildren grow up here.  This is my home.

I have always believed that wherever we are, we need to do all we can to be involved and contribute to the good of the community.

So I have been actively involved in the schools where my children attended, helping out in their classrooms, accompanying them on field trips, coaching their sports teams, helping with Gradfest and other special events.  I also served on their schools’ Parent Advisory Committees, several years as the President of the High School Parent Advisory Committee.

I served as Chair of our Hospital Ethics Committee, and volunteered as Chaplain and Firefighter with the Fort St. John Fire Department.  I also worked as a support worker for SD #60 until 2005, when I was elected to our Board of Education.

During my 6 Years on the School Board, and over the past 3 years on City Council, I have seen the value and the strength of the community working together to accomplish more than we could working on our own.

And that is what led me to run again for City Council in 2014 – simply, it is a vision of building a community where all of us are engaged and working together to make this an even better place to live, work, and play!
2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

My priorities for the next term remain the same as they were in my first term on City Council, and can best be expressed in 2 words – BUILDING COMMUNITY.

We must BUILD upon a strong foundation of strategic planning and development, funded primarily by the taxes we pay.  The City must maximize its resources to serve our community in the most efficient and effective way, working in cooperation and collaboration with business and community members. And we must ensure that our spending and servicing plans and policies are sustainable, and not entirely dependent upon increased industry activity.

We also need a strong foundation of Safety & Health, beginning with adequate levels of police, fire, ambulance, and health care. I will work hard with City Council to leverage the influence we have to explore options and long-term solutions to ensure that these services are provided.

Building a strong future for our City means working hard to promote and protect our community; promoting investment and economic growth, and at the same time, protecting our city by insisting that industry address the impacts that come with increased activity. I will continue to prioritize construction and maintenance of our infrastructure, including roads, parks, and facilities, and I’ll work to ensure that development and growth is strategic and sustainable.

COMMUNITY is about inclusion and belonging.  I am committed to providing services for children, youth, and young families, including affordable housing and outreach to those less fortunate. I am equally dedicated to providing services and housing for our aging population.

I will continue to work with you to provide opportunities for people of all ages to belong through sports, arts, and culture.  I will do all I can to promote accessibility and diversity, so that we are truly a community where people feel welcomed and wanted.

Finally, Community is about working together.  I would never be so arrogant or naive as to think I have all the answers.  So it is my goal to develop more strategic partnerships with individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations, bringing together our energy, experience, and expertise for the benefit of the entire community.

As I seek re-election, I am not here to represent any one organization or interest group and I promise to serve each and every one of you equally to the best of my ability.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

Over these last 3 years as I sat on City Council, I believe one of the biggest issues that has become increasingly apparent in our community is our critical need for basic health and safety. It is vital for our community to have adequate police service, doctors and nurses, and paramedics.

As our community grows and economic opportunities present themselves, the criminal element also recognizes an opportunity and their activity also increases.  We need to ensure that we have the appropriate level of police service in order to maintain a strong and proactive approach to crime reduction and to provide residents the assurance that Fort St. John is a safe community in which to live.

Of course, anyone who has been in Fort St. John over the past several months is aware that we have a doctor and nurse shortage.  We need to join together as City Council, community members, health care professionals, Northern Health, Provincial Health Ministry, UNBC, Northern Lights College, and other stakeholders to explore and find long-term solutions.

Although the crisis is only now being felt, the issue has been developing for several years already and is extremely complex.  And so we need more than short-term ‘band-aid’ solutions.  We need to look at a community recruitment and retention strategy and a nurses training facility in our city.  We must also leverage our influence to encourage the Province to re-visit the systems, licensing policies, and practices that are in place, to think outside the box, and show some flexibility and creativity in finding long-term solutions that will provide our community with health care that is dependable and sustainable.

We also recognize the important role that our emergency services provide, and we need to ensure that our ambulance service is fully staffed so that they can respond to emergencies in a timely manner. The recruitment and retention of paramedics is crucial to an effective ambulance service.

One of the options being explored is a new Paramedicine program that has been proposed by the Ambulance Paramedics of BC.  It is an innovative approach to the delivery of health care services by paramedics that allows them to use their training and expertise in community-based, non-emergency care roles.  This program draws on the conjunction of paramedics’ clinical skills and expertise in out-of hospital patient interaction to deliver a range of health care services in environments where no other health care provider is available to do so. This is just one example of how paramedic skills and training could be used to address gaps in health care provision and, at the same time, address some of the recruitment and retention challenges we face.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?  

During my first term as a City Councillor, our City has experiencing unprecedented growth and activity, and is expecting even more in the near future.  I believe we need to be prepared for a time of rapid growth, ensuring that plans and strategies are in place to address the impacts that growth will have on our community, both good and bad.  We must ensure that our infrastructure can sustain the increases in demand and that our strategies and policies for development, including businesses, services, housing, and neighbourhoods are in place so that we keep from over-development and minimize the risk of undermining the market in our area.

At the same time, we need to be strategically positioned to face a time of economic plateau or even decline, if the proposed projects do not go through. I will continue to be a voice of reason on Council, making sure that we are spending within our means, that we are not over burdening taxpayers, and that we are prepared for the future, regardless of whether or not the increased economic activity takes place. I will work to ensure prudent and sustainable spending and budget policies. I am committed to building a community that I can be proud of; a community that my children and grandchildren can enjoy for years to come!

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

During my 6 Years on the School Board, and over the past 3 years on City Council, I have seen the value and the strength of the community working together to accomplish more than we could working on our own.

That spirit of cooperation and teamwork is what led me to run for City Council in 2011, and again in 2014 – simply, it is a vision of building a community where all of us are engaged and working together to make this an even better place to live, work, and play!

And that is why my priorities for the next term remain the same as they were in my first term on City Council, and can best be expressed in 2 words – BUILDING COMMUNITY.

I believe we need to work together to build our community with more cooperation and collaboration.  Each of us, who call Fort St. John our home, needs to take responsibility for our community.  We cannot afford to think of this as a ‘we’ and ‘them’ situation, where ‘we’ wait for ‘them’ to do something about it.

Community is about inclusion and belonging.  It is about all of us owning the successes and the challenges.  It is about working together. I would never be so arrogant or naive as to think I have all the answers.  Nor do I feel like it is all my responsibility to find a solution or carry the entire weight of the issue on my shoulders.  A community shares the load.

So it is my goal to develop more strategic partnerships with individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations, bringing together our energy, experience, and expertise for the benefit of the entire community.

Then our community will grow – not only in size and prosperity, but in personal engagement, inclusion, volunteerism, cooperation, and ultimately in quality of community life![/wptab]

[wptab name=’Karen Mason-Bennett’]karen

Karen Mason-Bennett

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

Fort St John has become a home to myself and my family over the past seven years. I am passionate about community development, and spend much of my day job working on projects that benefit residents of Fort St John and the wider community. Fort St John has a lot of changes coming both economically and socially in the next twenty years and I believe I have a perspective that would be beneficial around the table as policy is decided and we prepare to build a community for the future.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

Having a primary goal is a singular focus and the reality is that council needs to work together to get things done in a timely and representational fashion. I am dedicated to working towards consensus, collaborating to create innovative solutions that custom fit the unique issues facing our community and building strong partnerships both on and off council. I cannot stress enough that this is not about me.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

There are a number of pressing issues facing Fort St John: health care, infrastructure demands, and future resource development to name a few. All of these issues are complex and involve multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations of all sizes. As the City grows some of these issues will grow as well and others will be added to the list.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?   

Let’s Talk Site C was an award winning effort to engage citizens within Fort St John on the proposed hydroelectric dam to get an idea of the concerns of resident and ensure that local businesses benefited from the project should it be approved. This has set the City up well to be able to represent the best interests of residents. Looking forward to other large scale resource development, continuing this strategy of purposeful stakeholder engagement will outfit the City with the resources to mitigate concerns and ensure the benefits of these developments reach everyone.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

I don’t think that the City is being held back per se. Governing a city that is growing at the rate Fort St John is, is a challenge. Learning from other communities that have already struggled with exponential growth, homelessness, domestic violence and food security issues will allow the City to be even more nimble as we try to craft solutions to fit our needs.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Dan Pope’]dan pope

Dan Pope

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

I decided to run for the 2014 municipal election because our Energetic City is facing unprecedented growth.  The decisions that council makes today will impact on our citizens in the future.  These challenges require our council to explore innovative ways to address our current needs as well as building a framework that will make Fort St. John a community where businesses and families thrive.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

There are many important goals to be pursued but I feel that expanding our boundaries as a city, we will be able to draw more industry into the tax base so that we can improve services without the need to increase taxes.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

The shortage of health care professionals is a critical issue facing
Fort St. John.  We need to continue raising our voices loudly to be heard in Victoria until we have the health care we need and deserve.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?   

Fort St. John needs to partner with industry and the province to ensure that our city receives generous financial incentives to provide affordable housing and improved services for our growing community.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

Fort St. John is a wonderful community with much to offer, but with any proactive planning we can’t spend money we don’t have which is why I believe it is so important to look to partnerships with industry to sustain and provide improved services for our citizens.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Byron Stewart’]byron stewart

Byron Stewart

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?

I grew up Fort St. John and I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve our community on Council since November of 2011.  I would like the opportunity to continue with second term in office.

Making our city a better place to live, work and play takes hard work and commitment.  This is work I am excited to do, and I hope you will continue to allow me to represent you, the citizens of Fort St. John. If re-elected, I look forward to continuing the plans I worked hard to build with Council since first being elected three years ago.  As a life-long resident, I understand the dynamic community we live in and will use that knowledge to build an even stronger community today and for the years to come.

I am passionate about our community and I will continue my dedication to making our city a strong, vibrant community that meets the needs of all residents. There is simply more work to be done.

Find out more about me at:  vote4byronstewart.com

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

My primary goal is to move Fort St. John forward toward a secure future.  Unlike many other communities in our province and nation, we have a very strong economy.  As great as this is, there are challenges we must face together to protect, maintain, and build upon the social fabric that holds our community together.

My vision for a healthy community includes:

1. Nursing School

Attracting and retaining medical professionals remains a critical issue for our community.  There are efforts and action plans at work led by Mayor Ackerman and our MLA Pat Pimm in regards to the critical shortage of family doctors in our community.  It is my belief that more needs to be done to attract and retain our nurses as well.

The City of Fort St. John is experiencing a critical shortage of nurses. Nurses work overtime on a regular basis to ensure adequate staffing levels are maintained.  There needs to be a long-range plan put in place to provide adequate staffing for the Fort St. John Hospital and also to ensure that there are enough specialty trained nurses.

Expected industrial development and population growth in the northeast will require a responsive healthcare system that includes an adequate supply of Registered Nurses.  A nursing school in Fort St. John could alleviate some of these issues. Many students who attend post-secondary education choose to remain in the area where they have attended school.

The new hospital in Fort St. John, which opened in 2012, is a 23,000 square meter, state of the art facility. This facility includes an expanded emergency room and ambulatory care department, an intensive care unit, larger operating rooms, an endoscopy suite and a birthing centre, the first of its kind in northern BC. The facility is more than capable of supporting the practical training requirements for nurses.

Northern Health and our current Council have expressed concern that without a Bachelor of Science – Nursing program in the northeast, shortages of registered nurses will persist in this region.

A. Create a local nursing school

· Educate and train our citizens right here in our community and facilities.

· Save students the costs associated with moving away to go to school.

B. Allow for practical training to occur at the Fort St. John Hospital

C. Call on the provincial government using the combined voices of the City of Fort St. John, the Peace River Regional District, Northern Health, the University of Northern British Columbia and Northern Lights College

2. Regional Policing

The RCMP serving the City of Fort St. John is a post detachment that serves and protects the City and the surrounding rural community. The City has a population of just below 20,000; and supports a trading area of more than 69,000 people within its borders and outlying service region.

The detachment has 50 police officers comprised of 34 Municipal RM, 14 Provincial RM, and 2 auxiliary constables who are supported by 17 municipal support staff (including guards) and 2.5 Public Service Employees. These numbers reflect the authorized strength in the local detachment. A significant number of these staffing allotments are new recruits, members with minimal years of service, or members on various types of leave.  In accordance with the Municipal Policing Agreement the municipality funds the municipal regular members (RM), municipal staff, operations and maintenance costs. The province provides funding for the 14 provincial members and the 2.5 Public Service staff. This current funding allocation is inadequate to serve the needs of the region, thus resulting in municipal RCMP members responding to provincial RCMP members’ calls due to lack of funding.

As a resource community, Fort St. John is experiencing rapid growth which will double its population in the next ten years as decisions regarding construction of mega projects such as BC Hydro’s Site C Dam, four large LNG projects, and the Northern Gateway project are expected in the next few months.  The City’s RCMP detachment is suffering from a severe lack of experienced members along with the shortfalls common in staffing, due to maternity, parental and other general leaves. The detachment foresees additional shortfalls over the next year due to a number of anticipated transfers. This will only reduce the experience level at the detachment and exacerbate a difficult situation.

Recruiting is difficult in a northern community. RCMP recruits are generally cadets with minimal training who require experienced members to ensure they are trained as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is imperative that this is done to adequately serve the community and ensure officer safety.

I believe we need to look toward building safer communities through Regional Policing.

A. Create a Regional model involving all Peace Region municipalities and regional districts to allow for the fluid movement of officers throughout the region.

B. Centralize admin staff and specialized police units to ensure adequate staffing levels as demand increases or decreases.

C. Provide recruits with the opportunity to develop into their roles with adequate resources to prevent unnecessary burn-out and fatigue.

3. Boundary Expansion

We are a rapidly growing community and the population both within our municipality and on the fringe of our community, within Area C of the Regional District, is expected to continue to grow.  This growth will continue to put strains on the services the City provides the residents of our community as well as our regional neighbors.  My hope is that our regional neighbors will endeavor to work cooperatively with the City, as our current growth pattern is detrimental to the City and our ability to sustain the services we provide for the region.

A. Focus on long-term planning to have land available and accessible to our growing community.

B. Call on the provincial government to allow a boundary that is suitable for the growth that we are expecting.

C. Lessen the tax burden upon local citizens and business owners by incorporating more industrial zoned land.

D. Ensure the transportation master plan is incorporated within all future boundary expansions.

… Without boundary expansion, we need to move forth with an action plan to become a Regional Municipality… We need to move forward to secure our future as a strong healthy community.

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

I would have to say the over-all shortage of medical professionals, specifically family doctors, is our biggest issue.  A Community Action Group has been formed by Mayor Ackerman and our MLA Pat Pimm a few of our local doctors and members of the Concerned Citizens for Health Care. This group has been tasked with looking into long term solutions to:

· Leverage combined resources

· Clearly understand the causes of the issue

· Investigate partnerships as components of a community solution.

The roots of the issue pertain to a combination of:

· The “fee for service” compensation model for doctors

· The business model of our medial clinics

· A global shortage of medical professionals

· The changes to the agreements with the College of Physicians & Surgeons and other international governments, most specifically South Africa.

A variety of discussions and actions approved by Council have taken place over the past year:

· A review of the Northern Medical Program Trust has been requested to ensure that the program can be an effective retention tool for Northern Communities, such as Fort St. John.

· Mayor Ackerman met with Minister Lake in March and we as a Council, along with MLA Pimm, met with the minister in September.

· Mayor Ackerman and City staffs attended the Penticton Rural Continuum of Care Conference to meet potential recruits and begin working closer with Northern Health on recruitment.

· Provided support and city resources for the North Peace Division of Family Practitioners for their recruitment plans in Australia.

· The Community Action Team have been meeting regularly with the Northern health Recruitment Team and this fall, Sharlene Thomas was put in place as a dedicated recruiter for Fort St. John

There are a variety of partnerships Council currently has in place or are moving toward a commitment that will assist with this issue:

· Northern Health

· North Peace Division of Family Practice

· MLA Pat Pimm

· MP Bob Zimmer

· Live Care

· Iridia

· Pure North

· And the collective voice involving The City, Northern Health, Northern Lights College and the University of Northern BC to secure a nursing school as outlined in question 2.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?   

I am for resource development as long as it is done in ways that both respect our community and benefit our community & region.

As to Site C, we are waiting on our on Provincial Government to make a decision so that we as a community can move forward with appropriate planning for the betterment of our community. I have been a member of our negotiating team along with Mayor Ackerman and Councillor Bolin, since January 2012 and it has been a long drawn-out process.

As a Council we agreed that our FIRST PRIORITY is to protect our community from any negative impacts that can be inherent with a project of this size, of which is not to be constructed in our community. Even though Site C, if constructed, will be located in Regional District Area C, as a Council, we recognized that this project, if approved by the Provincial Government, will greatly affect and impact the daily lives of our residents.  With this in mind, we as a Council, created the “Let’s Talk Site C” discussions with you, the citizens of Fort St. John.  These discussions formed the template we have used for all negotiations with BC Hydro.

We have not yet reached an agreement with BC Hydro but continue to try.  At this time, we as a community have invested so much time, energy, resources and money into this elongated process I personally will be very frustrated if the dam is not approved.  Non-approval at this stage will mean that much of what we have done was a waste and not recoverable.  It will mean that BC Hydro will keep the lands they have purchased in perpetuity while our City will grow around the 85th Ave proposed mine site area.  It will mean that the lands that are within the Peace river Valley will continue to be held in a state of limbo and never be used in the full potential of farmable property.  It will mean that our community and region will continue to wait for BC Hydro and our Provincial Government to attempt this project again with the hope the next generation is less stubborn.  The decision is completely in the hands of Minister Bennet’s department and we are as ready as we can be for our community.  His remarks made recently are a bit surprising to me as it is very much a change of tone from the meetings we have had with him and BC Hydro over the past three years.

As to LNG, let’s get this going!  However, again please respect and exhibit a true benefit to our community and region.

We are in this together!

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

We must continue with responsible, sustainable and long term community development as outlined in the Official Community Plan (OCP).  It is necessary for Council and City staff to continue with transparent communication through all forms of media on issues that impact the citizens of Fort St. John and our regional neighbors.  Forecasting, evaluating and responding to the desires and demands of our citizens, in regards to increasing our standards on service delivery, while maintaining sustainable and affordable policies, will continue.  It is vitally important that we continue building relationships with regional partners and collective voices (Peace River Regional District, Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition and the North Central Local Government Association)  Together we must continue to work with the provincial government on critical issues such as:

o Healthcare

o Community safety

o Learning facilities

o Infrastructure

This is our community … we need to move forward together to secure our future.

On November 15th, please VOTE for Byron Stewart.[/wptab]

[wptab name=’Tamara Wilkinson’]tamara wilkinson

Tamara Wilkinson

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2014 municipal election?      

I was born and raised in Fort St John and my husband is from Victoria thus giving me two perspectives. I have been here during good times and not so good times. Right now Fort St John is at a crossroads; it’s growing faster than ever. I want to make sure that everything we love about Fort St John will be preserved and made better for all residents. I believe we can make this happen through partnership building, public participation, responsible planning, and transparency in government. I decided to run so I could be a part of the change to help Fort St John move forward through this crucial time.

2. What is the primary goal you’d like to accomplish if elected into office? How are you going to achieve this goal?

My goal is to try and keep the taxes low for the citizens. This can be achieved by spending money on what means the most. We need the safety and comfort of the citizens of Fort St John at the forefront. We need to concentrate on the roads, services and main infrastructures before thinking of other expenditures.

 

3. What is the biggest issue facing the community?

The short term growth is by far the biggest issue I see facing our community now. The long term growth that is being predicted is another issue to be prepared for. Both of these growths will exacerbate the expanding doctor shortage. The city has to make sure that we aren’t forgotten up here when it comes to recruiting doctors. We need to make it abundantly clear to the major project coordinators (LNG and Site C) that temporary medical facilities at these sites are not a solution to our problems. By putting these temporary facilities in place it is robbing us of long term doctors and nurses that our community desperately needs. We need to make sure our basic infrastructure is growing as quickly as our population is. Expanding our boundaries will help be able to create more neighbourhoods with the hopes of creating more affordable housing for young families and seniors.

4. What can the city do to prepare for the province’s potential LNG industry and Site C dam (both positive and negative aspects)?   

The LNG project would be beneficial for our citizens. Fort St John is the hub of BC’s oil and gas sector. Proper planning will position us for greater growth in the industry resulting in an increase in the amount of work in our area and thus sustaining our local businesses. The Site C will be a huge effect on our community, if passed in legislation, bringing literally thousands of jobs/people. Both of these projects will strain our infrastructure unless we are prepared.  We need to work with BC Hydro and the provincial government to ensure that our police, ambulance, emergency rooms, hospital and staff are in place to be able to take on the influx of the new members to our community. We need to be prepared for a huge increase in city traffic, commercial truck parking and activity. We want Fort St John to benefit from these projects not to have them cause a hindrance.

5. Who or what is holding back the growth of the community you’re running in?

Our growth doesn’t seem to be held back, we are growing all the time. The problem lies in having enough things in life that keep people happy.

We need:

1.     to encourage more retail businesses to come to our city which in turn will keep people shopping locally.

2.     incentives to be made to fill the empty downtown lots to promote development

3.     an increase in family friendly recreational facilities

4.     more schools and the ones that we have need major improvements

5.     better/faster fixes on the roads,

6.     more doctors

7.     increased police presence.

A boundary expansion would aid in the possibility of these projects as we would have the room and the funds to better the community as a whole.[/wptab]

[end_wptabset]

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Warning: array_merge(): Argument #2 is not an array in /home/energet6/public_html/wp-includes/widgets/class-wp-widget-custom-html.php on line 127

Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in /home/energet6/public_html/wp-includes/widgets/class-wp-widget-custom-html.php on line 134

Local Events

Doc Walker to play the Lido Theatre

HYPNOTIST: RAY ANDERSON

Jokes N Tokes Comedy Tour

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Must Read

Huskies fall to Navigators 7-2

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - The Fort St. John Huskies fell to the North Peace Navigators during game two of the series at the...

Trackers win over Storm 3-2