TAYLOR, B.C. – While this year’s municipal election in Fort St. John has been a relatively tame affair, things are a bit more exciting in the District of Taylor.
Unlike in Fort St. John where mayor Lori Ackerman has been acclaimed for the second election in a row, this year’s election will be the second in four years in which residents will get to choose which candidate they prefer to be the District’s next mayor.
Incumbent mayor Rob Fraser is seeking re-election after winning the race in 2014 to succeed Fred Jarvis, who retired after serving as Taylor’s mayor for 28 years. Fraser won that election with 53 percent of the vote, beating Brad Filmer and Wayne Wilmot. Prior to 2014, he was a councillor in Taylor for 12 years and also worked for the Worker’s Compensation Board for ten years after a career in the oil and gas industry.
Prosko, meanwhile, is seeking to be elected to public office for the first time in this year’s election. Most recently serving as Taylor’s community services director for four and a half years, Prosko previously owned Prosko Group Productions Inc. – a public relations and event management company based in Vancouver and Toronto. She also worked with former premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark, along with Liberal MP Hedy Fry.
The two mayoral candidates, along with other council candidates, took part in an all-candidates forum hosted by the District last Thursday.
Both candidates were provided with a list of eight questions so that residents can get to know them and their policies. Their answers are listed below.
- Why do you want to become mayor of Taylor?
Fraser: I feel I still have more to give back to the community that has supported me and my family for 26 years.
Prosko: I would like to become Mayor of Taylor because we need good governance, leadership and a policy focused council. Taylor is a gem in the heart of the peace region and it needs a clear vision for the next four years and for future prosperity.
- What area of governance is the District currently excelling at?
Fraser: Governance in Taylor is working well. Our council has been working hard at developing a culture of accountability and responsiveness. This culture is growing. Some people thrive in this type of environment, others do not.
Prosko: The main reason why I am running for Mayor is that there has not been an area of governance that I have seen as progressive for our town within the past four years. The council has been very involved in staff operations, there have been multiple firings and positions left vacant which has been detrimental to operations. Council’s job is policy.
- What area of governance needs improving at the District?
Fraser: Taylor is 60 years old. There is a need for a review of our services and delivery of those services. Our council has been advocating for a core services review, a service level review and an asset management plan.
Prosko: My main focus would be a complete policy review. There are policies over two decades old. My opponent is working off the John Ronald report from 1989. I believe we should have policies and a vision for 2018 and going forward for our community, residents and stakeholders.
- What are three things Taylor needs to spend more money on?
Fraser: Safety of our staff, the safety of our community, and preventative maintenance.
Prosko: The District of Taylor needs to be more effective with public engagement and consultation to ask the residents and stakeholders what they would like to see for their community. After speaking with many residents while doorknocking on my campaign, three things for Taylor that keep coming up are – 1) upkeep and safety of our infrastructure, 2) police presence and public safety and 3) before and after school care for our family-friendly community.
- What are three things Taylor needs to spend less money on?
Fraser: Everyone would like to see the subsidies to all services come down.
Prosko: The District of Taylor should aim to reduce subsidy on the medical clinic which is currently at $8000.00 per month and reduce subsidy on the Lone Wolf golf course. The current council implemented a meeting fee per diem, over and above their renumeration, and I don’t believe a meeting fee per diem is the right thing to do as it can get out of hand quickly.
- Where do you see Taylor in 4 years?
Fraser: Taylor will continue to be a dynamic partner in the region. Its responsible growth will attract residents and business to locate here.
Prosko: I see Taylor in four years as a safe, family friendly community with a developed commercial core including a grocery store, restaurants, small businesses and entrepreneurs. It will be back on track with the vision in the official community plan that includes walkability, safety and a thriving community.
- What’s your favourite movie?
Fraser: I have two; “Old Yeller” as one of the first movies I saw and the life lessons it teaches; “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” for its theme of leadership under trying conditions.
Prosko: One of my favourite movies is on repeat at my house as my daughter and I both love it: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. I also love “The Zookeepers Wife” – a poignant and important film.
- What are five albums you’d take with you if you knew you would be stranded on a desert island for five years.?
- Marty Robbins “Gunfighter Ballads”
- Eagles “Greatest Hits 1971- 1975”
- Trooper “Hits from 10 Albums”
- Garth Brooks “In Pieces”
- Bryan Adams “Reckless”
- Neil Diamond “Greatest Hits”
- Lenny Kravitz “5” (as I worked on that album to help market it while I was with Virgin Record Label, incredible experience)
- Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire”
- Michael Jackson “Thriller”
- Anything by Barbra Streisand or the Bee Gees!