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Peace Region councillors upbeat about future

Some municipalities in Northeastern B.C. may be small in population, but newly elected councillors and mayors will face some big challenges. Last Saturday, municipal elections were held throughout B.C.
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Some municipalities in Northeastern B.C. may be small in population, but newly elected councillors and mayors will face some big challenges.

Last Saturday, municipal elections were held throughout B.C. In Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Tumbler Ridge, and the Peace River Regional District, 14 new faces with varying levels of municipal experience were brought onto their representative boards.

It was not all new faces. Sixty per cent – or 21 – of these representatives were incumbents who were re-elected.

All of the representatives reached by the Alaska Highway News were upbeat about what the future holds.

 

Pouce Coupe

In Pouce Coupe, William Plowright was re-elected as mayor.

“The people in the village can see our track record, and I’m sure they’ve been happy with what’s going on,” he said. “We want to make a friendly, safe and affordable place to live, while promoting small town values.”

Plowright already has some plans for what he wants to do.

“We’re looking to expand the boundaries of the village,” he said. “We’ve run out of lands to develop…we plan on keeping positive and moving forward, and keeping our taxes low and people happy.”

 

Taylor

In Taylor, newly elected mayor Rob Fraser said he was “honoured” by his win.

“I’m still seeing the weight of it, sorting it out.”

Earlier, Fraser said that he has gone through a year’s worth of Taylor’s council minutes so that he can “hit the ground running.”

“My plans are to get the council together, to get us working as a team with staff and an understanding of the priorities of other councillors and staff,” he said.

“We need to get together in December and January and really make a plan for priorities moving forward.”

 

Hudson's Hope

Newly elected Hudson's Hope councillor Heather Middleton said that she was "pretty excited about the opportunity to work with the community."

Asked what put her ahead, Middleton said, "I would hope that it would be some of my background and my experience in terms of dealing with natural resource projects and my willingness to work with the families of the community."

For now, she plans to get acquainted with the issues facing Hudson's Hope and try and get ideas from the community.

 

Chetwynd

New Chetwynd councillor Clay Bassendowski said his victory “feels almost overwhelming.”

In addition to help raise an eight-year-old daughter, Bassendowski must now learn the ins and outs of municipal politics.

Bassendowski said he had “a steep learning curve” in front of him, but he isn’t intimidated.

For another Chetwynd resident – re-elected councillor Alec Brownlee the challenges weren’t all that new.

“I’m looking forward to finishing all the projects we started and getting some that we know that are coming down the pipe.”

In addition to needed sewage lagoon issues, Brownlee said that he wanted to help with Chetwynd’s medical situation. With two of Chetwynd’s four doctors set to retire, Brownlee wants to try and finish the doctor’s office in the village currently underway.

“What happens (with fewer doctors) is they don’t get any time off, then they get burnt out,” he said.

“It’s important to our little district and regional district around the area that we have the four doctors.”

Tumbler Ridge

Don MacPherson is a familiar face on council in Tumbler Ridge, but next time he’s in the chamber, he’ll be in the mayor’s chair.

“It’s been an exciting month or so of campaigning,” said newly elected mayor MacPherson. “It’s nice to see it come to fruition.” His years on council may have helped him push ahead of the competition.

“I ran on my experience,” he said. “I’ve been a small business owner in Tumbler Ridge for many years.”

 

PRRD

Another new face is Dan Rose, who was elected to represent Area C in the PRRD.

One of the issues he'll be looking at is a revised building bylaw currently under discussion, which Rose said “needs to be resolved and put to bed.”

Rose also said the PRRD “needs to come up with a new communication strategy on how they’re going to communicate with rural residents.”

“Radio, TV, even the internet websites isn’t working,” he said. “Maybe we’re going to have to go back to something more personal.”

reporter@ahnfsj.ca