The provincial election race for Peace River North has seen the entry of a third independent candidate seeking to replace Pat Pimm in May.
Fort St. John businessman Bob Fedderly formally launched his campaign last week.
“The timing is right. I think we really need to take a look at how politics is done here,” he said.
“I’ve looked at the slate of candidates so far and I think I have the best chance to win.”
Fedderly was born in Dawson Creek, grew up in Hudson’s Hope, and attended agricultural school in Fairview before incorporating his business, Fedderly Transportation in 1980.
He’s been mulling a run for the last year and studying the issues facing the riding, citing jobs, infrastructure, and cleaning up politics as his top three priorities.
When it comes to the local economy, natural gas liquids development remains a strong point for the region, while the future of B.C.’s LNG picture remains unclear, he said.
“The liquids are where the money is at and kept this area going. It’s feeding a ton of families in this area right now,” he said.
“We don’t have to look too far north. Fort Nelson, unfortunately, has suffered with the fact they have dry gas. I think we have to work on how to address some of that, but for right now, we can be exporting every liquid on the carbon chain.”
The region must also focus on maintaining its relationship with U.S. consumers, where the region’s dry processed gas is destined, he said.
Beyond oil and gas, Fedderly sees opportunity to marry the biomass and forestry industries when it comes to alternative energy development in the province. He is opposed to Site C, calling its economics “terrible” and only a short-term job generator.
“What’s going to happen when it’s done? People will have to go back to what they were doing before Site C came along,” he said.
“We’re already buying electricity and paying other private producers not to produce, yet we’re investing in huge infrastructure that we can’t afford right now. If we put that $10 billion into … smaller scaleable projects, natural gas, biomass, wind, solar, etcetera, all of these items, once they’re hooked to BC Hydro’s legacy reservoirs all become firm power.”
On infrastructure, replacing the Taylor bridge and keep rural and resource roads in good condition are top priorities.
“We have a government more concerned with building bridges within a 40-kilometre radius of Vancouver than they are with making sure we’ve got a timed out bridge in Taylor that needs to be replaced,” Fedderly said.
Railway tracks in the region can also be upgraded to enable more access for gas producers to ship their product, he added.
“How much does that add to cost if we don’t have a track that will take full, 50 to 100-car trains? How does that put us on a competitive scale?” he said.
Fedderly is running as an independent alongside Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser and local biologist and agrologist Jeff Richert.
Dan Davies is in the running representing the BC Liberals. The NDP and Green Party have yet to announce candidates.
British Columbians head to the polls May 9.