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Foster looking to return as mayor

Forestry, rail, economic drivers for Fort Nelson and region
Mayor Gary Foster wants to create a strong economic future for the Northern Rockies.

Current mayor Gary Foster came to Fort Nelson nearly 43 years ago.

His brother, an RCMP officer in the community at the time, suggested he come up.

He hasn’t left.

“The outdoors are like no place else. I enjoy the summers here, the days are long. The weather in the summer is great,” said Foster when asked what he loves and what’s kept him in place for over four decades.

“We have such a huge abundance of wildlife. Beautiful scenery, lakes, streams and, of course, the Northern Rockies that seem to go on forever.”

Foster is completing his first term as mayor for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and decided recently to put his name forward, again.

Re-igniting the forest industry, he considers, as one of the biggest challenges facing the community.

“As I said, when I was elected four years ago, we will roll up our sleeves and do what we can to change the economy of the Northern Rockies. Rail seems to be the last hurdle that we have to get over. I’m confident the provincial government is going to do their share to help us re-establish our forest industry,” Foster continued.

“We have to have an economical viable way to get our resources to market.”

He believes that’s by rail.

Foster was asked if growing business was another priority as he seeks re-election.

“You know, when I first took office four years ago, we had over a hundred foreclosures in houses, in homes, in Fort Nelson. Today, there’s five,” he pointed out.

“I think the economy of the Northern Rockies is growing. It’s growing slowly, but what we really need is primary industry, like any other rural community like Taylor or Mackenzie or Tumbler Ridge. You need to have that resource base to provide the jobs for people.”

Foster feels his top priority is getting the municipality away from, what he terms, as the current economic downturn.

“Re-establishing forestry, re-establishing the oil and gas industry. We have huge resources in oil and gas. Moving forward to brand new forms of energy like the geo-thermal plant being constructed by the Fort Nelson First Nation.”

Proposals for hydrogen production and facilities for carbon sequestering, other possibilities, Foster adds.

While forestry will likely always be a staple, he points to another project already in use as the future of industry.

“We have a mini-LNG plant that liquifies natural gas and sends it up to the Yukon. These types of things are going to provide fuel for our economy.”

Current District of Taylor mayor Rob Fraser is challenging Foster for the mayor’s chair.

Election day is Oct. 15; advanced voting takes place on Oct. 5 and 12.

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