For Fort Nelson's new incoming mayor, Rob Fraser, it's been quite an October.
The well-known local leader, who's completing an eight-year term as mayor in Taylor, found out the news of his election to the mayor's chair in the Northern Rockies while in a hospital bed in Vancouver.
Fraser confirmed to Alaska Highway News he underwent open heart surgery Thursday at St. Paul's Hospital after an earlier scheduled appointment revealed the urgency for the operation.
“I'm looking at a 100% recovery, maybe even more than 100%. I have full confidence my health is going to be better. You could even say my heart is in it,” said Fraser, his sense of humour still in check.
“It went well. The surgeons here are the best in the province. I expect to be back in the community mid to late this week. I fully intend on being at the first council meeting.”
While new to the role of an elected leader in his hometown, Fraser has twenty years of council experience in the District of Taylor, eight of those as mayor.
Since leaving Fort Nelson, he's stayed connected through family and friends, visiting regularly, and establishing a trap line about two hours outside of the community.
At 62 years young, as he puts it, the avid golfer is ready to roll up his sleeves.
“The first priority will be to sit down with council and meet with staff and look at the vision and future for the community and from an election perspective, it's looking at the petty theft and some of the wildlife that's been plaguing the community,” said the mayor-elect.
“To see what the staff and regulatory agencies are doing. I want to look at the history, with respect to wildlife, the programs that they have in place, and what we can do next.”
“As for petty theft, I would like to meet with the detachment commander and, again, find out what the history has been. Fort Nelson is one of the only places I've been where there's a Facebook page dedicated to the issue of theft. If these people need help, we need to get them the right help. If they don't need help, and they're not prepared to take it, then we need to address that too.”
Fraser and the entire council will be sworn in to a four-year-term Nov. 7.