Municipal elections are set for Nov. 15.

Candidate profiles: Prince Rupert City Council

The Northern View offered Prince Rupert city council candidates an opportunity to introduce themselves through a 250 word profile.

The Northern View offered Prince Rupert city council candidates in the Nov. 15 municipal election an opportunity to introduce themselves through a 250 word profile.

Anna Ashley

If re-elected to council, my main goals will be to address our infrastructure deficit and to plan and prepare for the industrial economic interest in our community.

We know exactly what our needs are and how much they will cost. It is now up to council to come up with policies and procedures that will facilitate these repairs and to creatively and prudently budget so residents can count on the basics – water, sewer and roads.

This will require actively selling and developing city property to get more on the tax roll and reviewing bylaws and procedures to encourage economic development.

I am committed to developing a comprehensive plan to replace our aging infrastructure by finding new sources of revenue and more efficient methods of delivering services.

I am committed to working with stakeholders to rejuvenate our local economy and ensuring that Prince Rupert remains open for business, while still protecting the qualities of life that the people of Prince Rupert value.

Our future prosperity depends on our ability to “think outside the box” and in engaging our entire community in that discussion so that we develop the best policies to ensure success.

It has been an honour to have served you on city council for the past six years.  I believe in our potential and our future.  The road will not be easy, but with determination we can get there.

On Nov. 15 I am asking for your vote so I can continue to do so.

Barry Cunningham

I have been in Prince Rupert since 1977 and shortly after met my wife Carrie. We raised three kids in town who blessed us with five grandchildren.  Over the years I have coached minor soccer and volunteered in minor hockey.

I ran my own flooring company until 14 years ago when I started work for the Canadian Coast Guard and have been working as a Pollution Response Officer.

I am a member of various groups which include being on the board of the North West Regional Hospital District, president of a union  local, I am on the Labour Council and a director of the Unemployment Action Centre Society.

Given present and future changes coming to Prince Rupert, I have made decent affordable housing one of my priorities.

With major projects proposed for the Northwest, the opportunities and hurdles we will see need to be recognized and addressed. Working with government, First Nations and industry, I believe we can achieve this. Any development in our region should be a benefit to us all.

With our aging city infrastructure, we must continue to pressure federal and provincial governments to assist us with the replacement and maintenance of our city infrastructure.

City council has a responsibility to assure residents that the city can sustain present and future growth for all.

I will continue to bring a fresh new approach to city council and represent the people’s needs. Remember to vote Saturday, Nov. 15.

Thank you.

Gina Garon

I am seeking re-election as a Prince Rupert city councillor for a third term … I believe that I have the knowledge, experience, dedication and ability to help the City of Prince Rupert achieve a healthy and prosperous future.

I have represented the city of various boards, such as Community Futures, Tourism Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Airport Society, the Integrated Health Communities Committee and the Northern Development Initiative Trust RAC committee, as well as being an alternate on the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District.

I bring a balanced approach to council as well as common sense. I believe in efficiency and effectiveness, which is something that I am proud to say our current staff brings to the table. I look forward to focusing and strategically planning for the hyper-activity that is about hit our community.  Increasing our tax base and attracting new business to our community is key to our success. It has been both an honour and a privilege to represent the City of Prince Rupert and I would love the opportunity to continue to do so for the next term.

I have owned and operated my own business for over 30 years, I was born, raised, married and raised a family here. Six generations of my family have lived in Prince Rupert.

My grandfather Ciccone always told stories of how one day Prince Rupert would be a great port city.  We are on the verge of becoming just that.  Prince Rupert is my home and I am deeply committed to working for the good of my community.

Nelson Kinney

Prince Rupert has been my home since 1957.

I was first elected to council in November, 2002. My focus on council is on seniors, youth and industry. Committee activities include the Performing Arts Centre board, recreation centre, executive director at the Seniors Centre and president of the Community Enrichment Society.

As the previous owner of a local hair salon, I have been active in the business community for many years. I am a tireless ambassador, always eager to participate in local events both as a resident and a council representative.

I am interested in promoting our city and speaking for all citizens, with a special interest in ensuring a good quality of life for seniors and youth.

I have gained much knowledge and experience in the 12 consecutive years on council and I thank the citizens of Prince Rupert for their support and allowing me to serve them. I am committed and dedicated to listening to the concerns of the people of Prince Rupert.

I am approachable, accountable and affordable. I am looking forward to serving the people as their representative on council for this term. I am committed to making sure the voice of every citizen is heard and represented on council, now and in the future.

Blair Mirau

The qualities that define my character are those I will apply to the role of city councillor: insight, passion, and commitment to achieving results.

I was born and raised in Prince Rupert and graduated from Prince Rupert Secondary School before completing a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development at the University of Winnipeg. I am currently employed by the local Nisga’a Society where I have managed a portfolio of business initiatives and so far solicited $400,000 towards economic development projects. I have also worked under contract at City Hall as a grant writer where I was able to secure over $1.25 million in funding for local projects, winning an international grant-writing award in 2012.

I have also served as a director of the Chamber of Commerce and have volunteered in Prince Rupert as a soccer coach, cruise ship ambassador and Skeena River Relay volunteer.

My key priorities for city council are enhancing accountability, increasing efficiency, and planning for prosperity. I believe my unique skill set and experience will foster fresh perspectives in our local government.

It’s time for the city to focus on growing our tax base. It’s time for council to focus on attracting new businesses, and to focus on encouraging existing businesses to expand. But most of all, it’s time to prepare Prince Rupert for prosperity.

Throughout this campaign, I’m reaching out to every Rupertite to hear about what sorts of change matter to us as a community. To learn more, please visit blairmirau.ca.

Wade Neish

I am a married father of three daughters, I have lived in Prince Rupert since I was 1.5 years old.

I am currently self- employed as a building contractor. I remember the good times of the past and the bad times that followed. Most of my adult life has been watching this city fall into disrepair. Poor decision-making from past councils has led us to a dark time financially and left us with infrastructure that is crumbling.

It is now time to break this vicious cycle of taxes up, services down and spend within our means. Unfortunately we have been put in this position but if we don’t take control of our destiny we will continue to follow down the same path.

I am an optimist and I do wish great things for our city, but I am also a realist and know that the way things have been run has not worked and caused epic failure. My hope is to help set this runaway train back on the right track and roll into a city of financial responsibility. We need to plan for the future but spend in the present.

This is a critical time in our city, let’s fix what is broken, let’s not kid ourselves thinking that we will survive selling purses to the tourists. We need jobs, affordable housing, and a city that is open for business in order to return to our former glory!

Vote Niesh, you won’t regret it.

Ray Pedersen

We now stand at a cross roads of a new economic era being ushered in by the fastest growing container port in North America and a number of multi-billion dollar LNG terminals being considered.

What is notable about this new economic track is not only the jobs that will be directly created, but by the industries and jobs that can be created from the spin- off industries surrounding the container port and LNG. These new industries provide us with a stable and predictable platform to build and grow our city so that is not held hostage to the fluctuation of commodity prices. We are poised to become a major player in the global supply chain. Now it is up to us to make it happen.

I believe that the city needs to have a plan, not just react to business as it comes to us willy-nilly. The growth of these new industries is an important part in ensuring that the city meets its triple bottom-line of economic, social and environmental stewardship. More businesses in Prince Rupert means more well paying jobs, which means more tax and the ability to think and function as a great port city.

I believe that with the right vision and leadership, Prince Rupert can take its place as a leading port city in North America.

I believe that I can be one of those leaders, and with your support, I’d like to begin to move this city towards its future.

Gurvinder Randhawa

My family and I have been living in this community for over 21 years and my three children were born and raised here. I am self-employed in my own business. I have been an active member for many years, coaching P.R. Minor Soccer, serving on the Tourism Prince Rupert Board, and currently sit as a board member of Northwest Community College.

I believe that our community is largely unprepared for the many economic opportunities coming our way. I want to ensure that local workers are fully prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities.

I am strongly committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with First Nations and neighbouring communities.

I intend to be accessible, approachable and open to all community members ensuring that their voices are heard by city council. As a family man, I am concerned about our quality of life in our community. I believe that local governments have a duty to press all senior level of governments for improvements to quality of life for the children, homeless, seniors and all our citizens.

If elected to council, I will work towards openness, transparency, and accountability and be committed to developing a comprehensive plan with funding options to replace our aging infrastructure as quickly as possible. I will work to help put polices in place that attract new economic opportunities and encourage growth in already existing businesses.

On Nov. 15 I ask for your support to send me to council to make sure every citizen is heard and represented on council.

Joy Thorkelson

In the next four years, the new council must prepare for and respond to three possibilities – that we maintain the same relatively slow level of economic growth that we have now, that we have a high level of economic activity brought about by one LNG terminal or that we have boom-style growth brought about by several near simultaneous projects.

The issues and solutions for each of these growth possibilities will be different. We need to inform ourselves about other city’s experiences and work with neighbouring communities to look at regional solutions.  Then, most importantly, there must be consultation, consultation, consultation with all sections of Prince Rupert’s citizenry .

Housing, a genuine concern at present, will be a crisis if we kick into a higher level of growth. Right now, seniors, supportive and low cost housing has to be created. BC Housing must replace the units that they tore down.  We need decent temporary shelters.  When the City housing inventory is complete, council must receive community feedback on needs, housing developments and density.

Finding money to consult and plan, fix and grow our infrastructure will continue to be a problem for the next four years. Council should take a good look at its five year plan instead of only planning on an annual basis.

And, foremost in my opinion, we need to ensure that good social and caring values are part of our planning processes.

A city is for its people – all its people.   And that will be my priority.