Fresh off his second consecutive successful election campaign, Mayor Jack Mussallem says he is ready to tackle to future of Prince Rupert head on.
“I think a lot of people have a clear understanding about the opportunities for the city, but there are still financial constraints we face. That being said, I can tell you that there are more announcements coming…We’re going to continue to see interest in Prince Rupert and a lot of the projects, once built, will have a life expectancy of 50 years or more,” he said, noting that many of the projects under consideration may not become operational for a number of years.
“In the next three years council’s concerns will be the money we have, how much growth is on the tax roll and also when that growth will be implemented. But any projects would need to be acceptable to the community as a whole…Council is also anxious to deal with Watson Island to get that back on the tax roll and create jobs for the region.”
Indeed, taxes were one issue Mussallem said came up frequently in the last campaign during his discussions with people in the community.
“The overall message was that people were very concerned about the year to year tax increases, so any relief found would be appreciated. Also going forward people made it clear they want to be more informed,” he said.
Mussallem will be overseeing a council with four familiar faces – Gina Garon, Anna Ashley, Nelson Kinney and Joy Thorkelson – and two new faces in Jennifer Rice and Judy Carlick-Pearson. Mussallem said the make-up of council is indicative of the feeling in the community.
“I think people in Prince Rupert are comfortable with the incumbents. They’ve seen a council that is able to work together, there is stability there and the relationship between council and administration is stable,” he said.
“Going forward though, there is also a desire to see some new blood on council and we saw that in the election of two young people who don’t necessarily have the municipal government experience…I look forward to working with the new council. I’m sure each of tem will bring their own ideas and suggestions to the table.”
Mussallem says he is grateful for the support of the people in the election
“I’m very happy people have the confidence in me to continue working on their behalf,” he said.