The Municipal Election will be held on Saturday, October 15th.
MyNechakoValleyNow.com contacted all three candidates vying for Mayor in Vanderhoof who are looking to replace Gerry Thiessen after a 14-year-run.
Heading into the big vote, housing seems to be the biggest issue on the minds of all three hopefuls.
Here are the answers from all three candidates as to how they would fix the housing crunch that is plaguing much of the Nechako Valley.
Kevin Moutray: “We have over 250 vacant jobs here in Vanderhoof right now and we can’t attract people to those jobs because we have nowhere for them to live. So, really it’s about how to get that into place will be key.”
Ken Holden: “There are private enterprises willing to put in subdivisions to build houses if they can find a place to put them. One of the problems we have here is that the services are not in place to allow for any type of major expansion.”
“There has been a movement I would say for the last three terms of council where they decide to hold the population below 5,000 was a priority for what council was dealing with. I am not sure that was the right way to go
George Funk: “To me, it’s a team effort between mayor and council and community. My feeling is that I would rather accommodate change than make a change. The district is in need of several levels of housing from apartment buildings to multi-family dwellings.”
In terms of secondary topics, this is where each candidate slightly differs.
For Funk, expanding the agricultural sector is key in order for the Vanderhoof area to thrive.
“I guess I would just be one of those that would encourage the agricultural world to expand as we have a lot of room for that yet and that creates probably the best stability in our community.”
Holden on the other hand believes the tax rate for the district is too high for a population base that is hovering around the 5-thousand mark.
“That is one of my big ones. I have been working with the budget figures, questioning why our taxes are as high as they are. I have lived in other places and we are a little higher.”
“There is a different vision I guess for the people that I represent have for Vanderhoof. Openness and encouraging businesses is a big one and of course, that comes right back to taxes,”
As for Moutray, he is of the thought process Vanderhoof is experiencing a resource boom due to the Mount Milligan mine which is a copper-gold project located 155 kilometers northwest of Prince George and the Artemis Blackwater Gold Project 100km just south of Vanderhoof.
He thinks both projects will attract more people to the area.
“Right now, the main access to Artemis is through Vanderhoof. I sit on the Mount Milligan Community Sustainability Committee and we know that mines and the people that live in the community instead of flying in and out are a lot more reliable workforce. I think with both that mine and Mount Milligan where Vanderhoof could definitely have more employees going there as we have a bus that leaves there and comes back. I see economic potential and will add to our town.”
In addition, 13 people are vying for six council spots within the District of Vanderhoof.
They consist of the following:
- Tom Bulmer
- Jeff Craig
- Brian Frenkel
- Brad Dejax
- Cyndi Lauze
- Eric Lytle
- Ernest Martens
- Kurt McKee
- Spencer Siemens
- Bill Teichroeb
- Henry Thiessen
- David Van Dolah
- Ken Young
Voting runs from 8 am to 8 pm on election day and residents can cast their ballot at the Friendship Centre on 219 Victoria Street, East.