Councillor Dave Birdi.

Councillor candidate Dave Birdi

Councillor Dave Birdi answers questions put forward by the community of Fort St. James.

What is your Vision of FSJ in 5 years? In 20?

I vision the future of our community as a place for investment, the place to live, to work and retire.  Council economic initiatives, the start-up of saw mills, and the construction of the Mt. Milligan mine have created opportunities and challenges. The stable economic confidence will continue to attract people and investments to our town. Future growth of the community includes further diversifying economically with pellet plants, wood-residue power station, and a service centre for the current and developing mines in the region.  Young families and residents will choose to relocate here for the affordable housing along with the many amenities.

Some of the challenges the opportunities create are increase demand on roads, housing, medical and social services.  The increase in traffic on the North Road, Highway 27, and the “5 corners” will require improvements and continuing rapport with the provincial government to the solutions.

I believe the community needs to have affordable housing to attract and retain the residents.  An increase in community population and a good business environment will help the community with infrastructure and maintain low levels of taxation. Better water, more sidewalks, a bigger Senior’s Centre, and pressing the provincial government for a new hospital and operation of the medical clinic.

The increased economic activity should help the social challenges of getting people to contribute to community.  I’m a strong believer of the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever.”  My involvement with the Prince George Treaty advisory committee addresses issues of homelessness and hunger by providing economic opportunities and self-reliance.  Continuing talks with Nak’azdli and neighbour First Nations communities on addressing social challenges that affect our communities.

I strongly support initiatives that promote healthy and active lifestyle and reducing carbon emission targets.  One of the projects I was involved with was getting funding for the building of a bridge for pedestrians and snowmobiles over Stuart River. I want to see the project continue and connect with a network of trails beginning at Airport Road and leading into town, and towards the mill sites.

How and what needs to be done to achieve that?

Continuing rapport with community and other levels of government and local policies makes my vision of a progressive community, becoming diversified in our people and industry a reality.

 

What do you see as the key issues facing Fort St James today?

I vision the future of our community as a place for investment, and as the place to live, to work and to retire.  Council economic initiatives, the start-up of saw mills, and the construction of the Mt. Milligan mine have created opportunities and challenges. The stable economic confidence will continue to attract people and investments to our town. Future growth of the community includes further diversifying economically with pellet plants, a wood-residue power station, and a service centre for the current and developing mines in the region.  Young families and residents will choose to relocate here for the affordable housing along with the many amenities of our town and surrounding area.

Some of the challenges are increased demand on roads and housing, and medical and social services.  Pressuring the provincial government for a new hospital, and operation of the medical clinic will be among my priorities.

The increase in traffic on the North Road, on Highway 27, and the “5 corners” within town will require improvements and continuing rapport with the provincial government to find solutions.

I believe the community needs to have affordable housing to attract and retain residents.  The District will need to further develop the land for housing.  By increasing land supply, land prices should not inflate and be affordable for housing.

My role with the seniors included the upgrades of the Senior Centre’s kitchen and new furniture and also funding for a seniors co-ordinator.  There is a demonstrated need to continue with the expansion of the seniors’ centre for their exercise programs.

 

Where will your priority’s be when it comes to budget issues?

 

Budget priorities will be to continue improving infrastructure including water, roads and sidewalks; and recreational facilities such as tennis courts, soccer and soft ball fields.  To maintain low levels of taxation, we will continue to pursue provincial and federal grants.  The stable economic climate will continue to attract people and investments to our town contributing to the services provided.

 

What role do you see council playing with regards to youth & hunger & homelessness initiatives and issues? Active, supportive or none?

The increased economic activity should help the social challenges of getting people to contribute to the community.  I’m a strong believer in the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever.”  My involvement with the Prince George Treaty Advisory Committee addresses issues of homelessness and hunger by providing economic opportunities and self-reliance.  Continuing talks with Nak’azdli and neighbouring First Nations communities on addressing social challenges that affect our communities is another of my priorities. There are many social service organizations that support the youth programs.  We need to support their funding proposals and encourage them to be contributors to the community.

 

How would you like to see the local district get get involved in meeting their carbon emissions reduction targets?

I strongly support initiatives that promote healthy and active lifestyles, and reducing carbon emissions.  One of the projects I was involved with was getting funding for the building of a bridge for pedestrians, bicycles, and snowmobiles over Stuart River, as a safer mode for crossing the river.  I want to see that project continue, and also have that bridge connect with a network of trails beginning at Airport Road and leading into town, and then on towards the mill sites. The trail option would be an attractive route for pedestrians and bicyclists.