What is your vision of Fort St. James in 5 years? In 20?
In 5 years I would like to see our community hall constructed a safer trucking route either in the form of a bypass or improvements made to our existing roads. We need Development of a new subdivision to accommodate the new residents we are going to see from the new mine and increased logging activity.
My vision for the next 20 years is to grow our community into a more diverse and self sustaining community both in industry and lifestyle. The loop walking trail was funded by a forest stumpage pot of money outside of municipal taxes. Let’s pursue that funding again. We live on a beautiful lake that the provincial government is reluctant to develop for home and cottage use. Why not? Its billion dollar industry in Ontario supporting many small communities. We have an aging infrastructure that needs replacement. A long term replacement plan is needed. We could diversify our local industry by encouraging recreation and sports events. Why do we not have an outdoor skating and hockey rink? There is a lack of industrial and residential lots. We need a plan to show investors we are open for business.
How and what needs to be done to achieve that?
We can accomplish this by having new partnerships with developers for home and lot construction. I would encourage our mayor and council to pursue a more fair tax sharing agreement. The fuel tax alone that our local logging trucks have paid over the years should have paid a few times over for safer and better maintained roads both within and leading into our community. We should review the advantages of becoming a township encompassing those areas adjacent to us that are currently within the regional district.
A good 20 year plan needs input from our community. We can only accomplish this by meeting and canvassing our residents and business owners for their visions and support.
What do you see as the key issues facing Fort St. James today?
Sewer and water infrastructure replacement. Long term planning for community growth and stability. Revenue sharing with mining and other resource use in our area. The large volume of truck traffic through town. Downtown off road public parking. Transparency and better communication of financial decisions made by the district.
What are your top three priorities when tackling these issues?
I see revenue sharing, a safer road system to carry the anticipated increase in truck traffic through town and a sewer and water replacement plan as our top three priorities.
Where will your priorities be when it comes to budget issues?
A better transparent budget plan that has clear district projects with timelines is needed. We need to develop a monthly/ bi-monthly report card system for the community to review. Lots of hard financial decisions have to be made by mayor and council but I would like to support a better communication system to report to the community what is being done and why. As a new councillor I would initiate a review of our purchasing policy to make “buy local “a priority.
What role do you see council playing with regards to youth and hunger and homelessness initiatives and issues? Active, supportive, none?
I am supportive of current council initiatives. I would support new ideas as issues present themselves.
How would you like to see the local district get involved in meeting their carbon emission reduction targets?
We need to encourage renewable resource use for heating and transportation within the community. Of concern to me is the failure of the carbon taxes we currently pay, returning to us in the form of infrastructure funding to change over to a renewable resource use for heating our community. We need to make more efficient use of our train system for goods transportation, review the cost of wind and solar power on a community use sized basis.