Fort St. James residents are going to be participating in another by-election, this time, to replace councillor Corey Gingrich who resigned from the position due to personal/family reasons and work obligations in October last year.
Brenda Gouglas and Bradley Miller are running for the position on council. Both Gouglas and Miller have spent time on council in the past.
General voting day is Jan. 30 between 8 am and 8 p.m. at the Fort St. James Community Centre. Advance voting will be open at the Community Centre on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day.
For Bradley Miller, he believes the town needs to work more towards small businesses.
He said a lot of business owners who don’t live within town limits cannot vote in Fort St. James elections, and he wants to work towards changing that.
Miller said the town needs to upgrade infrastructure such as water and sewer and do some other maintenance.
He ran for council in 2014 and was elected. However, Miller only served for a year and resigned due to an argument he had with the Village regarding a tax sale.
“I am a lot more educated about council matters now than I was in 2014. This town has always been about who you know, not what you know, and I don’t agree with that at all. I want this community to grow and there seem to be too many followers on council. If one person thinks its a good idea, then everyone agrees. I think we need to have a change in opinion.”
“I am not there to make friends with mayor and council, but there to bring some different ideas. I won’t be a ‘yes-man’. I want to bring some common sense to the Village,” he said.
He said the world has changed quite a bit due to COVID-19, and he feels the town needs to adapt to that change.
For Gouglas, she spent three terms on council and wants to bring experience, transparency and fiscal responsibility back to the council table.
If elected in 2021, Gouglas said amongst other things she wants to — share the experience and knowledge gained from her time in council to fill the gaps created through excessive turnover of staff and council members that have occurred over the last two years.
She said she wants to rebuild transparency and openness into the role of council when it comes to informing, engaging and involving the public.
“For the past two years the only avenue for the public to be engaged has been through Council meetings; that has proven to be ineffective. There have been no town hall sessions, public forums, or visioning workshops that have brought our community together to share the wants and the needs that should help shape the goals of Council. Even though Covid has impacted in-person get-together’s there is opportunity to hold events through virtual formats,” she said.
Additionally she wants to ensure that over 4 Million received from the Northern Capital and Planning Grant is spent on Fort St. James’ aging and deteriorating infrastructure such as roads, water system, sewer system and properties.
“I have the experience, knowledge and confidence needed to once again fulfill the duties of this role. During my 10 years on Council my portfolios included Public and Social Health, Library, Economic Development, Tourism, Environment, Protective Services, and Public Works. The insight I gained throughout that time has given me a sound understanding of our District’s various departments and the role that Council has in and outside of them. In the off years I have attended Council, budget, and Council committee meetings as a member of the public to keep up to date on the successes and challenges that have an impact on our community,” Gouglas said when asked why residents should choose her as a councillor again.