MUNICIPAL elections aren’t until November but a race for the mayor’s chair could already be shaping up.
Bruce Bidgood, first elected to council in 2008 and again in 2011, says he’ll be running for the top spot now held by Dave Pernarowski.
“It is my intention to run as mayor next fall,” said Bidgood last week, noting later that it’s still too early to start talking about his political platform with the election months away.
But Bidgood said it’s “no surprise” that he’s had an interest in serving in the position as mayor. His mayoral aspirations date back to late December 2010 when he mulled over running against Pernarowski.
At that time, Bidgood was a first-term city councillor who had the second highest vote total among council candidates in the 2008 municipal election and Pernarowski was a first-term mayor, having defeated veteran mayor Jack Talstra in 2008.
Bidgood reaffirmed his interest in running for mayor through 2011 but decided against the move just before nominations for the November 2011 municipal elections opened.
A number of things have changed between then and now, he said.
“The time has changed,” he said. “We’re at an absolute turning point in terms of Terrace’s history and in terms of its future… I think that we need really strong leadership in order to maximize Terrace’s position and Terrace’s leadership as we move forward.”
He also singled out the experience he’s gained in a number of leadership positions – he is currently the chair of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district and vice-president of the North Central Local Government Association – as well as the stability of the current council, as reasons behind his decision to run.
“This time around I think that we have a very strong council,” Bidgood said.
In 2011, council was experiencing a high level of turnover with two councillors retiring and two running for mayor.
But council is relatively stable now, he said.
“I think the vast majority of people are interested in continuing.”
Pernarowski, meanwhile, says he won’t be announcing his plans until this fall.
“Terrace is in a position to see significant growth through 2014. It will be a busy year that will require a high degree of focus from council, city staff, and our community organizations. I would like to spend this year continuing to work hard advancing items that are important to improving Terrace and our region,” said the mayor in a statement.
“I plan to announce my intentions about running for mayor in the November municipal election about three months in advance of the election date which I believe is an appropriate amount of time to inform the community,” Pernarowski continued.
Pernarowski’s re-election in November 2011 saw him defeat several candidates, including Bruce Martindale, who was a city councillor but decided instead in that election to make a run for the mayor’s chair.
In addition to interest in the mayor’s job, there will also be a change on city council with Marylin Davies announcing she won’t be running again.
Davies and husband Phil are putting their home up for sale and are moving to Courtenay on Vancouver Island.
Davies has sat on council for three terms over two periods of time and says the move will help her health which is affected by the damp climate here.
“It’s still damp there but it’s a much gentler damp. We’ll see. Everyone says rent for a year and make sure that’s what you want,” said Davies.
“To me it’s always been ‘look forward’ and ‘know how to say goodbye,’” said Davies, adding that she hopes to work on her writing in retirement.
Since Davies’ resignation from council is happening after January 1, it will not trigger a byelection to replace her, according to the B.C. Community Charter.
With files from Anna Killen.