First elected to Terrace city council in 2005, then re-elected in 2008 and in 2011, Brian Downie brings a strong sense of volunteerism to the affairs of the city in his bid for a fourth term.
“I was involved in various community projects and back then it was the Sportsplex,” says Downie of his original motivation to run in 2005.
That community effort eventually resulted in the addition of the second sheet of ice and other renovations at the arena.
“A friend of mine then convinced me to run [in 2005] and actually she’s running right now,” adds Downie of Carol Leclerc who is one of two candidates for mayor.
“There are a lot of good things happening right now and it’s important we continue to make them better,” Downie continues of his motivation this time around.
A professional forester, Downie retired here as a manager in 2003 with the provincial forest service after 33 years of service.
His career took him to Prince Rupert and then to Smithers before transferring here in 1990.
All those years in the region gave him a chance to watch communities change and how they reacted to challenges.
“I think it was my experience in dealing ºwith the [forest] industry and that connection to communities which lead me to municipal politics,” Downie says.
He views Terrace as the center for the region, helped by its interactions with neighbouring First Nations communities.
“I really think that’s one of the hallmarks of our community,” says Downie.
The biggest issue the city has faced – and will continue to face – is dealing with growth already evident through the rebuilding of Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat aluminum smelter and B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line and the potential for more growth from proposed liquefied natural gas plants, he says.
All that industrial activity means population growth and the need to find a way to move traffic more efficiently through the city, said Downie.
And if there was a frustrating issue, it’s the provision of housing, especially for lower income earners.
Downie notes that while the city can encourage development through zoning and other methods, the city has no direct role in actually building housing.
“I think we can all see the problem, but it’s hard to get to a solution,” he said.
Downie, 67, now runs a small guided tour company.
He was nominated by Bill McRae and Art Erasmus.