Former Terrace mayor remembered for getting the job done

Jack Talstra kept his focus on his community of Terrace, B.C.

FORMER mayor Jack Talstra, who passed away Dec. 5, 2014, very rarely lost his temper in public. But when he did, it was for a direct effect.

It was mid-1997, the first months of uncertainty following the news that forest products giant Repap and its B.C. subsidiary, Skeena Cellulose, was in deep financial trouble. Closure of the company’s sawmill here, a showcase when it opened in 1988, and which drove the city’s and area’s employment and business base would bring on a crisis.

During a noon-hour council session Mr. Talstra spent a few minutes listening to his officials and those from the highways ministry debate the minute details of the ins and outs of vehicle access off of Keith Ave. to the Real Canadian Wholesale Club store then under construction.

The thrust of the debate seemed to indicate that a lot was going to be asked of Real Canadian to get vehicles to and from the store.

After a pause, Mr. Talstra angrily told his officials and those from the ministry that the store was coming to the community and was going to bring in jobs, badly needed ones, so everyone just needed to go back and figure it out. The access issue was then very quietly resolved.

Perhaps Mr. Talstra wasn’t really angry that day. Perhaps it was a clever tactic to get something to happen. But with a major employer in trouble and the need to find other business, Mr. Talstra simply did what he needed to do.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Dec. 17, 2014