Much has been done, still lots left to do

Former Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski reflects on his years in office

By Dave Pernarowski

I spent some time during the last weeks of my term as mayor of Terrace reflecting on the past six years. Looking through my paperwork, I found the municipal election campaign literature I put together from 2008.

It was interesting to review my platform statements from six years ago. The message I was sharing was about taking a new approach, looking at new ideas, and creating policy that would stimulate the economy. I asked you to “vote for change.”

In 2008, my list of platform items was headed up with “build new infrastructure right away to attract business, industry and investment to our community.”

We were successful in lobbying for the Northwest Transmission Line. This determined grass roots effort will now bring clean energy to northern communities and open up opportunities for economic growth. My next platform points were to “revitalize our downtown” and “sell the Co-op property.” Both were accomplished.

With the sale of this prime downtown real estate, we will now see jobs created, taxes generated, and a brand new building constructed.

I then listed “fix our roads and build new sidewalks” as the next platform point. We managed a few years of accelerated road resurfacing with some creative financing. Much more work needs to be done on city roads and sidewalks.

The next platform item relates to brownfield sites throughout the city. I stated, “clean up brownfield sites to stimulate new construction, new jobs, and new revenue for the city and create a more beautiful, vibrant community.” Brownfield remediation remains a challenging file and needs ongoing work from the new mayor and council.

Next was an important point that said, “respond to the affordable housing needs in Terrace.” Over the years we’ve created a housing task force, produced a housing needs assessment report, and spent considerable time attracting real estate investors to the city.

I also suggested we “work closely with social services professionals to address issues like alcoholism, drug abuse, and crime and youth problems.” Introducing a downtown RCMP street patrol brought an immediate improvement to the heart of our city, however, more work needs to be done overall to address these serious problems.

My next platform point was “to introduce city wide, curb-side recycling with a processing facility in Terrace.” Getting curbside recycling was a huge move forward for Terrace.

I listed another platform point to “create a Terrace Community Foundation and benefit the community for generations to come.” We now have a foundation that has had a very successful first year in operation. As this foundation fund grows, so will its ability to support community organizations and projects and will truly leave a lasting legacy for the City of Terrace.

I went on to suggest we “create a Greater Terrace with amalgamation to draw new investment opportunities and new lobbying power.” This is still an important conversation six years later.

A thorough study on incorporation and amalgamation will help us determine the best path forward. I also suggested we “focus on healthy lifestyles and a green community,” and look for ways to “build a new community centre.”

I also promoted the concept of building a “fully accessible pedestrian walkway and bike overpass” at Kalum Street to connect the south side with our downtown. I believe we should continue to pursue these ideas.

My final platform point stated, “inject a new sense of community pride and optimism in Terrace.”

Winning national competitions, hosting prestigious sporting events and mining conferences, and working together to find creative solutions to diversify our economy all helped us meet and exceed this goal.

Terrace is extremely well positioned for incredible growth and unimagined economic diversity. We should continue to build on these opportunities while always staying focused on how these changes will impact our environment.

It’s a balance we can accomplish with great success. The past six years serving this community as mayor has been so rewarding.

Thank you for your trust and confidence in me. I promised change. More change is on the way.

Let’s make sure we continue to work together as a community to wisely take advantage of the exciting opportunities at our doorstep.

After two three-year terms, Dave Pernarowski decided not to run again for mayor of Terrace. His replacement, Carol Leclerc, was sworn in Dec. 1.