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Who will represent you on city council?

Terrace’s eight candidates tell us why they’re running for a seat

When Terrace voters go to the polls Oct. 20 they will notice a familiar name or two and the switching of jurisdictions by some current elected officials, such as Jessica McCallum Miller, who is now the Terrace rural director on the regional district, now instead running for a Terrace council seat.

There are six Terrace council seats with incumbents Sean Bujtas, Lynne Christiansen, James Cordeiro and Brian Downie running again.

Also in the Terrace council race are the above-mentioned McCallum-Miller, Martin Holzbauer, Evan Ramsay and David Try who is also the vice chair of the Coast Mountain College Board.

On the mayoral level, Carol Leclerc had faced a challenge from Kitimat resident and comic Danny Nunes (AKA The Kool-Aid Man), but Nunes withdrew saying he had accomplished his goal of raising electoral awareness among younger voters.

This means Leclerc returns by acclamation for a second four-year term as mayor.

Because Leclerc was acclaimed as mayor and didn’t have the same opportunities as council candidates to address voters, the Terrace Standard invited her to say a few words as she prepares for another term. We have also invited all council candidates to share what’s important to them in running for a council seat. Following the mayor’s message, read their responses below (in alphabetical order).

Mayor Carol Leclerc | Thank you for allowing me to be your Mayor, it is a huge honour and a job I enjoy.

Following the recent LNG Canada announcement, the next term is likely to be exciting and challenging. We are hoping lessons learned when Rio Tinto, the NW Transmission Line and the Red Chris Mine were all being built at the same time, that we are better prepared.

The City has been busy with planning: transportation, parks and recreation, housing, parking, downtown revitalization, marketing, official community plan, economic development strategy and other studies are complete or being completed.

We know mental health, addictions, vagrancy and housing are issues in our community. We have lobbied the provincial government for help in these areas and will continue to do so.

We have initiated the process to increase the number of municipal RCMP assigned to the Terrace detachment.

The Skeena Industrial Development Park is a joint venture with the City and the Kitselas First Nations and is a huge priority. The development going on is incredible. Millions of dollars are being invested by Taisheng International Investment Services. Clearing, roads, water, sewer, hydro are part of the development to date, all done by local contractors. This project is important because it will grow our industrial tax base.

The Northwest Resource Benefit Alliance: Terrace is one of 21 local governments from Haida Gwaii to Vanderhoof who are currently in negotiations with the provincial government for a funding agreement where some of the revenue generated by regional industries comes back to northwest local governments.

In December the new council will set the course for the next four years. We know we are going to have to steer our city through the effects of LNG Canada and the Skeena Industrial Development Park but we cannot lose sight of the current services and needs in our City. Youth, seniors, infrastructure, climate change, arts, culture, tourism, economic development, sustainability, recreation, transportation, protection services, social issues, and a new hospital are part of what lays ahead for this new council. Your input is important to help us know what is important to you.

Sean Bujtas | I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve my home town on City Council for the past four years. I was born and raised in Terrace, and have a long history of volunteerism in the community. I have a twenty-year-old daughter, Alex, who works for CN as a conductor, and a one-year-old son, George. My partner, Kelsey, is the Curator at Heritage Park Museum. I am the Vice President for the Terrace Youth Soccer Association, where I also used to be a soccer coach for Alex’s team—and probably will be again for George’s team. I am the Assistant General Manager for Chances Terrace, where I’ve worked for 21 years, overseeing the transition from a bingo hall to the community gaming centre that we are today. I am also a Rotarian, a Terrace representative on the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, and a member of BC Soccer’s governance committee.

Over the past four years, Council has accomplished a lot. Most notably, the provincial government approved a new hospital for Terrace, thanks to ongoing advocacy. We have supported ongoing growth and investment in the community. We saw a much-needed upgrade to the Aquatic Centre. We listened to the community and devoted city land, funding, and support to public housing projects for low-income and homeless people. Finally, we are excited to watch how the construction of Kitimat’s LNG Canada project contributes to economic development in Terrace.

If re-elected, I plan to continue to promote economic development through the development of the industrial park. I will continue to lobby the provincial government for the Resource Benefits Alliance, which would see money come back into northwest communities from big industrial projects around the region. I will support city staff to continue having shovel-ready projects prepared to ensure we secure government grants as they become available. I would like to see Council come up with creative solutions to help people feel safe in the downtown while also protecting our most vulnerable citizens. I intend to continue promoting and supporting local business, and to continue working together with our neighbours in Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Kitimat, Thornhill, and the Nass Valley.

Lynne Christiansen | I have served on Terrace city council for 19 years. It has been a great privilege to represent our community. Over the years I have worked with many committees, boards, etc., addressing local and regional issues. These years of experience have given me a very well-rounded view of the working of our community.

My family has been in Terrace since 1914. As with most pioneer families in our area, we know how important it is to pull together for the betterment of our community. It has always been harder for rural and northern communities to be heard. We have to work extra hard. I have been a regional district director over the years and I am currently a north central local government director.

The revenue benefit sharing agreement holds a very high priority for me. Working together as a region is so important. I feel that municipal government is really the grassroots level of government. It is so inspiring to see how our community connects and comes together to build a better community for everyone. I am very excited about the economic opportunities ahead of us, but at the same time I feel that we have to make sure that we move forward carefully and in a balanced way. With these opportunities will come many challenges as well. A life time in this community has given me a great appreciation of everything this beautiful country has to offer. Hiking, fishing, kayaking and other outdoor activities have given me a great love for the beautiful country we live in. I’ve also been involved with the arts and community groups and the farmers market. I have always felt that our community has a very special community spirit that makes this community what it is. I have had the opportunity to work with different councils over the years.

I think the most successful councils are the ones that are made up of a diverse group that speak their individual view points and respect others view point. I think I have a part to play and if my community feels the same, I look forward to working with the next council.

James Cordeiro | Like many people’s story, James and Kirsten moved to Terrace and planned to stay for only a couple years, now 14 years later, along with their son, William, they are here to stay. James was first motivated to run for council after repeatedly hearing another all-too-common story about people’s children moving away to find jobs and better opportunities.

“The thought of William needing to move away to find work or pursue a career really bothers me” James said, “I wouldn’t be so selfish as to try and keep him here but our kids deserve to have opportunities so staying in Terrace is an option.”

James believes to create opportunities council needs to help grow the local economy and improve our quality of life so our kids have a choice to stay in Terrace.

James Cordeiro is a two term councillor, the Vice Chair of the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District, a director with the North Central Local Government Association, and the local representative on the BC Treaty Negotiations Team for the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas Agreements. As a downtown business owner, James is very concerned about the deteriorating safety and unacceptable behaviour found in our downtown.

“Returning safety and decency to the downtown needs to be a top priority of council. Council needs to send a clear message that unwelcome behaviour in our downtown will no longer be ignored,” says James.

James’s top priorities in the next term are keeping the Province accountable for their promises to build a new hospital and to establish a revenue sharing agreement with the northwest, to continue to develop our local economy by leveraging the positive FID from LNG Canada, while mitigating the social impacts of the project, and developing a comprehensive plan to improve safety and deal with unacceptable behaviour in the downtown.

On October 20th please vote for JAMES CORDEIRO, an experienced councillor who works to build consensus on council, who listens and represents you locally and regionally, and knows from personal experience about the big issues facing our community.

While on Council, James has shown himself to make decisions in a careful and thought out manner. James recognizes each councilor has unique views and experiences that shape their perspective and with this in mind he works to find common ground and find consensus decision. Council is like seven people holding a pencil and together drawing the future of our town. It’s only by consensus and teamwork that the sketch looks good but if each councillor tries to put the pencil in their own direction all that is left is scribble.

Brian Downie | Brian Downie and his wife, Kathy, have made Terrace their home for the past 28 years. Brian retired from the B.C. Forest Service in 2003 after 33 years, of which the last 13 were in Terrace.

His volunteer interests include many years as a Rotarian, and on the Riverboat Days Society and the Salvation Army Disaster Relief Program.

Brian was first elected as a City Councillor in 2005, and has served on Council with diverse responsibilities over the past 13 years. Working to build a stronger economy, and making Terrace a welcoming and inclusive City are initiatives that Brian actively supports.

Brian believes that a diverse economy is essential. Jobs and our lifestyle will attract the energy and talents of young families to Terrace to jobs and a lifestyle they are after. A growing economy will also sustain a tax base that will support the services and facilities we all want in our City.

As a volunteer and as a Councillor, Brian is proud of Riverboat Days and many other successful Terrace events, organized by volunteers and highlighting Terrace. The Sportsplex, the Library and our parks and walkways and the Splashpark were all created with partnerships with the City and volunteers.

The recent announcement by LNG Canada signals a huge opportunity for communities in the northwest. Terrace is the northwest supply and service center and our economy will expand, as well as our demand for needed facilities and services.

How that growth will affect Terrace is the great uncertainty, but we anticipate there will be impacts. We need partners, and support from industry and the Province to achieve solutions. Maintaining Terrace as an affordable place is critical as we see the pace of industrial development expand in the northwest.

Attracting the needed investment for housing, road infrastructure, our hospital replacement and facilities and services for young and older are why Brian is standing for re-election. The next four years will be exciting times for Terrace and by working together we can make Terrace a stronger place.

Martin Holzbauer | I want to represent the citizens of Terrace to our local government. I have been asking people what their concerns are, because I believe their representative needs to know. I believe Terrace citizens are our best assets and I want to find ways to increase investments by local people and increase long term job security for our citizens and their children. A different perspective on issues can lead to positive discussions.

As for myself, I moved here in 1990, but started working in the area about 5 year prior. I have traveled for work all over the northwest and was the area manager for Mo-Na Foods for all northern BC and a director of the company for 15 years. I have had my own business since moving here.

I realize that I would be a first term councillor, but every other candidate was in the same position at one time. If elected I will do the best job that I can.

Jessica McCallum-Miller | Greetings residents of Terrace and surrounding areas.

I am Jessica McCallum-Miller, your current Director of the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine Area C. I am a firm believer of positive change and that anything is possible. I am running a second time for Terrace Council, to make that change possible for our community.

Change is fluid, and during this last fire season, many of our communities felt the impacts of natural disaster, effecting our environment, our health, and for some of us our homes. Our communities were trying to conquer too many fires with too little resources. To be better prepared for the future, and to ensure our city is safer from natural disasters such as these, I propose we consider investing in grey water systems that collect unused water to aide in the maintenance of forest fires. As an advocate for environment and as member of the Gitxsan Tribe, it is imperative to me that we do our part to protect what makes our area so unique and beautiful.

As an acting member of the New MMH Redevelopment Committee representing RDKS, I would also urge the city to look at more sustainable and futuristic views of our city’s infrastructure. By upgrading our Public buildings with energy efficient lighting and solar paneling, we would be saving taxpayer dollars and paving the way for a more efficient future. The new construction of Mills Memorial Hospital is still in planning stages, meaning that these green upgrades are still possible to converge.

However, buildings are not the only aspects that make up a community. As a recent TDCSS board member, issues such as mental health, and inadequate housing still hinder the growth of our community. I would like to alleviate some of the stressors faced by our local residents by accessing Municipal Government grants and aides.

“Each person has a role in this life and each member of a community can make it what it is. Each idea is important— and each voice matters; Make your voice count on election day.” I look forward to working together, thank you.

Evan Ramsay | I am a father, award-winning business owner, carpenter and homeowner in Terrace. Born Kitimat and raised in Prince Rupert and Prince George and returned to the north after attending college in Vancouver. I am an experienced tradesman, and since the age of 17 have sat on numerous boards volunteering my time for multiple causes.

I know the issues facing our city. I have regularly attended council meetings over the last year and have joined many community information sessions presented by City staff and other organizations. Having taken the time to talk with police, health care staff, small business owners, residents and the homeless, I have a good understanding of where the city has succeeded and where improvements can be made.

Terrace has been successful lobbying for a new hospital and housing initiatives; now we need to build on that success and lobby for detox and rehab facility. With LNG and other major projects in our area we will need these services especially for our youth and most vulnerable. Safety makes good business sense.

I want to encourage growth in arts and culture by improving accessibility and nurturing inclusivity. As well as further collaborations with Kitsumkalum and Kitselas communities regarding their health, education and opportunities. That new policies and agreements can serve the needs of all.

A vote for EVAN RAMSAY is a vote for an energetic candidate who is concerned for residents. In favour of common-sense bylaws, improving infrastructure and fostering multi-zoning development, I am working to see Terrace become the socio-economic crown jewel of the North.

Evan is a currently a member of: Terrace Chamber of Commerce, Terrace Entrepreneurs Coalition Coworking Space,

Knights of Columbus, Terrace Downtown Improvement Association and the Farmer’s Market

David Try | Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired community member, good understanding of management “stuff”, the role of public sector, non-profit Board leadership, and election rookie…

Having had the good fortune of moving here in 2005, my wife (Sue) & I have three children, a large extended family, plus one grandchild (so far!). My goal is that they can all choose to live and work right here in the North. And, I’m passionate about the role of good government, from local to national, in achieving this goal.

Before coming to Terrace, I worked for the Canadian Government, in many departments, including Health & Post-Secondary Education policy and the management of government itself. BTW, I started as a Clerk-1, so I learned a little about personal development too!

Along the way, I became interested in public sector management; how it works, why it fails, how to make it better. Experience and knowledge that would help me be an effective Councilor.

In Terrace, I taught Business for a decade at NWCC, now Coast Mountain College, where I currently serve as Vice-Chair of the Board.

Like most northern communities, Terrace faces a number of longer-term challenges, as well as some pretty interesting short-term ones. For example, an economic LNG boom may create temptation to over-develop, especially for a 5-year project. How to balance growth and opportunity with long term community needs? The recent Airport expansion is one example, bigger, but not too big! (full disclosure, I was on the Airport Board at that time).

Similarly, housing pressures, especially for those at risk of losing their homes, are critical. Government’s attempt to control the rental market directly have inevitably led to fewer rental apartments… But, Terrace Council can help, for example: in-law suites, clear and transparent permitting process(es), zoning bylaws and tax incentives.

Overall, exciting opportunity and challenges are coming. We need to work closely with local partners to ensure Terrace is open for business and we capture our fair share of economic growth — A fresh voice on Council for you!

For more information please visit or my Facebook page: davetryforcounil

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