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Terrace mayor shelves idea of running for provincial office

Cites family, job as mayor as key reasons
The City of Terrace council is, back row, left to right, councillors Chris Apps, Dave Gordon, Brian Downie, Inder Dhillon. Front row, left to right, councillor James Cordeiro, mayor Sean Bujtas and councillor Sarah Zimmerman. (City of Terrace photo)

Terrace mayor Sean Bujtas won’t be seeking a nomination to run as a candidate in this fall’s provincial election.

Instead, Bujtas said he will remain committed to his job as mayor and ensuring he is available for his young family.

“Both those things weighed very heavily on me … the idea of accepting a role [as mayor] 18 months ago, telling the city I’m going to work my ass off for you and then saying well, you know, I am but I’m going to do it in a different capacity. That was making my stomach turn and it was really tough on me,” Bujtas said May 14.

“And I struggle with the family time from the get go. My trips to Kitimat last week [for the three-day Minerals North conference] cemented it for me. I did not see my kids at all except for when I dropped George off at school. I just can’t imagine being away for over half a year [as an MLA].”

While he won’t divulge if one or more parties approached him to ask if he was interested in running for the job as the MLA for Skeena, Bujtas said he was contacted once last spring and again last fall.

He admits, however, he was attracted by the idea, saying that a lot of the issues facing the city are actually ones that are solved in Victoria.

“Somebody eloquently said to me that sometimes the problems are made in Victoria as well,” Bujtas added. “I felt that the intrigue of being a strong voice for Skeena, trying to resolve those issues are important to me. So the idea of going there interested me.”

The mayor also cited key achievements just recently accomplished by the city:

- a $5 million provincial grant in 2023 to completely close the old landfill on the Kalum Lake Drive

- working with the province to find new homes for the badly maintained and unsuitable Coachman Apartments on the Bench.

- renaming the Grand Trunk Pathway, also known as the millennium trail, to the ‘Xpilaxha - Charles and Emma Nelson Trail’ in memory of a Kitsumkalum couple.

- being at the forefront of this spring’s deal with the province to divide $50 million a year for five years among northwestern local governments.

- strengthening relationships with the Kitselas First Nation east of Terrace and the Kitsumkalum First Nation west of Terrace.

As for the key issues now facing the city and area, Bujtas said they are detox and mental health supports.

“These are the biggest things the northwest needs right now and the Skeena riding in particular,” he said.

As of this week, only the B.C. Conservative party has named a Skeena riding candidate for the October provincial election — former District of Kitimat councillor Claire Rattee.

The New Democratic Party has approved City of Terrace councillor Sarah Zimmerman as a candidate for the party’s nomination and the BC United party has said it is looking for people who are interested in running.

Ellis Ross, the current BC United MLA for Skeena, is leaving provincial politics to run as a federal Conservative in the Skeena - Bulkey Valley riding. The federal election is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2025.

About the Author: Rod Link

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