A 27-year-old local man seeking a Terrace city council seat says he’ll bring a progressive perspective to local government.
Dan LeFrancois, who was born and raised in Terrace and now a baker at Save On Foods, says he’s no stranger to the boom and bust cycles that come along with a resource-based economy.
And, given his age, he says he’s been more familiar with the bust part of the cycle.
“There haven’t really been a whole lot of ups,” he said.
“So many people turn to retail jobs,” he continued, noting not everyone taking these jobs are fulfilled by their work.
He’s cautious about getting too excited about talking of a coming boom, saying Terrace needs to find innovative ways to sustain jobs even when the boom ends.
“I don’t think I have any answers to this,” he said in response to being asked how he’d reach the goal of keeping jobs in place when a boom does end. “But having a fresh perspective…I’m willing to take a chance.
“I think the main thing is about gathering perspective from the community. It shouldn’t be about ‘I voted for this person. I hope they do what they said they were going to do,’” he said. “When you have seven members [of council] that’s only seven ideas.”
LeFrancois said governing a community is not about making big promises, but making steady changes through citizen involvement.
“I want to see government take more of a community role,” he said. “It seems to me too shrouded in mystery and I’d like to change that.”
LeFrancois said he’s influenced by how city council handled My Mountain Co-op requests for money to buy the Shames Mountain ski facility.
“I found it really aggravating that… they [said they] didn’t want to spend public funds frivolously,” he said but that the city had no trouble buying the old Terrace Co-op property for $1 million.
He also found it confusing city council said no twice to giving the My Mountain Co-op money before deciding it would provide $15,000, but only if it was used to operate Shames.
More public involvement might have resulted in a different decision, said LeFrancois.
He does view tourism as a way of keeping people and money in the area after a boom drops off.
“I see how something really recreationally based like Shames Mountain really helps out the community…[by] keeping the public active and keeping them happy and keeping them from wanting to move away,” he said.
“If you want to attract people then don’t just ask them to come… you have to show them this is a worthwhile place to be.”
LeFrancois said he’s tired of standing on the sidelines and looking to an older generation for answers.