WEALTH and money are not the same thing, says an outdoor enthusiast, college instructor and youth worker.
To Chris Gee, the wealth in a community is founded on a unique ecosystem and only by nurturing it can a community level out the boom and bust cycle of a resource-based economy.
That means the ecosystem cannot be affected by industrial development and it was city council’s decision to remain neutral on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal for now that pushed him to run for a seat.
“There’s no way I will support a pipeline through paradise,” he said, noting that the risk greatly outweigh the benefits.
Gee says industry that doesn’t compromise the local ecology should be welcomed, and the city should support businesses that follow correct regulatory procedures, consult with First Nations, and understand their impacts on a local community.
“We have the ability to utilize incentives to encourage types of business and services we want to see here,” he said.
Gee also believes a city should be judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable, and ensuring the sustenance of natural resources fits that belief.
His starting point is BC’s wild salmon as they are not only only a local food source, but the building blocks of the region’s ecology.
Salmon is a huge part of local industry here as well because of the revenue generated from tourists who come here to enjoy the benefits of one of the world’s top watersheds, Gee continues.
Gee is passionate about community engagement, especially relating to youth, and he said he will bring this strength with him to the council table.
He would like to work on bringing a youth centre here.
If elected,, Gee said his experience teaching communications poises him to debate and share and listen to ideas constructively on council.
It’s not about challenging other people’s beliefs he said, but welcoming difference in perspective as a necessary tool for building upon strengths. This is how to create efficient dialogue and therefore action, he said.