It didn’t take Craig Lyons long to decide Terrace was where he wanted to live.
An Ontario native working in the vehicle auction business in that province, Lyons had already established a working relationship with the local Mazda dealership.
One thing led to another through a telephone conversation one day and “five days later I was on a plane to Terrace,” recalls Lyons, 53, who has lived here now for two years.
“I really see the potential for the area and for the town. With the right people in place we can really move forward,” he says. “When I look around, I just want to be part of it.”
Lyons, who now works for National Car Rentals, sees parallels here with what has happened in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, the city in which he was living right before moving here.
“It was really about how to keep the people without [having them] leave,” said Lyons of the situation back East.
He credited the establishment of Niagara College, a post secondary institution, with helping set up a stable economic base in the Niagara region. “What that did was bring in other businesses in support,” says Lyons. “There’s even an industrial park. Success brings other success.”
Ironically, adds Lyons, the success of Niagara College’s culinary arts program meant that its most successful graduates were quickly taken away by restaurants and hotels across North America, meaning the area was losing some of its most capable young people.
Seeing how diversification helped the Niagara area, Lyons wants that to be at the forefront of city planning here.
While he favours growth, specifically infrastructure which will lead to development, Lyons says it’s important to do it right.
“You just don’t want to take away that small-town atmosphere but you want to be strategically placed as the area grows,” said Lyons.
What he would like to see is a well-planned downtown that’s welcoming to pedestrians and has night time lighting.
And he’s also an advocate for a diversification of the population.
“Through my involvement with Skeena Diversity,” said Lyons of the local social services agency, “I see a lot of diversification starting to happen here – people of differing ethnic backgrounds. Diversification of population is its own economic generator.”
Lyons was nominated by Bruno Belanger and Chayo Moses Nyawello.