Don Dunster is angling for a spot on city council from a perspective that is unique.
A part-time accountant who has overcome severe alcoholism and the removal of large parts of his intestine from an undiagnosed disease, the 74-year-old Terrace resident of 41 years lives and works out of a secondhand camper van after experiencing first hand the Terrace housing crunch.
He ran for mayor in 2011, but had to quit mid-campaign because of his health problems.
He is currently a member at large of the Terrace and District Community Services Society and used to sit on the hospital board in the years before a northern regional health authority was created.
Now on the upward slope of his convalescence, Dunster is back on the campaign trail extolling many of the same policy ideas that informed his platform three years ago, central to which being his strong desire to bring more jobs to the city.
“We have to do something to retain our graduating students. I have three daughters and not one of them lives in Terrace,” said Dunster.
The former accountant for forestry companies, Dunster points to the $100,000 in grant revenue generated by the city-owned Terrace Community Forest as proof that the forestry industry has potential.
He also said that with robust cedar growing in the area there would be a great opportunity to build outdoor furniture.
This would require encouraging CN Rail to create a cargo bay where products could be put directly onto trains, he said.
For this reason he favours the development of the western part of Keith Ave. into a loading zone for manufactured products.
“You cannot load and unload freight cars in Terrace,” said Dunster. “How do you send manufactured goods out? You truck them to Prince Rupert or you truck them to Prince George. Then you have to handle them again onto the rail car. How can you compete?”
Dunster said that instead of people leaving the north to go south that the south should come north.
“We should be pressuring the B.C. government to move some of their offices out of Vancouver and Victoria into smaller communities like Terrace,” he said.
“We don’t need towers twenty-one stories high in Vancouver full of government employees when we could have ten floors in Smithers and ten floors in Terrace.”
He is skeptical that the hype around industrial development in the northwest may prove to be just that. “There isn’t going to be a major project happen in the next 15 years,” he said.
“I’m not sure that plant’s going ahead,” he added, in reference to the deal for an alfalfa protein processing plant inked by the city with Chinese industrial interests earlier this year and ear-marked for the city’s industrial park.
Dunster was nominated by Romea Morton and Tom Morton.