Current city councillor Bruce Bidgood is making his first bid for the mayor’s chair on a platform of strong leadership and past experience, saying he wants to keep going full steam ahead on the path forged by the previous council he’s sat on since first elected to a councillor’s seat in 2008.
Bidgood, who contemplated running for mayor in the 2011 municipal election but chose to run for council instead, has since broadened his experience.
“I have led local governments, I have led local government associations, I think that’s one of the things that differentiates me from other people,” he says.
He is currently chair of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine as one of the Terrace representatives, vice chair of North West Regional Hospital Board, and vice president of the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA).
He also spearheaded the regional district move to create a regional coalition to press the province for resource revenue sharing.
In the past he has served as a representative on the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the national body of local governments.
“I write emails at four in the morning,” he says of the busy life he negotiates on a daily basis.
“For me money isn’t the most precious commodity, time is,” he continued. “I am going to do everything I can do to liberate the maximum amount of time.”
He said as mayor he will most likely continue with the NCLGA but will have to reassess the amount of time he spends on his other positions.
Born in Ontario, now 53, Bidgood has called Terrace home since 2004 as an associate professor of social work with the University of Northern B.C. and says that many of the places he lived in and frequented in his old province apply to this area of the country as well.
Growing up in the industrial town of Port Colburne, Ontario, he says he knows what a town with a strong industrial core looks like, knowledge which he will bring to the ongoing development of the Skeena Industrial Development Park.
“I may not know about logs but I know about manufacturing. I grew up in a place where we make cars. I know manufacturing is not as prone to boom and bust … that is going to be our single best protection,” he said. “We will see the largest economic development initiative in our history on those sites and that is what we are going to protect against our future,” he said.
“We demonstrated we can work with companies locally and internationally,” he added of the deal.
In terms of promoting the amalgamation of Thornhill and Terrace through boundary extension, Bidgood said that imposing this on Thornhilll would be a creating “an adversarial relationship with our neighbours” and a form of annexation unfit for the postcolonial world.
Bidgood was nominated by Leona Esther Murray and Todd James Campbell.