Outgoing Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski is calling on the future city council to work toward the creation of what he calls a “super-municipality” in which Thornhill and Terrace would be harmoniously joined.
Speaking at his last State of the City address to the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon held Oct. 23, Pernarowski said that while the amalgamation of Thornhill and Terrace has been rejected by way of a referendum in years past, times have changed.
“A couple of years ago the idea of amalgamation or boundary extension wasn’t really the right timing,” Pernarowski said to the business crowd gathered to see his farewell, one in which the mayor of six years shed a few tears as he recounted his time in office.
“Now might be the right timing. I think we should do a study of it. A really thorough study,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kitimat-Stikine regional district Thornhill director Ted Ramsey is promoting a different path for the community and that is to incorporate and separate from the regional district to have its own mayor, council and administration.
Ramsey was unopposed in the nomination period leading up to next month’s local government elections and has been returned to his position by acclamation.
Pernarowski said a provincial government-aided study might prove incorporation to be the right choice but he sounds willing to hedge his bets against that conclusion.
“I mean maybe we’ll see that taking Thornhill and making it a separate little community makes sense,” he said.
The question of amalgamation has twice gone to referendum in recent history, with ‘no’ votes winning each time.
“There is still a lot of folks who would still say that Thornhill should do what it wants but I worry about that to a certain degree,” Pernarowski continued. “Because like I said we have to look at the bigger picture. There are so many companies coming into this region and so much need for residential and commercial land, we could really work strongly together by getting infrastructure into Thornhill so we can attract types of industry.”
“Let’s join forces. We can be a superpower in the Northwest,” he said.
While pushing for a new form of amalgamation, Pernarowski said he would now leave fruitful debate to the municipal election now underway.
Mayoral candidate Carol Leclerc has already said she is in favour of opening the discussion again.
Pernarowski, first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2011, announced this spring he wouldn’t be running again.