Brian Frenkel is running for another term on district council.
Frenkel, who has been a Vanderhoof councillor for a total of 17 years, was also recently elected as the third Vice President of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).
As the third Vice President, Frenkel will look after the finances and sit on the President’s Committee, which sets the direction of the executive for the coming year.
Frenkel started in politics in 1995, when he first became a councillor for the District of Vanderhoof. He took two terms off in the middle, after being defeated in a run for mayor.
He says even after serving 17 years on council, “I still have that passion, you know, passion for community. And everything I do revolves around community. I’m recently retired. I sold my company and so I’ve got that time – more time – to dedicate to the community.”
Frenkel says lots has changed since the Nineties, when the council’s primary concerns were things like garbage collection and paving streets, whereas now a number of other responsibilities have since been passed down to municipalities and regional districts.
Over his last four years as a councillor, Frenkel has sat on the Aquatic Centre, environment, forestry and fibre supply, water and land use management, Nechako white sturgeon recovery and more committees. He also represents Vanderhoof and northern B.C. on UBCM, the North Central Local Government Association, and the Municipal Insurance Board of BC.
In his time on council, he helped bring the new Aquatic Centre to fruition, helped start the Vanderhoof Community Centre, and also helped begin the White Sturgeon Conservation Centre, all things he believes have been important for the community.
“I feel our town is punching above its weight when it comes to projects,” he says. “We gather about $3.5 million to $4 million in tax dollars [from residents] every year, but our budget is in the neighbourhood of $7 million to $8 million every year. So we’ve been very successful in finding funding through gas taxes and other things for some major projects in town.”
He says moving forward he would like to make sure Vanderhoof ends up with a full complement of RCMP, but he’s happy Vanderhoof recently got three new officers to join their detachment, bringing the number of general duty staff up from 11 to 14.
He says the district needs housing for seniors, low-income and homeless individuals, and that the current council is working on those things now.
Frenkel also thinks Vanderhoof needs to see a re-invigoration of the Chamber of Commerce. “And I think we can help with that as a council.”
He would also like to see the council working with other municipalities and regional districts to support the process of getting New Gold approved in the area. “It’s 700 or 800 jobs for our communities and we need to be involved in that process,” he says.
He would also like to see more work done on landscape level planning, in particular he thinks the community and others need to “step up” and ask the Chief Forester of B.C. to immediately reassess the annual allowable cut for the region, following two seasons of devastating wildfires.
“I think a lot of hectares have been burnt, and that there will be a significant reduction to the [allowable cut] that will probably effect many communities,” says Frenkel.
“I think we need to get on that. I don’t want to see all these communities head toward a cliff and then we all go down.
“I’d rather see a gradual slide, so it’s not so bad at the end of the day.”