It isn’t Roy Spooner’s first time running for council, although it is his first time running in Vanderhoof.
Spooner, who has been a resident of Vanderhoof for the last 15 years, is running for council in the District of Vanderhoof.
He began his career as an entertainer in the sixties, when he first moved to northern B.C. From there, he went into marketing and management, eventually owning his own businesses.
Even in retirement, it’s hard to call him retired. Spooner was asked to help open a Salvation Army in Vanderhoof as a volunteer. Eventually, he was asked to run it, too. And even though he wanted to be retired, he says, “it was an interesting and challenging opportunity, so I thought I would do that.”
He says the Salvation Army, which opened on May 31, 2018, is operating below budget and has had “enormous support from the community.”
Spooner says when he first saw the size of the warehouse they would be using, he thought it was too much space. “We now have a warehouse that’s just jam packed with stuff that people have brought us.”
In his work with the Salvation Army, he’s also helping to put together two committees to address some of the needs in the community. One is going to look into housing needs and the other will focus on addictions.
Beyond his work with the Salvation Army, Spooner says, “since I was a teenager I have spent phenomenal amounts of time involved in community work. And I’ve always been involved. I’ve been president of three different chambers of commerce, and president of 19 other organizations.”
He says he has sat in on council meetings and enjoys engaging with his community. “I’ve reached the point where I have time, I have experience, and I have some knowledge – gained over years and years of community involvement. And I think that communities are on a journey, and I think I can help [with that journey].”
Spooner has a number of question he would like to see addressed by the council if he’s elected. He would like to consider things like ensuring the longevity of the infrastructure in the district, or considering ways to maintain “a steady and continuing growth in our tax base without having to raise taxes every year.”
Something else Spooner would like to consider is ways to attract young people back to the town after they have left to pursue their post-secondary education. He wants to know, what’s the plan to attract business and industry in a way that will encourage young people to return to Vanderhoof once they have left?
“I grew up at the coast, moved up to the north as an entertainer in the 1960s and met my wife,” says Spooner. “We’ve travelled the length and breadth of Canada. I’ve run businesses in eastern Canada and businesses in southern B.C. – but we kept coming back to the north, and we love it up here, and we’ve decided we’re going to retire up here.
“If I can help the community, if I can contribute to the journey this community is on, that’s good. If I don’t, I’ll find something to do.”