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An advocate for seniors' housing, Murphy looks to address shortages in bid for council

John Murphy is running for council in the Vanderhoof by-election on Saturday, Feb. 16., at the Nechako Senior Friendship Centre.
John Murphy is running for council in the Vanderhoof by-election on Saturday

John Murphy likes Vanderhoof.

He was born in Ireland and spent the majority of his life in Vanderhoof, attending Prairiedale Elementary and graduating from Nechako Valley Secondary School (NVSS).

For 30 years he's been an insurance broker and is currently a branch manager for HUB International in Vanderhoof.

"This is a great place to raise a family and do business," Murphy said in an email.

Murphy has long been interested in running for council.

A team leader who likes to get things done, he feels he has qualities that will bring a different dynamic to the table.

Overall, Murphy believes the current council is leading the town in the right direction.

"However, as we move forward, we do need to make sure that we manage our finances properly as I do see that, down the road, we will be looking at some projects including infrastructure and facility upgrades," he said.

If elected, Murphy hopes to get more involved in the area of seniors' housing.

For the past 11 years he has been a member of the board of directors for the Nechako View Senior Citizens Home Society and now holds the position of chairman.

In those 11 years, the society constructed 36 new affordable self-care units for seniors and a new activity centre. Murphy was closely involved with raising funds through various grant agencies during that period.

"At this point in time, we have very limited space available for seniors to live. Waiting lists are constantly growing," he said.

"I will be looking at trying to find more space and see if we can increase our seniors' housing."

Murphy acknowledges that growth challenges exist elsewhere in the community.

As more people continue moving to the area - primarily for work in the mining sector - there is the potential for labour shortages, but Murphy remains hopeful now that the provincial government is investing in skills training programs at the College of New Caledonia.

As the forestry industry continues to change, Murphy said it's important for people "to be able to adapt to new industries to compensate."

As of late, Murphy said Vanderhoof seems to be in the spotlight for serious crimes.

"We need to be more vigilant about things around us. We can't always rely on the authorities to do all the work. We have some responsibility to look out for our neighbors," he said.

The community is important to Murphy, especially in the sports realm.

As a youngster, he volunteered as a referee for minor hockey, but gradually started helping out in all leagues.

But "the whistle has been retired!" he said.

Murphy has coached various hockey, baseball, and soccer teams, and for more than 15 years he volunteered with the Vanderhoof Fire Department and the Vanderhoof Extraction Association.

Currently, Murphy is president of the Vanderhoof Curling Club after some 20 years of membership. More recently he has been helping the club raise money to upgrade the facility.

If all this wasn't enough, Murphy is also an acting director of the Integris Credit Union Community Foundation, which provides deserving groups with grant money for projects that benefit Vanderhoof.

In 2011, Murphy was one of 36 recipients to receive the annual B.C. Community Achievement Award, which the provincial government gives to people who strive to make a difference in their community.

"I believe in giving back," he said.

John Murphy is running for council in the Vanderhoof by-election, Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Nechako Senior Friendship Centre, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Advanced voting is available at the Municipal Office on Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Chamber of Commerce is organizing an all-candidates forum on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the small auditorium at Nechako Valley Secondary School.


This article was edited to reflect the following correction on Jan. 30, 2013:

In an article about John Murphy's bid for council in the Feb. 16 by-election in Vanderhoof, his place of birth was identified incorrectly. John Murphy was born in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to Vanderhoof shortly afterward in 1959.