Vanderhoof residents will have eight councillor candidates to choose from in this month’s municipal election. Here is some more information about candidate Ken Young.
After a three-year break from local politics, former councillor Ken Young says he is re-energized and ready to run again.
After sitting on council for three consecutive terms, Young decided to run for mayor during the last municipal election, meaning he was forced to sit out the past term when he lost out to current mayor, Gerry Thiessen.
Young is a long-standing local resident having been brought up in the community from the age of six months when his parents moved to town from Vancouver.
He now has seven kids of his own ranging in age from six to 23 with his wife Monica who has also been in Vanderhoof her whole life.
Young left the community briefly to get his teacher training and now works as a high school administrator for the school district.
Young says there are a number of important issues that he would like to see looked at for the community, including a more regional approach to highway upgrades.
“We used to have a more regional approach on a lot of things and better connections with the communities of Fraser Lake and Fort St. James,” said Young.
“We used to apply for things together as a tri-community and I think it is somewhat important to go back to that, especially when talking to provincial government about concerns we have, especially with transportation.
“If we look at some of the scary spots we have on our highways – we need to be talking about it as a regional group, not just individually,” he said.
As Highway 16 becomes busier, Young says it is important to look at upgrading danger spots, specifically where we have seen some recent tragic accidents such as between Vanderhoof and Prince George.
“If you look at the accident statistics on the highway between here and Prince George its horrendous – it scares me living here and hearing that stuff, and something needs to be done,” he said.
He added that he would also like to see better fencing on the roads and highways to prevent wildlife collisions.
“Look at what they do in Alberta through the parks and other areas – they don’t have near the amount of kills that we do I believe,” he said.
Other priorities he said include having an emergency coordination space, in particular for the Nechako Valley Search and Rescue group.
“They are operating out of a closet essentially at the moment – why is that?” he said.
“In Fort St. James for example they have a huge space above the fire department so that when they have emergency responses happening in that community they have a huge command centre they can utilize – we have nothing.
“We’ve seen some pretty tragic things happen this past year – we need to have a space like that,” he said.
Young would also like to see a community centre and a pool but at the same time does not want to see taxes go up or the community go into debt.
“We have to balance it and think about what we will be giving up to get it.
“I think we can be creative – in small communities you have to be more creative – we have shallower pockets so we have to think differently.”
An all-candidates forum is being held for the general public on November 15 in the small auditorium at the high school.