Gerry Thiessen is looking forward to serving his second three-year term as Vanderhoof Mayor after being re-elected by acclamation.
Key issues on his agenda for the upcoming term include a pool for Vanderhoof, post-secondary education, beautification of the community, forestry, healthcare and security.
Thiessen says he is looking forward to a referendum on the pool next year.
“I think that the pool appears to be the one area that people want to have an opportunity to make decisions on and they should have that right and so it’s exciting for me to see the pool be on the radar screen and we will see a referendum on that this coming year,” he said.
One area that Thiessen says the current council has already made some headway with and that he would like to see continued is an expansion of post-secondary education opportunities locally.
“Everywhere I go, businesses are saying they would like to come to our community and they ask what kind of trained experienced workers we have.
“If we are going to get to that next level of stability we need to make sure that there’s good access to post-secondary education and that’s going to require lots of community engagement as well,” he said.
The beautification of Vanderhoof is another area that Thiessen would like to continue to work on.
“As people drive down Highway 16 into Vanderhoof – what is their impression of our community?”
In particular, Thiessen wants to work on getting the various brownfield sites around the community back into use.
Forestry is an important sector to the community and Thiessen says he will make sure it remains a priority.
“I think my time will continue to be used a lot on ensuring that this is still a good place to be involved in forestry.
“Forestry has always been our strong suit – that’s what has brought people here and kept people here,” said Thiessen.
On top of that he says that mayor and council will continue to keep a close eye on healthcare in the community.
“We have more doctors per capita here than any town I’m aware of – but that can change very quickly in small communities – we need to keep our eye on that,” he said.
The final issue on Thiessen’s priority list for his upcoming term is security in terms of increasing the number of RCMP members in Vanderhoof, and improving court services.
“We still have fewer RCMP than Burns Lake which is half the size of us we have fewer RCMP than Fort St. James which is a third of the size of us – so we will continue to lobby on that,” he said.
The community has eight candidates to choose from for six positions on council in the upcoming election.
Election day will take place on November 19 at the Friendship Centre.