District of Vanderhoof Coun. Kevin Moutray will be running for mayor in October, he said in an interview with the Express on Wednesday (April 20).
“I’m a collaborative leader, I have a lot of leadership experience, so I’m bringing that to the table and pushing development of the community,” Moutray said.
Moutray has been a councillor with the district for 11 years, after previously serving as the president for the Chamber of Commerce. He is also the owner of Earthen Ware in Vanderhoof.
In addition to his business, Moutray serves as the president of Biathlon BC and is a co-chair of the Nechako Watershed round-table. He’s also active with Nechako Valley Search and Rescue.
He said his top priorities as mayor would be to improve livability and access to housing. As a family business owner about to celebrate their 17th anniversary, Moutray said he gets to hear from residents every day about what they would like to see happen in the district.
“Two things I’ve been hearing from the community are wanting more livability and recreation.”
He said he would like to form a district events committee that could then enable residents to host their own events with support from council.
“We would give them a budget and municipal insurance — give them the tools that they need and let them run with it.”
Moutray said he has faith in the district housing committee to come up with solutions to the housing crisis in Vanderhoof. He would look into forming a development corporation to move solutions forward.
“Housing is our biggest challenge. That’s what is keeping professionals out. There are tons of jobs but if you can’t find a place to live then that job doesn’t get filled,” Moutray said. “Housing and livability go hand in hand.”
As chamber president Moutray said he attended every municipal council meeting and made the jump into politics in order to contribute to the district. He said making the move now to run for mayor was a family decision.
“I love the service and I love moving issues forward. I totally enjoy the work and seeing the betterment of the community is my passion,” Moutray said. “I’m fortunate that my wife fully supports it. I have my son who works for me and that gives me the flexibility to be mayor. It’s very much a full-time job.”
Moutray’s announcement came after current Mayor Gerry Thiessen said he will not be seeking re-election in October.
“I’d like to thank Gerry for his 14 years as mayor — he’s done a lot of good work and I’m looking forward to the race.”
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