BY BILL PHILLIPS
About 75 people jammed into the Marriott Hotel Sunday for a “discussion” with Susan Scott, who is seeking her second term on city council.
While the size may be a testament to her support, so was the crowd’s make-up. Mayor Lyn Hall and the city council members seeking re-election were there to give support, as they have decided to support one another’s campaigns. However, also in the crowd was Don Zurowski, who ran against Hall in 2014.
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond was in the crowd, as she has been for several candidates. Former MLA Pat Bell was also in attendance, the first candidate meetings he’s been at. But also in the crowd was Bobby Deepak, who ran against Bell and his successor Mike Morris.
For Scott, was about looking back at what the previous council has done and looking forward to what lies ahead.
“We have seen what we can do when we push ourselves out of familiar paths,” she said. “The previous council fully tackled the need to properly fund out roads and basic infrastructure. This council made big investments in community priorities such as the downtown and housing. The coming term offers us a chance to prepare for the shifts coming in our resource economy, in serving the needs of our seniors, and in improving the lives of our most vulnerable.”
She pointed out the city has managed to reduce its debt by $41 million, which enables it to respond better to current needs.
Looking forward, she said the city needs to prepare for changes in the forest industry as issues such as beetle infestations, allowable annual cut reductions, and the new normal for wildfires have an effect. She said she will bring a “balanced approach” to ensure there are retraining and educational opportunities available.
Scott added that housing is an issue and she will work to meet the needs of a growing number of seniors and to assist the city’s most vulnerable populations.
“More and more seniors wish to age in place and stay in their own neighbourhood,” she said. “We need sufficient, adaptable housing and service options to allow that to happen. Homelessness is a reality that we need to do more to meaningfully address, not just move the problem down the road.”
Personal and community safety is also something she will work on, she said.
“Addictions, mental health, crime deterrence, law enforcement impact us all and are things that we can meaningfully influence for the better,” she said, adding she will help promote things such as Car 60, restorative justice, and Suicide Safer Community.
She said she will work with neighbourhoods and policing to tackle problem areas.
“My commitment to you is to tackle (Issues) as boldly in the coming term as we have addressed community needs in the past term,” she said.
Residents go to the polls October 20. There are 13 candidates seeking one of eight spots on city council.