Local business owner and Stop the Spray BC Founder James Steidle is seeking election to Prince George city council.
Born and raised on a ranch south of Prince George, Steidle grew up and now lives in Prince George, and runs a woodworking company, Steidle Woodworking. His decision to run was the result of a number of reasons unified by one major theme: irresponsibility.
“I’ve been shocked at the financial mismanagement and bad decisions these past few years and I don’t see any signs of this slowing down,” said Steidle. “Between a $32 million parkade, the tearing down of the structurally sound Four Seasons Pool, the tearing down of recently renovated Simon Fraser Inn that could have provided low cost housing, we’ve seen tens of millions in unnecessary expenditures, and we still have a hole in the ground and a housing
crisis. It’s insane.”
Along with the financial woes of the downtown projects, Steidle sees more red on the horizon with the city’s proposals to run roads through Ginter’s Green, one of the city’s most popular parks, with one of them going up the most unstable hillside in the city.
“The Massey and Foothills extensions are another part of why I’m running,” he said. “These roads are seen as necessary to develop the escarpment between UNBC and College Heights. This is an economically foolhardy proposition that will create massive infrastructure costs for the city’s taxpayer and will ultimately degrade our quality of life.”
Steidle says he wants to provide a choice to residents who value our greenspace, decent traffic, and who want to see development focus on downtown, not the surrounding forests.
“I see a lot candidates and incumbents trying to prove who can bulldoze the most greenspace as if Lower-Mainland high-end housing with no trees is a solution to the housing crisis,” he said. “I don’t see the other option on the table, which is we focus on getting non-market and more rental housing downtown to address homelessness, to create more walkable, accessible communities that leaves our core identity of a city close to nature intact. That’s the vision I’ll bring to city council.”
Steidle also sees food as an issue.
“For a prime agricultural region we shouldn’t have multiple food crises in our community with empty shelves, like what we’ve seen twice in the past three years. At one point our northern dairies were dumping milk down the drain while our milk shelves sat empty. We used to have two dairy processing facilities in this town that would have avoided this situation.
“We can’t fix this massive problem overnight, but we can raise this issue with provincial and federal authorities and take concrete actions to get more local food production happening. That’s another core philosophy I will bring to the table.”
Steidle attended Beaverly and College Heights schools and has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University with a focus on urban studies. He has experience in government at the provincial, municipal and regional levels, and in 2005 was a legislative intern working for the B.C .Legislative Assembly doing research for the then-opposition NDP in 2006. That was followed by a stint working for the labour union movement (public and private unions) covering Metro Vancouver board meetings before starting a woodworking business. He wrote an award-winning paper on regional planning
efforts in Greater Vancouver. His master’s thesis was on the provincial property tax system and how that impacts tax equity and has informed the discussion of the Home Owner Grant over the years. He briefly taught microeconomics in Bangladesh.
Steidle will be making a formal announcement at Ginter’s Green on Wednesday, September 21,
at 11 a.m., at the end of Massey.