My PR Story

(last edited February 4, 2018)

I am excited and energized to announce my candidacy for Mayor of Powell River in the upcoming 2018 municipal election.

I have always loved the city and am consistently inspired by its welcoming and passionate inhabitants. I know there are so many opportunities to make Powell River an even greater place to live.

I look forward to working with all of the amazing people who make this town thrive – both those whom I have and haven’t yet had a chance to meet – to make these happen!

Running for office

In January of 2018, with the encouragement and support of my family and Powell River friends, I decided to run for mayor in the 2018 October election. I knew from my experience volunteering in Powell River that I wanted to use this experience to help create opportunities for all Powell River residents.  My decision was made easier by the Mayor Formosa’s “Greetings for the New Year” in the December 27th issue of The Peak where he states “next year at this time we will see a new mayor and council team”.

My supporters believe that my proven ability to work with diverse groups to make good things happen would be very beneficial for the future of Powell River. As the President of the South Armour Heights Ratepayers Association in Toronto I spent many hours working with Council addressing Committee of Adjustments, Notices and Hearings, communicating with City Councillors on neighbourhood issues and updating residents on local issues through public meetings and newsletters. I understand the importance of good working relationships among the elected officials (mayor and council) and the chief administrative officer and his staff. There are always going to be challenges in meeting the needs and expectations of residents of any community. However, a positive, supportive and open relationship between the mayor, city staff and its residents makes it much easier to find win-win solutions. Another important factor in my decision to run is that I have no real or perceived conflicts of interest, as the only thing we own in Powell River is our home.

I know from talking to residents there is the hope for Powell River to attract non-polluting companies. As a former CEO of a technology based company I believe this is a fantastic goal for which to strive. This is why I would be very supportive of Steve Brooks’ plan to promote Powell River as a technology centre which could provide great career opportunities for Powell River residents of all ages. It’s my hope that my 3 grandsons may some day find jobs here.

Herbie et al

Over the next 10 months I am committed to meeting as many Powell River residents as possible. To do this I will knock on every door and attend all public forums and I hope there will be many opportunities for the public to ask all the candidates questions.

As my blog indicates I believe that the best government is the one that is open and transparent. I look forward to speaking with, learning from, and listening to you all.

Where it all began

I first came to Powell River in 1990 as a guest of the MacMillan Bloedel Mill. I was leading a group of government and mill people who were going to Europe to talk with the buyers of Canadian pulp, government officials and environmental groups about our environmental controls. I was impressed by the commitment of people in Powell River to make it a great place to live.

Five years later I met a group of people who had purchased land on Hardy Island and became a group partner. In 1996, I was asked to be the project manager for the subdivision of this land into 21 lots. During that process I was introduced to outstanding contractors from Powell River like George Whitson, who made the subdivision possible by witching 21 well sites. My youngest daughter, Jessi, still talks proudly about how she “helped George find water.”

I also worked with Paul and Trudy Anderson at Canwest Drilling who did an excellent job of drilling and testing all of the wells. In 1998 we had a small cabin built on Hardy Island and often visited with my family. My 3 daughters (Kate, Vanessa and Jessi) had great adventures on the Island tromping around and exploring.

The cabin itself!
Girls Hardy
Enjoying the beach with daughters Vanessa and Jessi.

The next chapter

After I retired in 2010, my wife Susan and I started talking about living full time on Hardy Island or in Powell River. We had spent many nights at Herondell Bed & Breakfast listening to Nancy and Alex Hollman talking about what great place Powell River is to live. In the fall of 2012 we spent time in in the city to learn more about the community and to meet new friends. This visit made up our minds that Powell River was where we wanted to live. We bought our first home on Valentine’s Day 2013 with the help of Kathy Bowes, and it has been a real love affair ever since.

What really impressed us about Powell River is how easy it is to become part of the community. From the first night I played at the Bridge Club, not knowing a single person, I felt right at home. When Jean Brach heard I like to fish, she introduced me to her son Steve who shared some of his secrets, which Susan and I have used to put fresh salmon on the table. Later, when Jean learned about the Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation ( that Susan and I started in 2008, she introduced me to Gerry Brach. The Foundation was set up to help Indigenous high school students. Gerry introduced me to Clint Williams who was supportive of the Foundation’s Educational Program. Since 2014, 10 Tla’amin students from Brooks High School have attended the Program at either UBC or the University of Manitoba. Ryan Pielle, a 2014 Kirkness Scholar has been a great volunteer for the Foundation. This experience has also given me the opportunity to meet with Elder Dr. Elsie Paul and learn more about Tla’amin Nation.

Kirkness (1)
With Verna J. Kirkness’ book ‘Creating Space’.

Getting involved

Once Susan and I settled in, I took on a position with the Board of Trustees of the Powell River Library and chaired the fundraising committee for the new library. This gave me a chance to meet Rob Southcott, Terry Noreault, Charlotte Gill, Chloe Smith, Gary Shilling and the many volunteers who have made the new library so successful. Terry tells me that visits at the new library are up 41% over last year!

Susan, my sisters and myself were also pleased to sponsor the Anne Woznow Children’s Reading Room. My mother was a teacher and believed that “you learn to read so you read to learn”. Here is a photo of my daughter Vanessa and her husband Marc at the library in August.

Marc & Vanessa
My daughter Vanessa and her husband Marc.

In 2016, I initiated The Powell River Wellness Challenge, which was based on a program that I had founded in Guelph, Ontario. This introduced me to Kerri Carlson, Terry Cramb, Guy Chartier, Brendan Behan, Chris Bratseth, Neil Pukesh and many others who are committed to improving the wellness of Powell River residents. As the saying goes “health is wealth”. I have also had the opportunity to sit on the Board of Directors of the First Credit Union and chaired the board of the Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation. Articles about these activities and more are included in the News section of this website.