Why are you qualified to be Mayor?
While knocking on doors last week I was asked “why are you qualified to be mayor?”
To answer this question it is important to review the Community Charter which defines the responsibilities of a mayor. The Charter is available at:
During the last couple of months there have been posts and comments on The Peak’s website and on their Facebook which indicate a lack of understanding of a mayor’s responsibilities.
First, and foremost, the mayor is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the municipality. It is their responsibility to work closely with the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) in our case, Mac Fraser, to ensure an efficient, effective and responsive municipal government. Without a solid working relationship between the CAO and the mayor, this is not possible.
I have been the Chief Executive Officer of both corporations and national and provincial not-for-profit organizations (i.e. The Canadian Genetic Diseases Network). In these roles I have demonstrated the ability to work with a diverse group of senior managers who have responsibility for both the technical and financial aspects of a corporation. Further as a CEO, I have initiated major agreements both in Canada and Asia to enhance the effectiveness of these organizations. In addition to being a CEO, I have also served as the Chairman of boards of both private and public organizations (i.e. Healthy Heart Society of British Columbia). One of the key tasks of a chairman is to be the direct link between the CEO and board and is responsible for the conducting the CEO’s annual appraisal.
The second area of responsibility for the mayor is multifaceted. It includes the following:
- to provide leadership to the council including recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures;
- to communicate information to the council;
- to preside at council meetings;
- to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers;
- to establish standing committees;
- to suspend municipal officers and employees;
- to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council.
As a CEO, Board Member, President of the South Armour Heights Rate Payers Association in Toronto and as a senior executive in the Federal government I have significant experience in fulfilling all of these responsibilities. The mayor’s responsibility (defined in item 7 above) is very important as it requires the mayor, notwithstanding their own opinion, to reflect the will of council. For example, if council votes in favour of a motion on which the mayor has voted against, the mayor is obligated to work with the municipal officers to insure that the council’s will is implemented.
Throughout my career I have demonstrated the ability to work with a wide-range of individuals in order to achieve a common goal. This requires a willingness to listen and act on alternative points of view. This I have done and would do as Mayor of Powell River.
Here is a video of my acceptance of the Innovative Manager Award from the Ottawa Life Sciences Council in 1996…
Powell River is going through a period of growth, it has a strong real estate market and a shortage of housing options. One of the challenges for the Mayor is to ensure that all business owners, developers and builders have equal access to development opportunities. As I have no business interests in Powell River I will be able to do this without any real or perceived personal conflicts of interest.
During the last 5 years many new residents have chosen to come to Powell River because it is a wonderful place to live. In addition to the legal responsibilities of a mayor outlined above, I believe the mayor should also engage and excite knowledgeable business and community leaders to donate time and expertise to help make Powell River an even better place to live. With over 40 years of experience as a volunteer I know first hand the importance of volunteerism in making a community healthy and a better place to live.
I saw you at the Feb. 13 committee of the whole meeting where Jack Barr was talking about the old Inn? What did you think about what he had to say?
David Brindle wrote an online Peak article entitled “Inn at Westview Agent Appears before Committee” on February 16. I am not allowed to copy the article here but you can see it by going to this link:
After reading the article I wrote the following letter to the publisher of The Peak. I hope it will be published in the February 21 edition.
— In Dave Brindle’s article on February 16 “Inn at Westview agent appears before Committee” he quotes Russell Brewer as saying “people have to ask themselves if this is more of a priority than other pressing issues we are facing” and added that “he does not think the former Inn will be an election issue in the fall”.
On January 15 I announced my candidacy to run for Mayor. Prior to making this decision I spoke with many residents and the removal of the derelict Inn at Westview was a priority for the majority. They were appalled that after 10 years the City was no closer to having this eyesore removed.
In August of 2016 Dave Brindle wrote in The Peak that the Inn at Westview continues to draw the ire of the community and harsh words at City Hall. The City has the ability to arrange for the removal of a derelict building after council approves the action with a remediation order. Section 80 of the BC Community Charter allows local governments to charge the owner of a property for all costs associated with the remedial action.
The Mayor and some Councillors have been want to take action because of their concern that it might bankrupt the owners. However, there is no precedent that I am aware of for Powell River taxpayers to bail out a corporate entity or individual faced with bankruptcy as a result of their own actions.
In 2016 the property value was assessed at $326,000. Surprisingly, at the Council Meeting on February 16, 2018 Mac Fraser indicated the fair market appraisal puts the value of the land at approximately $137,000. This purported dramatic reduction in the value of the land appears inconsistent with the rising value of local real estate. Powell River property assessment increases for 2017 were the highest in the Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Powell River region. On the commercial side building permits grew exponentially as more businesses moved into the area.
I believe that removal of the Inn at Westview is an important election issue for the fall.—
Why would you want to run for Mayor?
When I was in grade 11 and President of the CYO, I was chosen to take a leadership course offered by Fr. Mike McCaffrey. For those of you who are hockey fans, you may know that Fr. Mike presided over the wedding of Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton. The course took place at St. Anthony’s Parish in Edmonton. Fr. Mike emphasized the idea that leaders should look for ways they can make their communities better. I have always had the ability to build and lead teams whether it was to raise money for community projects, to start new companies or to represent homeowners at City Council in Toronto.
When I became involved with PR Groundswell in the summer of 2017 I soon learned that many residents of Powell River want to contribute to make Powell River a better place to live but they feel they have not been given a chance to understand issues or have meaningful participation in developing solutions.
I am running for Mayor because I want to build a culture at City Hall which will engage and inform all residents on important issues. I consider running a continuation of my long standing commitment to public service. I also believe the words of Winston Churchill: “you make a living by what you get and you make a life by what you give.”
What happened to the initiative to move Hardy Island into the Powell River Regional District?
In 2015 I initiated a process to move Hardy Island out of the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to the Powell River Regional District (PRRD). Paul Galinski wrote an article in The Peak (http://www.prpeak.com/news/residents-want-representation-change-1.2212778) explaining the background.
In a nutshell, since most Hardy Islanders use facilities in PRRD it made sense that their taxes should go there. While the PRRD was cooperative the SCRD refused to even initiate a public process. Simply put, they were happy getting taxes and providing no services.
What should be done with the Inn at Westview and why is this a priority?
The first answer is that it should be removed immediately. Secondly, the property is a huge health and safety issue not to mention an eyesore that detracts from the surrounding natural beauty of Powell River and diminishes the image of Powell River. Townsite is the only community in Western Canada that is designated as a National Historic District of Canada. Perhaps, the number one tourist draw to Powell River.
There is no rational reason why this building is still standing. If there is, no one has told the public. The problem of the Inn at Westview lies solely on the shoulders of the owners who have allowed it to become a derelict health and safety hazard. City staff have been generating reports on the Inn for Council’s consideration for many years. If the Inn’s owners had assumed their responsibility the building would have been demolished or refurbished 5 years ago.
While I would be willing to assist the owners in finding potential innovative solutions to minimize the hazards associated with demolition of this toxic building, it is not up to tax payers to subsidize the removal of a privately owned building. It has been said that forcing the company to remove this health hazard could force them into bankruptcy. So what. Does the City step in and save every entrepreneur in Powell River that has faced bankruptcy? Let’s focus on the owners responsibilities and the residents’ right to have this hazard removed.
The owners’ representative will be in Powell River for the Council Meeting on February 13 for both a public meeting and an in camera session. I plan to be present at that meeting and would encourage everyone to attend.
I look forward to answering your questions as I receive them! Feel free to send all queries through the “What’s up Powell River?” tab.