Now that the election is over and city council can return to business, the Castlegar News decided to speak with the individual councillors to see what they want to focus their efforts on in the next four years.
Deb McIntosh — “I will continue to work on the official community plan, keep moving forward in the direction we have been and taking note of some of the concerns that citizens had during the election.
“Also trying to figure out how to get more engagement going because that seems to be a big one. Again I don’t know how to engage the community any more than we have been, but it is certainly a task I am willing to take on. I would really like to see more input on poverty issues and dealing with homelessness. Not necessarily doing something right away but at least advocate and have a voice in that particular realm of provincial government.
“I think everyone sitting at the table has something to offer and I hope Mr. Tassone jumps on board with us and has a wonderful four years.”
Kevin Chernoff — “I guess the immediate future would involve settling the strike issue as quickly as we can.
“Long term goals would be continuing on with the infrastructure, which will come up in our budget discussions. I think that’s always our council’s top priority; the roads, the sewers and water.
“Beyond that we look at things like millennium ponds, which will be a focus again for the next year. That will include things like the completion of the dog park and I know there has been other ideas thrown around like the beach volleyball courts and things like that.
“For the new year I hope things carry on the way that they have been. I think Castlegar has been very progressive and I think this election shows people are proud of the community.
“You know, like I’ve always said, we can have gold-lined sewers but if people don’t want to live here it doesn’t do us a lot of good.
Dan Rye — “I would like to see us carry forward on the momentum we already have started with the millennium ponds project and what’s going on down there. I think that’s going to be a key to what happens in the community in the next few years. It’s going to be a tourism driver for us down the road, attracting many people to the downtown core.
“This election shows that the residents of Castlegar are quite happy with the direction the city has been going. We’re always wanting to see more development. We’d love to see the business community strengthened. If there’s a way we can sit down with landlords in the community and get something going on the business side that would be great.
“There are a lot of empty store fronts, but we’re not the only community in B.C. that’s having these issues. It would be nice to get more businesses in town and keep people in town to spend their money.
Florio Vassilakakis — “I have a lot of things on my list.
“I want to continue to push for tax incentives for business property owners to improve the look of their business. So the downtown core can not only be revitalized but any property owner can take advantage of this to improve their buildings without having to worry about paying for the increased value of their property.
“I also want to push forth and stay on this path of community engagement.
“I know that during the election people are generally engaged, but then it kind of dwindles off and I would like to continue on that path of involvement.
“Most of what I like to look at is the economic development side of things and of course there are a lot of things that play into that. It’s not just bringing in new business, but making people happy and retaining families here, and bringing in new doctors for solid health care services.
“If people in the community are happy then they exude that and that attracts others to our city.”
Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff — “The election was a clear indication from the citizens we have a mandate to carry on for the next four years.
“So what you’ll see us doing is going through our master plans and making things come to fruition.
“That’s additional stuff at Millennium Park like the off-leash dog park, the concession will be up and running by next year and we have some more bike and walking paths we want to carry on. We have a whole bunch of stuff we’ll be working on for the next four years.
“Going in to the new year, number one on my list is having a settled, negotiated contract with the union.
“What we mainly look to do is carry on with what we’ve been doing and be progressive and forward thinking for our community.
“Of course during the election people talked about council engaging the community more and I think we have a few ideas on that. But again that’s a two way street and people need to want to listen.”
Bruno Tassone — Joining the five councillors returning to office this term is long-time city employee Bruno Tassone.
The News spoke with Tassone right after the election. He said he is an advocate for function over aesthetics and is putting city infrastructure at the top of his to-do list.
“I think there are issues with our infrastructure as far as storm work, and there’s room for upgrades in our water system,” Tassone said.
He would like to get started on revamping the city’s pumping station system.
His goal is to reduce the number of pumping stations required from three down to just one by using a gravity feed system leading to a grand reservoir.
“We’re not very efficient, having to pump our water multiple times, increasing our electricity costs,” he said.
In addition to the water situation, Tassone stated he will be working for improvements to the road systems and restoring ambulance and hospital hours.
Tassone believes his long standing career with the city — over 35 years — along with his knowledge of the surrounding area from a life led here will allow him to further improve upon the City of Castlegar.
“While working for the City, I became very aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and where we need to focus our resources,” said Tassone.
“While I’m proud of the city we live in, I think we can sharpen it up a little bit.”
Tassone will be joining council after the December 1 inaugurational meeting.