City of Powell River mayoral candidate Maggie Hathaway has a long history in the local political scene, having been a city councillor and working as a political assistant to MLA Nicholas Simons.
Hathaway said she has also had a long history in a political family, so there has always been an interest in politics and the good of the people.
“You have to work together to make things happen,” said Hathaway.
She was successful in her first run at city council as a councillor 14 years ago. The term that is just concluding is her fourth.
Issues that Hathaway has been involved in include emergency preparedness. She had worked for Powell River Fire Rescue and understands that the entire region needs to be prepared for emergencies. She said a regional emergency executive committee was formed because disaster knows no borders. Out of that, Ryan Thoms was hired as the manager of emergency services for the city, qathet Regional District and Tla’amin Nation.
She said her council portfolio for emergency services includes meeting with the RCMP regularly.
“The police are really good and we have a good relationship,” said Hathaway. “They do a wonderful job even though they are understaffed.”
Hathaway is also passionate about social issues, which she stepped into when working for the local legal aid office. She said she believes in helping those who need a hand up.
“It’s the responsibility of society to be lending a hand to people when they need it,” said Hathaway.
In terms of issues she sees important in her mayoral run, Hathaway said BC Ferries, while not in the city’s domain, is an important matter for local residents. She said council members have spoken with provincial ministry of transportation minister Rob Fleming and told him about the black market for reserved ferry tickets on the Sunshine Coast.
“That is just wrong,” said Hathaway. “He didn’t know and he was amazed. The ferry advisory committee is doing the best they can but they are not being heard.”
She said she thinks there needs to be a line for Powell River residents at Langdale ferry terminal.
In terms of economic development, Hathaway said regarding the Catalyst Paper Tis’kwat mill site, she understands there are several parties interested in the property.
“It’s a great industrial site,” said Hathaway. “We need to work hand-in-hand with our economic development director.”
She said the number of business licences and building permits have been going up annually, so economic activity is increasing, and needs to be fostered.
Regarding housing, Hathaway said there is lots of housing being built. She said she has been an advocate of affordable housing, but also recognizes that all housing is needed.
“We need single-family dwellings, too,” said Hathaway. She said people are coming to the community who want to live in detached housing, as well as residents who are looking for affordable rental housing.
Hathaway said incentive needs to be provided for affordable housing. She is a strong advocate for establishment of a city housing authority. She said she sees the housing authority working at arms-length from council. As an example, a housing authority in Whistler has done amazing things in that community, she added.
Hathaway said regarding a possible name change for the city, she is glad there is a hiatus in the process.
“The educational portion has been awesome but there is a lot more to do,” said Hathaway. “We need to stop debating whether Israel Powell was a bad guy or a good guy. The question is: do we want to change the name of Powell River?
“I would like to see the educational portion carry on until we feel it’s time. We got the conversation started. We’ll know when it’s time.” She advocated the use of an opinion poll.
In terms of taxation, Hathaway said the question has to be asked: how are you going to do that?
“The cost of everything is going up,” she added. “You can cut services, so do you want the recreation complex only open three days a week, or stop the bus service? Maybe we only want garbage pickup every second week. Those are the kinds of decisions council would have to make if they want to reduce taxes, and they are really difficult.”
Hathaway said she wants to listen to the residents of the community and to pay attention to good ideas.
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