Ron Woznow has declared his candidacy for mayor of City of Powell River in the October municipal election.
Woznow, who ran for mayor in 2018, said on numerous occasions over the last four years, people have stopped him and said they hoped he was going to run again. He said he sat down last fall and made notes of why people wanted him to run. The decision was that he loved Powell River and has learned a lot about the city.
“I could use my experience and expertise to help make Powell River a greater place to live,” said Woznow.
In terms of career and lifetime highlights, Woznow said in 1990, he was invited to meet with Pope John Paul II in Poland because of the volunteer work he had done with the Polish government to help it transition from communist Russian rule to a democracy.
“To me, that was a highlight of how I had used my network to help them at a time when they were really floundering in the transition to democracy,” said Woznow. “In addition to getting a ride with Pope John Paul in his popemobile, I was also made an honorary member of the Solidarity Party. It was a recognition for doing things at a time when a lot of people said they were going to do things, but according to my Polish people, I was the only one who delivered on everything I said I would do.”
He said he also co-chaired a mission to Europe with Industry Canada to help pulp and paper customers who bought products from Canada to understand more about Canadian businesses. He was a vice-president at Fletcher Challenge, had been in pulp mills in a number of locations around the world, and worked with unions and environmental groups on a number of issues.
“That was recognition that the industry and government saw me as an effective spokesperson in Europe,” said Woznow.
When he ran for mayor last time, he said there was a “vicious rumour” that he was running to shut the mill down. He said the irony is that he had the experience and expertise working with the industry.
“Had I been elected, there’s a good chance the mill would still be operational because I would have been able to identify huge amounts of money that could have provided opportunities to upgrade the mill, use different technology, et cetera,” said Woznow.
He said he also received recognition from the governor general of Canada for kicking off the Ottawa Life Sciences Park, bringing the first start-up company into the park, looking at medical imaging, ultrasound and new technology.
“I got a nice award from governor general David Johnston,” added Woznow.
Ready for challenges
In terms of leadership, Woznow said he is very effective at building teams to take on difficult challenges and end up with a positive result.
“I’ve done research, I’ve run companies, I’ve been a senior government official,” he added. “The only reason I was put into those jobs is that somebody saw there was a major challenge that wasn’t being addressed. That was my track record. I could find a way to make that good thing happen.”
There are so many smart, capable people in this city that, if asked, would provide great expertise in attracting businesses here and doing a variety of different things, said Woznow.
In terms of civic issues, he said number one is transparency. Everybody in the city should be getting information that is important to them, he added.
“We’ve got great people working at city hall,” said Woznow. “What I’d like to do is help them understand it’s important to have a culture where we share information. If residents have a question, they shouldn’t have to file a freedom of information request.”
Woznow said as mayor, he would host monthly coffee meetings for residents to pose questions, and work to streamline permitting for residents and businesses.
Bringing jobs to town would also be a priority. He said he would use contacts he has built to try and establish good-paying employment opportunities in Powell River.
During his campaign, Woznow said he is planning on doing a lot of door knocking. He wants to host meetings for community members and he’ll be setting up a website to provide more information.
“I feel like I have tremendous support in the community,” said Woznow.