It’s time for Port Alberni to stop dreaming about the next big industrial project and focus on what it already has, says Michael Moore.
Five years after moving back to the city to raise his son, Moore has decided to run for Port Alberni City Council.
City council has lost touch with its community members and the things that really matter to them, he said. “Port Alberni needs to focus on Port Alberni and stop chasing the dream of another industrial revolution. We’re constantly chasing these multi-million-dollar projects. Since I’ve been here we’ve never really landed one that’s been successful.”
Changing the way people regard Port Alberni—including its own citizens—should be a major focus, and something he would work on should he be elected to council, he said. “We have such a reputation as ‘that stinky old mill town’ and it’s unfair, because we’re not. We’re a pretty little town sitting on the edge of something bigger.”
The city also needs to be more policy-friendly for small business owners, if they want to bring in new people and increase its population, he said. “Talking to small business owners here, a lot of them struggle to interact with the city. Whether or not its through permits or inspections, it’s a laborious process.
“A lot of it has to do with a municipal backlog.”
Moore was born in Port Alberni but his family moved away when he was two years old. He has spent 18 years as a project manager for a software and security company, many of those years while living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He and his wife Corinne, who was born and raised here and has family still living in Port Alberni, moved back in 2012 because they thought it would be an ideal place to raise their son Flynn, who is now six.
Moore brought his job with him when he moved here, operating out of an office in the historic home he has been renovating. He is also a founding member for Alberni Makerspace, which plans to open in September in a space beside Burde Beans on Burde Street. The Makerspace will have equipment and a space to create where people can come down and share ideas and equipment.
Moore would like to see the city act as a digital gathering place for the community, “a place where you can go and get resources.”
Council members should also be accessible to their constituents, he said.
“Part of the reason I’m running for council is very few of the councillors engage with the public on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “Municipal government is the single most important government. It affects your day-to-day life.”