Myron Jespersen has helped communities develop in the far reaches of the globe and he wants to bring that experience to Port Alberni’s city council, he said.
Jespersen, 58, is one of 19 people running for six seats on city council.
The married father of three children grew up on a farm outside of Edmonton. After high school he earned both a BA and MA in divinity studies at the Canadian Theology College.
Jespersen worked for Mercy Core International and World Relief, and has been involved in humanitarian relief work in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.
Jespersen worked in small enterprise, agriculture and health issues abroad, and he would bring a development perspective to the table as a city councillor.
He points out that this perspective doesn’t mean looking outside for solutions.
“You look at a community’s strengths and assets and marshal them towards a goal,” he said.
Jespersen moved here with his wife Janice five years ago. In that time he’s shown a quiet tenacity with such issues as transitional housing, the Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness, Phoenix House, and trying to turn the old post office into a zero-barrier facility.
Jespersen attends council meetings regularly and met with council over issues on several occasions. “Working with them has always gone smoothly but you have to work with them, and we’ve had successes and failures,” he said.
Jespersen decided to run two years ago after being encouraged to do so by a broad cross-section of residents.
“I don’t have an axe to grind or an agenda to pursue,” he said. “I understand that the decisions we make affect the whole community.”
You have to think outside the box in these times of limited resources, Jespersen said.
“You have to consider unconventional ideas and find ways to make something work.”