John Douglas has spent the past three years as a city councillor in Port Alberni. He grew up in Campbell River, the youngest of three children, then moved to Vancouver where he trained as a paramedic.
Douglas moved back to Port Alberni in 2004 and works as a paramedic in addition to his councillor’s position. He is married with a family here too.
Douglas decided to run for mayor because he believes he can lead change within council.
“I’d like to make our council more proactive through change, and less reactive,” he said.
Three key points he sees to achieving this are to strengthen post-secondary education, extend community development aimed at seniors, and invest in health care. All three points meld naturally into one another, he said.
He would like to see a broader post-secondary curriculum offered in Port Alberni; giving students the ability to take more first-year courses at home, for example in the nursing program, before they are forced to move away to finish their education.
While seniors are already well served in the Alberni Valley, Douglas would like to see those services extended “so people living in the community will feel comfortable moving into seniors facilities and not have to move out of town to get the kind of facility they want,” he said.
Health care improvements would include a CT scan machine available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which would in turn allow West Coast General Hospital to better treat stroke patients. A walk-in clinic would relieve the burden of the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital, he added.
Also important to consider in a proactive community are economic diversification, tourism and beautification — “making our community more beautiful so people look forward and enjoy their time here.”
Douglas also has plans on how to revamp council itself. He would like to see councillors change up their portfolios, and would like to see the creation of new portfolios such as uptown revitalization. More delegation among councillors as well as the acting mayor would help the mayor concentrate on the bigger picture, he said.
He would also implement an annual goal setting and achievement review within council, outlining which goals have been met and which haven’t. Although the city presently has a five-year financial plan that is set each year, it is not used as a goal-setting tool.