Incumbent Ken McRae was elected mayor of Port Alberni in 2001, after serving two years on council. Prior to that he had considerable public and private sector experience with the BC Assessment Authority, as president of the labour council and the Paperworkers’ Council executive. This experience has ultimately helped him in his role as mayor, he said.
Since becoming mayor he has represented the people of Port Alberni on the Rail Corridor Foundation, the Upnit Power Corporation Board and the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICE-T) board.
“I am proud of the work the councils I have been part of have achieved over the past decade,” he said, “in particular our fair handling of the industrial tax situation, the improvements made to city infrastructure and the progress we have made toward diversification of our economy.”
The economic challenges that North America faces in the next few years are likely to filter down to Port Alberni in the form of continued downloading from higher levels of government and as pressure on the local job base, McRae said. “While the city has limited tools, I will ensure that we continue to provide, or encourage the provision by others, of physical, educational and intellectual infrastructure,” he said.
He and the city’s economic development staff will work with industry, the educational sector and provincial initiatives to encourage new courses and research partnerships, new seafood catching and processing opportunities.
If re-elected, McRae would also like to see the city do all it can to assist sports, heritage and cultural, adventure and sports fishing tourism. “Our considerable assets and attractions in these areas need to be recognized and promoted,” he said.
Two tourism-related initiatives he is proud to have seen come to fruition under his direction on the ICE-T board are the completion of the Inlet Trail and Runners’ Trail, and the building of the new visitors’ centre.
McRae said in the next three years he’d like the opportunity to complete the Fisherman’s Harbour improvement project, find a new owner and uses for the Argyle Street post office and make the district energy project a reality.
“I bring my energy, my 10 years as mayor working to build consensus with councillors, my extensive contacts within the community and around the Island and my life experiences to a further term as mayor,” he said.