Longtime activist Stacey Gaiga is throwing her hat into the mayoral ring in Port Alberni. Gaiga declared her intent on Monday to run for mayor during the upcoming municipal election in November.
“I want to stop reacting to things. I want to be a part of the decision-making process,” Gaiga said.
Gaiga has been the voice of the anti-coal port movement in the Alberni Valley for the past year, but says she will not run on a one-issue mandate. She has also advocated for a safer watershed in the Alberni Valley, protested logging on Arbutus Ridge across from Harbour Quay in an effort to preserve the city’s sightline across Alberni Inlet, and spearheaded a campaign to keep the Martin Mars waterbombers in a museum in the Alberni Valley when Timberwest put them up for sale several years ago (the Coulson Group purchased the aircraft and have kept them flying out of Sproat Lake instead).
Gaiga has lived and worked in the Alberni Valley since 2004, moving here from Ontario. Although she has never sat on a city council before, Gaiga said her fulltime job as a corporate head hunter has given her insight into the inner workings of municipalities that few new candidates have.
“Some people may wonder why I’m not running for council first. I feel confident with my leadership skills,” she said. “I’ve always been a leader, all my life.
“I couldn’t work under anybody who is on council right now. They have different core values,” she added.
She wants to give Port Alberni a different image, and says attracting professionals to the Valley will help achieve that goal.
The present council is fixated on economies of the past, she said, and that way of thinking is outdated. “I’d like to be able to offer younger people in the world more 21st century jobs, rather than resource extraction based industries,” she said.
” I really care about this community. I’m going to fight for it.”
Gaiga said she has not been officially nominated for the mayoral race yet, but is confident someone will put her name forward. She wanted to announce her intent to run several months in advance so people can get to know her, and to encourage others who share her values to do the same.