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City council by-election candidate Florio Vassilakakis - in his own words

Florio Vassilakakis
By Florio Vassilakakis
August 23rd, 2013

There’s an old greek proverb that says “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

Eleven years ago, my family and I came to Castlegar with a vision. It was just months after graduating with a B.Sc from the University of British Columbia, that my father and I set in motion, the plans that would become the Element in downtown Castlegar. From the outset, our family promised to not only build a spectacular venue, create local jobs, bring great food and world-class entertainment, but committed to being outstanding corporate citizens. We have and continue to support many of the City’s charities including Rotary, The Community Foodbank, Sk8 Shoes 4 Kids and Scultpturewalk.

I care about community. While I was born in Vancouver and raised in Penticton, I now consider myself a Castlegarian. My wife Rebecca and I are proud to be raising our family here. We are both actively involved in the community and we are both honoured to have received the awards for Top Business People in the Kootenays. I have served on the Board of the Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and currently sit on the Board of Directors of the Castlegar Golf Club. These two positions along with my university education and diverse business background have provided me with experience that I expect to be an asset when I am representing you on council.

My family and I took a big financial and personal risk building our business here. We believe in Castlegar and we have seen its potential. We want to see Castlegar grow and flourish economically, culturally and sustainably. Many issues that we keep hearing about are Transportation (Airport and Taxis), Hospital services, Recreation Facilities, affordable housing and Job creation initiatives. All of these things are interconnected.

We need to be aggressive as a City to attract new, meaningful employment opportunities to our area. Moving forward we cannot continue to rely on the Celgars and Tecks to employ our population. We can’t sit still. I look forward to working with council to make this a priority so that five years from now we aren’t questioning; Why can’t our planes land? Why don’t have an economic development officer? Why don’t we have aggressive tax initiatives to attract new business? Why are all our youth still leaving? We need to look forward and attract new business to the area. We need to incentivize companies to locate to this beautiful region. We need to actively search out companies and sell them on the benefits of locating here. We have a wonderful quality of life, great facilities and our community is growing culturally. We have all of these things and it is our job to connect the dots and market them. These are my priorities. We need a sense of urgency and with a bit of intensity we can make things happen. I am confident that I will bring that to council.

Part of being on council is making decisions on the issues as they arise. There are so many issues that face people in our community, and I am certain that I will make sound decisions based on the best interests of the whole community. I am also not afraid to make tough decisions and to defend what I am passionate about. I am not delusional to think that I can change the world, however, I do know that I would be one small part of a team that can shape the way this community grows and prospers into the future. That excites me.

You have my commitment that I will work tirelessly to preserve our identity and ensure that our city continues moving forward. Castlegar has a bright future – together, let’s make it exceptional! Now is the time to plant those trees. I am Florio Vassilakakis and I am running for City Council. On September 14th, Go with the Flo!

You can also visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/floforcouncil

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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