Council candidate John Phillips, in his own words

By Contributor
October 21st, 2014

My name is John Phillips and I am running for the position of Councillor for the City of Castlegar in the Nov. 15 civic election.

  Why am I running for council? I am concerned that city council has spent millions and millions of dollars on unnecessary and frivolous projects while they are in possession of a consultant’s report that outlines $66 million worth of upgrades and maintenance that the city water system infrastructure will require. That does not include sanitary sewer, storm sewer or roads. These unnecessary projects include over $4 million for water and sewer to the airport lands. While the water system is being used there is NOT ONE connection to the sewer system. Over $1.6 million for the Millenium Ponds for about three months use per year. Over $345,000 for the Connors Road bike/ walking path, $45,000 for changing coloured lights under the Hwy. 3 overpass and a rainbow crosswalk. And council is not done, as they plan phase 2 of the coloured lights and more on the bike/ walking path. How did the City pay for all these recent expenses?  For the 2014 budget, the City took $3.6 million out of reserves.

I am also concerned with the way neighborhoods are treated when council decides to construct a project that has a significant impact on that neighborhood. Residents are not consulted and their concerns are quickly dismissed and minimized and the information provided by the City is often misleading or incorrect.

  I am concerned with the confrontational and unhealthy relationship that appears to have developed with the city’s unionized workers.

  I am concerned that there are approx. 40 empty retail outlets in Castlegar and council is chasing big box retailers for the airport lands. We have sene what happened to what used to be a vibrant downtown when all the strip malls in the south  end appeared. Bring in big box retail over at the airport and what do you think will happen to the retail community on the west side of the river?

  Who am I to comment on these issues?

  My parents bought a farm on the banks of the Columbia River around 1944-45 from a man by the name of Connors – hence the name Connors Road. I have lived here all my life and  I still live on Connors Road.

  The following is my basic history;

  –  graduated from Stanley Humphries

  –  worked at Celgar Pulp for 40 yrs. as an operator and machinist

  –  certified by the Justice Institute of B.C. in Conflict Resolution/ Negotiation

  –  certified in Alternate Dispute Resolution and Negotiation

  –  mediated in Vancouver and Surrey Small Claims Courts

  –  former member of Mediation Association of B.C.

  –  Job Evaluator for the Pulp Paper and Woodworkers of Canada National Office for several years

  –  involved in contract negotiations at the local and national level with PPWC

  –  President, Asst. Coach, G.M. and program coordinator with Rebels

  –  coached, managed, officiated and served on executive of minor hockey for many years

  –  coached and served on executive of girls softball

  –  President of Castlegar Slo-pitch League for several years

  –  President of local Chapter of Good Sam Club for several years

  –  current President of Pass Creek Gospel Music Festival

   I believe my time spent in this community and my experiences allow me to comment on the state of affairs as I see them in our city. I think I bring unique experiences and skills that would be valuable on Council.

 However, don’t just take my word for the state of affairs in our City. Back in 2009 when the City was planning the water and sewer to the airport lands they engaged some local residents in a discussion an what a “sustainable Castlegar” would look like. One of those people was a local civil engineer who had experience working on water and sewer systems from design to construction. His name is Mike Thomas and I encourage you to read his article on the internet titled “Servicing the Airport Lands” and it’s at Mike Thomas@urbanworkbench. It is very prophetic and he uses the term “pipe dream” to describe the City’s plans for that land.

  What would I like to see happen if I was elected?

  First I would like to see spending come under control. No more unnecessary or frivolous projects and come up with a plan for the impending infrastructure upgrades and maintenance required.

  Develop a protocol that addresses residents concerns where they are given the weight and respect they deserve.

  Address the problems associated with the unionized workers.

  Make airport reliability upgrades a priority. Instead of going to Japan maybe go to Ottawa and see the folks that hold the answers on the airport.

  What’s going on with the hospital? There was much talk about a new regional hospital in Castlegar from council and now silence. Time to rev it up again.

  Instead of spending money on rainbow crosswalks and such what if we took that money, whatever it was say $9000. Take that $9000 and challenge Nelson and Trail to match it and spend the money on clean drinking water for somewhere in the world that desperately needs it. There would be far more benefit than a rainbow x-walk.

    Thank You for reading this lengthy article but I believe there is a lot residents of Castlegar should know. On Nov. 15 I would be honoured to receive your support.      John Phillips

Categories: GeneralPolitics