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Incumbent councillor Florio Vassilakakis shares platform

Florio Vassilakakis
By Florio Vassilakakis
October 25th, 2014

It was just over one year ago that the citizens of Castlegar voted to elect me as their newest councillor. While I have not changed the world just yet, I do have ideas, I have passion and I certainly have the forward thinking to help this City make positive progress.

It has been an honour to serve the city. I have been so excited to be part of the conversation to help make Castlegar a better place for my family and yours. Voters believed that I was worth the investment and I have not taken the responsibility lightly. I have worked hard this past year to learn about the function of the city, understand the issues and make a mark on my short first term.

I have supported health care initiatives such as doctor recruitment and the strategic plan for the West Kootenay Boundary Hospital District. I have continued to voice my belief in prioritizing economic development, jobs creation and airport upgrades. I have been a huge supporter of the continued expansion of our recreation facilities and the Millennium Park project, for which I give credit to the wonderful foresight of the rest of the incumbent council (even though I would love to take credit). I am a team player, have profound respect for our current council and, while they have more governing experience, I certainly bring a youthful and energetic but mature approach.

We are all concerned about the well-being of the community and the issues that arise. We have continued to invest in our infrastructure through well-thought-out “master” planning that keeps things like water and sewer systems in top shape. While absolutely important, this isn’t the stuff that fires me up day to day. What’s more important is the longer-term vision. Where do we want this City to be in 5-10-15+ years? While short-term gain has “instant gratification,” we must make policies now that position this community as the strongest in the region now and well into the future.

The City is in the business of customer service. It’s all about making customers happy; citizens and businesses alike. It starts by continuing to make this a city people love and are proud to live in, a city that has amenities, infrastructure and a sense of community.

We need to start creating a culture of civic engagement. We need to engrain in our youth the importance of being involved in the community and to genuinely seek feedback from our citizens. We need a mechanism more than just council-meeting question period for people to voice their opinions. We need active citizens who are informed about what the city is doing.

Here are a few more of my thoughts…

A. Good governance + fiscal responsibility: Clearly, a continued culture of fiscal responsibility that has been engrained at City Hall is a good one. We are one of the most financially-sound communities of our size in the province and the country. Having said that, we owe it to our tax-payers to grow responsibly and do so by continuing to spend smartly and balance taxes on industrial, commercial and residential properties.

I also believe in user-pay. Taxpayers should reasonably expect to enjoy the benefits of their tax payments to the City in the short term, not 20 years from now. While the City has been very prudent with its finances in the past, it also pays dividends to invest and deploy the capital it has and leverage it to do great projects. I think this council has been doing that more recently.

With sound and stable finances and good people within government and at City Hall, we can continue to lay the groundwork. A cohesive and strong council with common goals that works together is essential to progress.

B. Job Creation + Economic Development: Every politician says, “I want to create jobs,” but what does that mean and how does it happen? It’s simple in my view. Make it easier to do business, be aggressive with incentives, support the growth of current businesses and then go out and recruit new business to locate or start up here.

During the 2013 by-election, I discussed the need for an economic development officer. While there are many opinions on what the right strategy is, it is certainly a very important discussion to have.

Economic development, business expansion and retention cannot be done as an afterthought to the City’s daily business. It needs to be a priority.

With your support, on November 15th, I’d love to continue the work that I have just started. Go with the Flo!

PS. I’ve got a lot more to say. Check me out on

facebook.com/floforcouncil

Categories: GeneralOp/EdPolitics

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