Kyle Thomson, installed as Houston Councillor on Tuesday, says there is a lot going on in town and new things starting up, but people tend to focus on the negative.
“I want to see the negativity from people about the town stop,” said Thomson.
“There’s positives here that people just have to concentrate on,” he said.
“We’re our own town, and I think we can definitely be an appealing town to anybody,” he added.
Thomson says he is working toward that end.
Thomson has been a member of the Houston Chamber of Commerce for two years, and became a director on the board in May 2012.
Chamber of Commerce Vice President Troy Reitsma says Thomson has been a welcome addition to the board.
“He is definitely bringing his ideas to the table and he’s not afraid of fighting for what he thinks is right,” Reitmsa said, adding that Thomson has been on the board only nine months.
Thomson has also invested into Houston business.
Thomson started Monster Industries, an industrial services and construction company in Houston, in 2004, incorporated 2008, and he says part of the reason he did it was to show people that investments in Houston pay back.
“I think people don’t realize that,” he said.
And with business from Houston sawmills and mines, as well as multi-million dollar projects across the province, Monster Industries has certainly proven to be a successful Houston investment.
Thomson says part of the reason for his success is his ability to see positives in situations and take advantage of them in the right way.
In the 2008 recession when he expanded, Thomson says people thought he was crazy, but he was able to see and gain advantages because of the recession, going in cheaper and getting contracts with big companies.
Now he brings that positive perspective from his business to Houston council, and he says he wants to get local people to see the good things about the town.
“I can see so many positives here that I think so many people just can’t see,” he said.
People say Houston is shrinking and there’s nothing to do around here, but in the last few years we’ve gotten a pool, a sports store, a bowling alley and a new hotel, and soon we’ll have a movie theatre, he said.
“Houston is picking up steam…. There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve gotten in the past two to three years – a lot!” he said.
Thomson himself has been behind several of the new businesses, including the bowling alley and movie theatre.
Thomson and Eric Bishop are partners in the bowling alley building, which they bought three years ago.
They opened the bowling alley Nov. 2011, and are renovating the movie theatre which Thomson says they plan to open in March.
Asked about his hopes for being on council, Thomson says he wants to make Houston more appealing, whether through tourism or physical appearance, or by bringing more business to town.
He says there are lots of small things that would be cost-effective to bring change, such as building sidewalks the whole way through town.
“If you drive through small towns and you see it without power lines inside them, and you just have sidewalks going down the highway, it makes it a lot more appealing driving through… you feel like you are driving down a street instead of down a highway through town. It makes a big difference,” Thomson said.
Thomson says he thinks they need to be concentrating on secondary industry and public amenities like restaurants.
“The industry is here. You have just got to be able to find a way to get people to siphon their money back into Houston,” said Thomson.
“We don’t need another mine, we have a mine and two sawmills,” he said, adding that secondary industry would also give economic stability to the town, and enable it to be self-contained.
Thomson says with Houston just over 50 years old, we’re in the third generation in terms of economics: first generation brought settlement, second, primary industry, and as the third generation, our role is to bring in secondary industry.
“The business is there you just need to find the people with the drive to do it,” said Thomson. “That’s the trick.”