Houston councillor candidates discuss economics

The ten councillor candidates recently answered questions about boosting the economy and support local business.

  • Nov. 14, 2014 1:00 p.m.

The ten candidates running for Houston councillor faced a variety of questions at the recent All Candidates.

One big topic up for discussion was how to boost the economy and support local business.

What can be done to support and expand business in Houston?

Tim Anderson: Just promoting our businesses and what they have to offer. If people realize what they can get here, they’d buy here. Also focus on the importance of buying local, people have to understand their social responsibilities to our community. I plan to promote that and encourage people to stay here and shop in Houston.

Colleen Ettinger: We have a lot of home based businesses that need to be supported and promoted more so that people know they are out there. There are a lot of businesses that people don’t realize are in town, so we need to get the word out more. Small businesses are good for the community.

Rick Lundrigan: I think it’s very important to promote our community. Council needs to work closely with the Chamber, they are the specialists in that and they have a good grasp on what can and cannot work. We need to work on our policies to make things more attractive for business. We need to encourage new development of business as well.

Toni McKilligan: What immediately comes to my mind is the home based businesses in town. There is a lot more here then a lot of people are actually aware of, and it would be really nice to draw some of those home based businesses out. It’s unfortunate that many feel that they can’t open a storefront and make themselves more visible, but I think we can find ways to help them do that. We also have expertise at the Chamber office, and we need to keep supporting them.

Dawn Potvin: From a council perspective as well, its important to get members in council to sit on the community economic development boards and work closely with the Chamber. They have many initiatives like Small Town Love and things they are doing to promote our community as a whole, as well as individual businesses. It’s about economic development and promoting your own community, that makes it easy for others to be attracted to it as well. On council, you have to be on the pulse of the business owners and the home based businesses in town.

Nick Powell: It’s important to be involved in the Chamber of Commerce, they have the pulse of the businesses in town. Regulation and policies from the outside looking in, it’s hard to know what those are. On a side note, little things I think we can do better is prompt our real estate prices in town. We have some of the best real estate prices from Prince George to Prince Rupert and I don’t think it does as much it should to promote residency and promote the business opportunities here.

John Siebenga: Curb appeal. The District has done a lot of work in promoting and coming up with plans to promote Houston and make it more appealing to people driving through. I think that’s one of the issues we’re going to have to work on, is making Houston a much better place to stop and shop. We’ve got to shop local.

Tom Stringfellow: People like to have choice, but I think we need to support local, and spend our dollars in Houston stores. People spend a lot to get a store up and running so people need to spend local to keep those businesses up and running. Se we need to promote Houston and spend locally.

Craig Stoltenberg: I was involved in a business start up a few years ago and one of the big things we ran into was that there was no industrial land for sale in Houston. At that time most of it was tied up by Canfor and HFP.  For Houston to attract new business, the District has to lobby to make land more available, and get development moving so people aren’t forced to lay out so much money before they can start their business. That would attract business.

Jonathan Van Barneveld: As part of the closure we worked on an economic action plan, and throughout the last term we’ve worked really hard to modify some of our bylaws, allowing for things that were not allowed previously in Houston, such as multi-use or mobile vending. One thing we touched on in the economic plan and we’re going to have to lobby greatly more is the changes to Highway 16. To increase the curb appeal and also to draw people into the town. People won’t have a problem investing if they feel they’re going to get a return on their investment. So if you have a well established and nice looking town, the beautification aspect really helps to spur on people. With home based businesses, we can start teasing them out of their homes to set up a storefronts and retail. Economic development is a very slow process but I think that we’ve been able to make inroads, especially with the Chamber having the economic development office.

How will you approach economic diversification within this community?

Craig Stoltenberg: We have to promote Houston as a place to start a business. We have everything here, access to power, and rail and road access. We have lots of land but currently none of it is available to purchase a piece, it’s all tied up with landowners just sitting on it. The council needs to try and work with them and the community to try and develop an industrial park and that will kick start it.

It’s hard to see people spend money in Smithers mainly due to our grocery store. How can we improve on that to help our dollars stay here?

Tim Anderson: The grocery store is a point of contention and what I tell people is to buy what you can here and in Super Value, and if you can’t get it, then you’re forced to buy outside. If you can get it in Houston, buy Houston. I think there needs to be more dialogue with the manager of Super Value.

Tom Stringfellow: For a lot of seniors, if they had the opportunity to get out and shop in the local stores, I’m sure they’d want to spend their money locally. But a lot of them can’t get out or don’t have a vehicle or drive a motorized wheelchair, so it’s difficult to get around town. So for the seniors, if we have affordable transit, then we can get them out to spend their dollars locally too.

 

Just Posted

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read