Campbell wants in the game

Community volunteer believes in a hands on approach

Sterling Campbell announced his candidacy for Campbell River city council.

After taking early retirement Sterling and Judy moved to Campbell River as a vanguard of “boomers” looking for a less harsh climate to retire in.

Shortly after relocating here, Sterling joined the active retiree group dedicated to attracting retirees to Campbell River. When the project concluded, Sterling was invited to other B.C. communities to share our story.

“Other communities are building on our success,” he said “we should be in the game, not on the sidelines.”

As a member of the Campbell River Common seniors group, Sterling believes that the time has come for council to petition the federal government seniors program for funds to keep the program viable.

Whether putting a new roof on the Walter Morgan shed or joining the Rotary Beach clean-up crew, Sterling says he has a “hands on” commitment that has benefitted the community. As past president of Rotary, Sterling supported the funding of the Laughing Willow community garden and the brain injury centre. Both these diverse projects have greatly enhanced our community.

Sterling’s former experience as a 10-year member of city council in a resource-based community in Ontario gives him a unique outlook on the economic problems facing Campbell Rriver. After serving 10 years on city council, Sterling was elected to the Ontario Legislature where he served as the parliamentary assistant to the Minster of Mines. Wth this experience, Sterling understands the importance of the balance between mine development and the environment.

Sterling agrees with the recent “ad hoc” committee statement that Campbell River is in a transitional moment in our economic history.

“We must look for new ways to move forward,” he says.

The first step in that process is to focus on the upcoming 2012 budget. While holding the line on taxes, council must give priority to proven economic development efforts. If elected, Sterling would advocate the use of the “zero based budget process” or a comparable system to clearly identify budget priorities while minimizing any tax increases. During the 2011 budget debate the lawn mowing incident using the zero based budget method would have clearly identified the impact.

A positive step forward is the sale of surplus land providing income, as well as expanding the tax base.

In November we will be electing our fifth mayor this decade. During the same period we have gone through the same number of chief administraters.

“No wonder the staff and council are seen to have difficulties with direction,” Campbell says. “During the next council term, the ground work must be laid to achieve success as we lead ourselves out of our present economic doldrums. We must use all of the tools at our disposal to move forward successfully.

The next concern that Sterling has is the proposed hospital. “With the defeat of the HST and the subsequent return of funds by the province to the federal government” Sterling says “the new council must be vigilent to make sure that there are no amended design changes that would adversely affect the proposed hospital. The next council must be fully aware of the signs and act appropriately to ensure that this does not happen.

While council has come up with a strategy to attract investment to the downtown, more must be done to focus on the most obvious derelict buildings to stop the “hollowing out” of the downtown core.

As a volunteer participant in the Sustainable Official Community Plan Sterling agrees that the new council must take the time to strike a balance between the present affordable recommendations and future needs as our city evolves.

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