Council candidate says communication an issue

Long time Campbell River resident James Bifano feels strongly about giving to the community

Long time Campbell River resident James Bifano feels strongly about giving to the community.

When his youngest child left for University in 2004, he found time to become an active volunteer in a demanding community safety position which requires a high degree of professionalism.

“I had no idea how fulfilling it would be to give my time to the community,” Bifano says. “Among many other volunteer activities, I am a board member of Shoreline Musical Theater Society and have in the past been involved in several theater productions as a cast member.”

Having lived and worked in Campbell River for the past 29 years, Bifano is optimistic about the future, and confident that this community has the ability to thrive with strong leadership.

Bifano moved to Campbell River in 1982 after graduating from forestry school, and has been employed in both the private and public sectors within the forest industry. In 1998 he decided to change careers and studied conflict resolution and negotiation at the Justice Institute of BC.

For the past 13 years Bifano has run a business in the imaging supplies industry.

“In my own career life I have had to adapt and reinvent myself,” Bifano says. “The City of Campbell River is going through the same process; things are not the same as before. I will not dispute the services that the city provides; I think we have to look for efficiencies in the method and cost of service delivery so we can continue to have the level of services that we have enjoyed to the present.”

Over the past several years as a citizen of Campbell River, Jim has noticed negativity and cynicism directed at City Hall and specifically the current administration.

“We all know the ‘in your face’ issues…the ones that get people going: Highway 19A, the cruise ship terminal, the  timing of Doug Raines’ dismissal,” Bifano says. “I see communication as an underlying issue, and something that needs to change. I feel I’m the person to effect this change.”

“After years of living with the spectre of Elk Falls Mill closing, Campbell River now has the opportunity to move forward and diversify, whether it be attracting retirees, light and medium industry, or encouraging small business. We have the mechanism in place for facilitating this, it is called RiverCorp, and it has consistently underperformed. I am optimistic about the leadership of its newly appointed CEO, but clear performance benchmarks are necessary and should be reviewed on a quarterly basis.

“I believe that the current and past councils have developed a vision for Campbell River, but has lacked the fortitude to carry that vision forward either by indecisiveness or lack of cohesion. The abandoned buildings at St. Ann’s and Alder or the three acre waterfront site come to mind as particular examples.”

Campbell River City Council needs to have focus and cohesiveness to give clear direction to City Staff so that initiatives can move forward, this has not been happening, Bifano says. The city’s crime reduction initiative has stalled, the plan for downtown development has stalled, and through bureaucratic bungling we have missed out on tax revenue from Wal-Mart.

Give Rivercorp and city staff clear direction and clear performance goals then get out of the way, and let the people who are trained to do their jobs be accountable to produce the desired results.”

Bifano believes in accountability, fiscal responsibility, and unified priorities; and offers his experience in Forestry having dealt with all levels of Government and First Nations on land use issues, his experience in running a business in Campbell River, and his attachment to the people and future of the community.