Gold River Mayor Brad Unger is throwing his hat in the ring again for the position in the upcoming municipal election, hoping to see ongoing projects through and keep up the work of making the village a better place.
“There’s projects… that after years of vested interest in getting them to this stage that I want to see finished. I want to get them going,” he said. “I’ve got the energy to move forward, the commitment from family to carry on with this crazy lifestyle.”
Unger is running for his third term as mayor. Over the last eight years he says he has built up relationships with representatives from all levels of government. Unger, who also currently sits as chair of the Strathcona Regional District board, said that the collaboration between municipalities, as well as other levels of government are really beneficial for smaller communities.
“I looked at the last eight years of working as the mayor. I’ve built a solid connection with all levels of government, we’ve worked hard on our strategic priorities and can see change in the community, especially over the last three years as far as new residents in. We’ve seen the rebuilding of our community,” he said.
Like many other communities on the Island, Gold River is facing a housing crisis. However, that actually came as a bit of a surprise to Unger, who only a few years ago was seeing people leaving the community for lack of jobs.
“Gold River has a housing crisis, who would have thought four years ago we’d be in this situation?” he said. “Council has been very supportive when we look at pieces of land within the community. West Coast Terminals (which owns a large portion of the village’s commercial land,) they own a lot of residential land also. We’ve done rezoning for 18 acres for them for housing development.”
Unger also talked about the village council’s own housing project, details of which he hopes he can share with the community soon.
That housing crunch has come because the community has seen job numbers increase, something Unger can see continuing over the next four years.
“In four years, Gold River is going to see a big boom in jobs. I think you’re going to see the residential housing up and built,” he said. “Gold River in four years is going to be a thriving small, rural community with a diverse group of workers, not just on the mill site, but with home-based businesses come in mainly because of the Connected Coast project.”
Unger has seen that already start, with families coming to the community working remote jobs and wanting to raise their children in Gold River.
“I see more young families coming here. Some are still doing camp work, but now are affording to be able to build here,” he said. “We have a family who moved here a year and a half ago, she works for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in Victoria. She’s up here working from home. They’ve got two little ones.”
“These are the types of people we need. We need those young people moving back in here to make sure our schools are getting filled up again, our recreation facilities are being used, our ball fields, that kind of stuff. The trend has started,” he said.
Unger says that his experience serving the community, his knowledge of how government works, and his desire to see the community continue to thrive over the next few years are reasons voters should vote for him.
“I have a desire to work for this community,” he said. “I moved here in 1985 and thought I’d move here with my wife and kids, then get out within a couple of years. Now, 37 years later, we’re here because this is our community.
“This is where we want to be. I want to see the community flourish again. It’ll never be like it was back in the 80s and 90s, but there’s lots of room to build again. I think I just bring the knowledge of the community — the past and the future.”
More information on Unger’s campaign can be found by searching Brad 4 Mayor 2022.
– From a submission by Brad Unger