Jason Price could make history on Nov. 19.
If he is elected to city council, Price says he will be the first ever First Nations Campbell River councillor.
“I see it as a benefit,” says Price, who is also a councillor for the Campbell River Indian Band. “The city always says it’s going to work with First Nations but they never do.”
City council recently met with all three Campbell River First Nations but it took nearly three years for the meeting to happen.
“Before that it’s just been people fighting,” Price says.
“The city hires consultants to come work with us but I don’t see the point in hiring high-priced consultants for work they can do themselves. Just come down and talk to us.”
Price, 29, says he can help bridge the gap and form partnerships that the city needs to move forward.
“No one’s talking about working with First Nations and First Nations are key players in town. First Nations were key in attending the Sustainable Official Community Plan open houses and I’ve noticed a lot of people talk about working on waterfront development. Well, the city can’t do that on their own, they only own a small chunk. It has to develop relationships with property owners, including First Nations.”
Price says the most important thing for the city to do is attract new business to replace the loss of Campbell River’s largest employer.
“The main thing is to get people to come here because we’ve got to move on,” Price says. “We can’t just sit and cry about the mill for the next three years. We’ve got to create a business friendly environment because we have to compete with Courtenay, Comox and Nanaimo. Why are people going there and not here when we’re better situated than Comox?”
Price, who sits on several city task forces already as well as the museum board, says part of the solution is in tourism. He says if people visit the area first, they will be more inclined to relocate and bring their business here.
He says there also needs to be more options for young people. He would like to see a second arena built to accommodate more kids.
“We need to be able to accommodate all the new children we’re trying to bring into town so they’re not waking up at 2 a.m. to practice. There’s just not enough ice space for everyone to practice,” Price says.
He says funding could possibly come from the $30 million Premier Christy Clark recently set aside for recreation projects.
Price says the city needs a new feel and some fresh faces.
“I’d like to pick my own future because I’m the one living it,” Price says. “It’s all about making people proud of Campbell River.”