Candidate: Cher Wyers (GF -- Mayor)

Please give a brief summary of who you are and why you have decided to run for office.

Grand Forks was my family’s destination seventeen years ago to establish our aviation business. Who could resist the charm and beauty of this idealistic community and the friendly people! Our son Jeffrey recently purchased property in the valley so it’s becoming a family affair.

I am confident that my past six years on City Council has groomed me to step up and run for Mayor of Grand Forks - a position I highly respect and very confident that I can provide the leadership in the coming term. I have the time, commitment and work ethics to lead and I want the job. 

What is your background? Have you held office before? If not what skills do you bring to the job if you are elected. 

Prior to entering municipal politics, I was the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce Manager, Spirit of BC Community Committee representative in the regional promotion and development of tourism and served as Executive Director on the BC Chamber of Commerce. I have been a community volunteer for many years and continue to give my support and time to a number of organizations. 

What do you think are the top three challenges facing the city/region/school district in the upcoming term?

The deteriorating $127 Million City’s infrastructure that currently exceeds the taxation capacity of its taxpayers to start rebuilding is a major challenge. The City’s Asset Management Plan has been highly recognized by the provincial government and is poised to leverage matching funds from senior levels of government over the next twenty years. 

How do we make ourselves more attractive to new industry, businesses and residential rooftops to fill our schools, generate new revenue and inspire a vision of prosperity? We’ve already started by receiving the 2014 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) ‘Open for Business’ Award and marketing vacant city properties in a newly structured Business Development Plan and Community Profile as a primary example.

 Youth engagement in local politics and community life - everyone needs to be involved because we can offer good jobs in local government with pensions and training.

I must add a fourth - Regional collaboration is key for our future in environmental stewardship, governance and delivering affordable services. Did you know the RDKB 2011 census was under 32,000 and AKBLG’s membership from Big White to the Alberta border is less than 180,000 people? We’re too small to work alone.

How do you think you can impact these challenges?

I can provide continuity and the background knowledge of our city’s infrastructure along with a common sense approach to what we can realistically afford and achieve plus invite the public to participate in the upcoming city’s Strategic Planning to lead us through the next four years and beyond. 

Business growth requires transition to keep up with the fast pace at which technology is developing and opening the doors to attract investment and tourism. The City is poised with fibre optics, a revitalized downtown business section, shovel-ready and multilevel infrastructure projects developed in the past six years during my term on Council.

I want to see our young people engaged in local politics and community life. They are the future and their voices deserve to be heard. I recently completed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) pilot program, Head Start for Young Women, which opened my eyes to youth concerns and their perception of who runs the city and what is local government!  Next recommendation:  A Youth Advisory Council.

I’m a regional thinker and I will continue to develop a good relationship with our Regional District Kootenay Boundary neighbours for the protection of water, air quality and rural BC recognition and prosperity. I will recommend that the Grand Forks Environment Committee continue as a Standing Committee of Council with a revised Terms of Reference to expand on solar development and invite regional participation on environmental issues including air quality monitoring and water protection. 

My 3rd year on the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government (AKBLG) as an Executive Director has expanded my knowledge of the governance differences between municipal governments and regional districts defining an even stronger need for us to work toward regional growth & rural recognition

If you could describe yourself in three words what would they be? 

A good listener

Other comments that you feel are important to the voters.

I am your neighbour who patrols the streets of Grand Forks with Citizens on Patrol and an active volunteer throughout the community. I seek your continued support and ask you to join me in making Grand Forks a better community for ourselves and future generations.

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