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Craig Smith hopes for third consecutive term on city council

Craig Smith is seeking a third consecutive term on city council.
Williams Lake city councillor Craig Smith is a Canadian Ranger with the Chilcotin Patrol seen here riding on Potato Mountain in the Tatlayoko Valley this fall. (Photo submitted)

Craig Smith is seeking a third consecutive term on city council.

“I feel there are things I had on my platform eight years ago that still need to be worked on,” he told the Tribune.

He listed those issues as opening up access to the lake, developing more trails and cycling connectivity, reconciliation with First Nations, affordable housing, eliminating red tape at city hall and financial accountability.

Smith has been on the finance committee all eight years.

He has also been the chair for the general governance committee which covers city bylaws and policies.

“We brought a lot of old policies and bylaws up to date and eliminated a bunch of red tape,” he said. “The pavement rehabilitation plan was not really in place until we were elected eight years ago.”

A major challenges facing the city is housing, Smith noted.

“We are a little bit landlocked in the fact there is not an awful lot of bare empty land for sale in Williams Lake that has the ability to put houses on.”

The city is looking at various options including changing bylaws to increase density such as carriage houses and secondary suites, expanding city boundaries, buying Crown land currently in the city and lobbying the government to dispose of it, allowing for housing units above businesses, he said.

“You look at any of the cities that have a lively downtown that’s the reason. If you don’t have those places where people are living downtown then at 5 o’clock the sidewalks roll up and it’s empty.”

A city is not a developer but can smooth the path for development, he noted.

Reconciliation is always going to be a work-in-progress, Smith said.

“I heard at UBCM a quote from the city of Kitimat ‘relationships, especially with First Nations, move at the speed of trust.’ You don’t gain trust by having one meeting a year. You gain trust by having a continual conversation.”

All First Nation bands in the region contribute to the city’s economy, he added, noting the city’s new reconciliation committee “better” continue with the next administration.

Smith is presently the chief administrative officer for Tl’esqox First Nation.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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