Homeless outreach worker Wayne Lucier said it’s time to run for city council and at the top of his wish list for Williams Lake is affordable housing and more jobs for people in need.
“If you don’t have a place to live, it’s hard to get a job,” Lucier said sitting at his desk at Canadian Mental Health Friday. “Or if a person gets hurt on the job, then they cannot afford to live where they are.”
The average cost of an affordable place in the city is $600 and if a single person on social assistance is receiving $610 a month that doesn’t leave them much.
“We are lucky to have the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul,” he said.
“Williams Lake is caring, but not caring enough or not in the right places.”
He will be pushing for the new swimming pool, and recalled working in Fort St. John when the new pool opened there.
“I couldn’t believe how busy it was,” he said. “A new pool would give people in our town more things to do. Boredom is an enemy and even the working poor are having a hard time.”
He’ll also advocate for better care for seniors and an improved downtown core, he said.
People living in the core of the city do most things by foot and cannot afford a taxi to haul home three or four bags of groceries.
When it comes to developing the economy, Lucier said the region has to look beyond forestry and mining in ways that protect the environment.
Lucier moved to Williams Lake in 1973 along with around 35 people from his hometown of Roblin, Man.
“We came out to work in mills, in the bush and do whatever. Some guys got hired with BC Tel too,” he recalled saying most of the guys only had a Grade 7 or 8 education.
They worked for 40 years, running every type of equipment, and were very good employees, he added.
“People didn’t need Grade 12 to put in those years so I have a problem now with companies saying people need to have graduated from high school.”
Lucier is Metis and has been president of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Metis Association and on the Provincial B.C. Metis Federation as well.
“I’ll be stepping down from the provincial association next week to focus on running for council,” he said.
He has created a Facebook page and encourages people to contact him there.