Williams Lake mayoral candidate Surinderpal Rathor and his wife

Williams Lake mayoral candidate Surinderpal Rathor and his wife

Rathor seeks city’s top job

If he’s elected as mayor of Williams Lake Surinderpal Rathor plans to approach the job full time.

If he’s elected as mayor of Williams Lake Surinderpal Rathor plans to approach the job full time.

“I couldn’t have run for mayor until now because I wasn’t ready to give it 100 per cent,” the 61-year-old said, adding he’ll be ready to retire after 40 years of working at Tolko in April 2015.

“I’ve never been in the mayor’s chair so I am not sure exactly how many hours it will entail, but I’m willing to do it,” he said.

He insisted his political aspirations do not extend beyond local government.

“I have no plans to step up from the mayor’s chair into provincial or federal politics,” he said. “I want to stay here and work closely with my community.”

He is not tied to any political party and supports MPs and MLAs who support Williams Lake by listening to the community’s concerns.

Rathor and his wife chose to stay in Williams Lake to raise a family and have four generations here now with parents, children and grandchildren.”

Chuckling he said he pushed to have a crematorium in Williams Lake so he’d never have to leave.

During his 21 years serving as a city councillor, Rathor said he’s been accessible.

Now that he’s eyeing the mayor’s chair he said a mayor needs to be a facilitator, and work with council to provide opportunities for the public voice its concerns.

Certain the community wants changes on city council in this election, Rathor said one of the reasons is the 15 per cent tax increase during the last six years.

“We haven’t had zero per cent increase since 2004,” he said. “I did support a 1.97 per cent increase one year because inflation was two per cent, but that was the only time.”

He also pointed to an example of where money could be saved such as  the high turnover of administrative staff in the last six years, explaining it cost the city almost $2 million.

“We have let more people come and go.”

Hopeful for revitalization in the downtown core, Rathor said he called the owner of Boitanio Mall to reconsider lowering the rents.

“He said he is willing to come and meet with me after the election,” he suggested. “Perception is everything. If we say we’re open for business we have to be.”

Realizing it’s impossible to make everybody happy, Rathor vowed he will try his best.

“A mayor cannot do everything but he or she can provide leadership to the whole team and the whole community,” he said.