Surinderpal Rathor. (Photo submitted)

Surinderpal Rathor. (Photo submitted)

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Mayoral candidate Surinderpal Rathor

Rathor answers questions posed by the Williams Lake Tribune

We asked the candidates: 1. Can you tell us why you are running for mayor? 2.What is the part of the Williams Lake’s Official Community Plan that you care about most, and want to see action on? 3. What solutions or ways forward do you see to address concerns around crime and homelessness in our community? 4. What do you think needs to be done to attract and retain professionals such as health care providers in our community? 5. Can you name a few fun facts people might not know about you?

1. I am running for mayor because Williams Lake deserves better from our elected officials. Over the last eight years, we have been let down time and again by the current mayor and have stopped adequately progressing as a community. As mayor, I will work collaboratively to revitalize the community by attracting professionals, stimulating the economy, investing in key infrastructure projects, improving and maintaining relationships with First Nations and other governments, and removing barriers the current mayor has erected while in office.

2. The entire Official Community Plan is something I care deeply about. During my time as city councillor I was instrumental in creating the Sustainability Declaration which directs “the principles of smart growth” be applied to sustainable community planning and development. I would like to see further action on two fronts: meeting our objectives for a lively downtown, and public consultation. The downtown core has been neglected, and to meet our objectives in the OCP, we must focus on ensuring a vibrant downtown for years to come.

Moreover, public consultation is key to any actions a city takes. Under my leadership as mayor, we would consult the citizens at the very first opportunity to ensure matters are completely transparent.

3.There is no one solution to address crime and homelessness, and as a community we need to take a multi-level, proactive approach to combat both of these issues impacting our community. As mayor, I will ensure provincial and federal governments are held accountable and do their share when combating homelessness and crime. In regard to homelessness, I will increase mental health supports such as wraparound programs and addiction specific resources to help those in need.

Moreover, I will remove the current mayor’s red tape and bureaucratic barriers so we can immediately build more affordable and social housing units. As mayor I will clean up the streets of Williams Lake and ensure citizens are safe. I will be tough on crime and prolific offenders by getting to the root problems.

4. Williams Lake is one of the best places to live, work, and play in B.C, and I will make it even better by investing in new amenities for families, seniors, and young people. As mayor, I would look forward to inviting professionals like healthcare workers into our community to lay down roots for generations to come. Many surrounding communities have multiple recreational facilities. If we are going to compete for talent and investment with other cities in B.C., we need to make sure we have similar amenities. I think a multi-purpose facility housing a state-of-the-art sports and recreation centre, which includes a year-round walking track and sporting facilities and offers programs geared toward young people and seniors, would be a great starting point.

5. Before I immigrated in 1974, I completed advanced mountaineering courses at the Himalayan Institute. My instructors were Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, of Mount Everest fame. My first job in Canada was a freelance photographer for the Williams Lake Tribune.

Read More: Surinderpal Rathor running for mayor of Williams Lake in 2022 election

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