During the morning commute to work in the past few weeks, those who traverse the Moffat Bridge may have seen a lone city council candidate holding a sign and waving energetically to passing motorists.
Scott Elliott began this practice when running for his first term on council seven years ago, in order to get his face and name in front of potential voters. As he completes his second term, he is much more well known, but has continued the roadside campaign.
“It lets people know if I’m there day after day that I’m committed, and taking it seriously,” he explains.
Elliott works full-time at the B.C. Liquor Store downtown, and has been an active volunteer since he was 12 years old.
He’s on the board of directors for Island Mountain Arts, which runs ArtsWells each summer, and announces for Quesnel Kangaroos hockey games when he has time. He also spent three decades refereeing hockey.
“Some of my volunteering has had to take a sideline because being on council is extremely busy,” he says, explaining that he chaired council’s tourism committee and executive committee this term, as well as sitting on the finance committee.
In respect to the finance committee, Elliott says the work at the beginning of this term to reduce the operating budget was some of the hardest he’s ever done, but it’s something he’s extremely proud of.
“[We] reduced the operating budget by 10 per cent, and that money was able to go directly back into capital reinvestment. … In the last couple of summers, you’ve been able to see the hard work playing out,” he says, referring to infrastructure improvements in the city.
Elliott says the finance committee also froze major industrial taxation this term, and he believes there should now be work done to aid small businesses in town over the next four years.
“Now I think we should concentrate on small businesses, and doing hard work on that taxation as well. … Small businesses are a backbone to the community. We want to keep this town vibrant.”
As far as the future of Quesnel, Elliott wants what many in the community want: to increase the number of RCMP officers in the local detachment, and reduce property crime.
Elliott says he spoke to the Solicitor General at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September on the matter, and suggested that Quesnel could use another judge, whether full time or shared with another community like Williams Lake.
“There’s a lot of frustration in the community with all involved that the crime rates aren’t going down, and we have a bottle neck with our court system.”
He also suggested the city could pay for an extra prosecutor.
His other big campaign issue is with regards to housing. He says two things he’s disappointed haven’t happened this term are passing a maintenance bylaw, and allowing secondary suites. A maintenance bylaw would give tenants the ability to have a building inspector come in if their rental unit is sub-standard, and give the city tools to help remedy the situation.
“Those are the two things I want to get after right away [if re-elected]. We’ve got the pieces in play to carry on, so I’m excited about that,” says Elliott.
“A challenge has been retaining a building inspector here. We now have one, which is exciting.”
He also suggests housing could become more dense in the downtown core, creating more opportunities for people hoping to downsize or new people looking to move to the city.
Overall, Elliott says he excited about the potential he sees for Quesnel.
“I love the hard work, I love being constantly engaged and trying to help people. That’s what keeps me going. To see where we’ve come in the last few years. But there’s just so much more that has to be done, and I’d like to be a part of it.”