Long-time Quesnel residents will see a familiar name on the municipal election ballot this year, as local business owner Mitch Vik runs for council for the second time.
He first ran for Quesnel City Council in 2011, but was ultimately defeated.
In the 2014 election, Vik decided not to run, as he had many other responsibilities on his plate, with his work with the Quesnel Lions Club and the Quesnel Downtown Association.
“I made a strong commitment to the Lions Club to get the affordable housing project complete, and there is no way that if I ran as a city councillor – I wouldn’t have had the time. That project is very important to me,” says Vik.
Vik is currently president of the Lions Housing Society, which has overseen the fundraising for and construction of an affordable housing development for seniors in North Quesnel.
The project is set for completion this October, and Vik’s term as president of the society will end in March 2019. His time as president of the Quesnel Downtown Association (QDA) will also come to an end in October this year. Vik says this allowed him to consider running for council.
Vik says he will remain a member of the Lions Club, and he’s also a board member for Community Futures. He’s deciding whether he’ll still be involved as a director with the QDA, and of course there’s the Reid Street store, K-Max, to run, which he and his wife have owned for 11 years.
The Vik family moved to Quesnel in 2006 from the Lower Mainland. Vik says they came here for a better life. Vik believes Quesnel is special.
“It’s not just the environment and the opportunity to get out in the outdoors. It’s more than that; the people are special here, they care, the volunteerism is amazing.”
If elected to City Council, Vik says his passions will likely carry over into the role.
“Economic development issues are really important to me – advocating for small business and industry in Quesnel. Doing what we can to provide great employment opportunities. Our city needs that to finance any of the programs and the infrastructure. … That’s going to be a priority; that’s why I’ve been with Community Futures trying to help small business, and with the QDA, advocating and helping us out during the Reid Street development. There’s a parallel there, and I’m going to be consistent with that message,” he says.
Another priority is being an advocate for seniors, through the Lions Club and beyond.
Vik says he knows there’s a lot of buzz and anxiety around local crime, and he believes the answer is not simple, and will require many different agencies and organizations coming together to find a solution.
“I’ve come to think it’s not going to be more police as the answer. It’s going to be several planks that come together. … working with Northern Health, the RCMP, the province for funding… It’s several things that have to come together to address that.”
Vik says one thing the public should know about him is that he is a hard worker.
“I was going to convey one thing to people its: I get serious about a project, and I will see it through. I’ve tried to always carry that attitude.
“I’m not a great public speaker, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, I just try to work hard.”
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