“Recycle Ron Paull for City Hall,” read the incumbent city councillor’s election signs, which line some of Quesnel’s streets.
Paull has sat on council for 13 years, and he ran for mayor against Steve Wallace and Mary Sjostrom in previous elections. He says he’s hoping for four more years, not least because, along with his years on council, plus his 24 years as a staff member at City Hall, if elected once more he’ll have been with the city in some capacity for 40 years. He hopes to be elected and take a final term as councillor.
“It’s a nice round number to make my exit,” he says.
“I’m 68 years old and if my wife Pat was ready to retire, I would retire; but she loves her work, and I love this work.”
Along with his work for the city, Paull is a member of the Rotary Club of Quesnel and is a lifelong member of the Billy Barker Days Society.
“If it’s community service, I’m there. That’s how I look at council. … The work of a councillor should be seen as part voluntary.”
Paull lists many items as priorities should he be elected for what he says would be a final term. Some highlights are establishing a community theatre; developing the old site of the junior school in downtown Quesnel; continuing to develop the North-South Interconnector; advocating for seniors with the city’s age-friendly initiatives; flood mitigation; and dealing with local crime.
He is also concerned with Quesnel’s air quality and would like to campaign the Ministry of Environment to conduct testing.
“For a city that has a tagline ‘It’s in our nature,’ … our air quality is certainly not natural,” says Paull.
“Maybe it’s a non-issue, but I know that road dust is a problem on Front Street. We are trying to promote Quesnel as a good place to live and trying to keep our seniors here. Let’s get with the program.”
Another pet project is to honour local veterans by establishing Veterans’ Way. Paull is a veteran himself, and would like to recognize some of the elderly veterans in the city.
“I’ve gotten council to agree that we should rename the 200 block of Kinchant Street in front of the legion Veterans’ Way. I’m looking for funders to purchase signage and flags and regalia,” he says, explaining that the street wouldn’t be officially renamed, but signs would be put up in the area, with street banners up year-round and flagpoles erected for special occasions.
Paull is also concerned about the location of the local shelter, Seasons House.
“We need to look after our homeless people, but I want to be at the table to make sure we do it in a manner and in a location where it doesn’t impede tourism and business.”
He says the proposed supportive housing development on Elliott Street in West Quesnel is encouraging, but he wants to continue to be part of the discussion around housing and aid for those with mental health and addictions issues.
“It concerns me that we coddle a lot of these people. I guess there’s a saying that sums it up: prepare the child for the road and not the road for the child. That’s a philosophy that I have. … It’s valuable that council has people with my philosophical view at the table rather than just a bunch of bleeding hearts sitting around the table,” he says.
“Yes, these people need help. I’m not saying these people shouldn’t be looked after. But at the same time, there’s some people on the fringe that with minimal help, they could be turned around. I’m looking forward to being engaged in that discussion.”
Paull says he’s always campaigned on the fact that he’s not afraid to ask tough questions, and he hopes to do the same if elected for another term.