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MEET THE CANDIDATE: City mayoral candidate Bob Simpson

Bob Simpson answers questions posed by the Quesnel Observer
Bob Simpson is one of four candidates running for mayor of Quesnel. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

2. What part of Quesnel’s Official Community Plan do you care about most and want to see action on?

3. What solutions or ways forward do you see to address concerns around crime, affordable housing, transportation infrastructure 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. What are a few fun facts about yourself?

1. I’m a long-term Quesnel resident who loves playing in the outdoors (biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and canoeing) and the vibrancy of our community. I’ve had the privilege of leading this community over the past eight years as its mayor through a challenging economic transition and through the difficult times of back-to-back wildfire seasons, flooding and landslides, and the recent global pandemic.

2. Two aspects of the Official Community Plan are particularly critical to the continued growth and development of our community: housing and active transportation. We need to see more new housing developments (social and market) as soon as possible in order to continue to attract new residents and attract the workforce we need to support our local economy. People are also seeking alternative ways to move about in the city by foot, by bike, and using mobility devices; improving and connecting our paved trails, sidewalks, and bicycle pathways is necessary to give residents safer ways to move around without having to drive.

3. Council recently approved using provincial COVID relief dollars to engage with First Nations in the development of a comprehensive plan to address public safety concerns and ensure that we have the most robust, integrated and coordinated response to the homelessness, mental health, and addictions issues we’re seeing in our community. This process will involve extensive community consultation and result in the development of a housing strategy that will enable us to attract BC Housing investments in appropriate housing solutions while ensuring community safety is improved.

4. The City has an award-winning health care recruitment and retention program funded by the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District. We’re now working to expand that program and assist all employers to attract the employees they need. However, the best workforce attraction strategy is to continue to make the kinds of investments we’ve made in the community over the past eight years: ensuring that our core infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, sidewalks, storm drain systems) is well maintained and improved; ensuring that we continue to deliver high-quality public services to residents (policing, emergency services, recreation programs, waste management, etc.); and that we continue to make strategic investments in new, modern amenities (trails, recreation facilities, parks and playgrounds, etc.).

5. I’m still, at 66, a competitive cyclist and triathlete and hope to remain so for many years to come.

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