1. How long have you lived here? I first came to Ashcroft in 1964 to work at the Chataway Ranch, and later at the Rafter SR (then the Bar Q) and the Bar M (Mesa Vista), and at Highland Valley (Lornex). My parents Jill and Kendall built “Kiddergarden” here in 1985, my wife Siri and I bought it in 2007, and I moved here full time in 2009.
2. What is your occupation? I was a cowboy and mine worker, and became an agricultural economist and range management specialist throughout the 70s and early 80s. Since then, I have been building technology companies. I am Chairman of APRIO Inc., Canada’s leading supplier of corporate governance software. In 2015, I intend also to begin growing hops for the craft beer market.
3. Have you done any volunteer work here? Which group(s)? I am past president and a director of Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society, and have volunteered in various capacities for Fall Fair, Wellness, and Canada Day activities.
4. Have you served before on a Town Council or School Board? I have not yet had the honour of serving on a Town Council or on School Board. I have served on company, business association, cultural non-profit and provincial and national political boards.
5. Which issues are most important to you? Ashcroft is wonderful, with great features and advantages for us who live here. But, like many towns in the interior, we are not on a sustainable path. Tax assessments and school enrollments are declining; retail businesses are suffering; the Village’s cash reserves are going down. We are reduced to lobbying for outsiders to make decisions which might lead to new industrial employment. This is not a recipe for long-term health.
6. How would you address them? The Village needs a new strategic direction. I believe Ashcroft can be a regional centre for cultural, recreational and “wellness”-related activities, with high economic multiplier effects, which can bring new revenues and help attract businesses and residents. In addition to continuing efficiencies in the normal business of the Village, I would encourage the Mayor and Council to develop a plan, based on actions we can initiate ourselves, to turn Ashcroft around and get on the path to civic health and sustainability.
7. Additional comments: We can all see that Ashcroft, glorious as it is, is suffering. Reliance on old-fashioned industrial growth is not bearing fruit. It is time for a shift. I hope to be part of making it happen. If you also believe this is possible, please do me the honour on Nov. 15 of giving me one of your votes for Councillor.