After two terms on Powell River council, CaroleAnn Leishman is running for mayor.
Leishman, an architectural designer and project manager, says she thought about running for mayor in 2018 but some things needed to be done first.
“My mom passed away just before the last election and we were actually working on a seniors housing project together that my mom was very passionate about. So, I needed to get that project done and it’s finally coming to completion in the next two weeks actually,” Leishman said in a Vista Radio interview.
While saying one can’t predict what is coming, Leishman says the issues “plaguing us already” are the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, health care, climate change issues and the future of the Catalyst paper mill site.
But she believes diversifying the economy is a good approach and is not convinced one huge industry replacing the mill will save the city’s economy.
“Some people want to see a huge big industry in town. I don’t know if that’s feasible. I don’t know if we’re going to attract one big industry that’s going to come and save the day. I’m looking at all kinds of different business opportunities and I think that diversifying is a good approach. If a sustainable industry does come here that is rather large employer, that’s great. But I’m not hanging my hat on that,” Leishman explained.
When it comes to balancing social and pocketbook issues, Leishman says “one doesn’t overrule the other.”
“I’m very much about looking after people. I think everyone deserves a home, everyone deserves food on their plate, everyone deserves to have a good quality of life,” she explained.
“I’m not running on a platform of cutting taxes…if we want to cut taxes we have to look at cutting services. That’s not some kind of threat, that’s just a reality.” She would like to hear from the public if there are services they would like to see cut.
She says her plan would instead create more tax revenue to pay for services through various means including business attraction, tourism, skills training and building retrofits.
Leishman says she likes “some of the direction” the city is headed but it can go a step further with climate action and collaborating with Tla’amin Nation. She was part of authoring the city’s strategic plan.
“We can go further…in terms of climate action initiatives and working with Tla’amin Nation. There’s a lot of partnership opportunities and collaboration with the Nation and our regional partners.”
She says being the only candidate born and raised in Powell River sets her apart from her competition.
“I have a long view of the town. I have had a lot invested in this community for a long time. I’ve seen it through a lot of ups and downs and changes and I just think I have a more energetic and a bit more progressive view on where we need to go.”
“I’m running for the right reasons. This isn’t my own ego, I’m not running for any personal reasons. I’m just running to make this community the best place it can be. A place where I want to stay, a place that young people want to stay, a place where people want to move back to…I just want to attract all kinds of people and just keep this an amazing place to live because it is an amazing place.”