Two more candidates are planning to add their names to November’s municipal election ballot.
Glen Ogren, owner of Hope Brewing Company, has announced his intentions to run for the community’s top job, while Dusty Smith is seeking a seat at the council table.
Having moved to the community 10 years ago to raise a family, Ogren believes he has a vested interest in seeing Hope thrive.
“Hope has so much potential. What we started with the branding has started to see that path of potential come to some kind of fruition. It’s my belief that we need to continue along that road,” said Ogren. “We’re a gateway to the rest of British Columbia. I think we really have to look at what we can do as a community to be the best place for people to learn about the rest of the province and also how we can keep people here in Hope to enjoy the amenities that we have.”
Ogren would also like to see better communication and collaboration between the district and community partners, including the Fraser Valley Regional District, to further the initiatives outlined in the Official Community Plan.
“It’s to get out in front of the OCP and actually implement it that I don’t see,” he said. “I don’t think we’re pushing. I think we really have to look at implementing that along with the branding and looking for economic development.”
In addition to pursuing business opportunities that capitalize on the community’s geographical location at the hub of five highways, Ogren feels Hope needs to be more prepared for economic development.
“If you want economic investment in your community, you’ve got to be ready for it,” he said. “I think we’ve started to see it with the services going out to Flood-Hope through the Flying J, but I think we need to continue to build on that.”
In addition to being a business owner in Hope for five years, Ogren is a member and former president of the Hope and District Chamber of Commerce.
He’s also attended B.C. Chamber of Commerce meetings on behalf of the community.
“I want to give people something to vote for,” said Ogren.
“You might not agree with my vision, you might not agree with what I said, you might not agree with my style or you might not agree with anything that I’ve done in the past. But I want people to vote for something as opposed to against something.”
Being the youngest person to announce his candidacy, Smith is hoping to bring a different outlook to the council table.
Having grown up in the community and graduated from Hope Secondary School, the 25-year-old wants to see the community grow. Smith is currently a volunteer firefighter, member of Hope Motorsports Group and president of the Hope Adult Hockey League. He is also the shop foreman at Silver Skagit H.D. Mechanical.
“Too many people want to bark orders and say things should and shouldn’t be done, and it’s time for somebody to step up to the plate that’s younger,” he said.
“I feel pretty strong about the stuff that happens in this community. So I figured, why not put a younger voice in there too.”
While he believes it’s too early to define specific priorities, Smith is focussed on promoting more business and living wage jobs in the community. He also feels there needs to be more collaboration at the council table and in the community.
“Everyone needs to come together on the same page and feel strongly about what they’re doing as a mayor and council,” said Smith.
“I think council also needs to communicate better with the public about what’s going on with different projects, and if they’re tax-based or grant-funded.”