Election season is starting early this year, with Hope’s first contender for the mayor’s seat declaring his decision to run.
Peter Robb is a familiar face in Hope, having served as a district councillor three times, as well as being active on the chamber of commerce and withAdvantageHope. He came close to running for mayor in 2013. After choosing to withdraw from the race to travel and spend time with his wife Donna, his two children and four grandchildren, he is once again tossing his hat into the ring for the district’s top spot.
“Council needs to be ready for change, because change is coming to our community, whether they want it or not,” he said.
“You’re either going to influence the change or you’re going to be run over by it.”
Robb wants to see Hope prosper in a balanced way by attracting young families to relocate here. More housing options such as townhouses and condos need to be built, he added, to allow seniors to downsize and open up homes on the market for incoming families.
Rather than create a new vision for the community, Robb said the official community plan which he helped develop is solid. As mayor, Robb said he would empower staff to put the plan to work.
A resident of Hope for the past 15 years, Robb entered municipal politics at another time of change.
“The community was going through a transition with losing their resource-based businesses,” he said.
“And I thought wow, the community has no direction. I think there was a wait and hope attitude, that something was going to get better.”
Robb came to politics with a background in corporate leadership positions at McDonald’s as well as entrepreneurship; he opened and ran McDonald’s franchises in New Westminster, Merritt and Hope.
One item Robb sees mishandled by council during his time away from politics is the Station House.
Rather than it be a community project built by volunteers with professional oversight, he said it became a long and costly process with multiple plans and an unnecessary proposal for a referendum.
“I think they dropped the ball,” he said of council’s handling of the Station House and the visitor centre.
“Now we have two buildings that are in bad repair and I think that could have been handled differently.”
For one of the busiest visitor centres in the province to be housed in a trailer is not good for the community either, Robb said.
To deal with these important buildings, Robb wants to implement an asset management plan. The district’s other buildings, its infrastructure and roads would also be included in the plan.
“A neglected part of the community is Silver Creek,” Robb said. As mayor he wants to see some long standing projects in Silver Creek finished up, which would go a long way to changing the relationship with this part of the community.
The first of these is a sidewalk and lighting along the Richmond Hill section of Flood Hope Road, so residents of Silver Creek can have a safe way to get downtown.
Some homes in Silver Creek are also still on septic tanks. Robb wants to see these connected to the sewer system.
Residents will elect one mayor and six councillors Oct. 20.