Former mayor will run again

A former Port Hardy mayor said he’s been on the sidelines long enough and will again throw his hat into the voters’ ring.

A former Port Hardy mayor said he’s been on the sidelines long enough and will again throw his hat into the voters’ ring.

“I will be running in the November election,” Russ Hellberg told the Gazette.

Hellberg was Port Hardy’s mayor for nine years — 1993-2002 — and said his reasons for wanting back in are many.

“I think we have to refocus our direction by getting more into economic development and less into some of the nice stuff, tourism, this kind of thing,” he said.

“We have to encourage and help if we can our local companies expand.

We also have to encourage more local people to start up businesses.”

Tourism is a component of healthy growth, but Hellberg said that shouldn’t be the focus.

“You have to encourage tourism, but you can’t put all your efforts into it.”

Hellberg is 70, an age when most are well into retirement.

“I’ve tried to retire three times but failed,” said the former Canadian military jet fighter pilot.

Hellberg will have competition, most probably from incumbent Mayor Bev Parnham, who said she’s taking the summer to think about her decision to run for a second term.

“I’m really enjoying what I’m doing (as mayor), but I’ll talk it over with my family,” she said.

“I’ll make the decision in September, but I probably will run.”