Bev Parnham

Mayors re-elected with ‘mandate’

Port McNeill an Port Hardy mayors vow steady as she goes

Winning 61 per cent of the vote leads Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham to believe voters sent a clear message when they elected her to a second term.

“The electorate has spoken and they know what they’re doing,” she said after her Nov. 19 win.

“I believe we’ve been given a pretty clear mandate that the town is happy the way things are going and we’re working hard on their behalf.”

Two councillors, Scott White and Larry Woodall, did not run for reelection and incumbent Coun. Eric Ralph was defeated. One seat had been vacant since Coun. Stan McLennan left earlier in the year.

Incumbents Al Huddlestan and Nikki Shaw won their seats, and newbies Janet Dorward, Rick Marcotte, John Tidbury and Jessie Hemphill will fill out the council starting next month.

Parnham said she believes she has a good mix of people on her board.

“The council coming in looks really good, a good cross section of the community: there are people who are retired, young people, First Nations, people whose passion is health and housing and others whose passion is economic development,” she said.

“I see it as a really good mix of experience and inexperience and there will be new ideas and I’m really pleased.”

Parnham said her priorities for the next three years haven’t changed.

“The No. 1 priority is what it’s always been and that’s the economy,” she said.

“The last three years we built what I think is a really good foundation and we got a lot of the puzzle pieces into place and the next three years we’re really going to make things happen and I think we’ll see some really good results, very soon.”

Parnham added she’s anxious to “get out there and get the economy rolling and look after our community” to make sure Port Hardy is a great place to live.

“That’s what people want,” she said.

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It seems it’s now Gerry Furney’s world and the rest of us just live in it.

“My wife lives in that world too and she keeps me on my toes,” said Furney, a day after he was reelected to yet another term as mayor of Port McNeill.

“And my son and daughter live in that world and they’re married with kids here and they keep me on my toes too.”

Furney is about to start an incredible 36th year as mayor of Port  McNeill after voters returned him to office Nov. 19 with nearly 200 more votes than his competitor, Shelley Downey, who campaigned on a platform of change.

“But there was no explanation of what they wanted to change,” said Furney, who also served 12 years as a Port McNeill councillor.

All in all, Furney said he thought it was a good campaign.

“It was fairly friendly and no one insulted me or anything, it was all pretty clean,” he said.

McNeill voters also gave the nod to two incumbents, Gaby Wickstrom and Shirley Ackland as well as two newcomers to the board, Grant Anderson and Chris Sharpe.

Furney said he’s happy with the two new councillors, but doesn’t see any big changes to the way he’s been running things for the past three decades.

“We have a mandate for more of the same which is essentially good, sound management,” he said.

“We know what our limitations are budget-wise. There’s only a certain amount of money we can collect from the taxpayers; we don’t have a mandate to increase taxes.”

Furney said the key to fiscal responsibility is to keep costs to an absolute minimum. “We don’t have a big huge bunch of bureaucrats sitting around a table in the municipal office wondering what they’re going to spend money on,” he said.

The mayor joked at the beginning of the latest campaign he was already looking towards the 2014 elections, but for now he’s content to live in the present.

“It’s nice to be representing nice people in a nice community,” he said.

 

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