Meet Port Hardy’s new councillor

Port Hardy's incoming councillor Leightan Wishart has lived on the North Island since 1990.

Leightan Wishart was officially acclaimed councillor at the District of Port Hardy council meeting Oct. 11.

Wishart was elected by acclamation after he was the only candidate to put his name forward in a recent by-election to replace Councillor Jessie Hemphill. He will take the official oath of office on Nov. 8.

Wishart is almost 65 years old and he grew up on the mainland in New Westminster. He met his wife in Vancouver and in the 1980’s they were married and had children.

At the end of 1989, he had a conversation with Ernie Klassen about a job as the parts manager at E.J. Klassen Motorcade in Port Hardy.

“I had worked with Ernie before, so we talked and then I ended up moving to Port Hardy,” said Wishart, adding that his wife is originally from Campbell River so he had spent quite a bit of time on Vancouver Island on holidays, “and I always said if I was able to get a job on the island I would take it. I got the job and now here we are.”

Wishart officially started as parts manager for E.J. Klassen on Jan. 2nd, 1990. In 2001 he decided to run for the school board.

“I had been involved in the PAC (Parent Advisory Council) at the high school and I had originally heard about some things going on in the school that I wasn’t terribly happy with and thought needed to be changed. One thing lead to another and I decided I wanted to get more involved in the education system, so I ran for the school board and won.”

Wishart originally served as a trustee and has been the Board Chair for the last “seven or eight years now,” he said.

When asked why he decided to run for councillor, Wishart replied that he’s “invested in Port Hardy,” and that he wants to see the town “grow and become more stable.”

Wishart added that there were “some things that previous councils had done that I didn’t agree with, and I thought if you want things to change then you need to get involved and do something about it.”

He stated that he doesn’t have a real agenda as a councillor, “or as a school trustee for that matter. I want to do what’s best for the majority of residents in Port Hardy. I don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. I want to spend money on projects that will help the community and the residents of the community.”

One issue Wishart is interested in is the proposed new multiplex. “The referendum is coming up Oct. 22, and I would like to see the multiplex happen. I think the option of not having a pool facility in Port Hardy could be a detriment to new people moving here, particularly people with kids.”

On the subject of winning by acclamation, Wishart replied that it was a bittersweet moment for him and that he was disappointed there weren’t “more people that wanted to get involved in the community and the major decisions that are made for the community. In my opinion, it was a great opportunity for anybody that’s ever thought about getting into council, because it’s a short term. It’s only half a term instead of a full term.”

As it stands, Wishart can hardly wait to sit in on the meetings and have actual input into the conversations at the council table.

“I’ve been attending the council meetings for the last two and a half years, so I like to think I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the community and what’s going on with council and what some of their objectives are. There’s been times I’ve been sitting at those meetings and I had input and I wasn’t able to add my input because it wasn’t appropriate,” he said.

As for the school board? Wishart stated he will absolutely be keeping his position as board chair, adding that he feels it’s very beneficial for him to stay on because he can keep giving “some real input into the decisions that are made within our school district. We have terrific educators in this district who work very hard through some very frustrating situations, and I just want to continue supporting them as best I can so that we can get the most for the kids.”

 

Just Posted

The river behind the ball field. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Pulled by the flow: river stirs up childhood memories

Gazette editor makes trek through Port Hardy wilderness to swim in the river

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read