The upcoming municipal election in Pemberton got its first official candidate for mayor on Wednesday when longtime resident David MacKenzie threw his hat in the ring.
After more than 18 years living in Pemberton, the former town councillor and current Pemberton Valley Lodge general manager is looking to be part of the solution to the town’s housing crisis moving forward.
“I would say my main platform is actually listening to the local taxpayers. Over the last year, I have been doing a lot of that as it is, and there seems to be a lot of people who are not too happy with the status quo right now,” said MacKenzie.
“First and foremost, I would say our biggest challenge right now would be affordable housing. We've seen a bleed of people out of the community that just can't afford to live here any longer. It’s a great place to start a family, raise young children, but we certainly have a lack of amenities to keep them here. And as we grow our tax base, I want to make sure that the community amenities are growing at the same pace.”
On top of his previous experience as a town council member from 2005 to 2008, MacKenzie has also sat on the board of many other national and provincial organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, BC Hotel Association and the Tourism Industry Association of BC, all of which he views as valuable experiences he will be able to use in the role of mayor.
MacKenzie also ran for mayor in 2008, losing that election to now-MLA Jordan Sturdy.
“I have been very active in the community, and I certainly understand the connection between municipal local government and provincial and federal government,” he said. "I have been doing a lot of advocacy work with those provincial boards that I sit on and am willing to bring that knowledge to the table and see what I can help do for the community.”
Describing himself as a strong leader with the ability to get things done, MacKenzie, if elected, also plans to focus on helping small businesses in the community, especially after the challenging few years many have faced during the pandemic.
“Small businesses these days can be challenging, especially with all the things that have been thrown at us with the pandemic,” he said. “So for me to be able to have that strong business leadership, I can certainly bring that to the table and help make our community more prosperous.”
MacKenzie is the first Pemberton candidate to officially announce their candidacy ahead of the Oct. 15 municipal election.
The nomination period runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, with the official campaign period taking place between Sept. 17 and Oct. 15.
Find more info about Pemberton's election here.