We have a mayor’s race.
Longtime Princeton resident Jim Manion announced last week he will run for the town’s top spot in the municipal election October 20.
“One of the reasons I am running is because this is my hometown and I have a passion for it,” said Manion, in an interview with The Spotlight. “I want to be a part of trying to make it move forward. It is a great community. It has a lot of assets. I just don’t think we’ve utilized it all. My passion is for the community. I believe I can contribute something.”
Manion is no stranger to municipal government. He has been elected councillor three times – serving terms in the 1980’s and 1990’s – and was at one time alternate director for the regional district.
He currently lives in Area H, and co-operation between the town and regional governments is high on his list of political priorities.
“We sometimes take a stand in this community, and this has happened a bit recently and it’s happened over the years, where because we are governed by two separate types of government we seem to separate ourselves. But in my mind we are one community and I think that we need to bring all peoples in our valley together so that we can become an even stronger community.”
When asked about current events Manion said he supports the idea of a pool for Princeton, but is not sold on the current proposal to build a $27 million facility downtown.
“I’m not against a pool. I think a pool is something that our community can use very much..I have some concerns with the price and I also have some concerns with the location.”
The mayoral hopeful said a recreation complex, potentially one also replacing the aging arena and curling club, might be a better value in the long run.
“I think if they want to have a drawing card for the Town of Princeton I think a complex would be a much better draw rather than having individual facilities scattered through town.”
Either way, he believes any proposal should be put to a vote.
“If we are going to spend that type of money…we need to have a referendum out of common courtesy to the taxpayers.”
Manion said he supports mixed use of the KVR – for everything from cyclists and horses to off-road vehicles.
“I believe that we should be able to come up with a mature, responsible solution so that we can keep all our communities connected…I think there is a bit of an economy in that for Princeton.”
Manion has extensive experience in business and industry – he has logged, mined, owned a garage and managed tourist resorts, among other things. He believes the town should continue in the direction of promoting small business, and would like to see more effort made to promote Princeton’s attributes to visitors.
“We have the natural beauty, and we have the mountains, and we have the lakes. We have all those things that other communities get away with utilizing. We haven’t developed them as much as other communities and I think we need to.”
He has a long history of public service and volunteering. Manion has been involved with the Princeton Skills Centre for 20 years and is presently its vice president. He has also coached various levels of softball and baseball, hockey and basketball, and is a former director of the Community Forest Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
While admitting he’d like to see municipal leaders work more collaboratively with other community stakeholders, and “be more open,” he does not intend to criticize the current council.
“It is a tough job and I know the people there are making what they believe are the best decisions. I have not agreed with all their decisions, but I don’t have anything that I’m going to be negative about with the council. I think they have done what they think is best and I don’t think you can ask any more of them than that.”
There are now two declared candidates for mayor. Leona Guerster announced her intention to run at the beginning of the year.
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