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Update: Former referee looks to ‘cut the fat’ at city hall

Adam Hyatt is running for mayor of Prince George on platform of reducing overspending and getting back to basics.

Former Cougars and Spruce Kings referee Adam Hyatt is looking to send waste and overspending at city hall to the penalty box.

Hyatt, who was born and raised in Prince George, said he was inspired to run for mayor because the current state of the city “leaves a lot of be desired.”

“I think the city of Prince George has great potential and I want to be part of that potential,” Hyatt said.

Twelve years as a semi-pro hockey referee have taught him how to deal with conflict and the importance of being able to make the right call quickly. Currently he works as an occupational health and safety professional, working with industries across northern B.C. and the territories.

His top priority, if elected, would be “cutting the fat at city hall,” he said. That means streamlining processes, improving efficiency, avoiding cost overruns and implementing a performance-based pay system for the city’s senior management.

“The people in Prince George are staring down the barrel of a massive tax increase,” Hyatt said.

Rising costs and debt translate into bigger tax bills for residents, he said. Hyatt said it’s time for the city to focus on its core responsibilities and be a “lean, mean, infrastructure and service providing machine.”

 Holding the city’s senior administration accountable will be a key part of achieving that goal, he added.

Taking on the social issues, crime and homelessness downtown and throughout Prince George is a second key priority, Hyatt said.

“We have a serious need for a rehabilitation centre in the city,” Hyatt said. The youth custody facility would be a perfect location to repurpose for an addiction treatment centre.

“We need to provide affordable housing and essential services to people,” he added. “Studies have shown the cost of doing nothing per (homeless individual) is about $50,000 per year. That’s policing, ambulances, clean up and other costs. The cost to house people is roughly $30,000 a year. If we look at it just from a financial perspective, it isn’t just the compassionate thing to do, it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

Hyatt said he doesn’t want to increase the city’s policing budget, but would like to see the RCMP prioritize foot patrols in downtown and high-crime areas to increase public safety.

Creating employment opportunities for people looking to escape homelessness and addiction is another piece of the puzzle in addressing the issues downtown.

“Obviously we’d have to work with the union… but there is a lot of seasonal jobs at the city,” Hyatt said. “There is a lot of what I’d consider unskilled trades, that we could train people to do.

For more information about Hyatt and his campaign, check out his website.