City council candidate Colleen Mahoney came to Prince George in 1998 to study forestry and, despite moving away several times for work, has always been drawn back to the city.
After pursing a career in forestry during the major downturn in the early 2000s, she and her husband eventually settled in Prince George and raised a family – even moving her parents to the community. Mahoney retrained as a bookkeeper and works for St. Mary’s Parish.
“We always came back to Prince George,” Mahoney said. “It’s big enough to have everything, but small enough to know people.”
A key focus for Mahoney is improving the city’s aging infrastructure, including watermains, sewers and streets.
“It’s not appealing or sexy, but it is what needs to be looked after,” Mahoney said. “Nobody is going to win any votes when the sewer pipes don’t blow up, but I think it would be nice if they didn’t.”
The $28.3 million Fortis Reserve Fund should be used to address the city’s aging infrastructure to meet today’s needs, and strengthened to withstand the potential floods and fires the city will face in the future, she said.
That includes expanding greenspaces, and looking at how to make them wildfire resistant, she added.
The upcoming review of the official community plan will be an opportunity to hear from planners and the public, and make some of those important decisions. City council should have a really compelling reason to go against the advice of the city’s highly-paid professional staff, she added.
When dealing with the social issues facing downtown, the city should take a more proactive approach to harm mitigation – providing places for the city’s vulnerable people to access housing, washrooms, showers and other services, she said. The city’s homeless population are our neighbours, and deserved to be treated with basic human dignity and response, Mahoney added.
“If you don’t pay for it up front, you pay for it later. I think it would be cheaper than having downtown businesses constantly broken into,” Mahoney said. “I don’t think I would run if I couldn’t see any hope.”
Mahoney said she hopes to bring a thoughtful, balanced approach to decision making around the city council table.
“It’s very easy to react and to polarize,” she said. “I’d want to get good advice and listen to people who are professionals.”