Prince George independent renovation contractor Paul Serup was inspired to run for city council again, after seeing the social issues facing downtown.
Serup ran for city council in 2018, but his mother died during the campaign period and he wasn’t able to put his full focus and energy into the campaign, he said.
“I think the main issue in the city has been the downtown has gone down, with homelessness,” Serup said. “It’s really a blight. It’s not good for the city, (and) it’s not good for the individuals who are homeless.”
Serup said he’d like to see the homeless “moved to a remote location in the city,” to take the burden off downtown business owners and area homeowners. Once the remote location was established, then bylaw officers and police could crack down on people illegally camping in parks and public areas, he added.
“The city should just use all the tools in its toolbox to make that happen,” Serup said. “Yes, they’d be out of sight, but they wouldn’t be out of mind. We want to help them.”
The goal would be to help individuals receive treatment for the drug addictions, mental health problems or other issues which caused them to be homeless, he said, with the long-term goal of getting them healthy and back into the workforce.
Serup said he’d also like to see the city remove any remaining COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and compensate any employees who lost hours or positions because of them.
“It’s medical coercion and it should end,” Serup said. “I don't see the science or logic behind this continuing.”
Other issues Serup would like to tackle include improving transparency at city hall, encouraging a more “open for business” attitude at the city, and changing zoning rules to allow people to be more self-sufficient by raising their own food.
“If you have a big back yard, why shouldn’t you be able to have some chickens?” he said.
Serup said he would donate a portion of his city council remuneration to charity, and would advocate for a referendum to be held in 2026 on city council compensation. He’s also like to see a review of senior administration wages, to make sure they are in-line with other comparable communities.
He said he sees the role of city council as servants of the people, who should listen and respond to the residents of the city.
“It’s very important for council to listen to voters,” he said. “I want to keep taxes low, and make the city lean and mean. (And) a place where things can get done fast.”
For information find him on Facebook at Paul Serup for City Council. His campaign website will also be online soon.