The founder of Stop the Spray BC, which is an organization that advocates against herbicide spraying the wilderness to grow only conifers, and local business owner James Steidle is seeking election to Prince George city council.
Born and raised on a ranch south of Prince George, Steidle grew up and now lives in Prince George, and also runs a woodworking company, Steidle Woodworking.
“I’ve been shocked at the financial mismanagement and bad decisions these past few years and I don’t see any signs of this slowing down,” said Steidle, in a press release.
“Between a $32 million parkade, the tearing down of the structurally sound Four Seasons Pool, the tearing down of recently renovated Simon Fraser Inn that could have provided low cost housing, we’ve seen tens of millions in unnecessary expenditures, and we still have a hole in the ground and a housing crisis. It’s insane.”
Steidle also advocated against the roadway expansion plans currently part of the Official Community Plan (OCP) which could see road development through Ginter’s Meadow.
The current OCP contains two major road extensions that would go through Ginter’s: the extension of Foothills Boulevard to Ferry Avenue and the extension of Massey Drive up the escarpment to Tyner Boulevard.
“The Massey and Foothills Extensions are another part of why I’m running. These roads are seen as necessary to develop the escarpment between UNBC and College Heights. This is an economically foolhardy proposition that will create massive infrastructure costs for the city’s taxpayer and will ultimately degrade our quality of life,” said Steidle.
Steidle says he wants to provide a choice to residents who value our greenspace, decent traffic, and who want to see development focus on downtown, not the surrounding forests.
“I see a lot candidates and incumbents trying to prove who can bulldoze the most greenspace as if Lower-Mainland high-end housing with no trees is a solution to the housing crisis. I don’t see the other option on the table, which is we focus on getting non-market and more rental housing downtown to address homelessness, to create more walkable, accessible communities that leaves our core identity of a city close to nature intact. That’s the vision I’ll bring to city council.”
Steidle attended Beaverly and College Heights schools and has a master’s degree in public policy from Simon Fraser University with a focus on urban studies.
He has experience in government at the provincial, municipal and regional levels. Steidle was a 2005 Legislative Intern, worked for the BC Legislative Assembly doing research for the then-opposition NDP in 2006, followed by a stint working for the Labour Union movement (public and private unions) covering Metro Vancouver board meetings before starting a woodworking business.
He wrote an award-winning paper on regional planning efforts in Greater Vancouver. He wrote his master’s thesis on the provincial property tax system and how that impacts tax equity and has informed the discussion of the Home Owner Grant over the years.
He also briefly taught microeconomics in Bangladesh.
Voters will have to select eight candidates for city council seats during general voting day on Oct. 15.