Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

What will Yu do for Prince George?

The Citizen reviews the campaign promises made by mayor-elect Simon Yu.
Simon Yu at his election night party at the Black Clover in Prince George.

Prince George engineer Simon Yu was elected mayor of the city on Saturday.

Yu and the new city council will be sworn in on Nov. 7, and hold their first regular meeting on Nov. 21.

Here’s a review of some of the promises and positions Yu took during the election campaign:


In an interview, following the election on Saturday night, Yu said he wants to be known as the city’s Three-A Mayor: with the three A’s standing for accessible, accountable and action-oriented.

Yu said he intends to make sure he’s accessible to everyone in the city, including the city’s vulnerable and homeless population, and accountable for his decisions. But equally important, he said, “I want to get things done.”

“Job 1 is meeting with the council elect. I’m only one of the nine votes (on city council),” Yu said. “I want to get all the council elect together and set our priorities.”


During a mayoral forum at the Prince George Public Library, Yu said housing is the solution, and with his background as an engineer he’s the person to get housing projects built successfully.

“They need a home. They need a place to sleep,” Yu said.

He’d also work with other levels of government and promote youth programs to engage young people in healthy, positive lifestyles and avoid falling into addiction. In addition, more planning is needed to create a long-term vision for downtown and the community as a whole.

In terms of addressing the needs of the unhoused population in the city, Yu said during his campaign launch, his experience working in the 2003 Aceh post-tsunami housing relief effort which he said provided him with deep insights and practical challenges to help solve many challenges facing Prince George.

“Because after the tsunami in Indonesia, I have had the privilege to lead a team to solve some the problem over there, I think Prince George should be and will be the most important manufacturing centre for small disaster relief homes -  not only to solve our problem to solve the problem beyond, and this is my vision for our area.”


In a statement issued to the media, Yu outlined his Operation: Build It! plan, which sets ambitious timelines for the city to process building permits.

Under the proposed plan, renovation projects involving minor structural alternations, such as adding a deck or small garage, should be processed in two days. Permits for new homes on serviced lots, or more extensive renovation projects, should be completed in two weeks, Yu said.

Building permits for commercial projects and multi-family housing projects should be issued in two months, while larger building projects requiring zoning variances or alterations to civic infrastructure should be processed within six months, Yu added.

In an email, a spokesperson for the City of Prince George said the average time to approve a routine building permit for a single-family home is two to three weeks.

“These times can fluctuate depending on the volume of incoming files,” the spokesperson said. “Also, times can be affected by the completeness of the application and responses from applicants to questions about their submissions.”

For a more complex project, like a multi-family development which requires a rezoning, the average time is four to six months, the spokesperson said.


“I do not support the extension of Foothills Boulevard to Massey Drive,” Yu wrote in an email. “If a transportation study is conducted and states we should do otherwise, we may need to look at other innovative ways to improve the current 18th Avenue transportation corridor, including barrier-free sidewalks that links Ospika and Foothills.”

Yu also encouraged residents to come out to have their say during the review of the city’s official community plan next year, which will include discussion of the future of the popular off-leash dog area.


In a mayoral forum on Oct. 12, Yu said he would scrap the city’s COVID-19 mandate for city staff members. Yu said he didn’t see any evidence to support that vaccines reduce the spread of COVID-19.

However, in a follow-up email to the Citizen, Yu clarified his position to say that he is vaccinated and supports vaccination, but not the city’s current mandate.

“… I don’t support the city’s current vaccine mandate policy as provincial and federal COVID-19 regulations have been lifted, and most recently, federal travel restrictions and processes have been eliminated,” Yu said in the email. “I don’t feel there should be a reason to carry out this policy to terminate an employee of the city if he or she is not vaccinated. I also have committed to work collectively with Northern Health to address the policy.”


Prince George has eight months of winter, Yu said during an all-candidates forum at UNBC. What Prince George needs is a vision for a series of interconnected, underground walking tunnels like in Montreal.

“What we really need is a long-term vision,” Yu said. “All these plans we do for the next generation.”


Yu said he wants to see more public engagement and long-term planning, before he’d be willing to commit to any major capital projects downtown.

“Including the entire area east of Queensway is essential to Prince George’s long-range planning for the Civic Core. Until the Official Community Plan is complete following engagement with our citizens, I am not in favor of implementing any large-scale civic project in the downtown area,” Yu said in an email.

“I do, however, firmly believe that if this community did support the development of a performing arts centre, it could serve as the foundation of an UNBC performance/music program.  It is also an important amenity to have in a City of Prince George’s size, but it must have clear support from the taxpaying public.”