Grand Forks’ Ian Mitchell joined the city council byelection race against candidate Everett Baker, on Thursday Oct. 29.
The byelection, slated for Saturday Dec. 5, will decide who replaces councillor Rod Zielinksi, who left chambers in August to become Grand Forks’ utilities manager.
Mitchell has lived in Grand Forks since 2006. “The first and foremost reason that I’m running is that I love this community,” he said, adding “the time is now.”
Mitchell said he supports BC Housing’s proposed supportive living facility in Grand Forks. However, he empathizes with area businesses opposed to the facility’s tentative 2nd Street location.
“I want to bring it in, but I’ll work together across different segments of the community. I think there’s a way to do it well, so that when you look back on it in five years, you can say ‘I had some concerns, but it worked out.’”
He and Baker hit the campaign trail after last week’s provincial election, in which they backed opposing candidates. Mitchell was an advisor to the NDP’s Roly Russell, now leading the Boundary-Similkameen. Baker was campaign manager to apparent runner-up, Petra Veinitimilla of the BC Liberals.
The candidates agree that city council is no place for partisan politics.
“I very strongly consider myself to be pragmatic,” Mitchell said. “I have a great deal of respect for Everett and I know that goes both ways.”
Mitchell’s background is in social work and the treatment of mental illness, he said.