DC candidates in-depth: David Griffith

Talk about your time in the community and community-building. What boards/commissions or committees do you sit, and talk about key projects you have had a hand in?

- I spent many years in 4H in my youth and have spent many hours volunteering throughout the years since. I have built several buildings in the Dawson Creek area. I have made many connections throughout the community during my time working in construction. I also have volunteered for community members to complete minor renovations and major construction efforts after the 2016 floods. 

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In your opinion, what is the role of a city councillor in a 10 to 20,000 person city?

- To listen to the Dawson Creek citizens.

- To work with the city council and bring forward new ideas as well as opposing views from the public. 

- To make decisions that benefit the community and work within the city budget - all the while closing the fiscal gap for good.

Are there any particular issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they?

- Fiscal responsibility is the reason I am running. I believe that the City of Dawson Creek need to pay more attention to this issue to ensure that we are lowering our over all debt. I would also like to ensure that the current city staff is fully utilized and that staffing levels throughout the city are adequate.

What are the three most important issues facing the City?

 - Growth, fiscal gap, improved infrastructure

Matters such as health and education are more provincial matters and business, but are often lumped into municipal politics. What role can a municipal councillor play in health and education when it comes to these institutions in their city?

 - If we ensure that the community is attractive, with improved infrastructure and maintenance, professionals are more willing to move to Dawson Creek and stay here for the long term. City programming, such as free Park n’ Play, water stewardship tree planting, and fitness opportunities, make the city attractive. With a supportive city and community, improved health and education programs will follow.

What can you, if elected as a councillor, do to help reduce crime in Dawson Creek? What ideas can you bring to the table?

- I would work to update the infrastructure in high crime areas with extra lighting. The extra and improved lighting in some key areas, crime rates could decrease dramatically. I would work with non-profit organizations like Crime Stoppers and C.O.P.S to raise awareness of them and encourage people to use them. I would also like to bring back the neighbourhood watch program. Citizens who feel the city and community is working together, will feel more secure in supporting this type of programming.

How do you balance the push for economic growth and environmental sustainability?

- With informed policies and manpower in place to monitor the growth of the city and PRRD, while promoting sustainable projects, there can be a balance between the economy and the environment. 

How do you see industry, small business, and nonprofits’ relationship with the city of Dawson Creek?

- The small businesses in our city are the backbone of Dawson Creek. They make Dawson Creek welcoming and provide many services. Non-profit groups throughout the community drive the recreation, the arts, and many social programs that make ours an active and supportive community. Industry brings opportunity, jobs, and population to the community. It brings new people to the area. When our population supports its people with activity and community, the small businesses can thrive; non-profit groups glue it all together.

Do you think the downtown core is successful and thriving? Why or why not, and cite examples.

- I think that that it is doing okay. I believe if we bring more residential buildings to downtown the area it would get a boost. The city already stretches outwards, maybe it’s time for us to build upwards.  

What do you know about public transportation options in Dawson Creek? Do you have any ideas regarding public transportation?

- I think that the public transportation that we have in place is adequate for a city this size.

It has been said by a handful of current councillors that DC must mind its fiscal gap and are not doing it. One current councillor pegs the city’s own building upkeep bill at approximately $40 million dollars behind. What has (or hasn’t) City Council done, and what more can be done?

- The fiscal gap is in the state that it is because the infrastructure is aging and has been neglected in previous years. I think that we are going in the right direction over the last few years but there is still a lot of work to do. The Fair Share Agreement budget should be used more effectively to decrease the final gap.

If elected, what steps will you take to put DC on firmer financial footing?

- Find and implement more efficient spending strategies. When projects are put out to tender, ensure that the contracts are clear and not an “open contracts”; make the contractors responsible for meeting budget guidelines.

It’s easy to suggest projects, or improvements to services, but it all costs money and the City has a limited budget. Do you believe the City has to raise taxes in order to do what you feel needs to be done? Or do you feel there are services that can be cut? Why or why not?

 - I don’t believe that we need to raise taxes at this time. I think that the city should focus on what they have in place right now to ensure that it is functioning the way it should rather then adding new services to the city.

Do you want Rotary Lake opened? Why or Why not? If so – please provide a list of steps that should be taken by the city or that the city could recommend to operators. (And in what form, if it should re-open).

- I like the idea of the rotary lake but I have to wait to see how the appeal from the Health and Safety board turn out prior to deciding on a plan. 

With the removal of Rotary Lake, some have noted the lack of affordable recreation options for families and youth in Dawson Creek? What do you feel council has done in this regard, and what do you plan to bring to the table if elected? (Aside from your feelings on Rotary Lake).

- The city has made a effort to provide cheap recreation options for families and youth in the communities. A lot of activities in the city parks, the toonie swim, and free skating are some of the ideas that they have implemented. I think these are beneficial for the community.

 Are you in support of a runway extension at the Dawson Creek Regional Airport? Why or why not?

-I don’t have enough information on this topic to make a decision. I think that it has potential to benefit the community but I would have to look into it more.

What are your feelings on how City Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana?

- I think that they have done a good job so far.

Should councillors travel to and attend conferences and events inside and outside Dawson Creek that the Mayor may also already be attending, expensed to the City? If so, why and what tangible benefits must come out of these? If not, why not?

- It depends on the type of conference. Some might require more then just the mayor to attend to ensure that the City of Dawson Creek is well represented. 

You get one million dollars for a single DC or related area project. No strings attached — your choice. Where does that money go?

- Pay down a million dollars of the city’s debt. This would decrease our debt payments and would open up more budget to provide services to the community. This would be an immediate and long term benefit to the city.

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