First-time political candidate Spencer Gough will be running for a seat on the Fernie council this October.
A ‘Fergarian’ with ties in Calgary, Gough has been spending holiday time in Fernie for his whole life, and has lived here permanently for the last five years.
A competitive athlete growing up, locals will know Gough as a gymnastics coach at the Elk Valley Gymnastics Club. He teaches competitive and recreational gymnastics, or “the whole nine yards”.
Asked why he’s running, Gough said he’d taken issue with communications out of the city over the course of the pandemic, saying that other municipalities had leaned in to talking with the community, while Fernie had withdrawn.
“There’s examples of other councils that were out there and visible, and made sure there were more communicative with the town, and I felt that we didn’t have that,” he said.
He listed the city’s snow removal policy, waste water treatment, and the “re and re and re-do of development plans” as major issues that had inspired him to run.
Rather than complain about it, he said he wanted to take his experience in the community and try to make a difference.
He acknowledged that enacting change through council was a slow process, “but change needs to come from the people that have boots on the ground.”
He said that he wanted stakeholders in different issues to have a bigger role in creating policy, such as snow removal crews and the city’s policy, environmental experts and the water policy, etc. “I think little things are going to go a long way in our town.”
Gough said he was “all for anything youth related” to keep the young folks of Fernie busy and engaged. “They are the future,” he said.
On housing affordability, he said he wanted the city to take a bigger role by doing deals using its large portfolio of land.
“Ski hill staff is a big thing. That can really drive up rent,” he said. “Getting some staff housing would be really good.”
Gough said he wanted to be a voice for the community.
“Talk to me if you need anything. We’re a small town, let’s bring back some of that small town feel.”
The municipal election will take place on October 15.
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