Four-time Princeton mayor makes bid for council seat

Few candidates for municipal government…anywhere…can rival Randy McLean for experience.

The local restaurant owner has served four terms as Princeton’s mayor, between 1996 and 2002 and 2005 and 2011, and for five years before that was a town councillor.

He is running now for a council seat, because he believes others might benefit from what he’s learned.

“I believe there is a possibility of councillors being elected that have no experience and I might be of some use to them,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight.

McLean is the owner of Billie’s Restaurant, a business he purchased 41 years ago when it was operated as the Princeton Bus Depot.

He is the president of The Princeton Posse, and has been a member of rotary for more than four decades.

At the age of 67 McLean is also an active sportsman who plays hockey, golf and slo-pitch, and curls.

He has driven a number of significant advancements for the town.

“There were several things that qualify as being proud of – the town square revitalization, the creation of the industrial park, and the water system that serves the [area] north of the airport,” he said.

McLean also led the administration responsible for the paving and lighting of the KVR trail within town limits.

“For some reason it’s one of the things I get the biggest kick out of,” he laughed. “You go there in the winter and there’s the snow and the lights on the trail. I don’t know how many pictures I’ve taken of it.”

McLean said he has always approached the running of the town in a business-like fashion.

“As far as I’m concerned town council is a business. It’s a business serving the people.”

He believes through thrift and finding deficiencies within municipal operations – as well as sourcing funds from higher levels of government – more dollars can be freed up for special projects.

He leans towards support of the current proposal for the long-discussed indoor aquatic and wellness centre.

“Go through the history,” he said. “A $1.2 million swimming pool [was proposed] probably 35 years ago. It was a $9.5 million pool around 2011 and it’s a $27 million pool in 2018. It gives me the perspective that if we are ever going to have a pool we need to have it done sooner rather than later.”

The cost of constructing the facility doesn’t faze him.

“I guess the bottom line is if someone is going to come along and give you $20 million for your community it’s hard for me to imagine not taking a seriously look at it.”

With operating costs offset by Copper Mountain Mine taxes, forestry corporation revenue and savings from the existing pool, he said the project looks feasible.

The use of the KVR within municipal boundaries is a thorny issue, he admitted.

“When I was sitting on the RDOS for those 12 years I saw the controversy going on about the trail in Summerland between the ATVs and walkers and pedal bikes and it never got settled. It’s still going on as far as I know. I would like to think, and maybe I am being overly optimistic, that if we sat down and hammered it out we could come up with something that would be agreeable to both sides…Definitely it would take serious compromise.”

McLean acknowledged that tensions seem to be high in the community as the election approaches.

“I would like to aim towards more compatible council-community relations. I realize there are issues that people take very strongly but I like to believe that those issues can be dealt with in a more appropriate manner.”

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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