Princeton’s Mayor Frank Armitage knows there is still work to be done, and he’s happily running on his record.
“I’m running because I believe that over the past six years I have gained valuable experience and an understanding of working within the regulations of local government,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight. “I still feel I have a great deal to offer.”
Armitage is challenged in the upcoming municipal election by Spencer Coyne, Leona Guerster and Jim Manion.
When asked to reflect on the achievements of the past four years, he first talks about the boundary extension to annex Copper Mountain Mine, finalized in 2016.
“That earns us $350,000 a year in tax revenue,” he said.
Armitage doesn’t mind taking credit for the move, describing it as a pet project that engaged his expertise and relationships in the mining industry.
“It was well worth the two years it took to complete,” he said.
“During the last term we have achieved a number of goals…the relocation of our visitors’ centre – bringing many travellers to our merchants – the revitalization of our town hall, the completion and upgrading of our community parks, including the establishment of our dog park, and the airport improvements including fencing and paving.”
Armitage said he is also proud of the administrative team council has put together under his leadership.
“These have been good choices.”
He credited economic development director Gary Schatz and CAO Cheryl Martens with the recent announcement that BC Green Pharmaceuticals will build a $21.5 million facility in Princeton’s industrial park, providing up to 195 new jobs.
“We are moving into a time of growth in our community.”
Moving forward, he said, are plans to address the town’s housing shortage and a schedule for infrastructure improvements.
Another initiative Armitage is proud of driving is laying the groundwork for an indoor pool for Princeton. The municipality is in the process of applying for $22 million in grants from the federal and provincial governments to support the $27 million project.
“I believe we have to have a certain level of infrastructure to attract and retain families in this community. That’s why I am a strong proponent of an affordable health, wellness and aquatic centre.”
Armitage does not regret the controversial closing of the KVR trail in town boundaries to motorized vehicles, but said he is open to listening to the concerns of those who disagree with the decision.
“I would certainly be willing to sit down with council and the representatives of the ATV communities and dialogue.”
Armitage was raised in Princeton and spent his working life in towns across Canada as a demand of his job as a human resource specialist in the mining industry.
He and his wife Darnella raised four children along the way.
“While my career took me away for a number of years we always maintained a home here….We came home in 2001 and I was pleased, after retiring, to join Copper Mountain Mine where I spent four and half years in human resources.”
Armitage – who was a councillor in Stewart BC in the 1970’s – was first elected to Princeton council in 2008. He won the mayor’s chair in 2012 during a by-election and was acclaimed to the position in 2014.
He said he spends part of each day in town hall – except when out of town for meetings. He and Darnella also maintain a busy social calendar, attending events around town from swim meets to turkey suppers, hockey games and fundraisers.
“I’m very proud of our service clubs and non-profits and I am pleased to support these groups whenever possible,” he said.”We are blessed to have these people.”
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