Mayoral hopeful wants brighter future for next generation

Mayoral hopeful wants brighter future for next generation

You could say politics run in Spencer Coyne’s blood.

He is a former Princeton town councillor, was once the vice-president of the student association at Okanagan University College, and was the first president of the former Save Our Hospital committee.

He has also served on the executives of the chamber of commerce and community social services organization.

His father Bob Coyne is the Area H representative for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

Finally, the younger Coyne is running for mayor of Princeton in the upcoming municipal election, squaring off against incumbent Frank Armitage and Leona Guerster.

“I am running for mayor because I want to see a future for our children,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight. “I don’t see a long term future for the next generation unless we change the way we think and do things here. For an entire generation of kids, right now there are few job opportunities for them and there are no housing opportunities. What are we doing to keep those kids here?”

Coyne can flourish a nine-page document of platform positions on everything from arts and culture to the cemetery, infrastructure, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and council procedures, but he said he views his plans for Princeton in a more holistic fashion.

“We have to look at the bigger picture. We just can’t look at downtown, industry or housing as separate issues. We have to look at them as the same issue.”

Foremost on Coyne’s agenda is housing.

“The first thing we have to do is figure out a way to bring affordable housing to Princeton so that we have a workforce that is going to feed industrial growth.”

Solutions to Princeton’s housing crunch can be found by examining zoning, available land, and exploring government grants and incentives for developers, he added.

The introduction of more programs for young people would help address some of the community’s social issues.

“We have a shortage of mental health workers and we have a substance abuse problem and we don’t have a lot of activities for kids. We don’t have a lot going on…One of the things I want to do is bring back the child and youth committee, make it a committee of council.”

Politically Coyne described Princeton as “divided,” explaining he wants to form stronger relationships with Area H and the Upper Similkameen Indian Band.

“It can’t be us versus them because we are all in this together.”

He is not a proponent of the proposal to construct a $27 million indoor aquatic centre.

“I believe we need to look at a solution for the swimming pool. I don’t believe that the current proposal is the right proposal. I think we could look at a multiplex option.”

When it comes to use of the KVR through town boundaries, Coyne wants stakeholders back at the table to hash out a plan.

“The KVR, like all our recreational opportunities, needs to be inclusive.”

When asked to rate the performance of the present council Coyne said: “They put their names out there and did the best job they believed they could do.”

The youngest contender for the mayor’s seat works at The Source in downtown Princeton, and has previously been a co-ordinator for a drug and alcohol program, an arena employee, and he worked as a reporter and columnist for two newspapers in the community.

“It’s not that unusual for me to have a couple of jobs at the same time,” he laughed.

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