Mayor Ron McRae ended speculation about his political intentions Wednesday, when he formally announced that he would see a third term.
It was something of an open secret that McRae would run again.
“If people asked me directly, I have always responded that I fully intended to run again,” said McRae. “Embarking on an election campaign changes things and it was my intention to continue to focus on the business of the City for as long as possible. I’m privileged to have had the honour to work together with this community to shape its future. With the community’s continued trust, I will remain committed to being a part of Kimberley’s leadership.”
McRae believes Kimberley is headed in the right direction and points to a renewed sense of vibrancy around town.
“I have spoken with many business owners who have reported best-ever seasons this past year and there is no doubt that great things are happening here. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to work incredibly hard to transition the community from a mining-based economy to a more progressive and diverse economy.”
When McRae uses the word vibrancy he means more than just in an economic sense.
“I’m talking about the vibrancy of the people of Kimberley,” he said. “Just look at the Oktoberfest First Saturday last week — you could feel it. That positivity tends to get overlooked. We tend to immerse ourselves in negativity.
“It’s not just about economics. It’s about everything else that makes Kimberley the way it is.
“In large part,the majority of people in Kimberley are proud to say they live here. That’s critically important. A positive view and a forward looking vision are the type of things an investor is looking for. They want to invest in a community that is prepared to invest in itself.”
The work is far from done, McRae says.
“Changing 100 years of history doesn’t happen overnight. But I am proud we have managed to make ongoing changes which enhance rather than erode our sense of community, our culture and our sense of purpose.”
It is economic development within the context of maintaining this sense of community that will be McRae’s focus if reelected.
“There is no quick fix and no silver bullet here. A much needed foundation has been developed to lead Kimberley into the future.
“We’ll continue to proactively develop relationships with businesses and markets that are a good fit for Kimberley’s culture, seeking and attracting industry that works for Kimberley.
“Just like any other community we face challenges with infrastructure. We’ve already taken steps to have a close look at the infrastructure deficit.
“Staff has put together a five-year capital plan with dollar figures.
“Staff was also given direction as to what our priorities are with respect to seeking infrastructure grants from the provincial and federal governments.”
But McRae believes that on the flip side of challenges are opportunities.
“In the last three years we have put the tools in place that will allow us to attract business investment. The direction going forward is about where the community wants to go. It’s not about me, it’s about the direction the community wants to go.
“That was the big part of the whole branding process.”
McRae says for the last three years he has learned, and practiced, being responsive and accountable to residents.
“If there is an issue, address it, talk about it. We as elected officials have to take ownership of issues. It’s important that I continue to provide visionary, proactive, principled leadership.”
Most importantly, McRae says, that means putting the well being of the community at large over and special or personal interest.
“I always operate on the basis that we need to operate professionally and ethically at all times.”
McRae concluded with a request to citizens that they take the time to vote in order to ensure that they continue to play a role in shaping Kimberley’s future.
“I appreciate and I choose to live in Kimberley because people are involved in shaping its future. We are vibrant, growing and getting stronger as a community because we are not afraid to be involved, to connect with each other and to create our future together. Whether we know it or not, we are all leaders in the design of our own future.”