Al Fortin is no stranger to Barriere. He is the 2013 Barriere Citizen of the Year, president of the Barriere Royal Canadian Legion, a director on the Barriere First Responders Society, and a director of the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce.
Asked why he made the decision to run for council Fortin said, “A lot of people had been asking me to run, and then when I saw there were only six nominated close to the deadline I put my name forward. Voter turnout is low enough. As it was everybody would have been elected by acclamation! I think voters deserve a choice.
“I know I would enjoy being a part of the process. We’ve lived here for 10 years now, have grandkids starting school – it’s not like we are going anywhere.”
Fortin says he believes incorporation was a huge positive step for the community.
“I look at Barriere as a suburb of Kamloops,” said Fortin, ‘Barriere is not getting any smaller. We need to improve infrastructure. Water, sewer, you need that to move forward. For instance, if you wanted to add to the senior’s home you already have the sewer system. Not having sewer can make your land not worth much. I know a lot of tax dollars are being spent in Barriere, but we have to start somewhere and it will benefit us all in the long run.”
What is his election platform?
“We have a lot of stuff going on already. I think it is important that we look after what the past councils have done,” stated Fortin, “They have done their due diligence and their homework on the studies that have been produced. Now it’s up to us to carry on.
“For me to go out and promise the world for something you don’t want is redundant. Look after what we have going already and finish what we already have.
“I’m a team player. I am one of the workers below. I am nobody’s puppet, and this is a straight forward thing. I honestly don’t know why politics has to be so difficult. I can work with people, you have to be a team player, and I plan to be out in the public where people can come up and talk to me with their concerns. I am always approachable.”
Fortin commented that he also wants to see transparency in the District office as a whole.
Does he have a vision for where Barriere can be in the future?
“I can only look forward so far,” said Fortin, “I want to see the downtown area get revitalized before everything gets built on the highway. The downtown area is an important place and it needs to reflect that. There’s nothing wrong in having a proper sidewalk that you can use to walk down the street, seniors won’t have to drive their scooters on the road, and moms can push their baby stroller on a sidewalk instead of through potholes. I see this as a good priority.
“It’s important that we do what it takes to keep the younger families here. You have to have things to keep those families around. Do the little projects, do what you have the money for, work as a team.”
Fortin says the outdoor ice rink that he has been a staunch volunteer for is a prime example of teamwork in a community.
“When we moved across the street from the rink not much was happening with it. With some effort, ingenuity and teamwork it’s now awesome. There is power, lights and plenty of enjoyment for very little effort.
“Things like that are important. It’s the same as the Bandshell. People put the effort into booking entertainment there, etcetera. Give them a pat on the back. Not everybody has to do everything.”
If you wish to contact Al Fortin you can call him at 250-672-2150 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.