By Beth Audet
Mike Fennell was born and raised in Barriere. He was the town’s first mayor when it was incorporated in 2007, then became a councillor in 2014.
Now, he’s vying for another shot at the mayor’s seat.
Question: What made you want to run for mayor?
A: “A lot has been accomplished since the incorporation and I’d like to continue to move Barriere forward and bring some excitement, encourage investing in our town.”
Fennell said it’s an important time to take advantage of the $700 million that the province is investing for housing, high-speed internet, etc.
Question: What do you believe qualifies you for the position?
A: “I think I have a good track record of getting things done. I’m retired and I have the time to put in and attend the many, many meetings and functions that are expected of the mayor,” he said. “I’ve got the experience so I would like to do it again for four years.”
Question: What are the more important issues in Barriere?
A: There are a number of important issues in Barriere, he said, like seniors housing, low-income housing and affordable rental housing. ”How can people move to Barriere and contribute to our economy, our commumnity, if they can’t find a place to live.”
He said the council will have to make “a compelling case” so the province will invest in housing units. As for rentals, he said that’s up to private enterprises. In order to attract those private enterprises, though, he said Barriere needs to extend its sewer systems. “It’s coming,” he said. Council has already applied for a $3 million grant to extend the sewers beyond what’s already been installed.
Question: What would you like to change?
A: Fennell said they need to work toward changing the attitudes of financial institutions, to show them Barriere is worth investing in.
“One of the problems is the major financial institutions think Barriere’s kind of out in the boonies or something. And after the fires in 2003 … they don’t consider Barriere a good place to invest.”
This is a growing community, and Fennell said now that the economy is doing well and now that the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement is settled, “we should be able to attract more investors into Barriere.”
Question: Why should people vote for you?
A: “Well, I’m a hard-working, honest person. I have no agenda other than doing what is best for Barriere. I also have the commitment and the energy and the time to do the job of mayor.”
Question: How can people get in touch with you?
A: You can reach Fennell by calling his cell phone 250-319-9136, or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.