Kamloops This Week
The new entrant in the race to replace incumbent Terry Lake as the B.C. Liberal nominee in Kamloops-North Thompson said he is bringing new ideas to an otherwise quiet nomination race.
Mike Grenier, one-time developer at Tobiano, met with reporters Thursday morning at Kamloops Airport. Flanked by his family, Grenier officially announced he has filed paperwork with the party and will contest the nomination, along with Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar and North Shore Business Improvement Association executive director Steven Puhallo.
“I don’t mind at all leading by example and coming up with fresh new ideas,” Grenier said.
Grenier moved to the region from Toronto in 1996, when a company controlled by his family purchased what was then Six Mile Ranch. He spent the next four years campaigning to remove the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve, eventually having it declared in the provincial interest by the then-NDP government.
The resort, which includes a golf course and residential development, went into receivership in 2011. Grenier is no longer associated with its business operation. He lives in a condominium at Tobiano and has property at Sun Peaks.
Grenier raised a family in the Kamloops area and is now remarried with stepchildren. He is pitching his nomination as a chance to bring new ideas for job creation, what he said parallels his creation of Tobiano resort 15 years ago.
He outlined four ideas for job creation at Kamloops Airport, including Thompson Rivers University expanding into aircraft maintenance and engineering; a national commercial pilot training school; and having the airport declared a free trade zone and a “cabotage” designation.
Under cabotage, foreign airlines can be granted rights to fly between certain national routes. There is no aviation cabotage in Canada, but Grenier said a federal Conservative party principle supports a pilot program in Canada. Grenier said this would also encourage direct flights from Kamloops to Las Vegas or Miami, for example.
“We can have direct flights out of Kelowna [to foreign destinations], but we can’t seem to get that out of Kamloops,” Grenier said.
A free-trade designation for the airport would allow foreign goods to be brought to Kamloops for further manufacturing and shipped out without incurring duties.
Grenier also promoted a hotel for Kamloops Airport. He said he will be releasing more ideas for economic development during the nomination race.
“It’s important the nominee for Kamloops-North Thompson not only implement B.C. Liberal policy . . . but we need our nominee to implement great, fresh, new ideas,” he said.
The party has not yet set a nomination date. Grenier said his campaign will rely in part on appealing to existing party members.
“They’ll say, ‘I like that guy’s ideas,’” he said.
On Sept. 1, Lake, the Kamloops-North Thompson MLA and health minister, announced he will not be seeking a third term. The provincial election is set for May 9, 2017.