Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) Electoral Area C director Alec Niemi has announced he is seeking re-election this fall.
According to a media release from his marketing chair, the 13-year “Sasquatch Country” resident put in his bid for re-election in response to “overwhelming support by area residents.”
“After putting four years in, I thought I’ve gained enough experience to know I can do even more,” Niemi told The Observer. “I’ve got good connections in the community, the community likes me and … my objective rationale.”
Area C serves over 2,200 constituents from communities spread across nearly 4,000 square kilometres, including Leq’a:mel, Hemlock Valley, Sq’ewlitz, Harrison Mills, Sts’ailes, Douglas, Samahquam, Lake Errock and Skatin.
Before he was director, Niemi was a pastor in the area and ran a small business.
Niemi is campaigning on the promise that he will continue to facilitate strong community connections with FVRD directors and provincial and federal representatives – something he champions as the force behind development during his previous term such as park upgrades, water infrastructure upgrades and safe walkways along Morris Valley Road.
“I am grateful for your support through my first term as your Area C representative, which has laid the groundwork for ongoing and future projects we will initiate together over the next four years,” Niemi stated in the release.
He said he wants to focus on improving public transportation in Electoral Area C and would like to see a bus running from Harrison to Mission.
“I’ve been speaking to that for several years, but now we’re finally going to get a study done this fall,” he said. “Hopefully within the next few years we’ll have a bus service.”
Another priority is a health centre – an initiative that still has a long way to go and will require multiple community partnerships.
“The community has grown up all of the sudden. There are a lot of retired people there now [and] they are saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a doctor’s office close by?’
“So I think if we could get a health centre there, probably one or two doctors would stay busy if we can get them.”
Niemi said the next step is determining what kind of funding and support Area C can get – federally, provincially and locally – to make the health centre a reality.
Other focuses include improving cell service and paving the road up to Hemlock – things Niemi can’t change himself, but can continue to push for.
Niemi is inviting constituents to call or text his campaign hotline at 778-241-7283.