Mike Barr is running for Cranbrook city council.
Barr, who was born and raised in the Key City, put his name forward for the upcoming municipal by-election on Oct. 21 and is running alongside seven other candidates.
A by-election was called after former city councillor Tom Shypitka resigned to focus on his duties as Kootenay East MLA after winning the riding for the BC Liberals in the provincial election.
Barr, who is semi-retired after working out at the Canal Flats sawmill before its closure in 2015, said he now has the time to devote to public service and to give back to the community.
Barr says listening to his constituents and doing what voters ask him to do is his top priority, if elected.
While Barr hasn’t run for public office before, he served seven years on the St. Mary’s Independent Catholic School council, working with teachers, parents, the church, and the Ministry of Education in a volunteer leadership capacity.
“I liked serving people,” he said, of his time with the council.
Municipal politicians have to do a balancing act between respecting the wishes of constituents while being mindful of budgetary impacts, Barr said.
He said he likes what the current council has done with their road reconstruction program as well as the new addition of the off-leash dog park at the old Muriel Baxter school property.
Barr praised Cranbrook residents and businesses for supporting important fundraising initiatives such as the Haitian Benefit Fundraiser and other community events such as the recent Cranbrook Fall Festival and the JCI Pop-Up Beer stop at Rotary Park this past weekend.
“Small business is incredible in Cranbrook, they’re the drivers and I’ll do my best to support them,” Barr said.
Given the recent wildfire season — the worst in provincial history — Barr also said it is important to address the urban wildland interface to protect the community.
“We need to have that conversation,” he said, “because by Christmas, it’s gone from people’s minds. We can’t let that conversation fall off.”
In his spare time, Barr can be found in the wilderness enjoying the outdoor Kootenay lifestyle, hunting in the fall and out on the rivers and lakes with his fishing rod in the summer.
“This is the best area, the best community in the world,” Barr said.
The municipal byelection is set for Oct. 21 with polls open at the Rocky Mountain Prestige Resort. Advance voting is on Oct. 11 and 18 at the Seniors Centre.
Barr encourages anyone wishing to chat with him about his campaign or the by-election to call him at 250-421-0745.