Incumbent city councillor Ron Popoff is running for a third term in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 15.
Popoff, who has served the last eight years on city council, said he made the decision to seek another term because he wanted to continue working on some significant projects in the queue, particularly the downtown revitalization master plan and the update to the Official Community Plan, which will guide development and community growth.
“I want to be on council — it’s exciting to be on council and see how the city is growing and being discovered,” said Popoff.
Popoff specifically noted the work going into the downtown revitalization, and the ongoing efforts to find ways to renew, rebuild and rejuvenate the area to create vibrancy, highlighting success stories such as the conversion of the city’s old firehall into the Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap — a thriving downtown restaurant and tap house.
Popoff also cited the evolution of downtown events and festivals such as the growth of the Farmers Market, and the Summer Sounds performances at Rotary Park.
Popff identified housing — of all types — as the most pressing issue for the community, while also acknowledging the city’s capacity to care for the area’s vulnerable population has been overwhelmed.
While the city pursuing options for social housing and complex care with the province, Popoff noted that the need outpaces current supply, the latest which was the completion of the Chief Agnes McCoy Centre, a 39-unit apartment building through a partnership between the Province, Columbia Basin Trust, the Aboriginal Housing Management Association and the Aqanttanam Housing Society.
Getting provincial funding and support for social housing projects requires relationship-building with staff at various levels of government, but local elected officials also need to apply political pressure at times to see movement on issues and projects, he added.
Adding more housing options in Cranbrook also addresses other issues such as physician recruitment and attracting more jobs to the area, as employees and families need a place to live, Popoff said.
Over the last eight years on city council, Popoff said the city has seen record building permits and construction values, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Cranbrook is not being ignored, we’re being discovered from coast to coast and abroad,” Popoff said.
He also lauded the work to get New Dawn Place — the indoor facility by the curling centre — up and running even though it took some time and involved some community debate.
Rebuilding the Ildewild Dam and revitalizing the surrounding park and amenities was a significant project the community should be proud of, he added, also highlighting the latest project along Joseph Creek to remove invasive willow trees and mitigate potential flooding issues.
Popoff, who is retired after a career in public health, has been a resident of Cranbrook for over 30 years.