Current Harrison Hot Springs mayor Leo Facio has announced his intention to seek re-election this fall.
Facio was voted in as a councillor in 1993 and has served three terms as mayor, the last two consecutively.
Facio was living in London when he first visited Harrison on vacation in 1974. He quickly decided he would make the Lake-side town his permanent home. He was back for good in January of the following year.
“I lived in one of the largest cities in the world for most of my life but I always enjoyed going out of the city and into the small communities,” he said. “[Harrison] was just one of those places I said, ‘I want to come back here and live here.’”
“Since then, I’ve worked vigorously for the community to keep it, as I always say, one of the best places in the Fraser Valley to live in.”
The long-time Harrison resident backs up his campaign slogan – “experienced, engaged, driven” – with a list of recent projects he says were completed during his last term. These include: obtaining resort municipality initiative (RMI) funding, development of a community water master plan, provincial government designation as an ‘age-friendly’ community and installation of a seasonal pay parking system, to name a few.
Facio said the biggest challenge as mayor has been working with provincial and federal governments for grants, funding and other initiatives.
“It is a challenge because you can’t do it by sitting down at your desk, you have to go out and meet these people at their desks, which normally [are in] Victoria,” he said.
But Facio feels that, during his terms as mayor, “getting to Victoria, meeting with actual ministers to promote what you want for your community has been a big success story.”
As for future goals, Facio outlines top priorities: a strategic planning session with the new council and public input for a five and ten-year plan, working with School District 78 Fraser Cascade to replace the Harrison Elementary School’s facilities, continued Village improvements with RMI funding and keeping the Village tax rate “at a reasonable level” – but no promises, he adds.
Completing the water system, upgrading sidewalks and planning a Harrison Lagoon revitalization are also high on Facio’s list.
When it comes to development in the Village, known and loved for its small-town charm, Facio is notably ‘pro.’
“We do need to improve the community and help with the tax base and to try, as we move forward, to bring other services which people would like to see,” he said. “I think attracting new development is a very important component of the community.”
Municipal elections across B.C. are slated for Oct. 20.
Individuals are not confirmed candidates until the end of the election nomination period Sept. 14, after they have submitted all the required information in the nomination package and have been declared a candidate by the local chief election officer.
Election-related dates in 2018:
– Municipal election period: Jan. 1 to Sept. 21
– Nomination period: Sept. 4 to Sept. 14
– Campaign period: Sept. 22 to Oct. 20
– General Voting Day: Saturday, Oct. 20
UPDATED: This story was updated to correct a previous statement that Harrison Hot Springs mayor Leo Facio had served three consecutive terms as mayor. He has served three terms, only the last two consecutively.