Sicamous councillor runs for BC Conservatives in Prince George
Terry Rysz has been racking up the kilometres as of late, driving between Sicamous and Prince George, where he’s running as the B.C. Conservative Party candidate for Prince George-Mackenzie.
“I’ve lived in Northern B.C. for close to 30 years, in the Prince George and Vanderhoof areas,” says Rysz. “When those ridings came available, they were kind of looking for a candidate who would fit that role. And I was that person, because I’m very familiar with the dynamics of Prince George and the surrounding area, and the effect that Prince George has on the surrounding area.”
Rysz received the nod to represent the Conservatives in the northern riding earlier this month, and he made a formal announcement to council last week.
“If I happen to get elected, and I’m hoping to, I’m going to work very hard, because nothing would please me more that sitting across the hall from Greg Kyllo and debating the issues in the legislature. And then after that going for a beer,” said Rysz.
Rysz will continue serving on council until he takes a leave of absence. Kyllo, who is representing the BC Liberals in the Shuswap riding, has been given leave for the period of April 18 to May 15.
If either councillor should be elected, the district would be facing a byelection.
Rysz made it known months ago that he was interested in running for the Conservatives. The riding he was eyeing was a little closer to home – Columbia River-Revelstoke. However, when another candidate entered the race in that riding, it was mutually agreed that Rysz would back down.
During the election of the Conservative’s Shuswap candidate, Tom Birch, Rysz made a speech in which he asserted the importance of having a party member in the running in every riding. One thing led to another, and Rysz wound up with the job for Prince George-Mackenzie. Rysz says that while Sicamous is his home, he’s very comfortable serving up North. But he also recognizes the riding is currently a hotbed of controversial topics, from the Northern Gateway project to the BC Liberal scandal involving current Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Pat Bell, and his behind-the-scenes involvement with the Wood Innovation Design Centre.
“I’ve accepted to take on quite a juggernaut, to be quite honest,” laughs Rysz. “But I’ve just spent a week up in Prince George and put our team together so we’re going for it.”
If he isn’t elected, Rysz will continue to serve Sicamous through council. If elected, however, Rysz says he will still be working for Sicamous. He says he will be looking at opportunities to link the north and the south.
“Sicamous will definitely be in my sights to maybe put together a program that will help enhance Sicamous’ economic situation,” says Rysz. “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. For example, the houseboat industry in Northern B.C. – there’s Stuart Lake, Babine Lake, Williston Lake… and the tourist industry in the North definitely is a big issue as well as it is here.”
Up against new candidates for the Liberals and the NDP, Rysz is optimistic about his chances – more so than he was going up against Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald. But if he loses, Rysz says it’s not a losing situation as he’ll remain on Sicamous council working for the community.