By David F. Rooney
Twenty years of careful thought and consideration have gone into Gary Sulz’s decision to run for City Council in November.
“I’ve been living here for 23 years and running the business for 30 years — I used to run it from Salmon Arm — and I thought it was time to step up,” he said in an interview at Conversations on Saturday, September 20.
Sulz is Revelstoke’s well-known — and well-respected — funeral director. It’s no secret that he has been thinking of retirement, or at least slowing down, and he says he has been arranging his professional life to accommodate a run at City Council during the province-wide civic elections on Saturday, November 15.
There are lots of questions he’ll have to answer during the election campaign that will start next month but he does have a few things he is very concerned about: the declines in our economy and our population.
“I’d love to see more industry,” Sulz said. “I know that we’re now a tourism-designated area and that brings us some perks… but also I see so many of our people, couples, who are from my generation or a generation younger where one of the spouses has to go out of town to work. That puts a lot of stress on them and on our community. Maybe that’s the essence of what we’re seeing in small-town Canada… but I’d love to be able to say that we can attract industry and businesses into our community in a way… so that we can keep our people here. I don’t know if, as a Councillor, that’s a viable thing to think about but, certainly, we need to do something. The other thing is we see businesses come-and-go, come-and-go. I’d love to see businesses that are here for the long term.”
He said that all-too often new businesses start up, but their services or products are too costly for many residents to afford and they simply dry up and blow away.
“Two things then happen: the communities are now short those businesses and the people who started them are now in financial turmoil. They’ve probably lost their life savings.
“I just know that I can’t sit any more and not get involved. We have to start making some decisions that help our community succeed.
“It would be wonderful to have more people. It would be wonderful to have businesses that attract people. We have the ski hill… and snowmobiling that attract tourism. We need businesses (and people) to come here that can fit in. Do we attract more people? Do we want more people? I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
More people and more successful businesses will expand our tax base and “there is nothing wrong with that,” said, especially considering that “we expect certain levels of service from the City.”
We’ll undoubtedly be hearing more from this thoughtful businessman and citizen in the weeks to come.