Campbell Watt is looking to bring his business experience to Penticton city council.
The latest entrant to the municipal election race said one of his aims is to ensure that people who are looking to open or start a business have an easier path to do it.
“I would say without a doubt I can play a role in making the system better. I have seen over the last couple of years, there have been attempts at change for the better, but I haven’t seen them come to fruition yet,” said Watt, a mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres Clear Mortgage.
Watt said he remember talking with business advocate George Little about streamlining business licensing.
“We actually sat down with city staff and brought this topic up of how much simpler we believed the business licensing process should be. He had a great vision and I shared the vision,” said Watt. “I will have the ability, being on council, to make a bigger impact.”
Watt, considered running for council for some time before making his final decision.
“I have seen first-hand and truly believe that a person with pure intentions can in fact make a difference,” said Watt. “At the end of the day, I would love my two-and-a-half year old daughter to open up her own business when she is graduated and done university. And why would I not want her to do it here in Penticton?”
Watt, president of both the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Penticton Association, said his focus won’t solely be on economic issues.
“I think when you take on the role of councillor, that is an automatic focus. I think you should already be looking at economic development, you should already be looking at growth in Penticton,” said Watt.
If elected, Watt will be leaving both the chamber and DPA mid-term, but he said both boards have been encouraging and asked him to run.
“They have given me nothing but a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. They are completely behind in favour of me running for council,” said Watt. However, both boards have asked him to take a leave of absence rather than resign his post so he can return if not elected to council.
But Watt said he is not entering the race with the thinking he might not win.
“I really am running because I believe I can win and I am hoping to win,” said Watt. “I take that as a huge compliment and although I haven’t committed to resigning or taking leave, based on those requests, I am leaning to taking the leave.”
Watt said he also has the support of his wife Naomi and his young daughter.
Watt is also a member of Penticton’s community and business development committee, the downtown revitalization committee as well as two committees for the Penticton Golf Club, where he once worked as a golf pro.