Former Katzie First Nation chief Susan Miller is running for council in Pitt Meadows.
Miller, who lives on band land on the south side of the Fraser River, said although she is not a Pitt Meadows resident, she has a lot of familiarity with the city.
“For the five years I was chief, I really got to know the city well,” she said.
In 2014, the city and Katzie were one of six pairs chosen, from among 55 applying municipality/band pairs across Canada, to take part in the new First Nations/Municipal Community Infrastructure Partnership Program. That program is run by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The city supplies the Katzie with sewer, water and fire protection services.
The new formalized agreement brought the two neighbouring communities closer together, she said.
“I love the city, and if the city does well, my nation does well.”
She feels an affinity to Pitt Meadows, even if she is not a resident.
“My ancestors have walked those streets for thousands of years. It’s not even an issue.”
Miller has endorsed John Becker for mayor “because of my experience with him in the five years we worked together.”
However, she said she is not part of team, but independent.
“Every person is running for a good reason – their love of the community,” she said.
Miller said she is familiar with Pitt Meadows issues, such as the Kennedy and Harris roads railway crossings, and the increase in truck traffic through the South Bonson area.
Her work is as a First Nations consultant, and her career has included many positions with the band, starting at the age of 19, from social worker to administrator to senior manager.
She is also familiar with the relationship between local governments and Victoria and Ottawa. Miller was on the board of directors for the Assembly of First Nations.
Miller took over for a year when a chief resigned mid-term, then did two more two-year terms for a total of five years. So she ran through four elections, and won three. She was recently defeated by Grace Cunningham.
For her, the job of a city councillor comes down to balancing lower taxes with a high quality of life for residents.
“When I work, I tend to become very passionate and committed to what I’m doing,” said Miller. “I enjoy being very open and honest, and I’m well known for calling a spade a spade.”