FORT ST. JOHN. B.C. – Councillor Lilia Hansen announced her run for mayor in this October’s municipal general election on Thursday morning in front of the I Love Fort St. John sign in Centennial Park. 

After five years on city council, Hansen is proud of the work she has been able to do and is excited to keep doing so should she win the mayor’s seat.

“I get excited about solving challenging problems, particularly when the solutions make people’s lives better,” she said, speaking on her reason for pursuing the position. “Residents are my priority, [and] economic development is my passion.” 

Speaking in front of friends and family to announce her intentions under a bright blue sky, Hansen spoke with passion and excitement about the vital link between a city’s economy and its ability to care for and develop as a community. 

“If we want to see an increase in our social issues and supporting our nonprofits, we have to have a strong economic development base,” she explained. “Which means supporting and having tools in place to help our businesses.”

Hansen’s last term on council was spent on a portfolio that included seniors, First Nations Relations, Community Bridge, and the RCMP oversight committee, among other items.

Outside her duties as a councillor, Hansen has worked with different organizations in the area that support the city’s business and community development, including as the former executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, a voting member of the Fort St. John Public Library, and an organizer of the Spark Women’s Leadership Conference. 

She also practices this support of the business community in the city professionally as an export advisor for the province with the Export Navigator program and the Chamber of Commerce. 

City Councillor Lilia Hansen announces her run for mayor surrounded by friends and family in downtown Fort St. John.

Just as the development of the city itself is at the forefront in her mind, so is the city’s relationships with other communities, specifically Indigenous nations in the area. 

“We’ve been very fortunate over the past few years that, through the initiative and cooperation of the council, our local first nation communities, their staff, and our staff, we have built a tremendous relationship. And they are part of decisions we’re making.”

Though Hansen made her experience and capability clear, she also recognized a specific, conversational and empowering spirit that she wants to bring to the leadership of the city. 

“My leadership style is creative and collaborative, which will encourage others to work together. I have the skills to continue to create an environment where our team can make needed changes,” she said. “In reality, empowering our team with resources and support we’ll look back to and support will affect real change.” 

This, she made clear, would not be going in a different direction for the strong, relationship-based council she is proud of working on. Rather, she described it as “going at a different pace.”

“I like to have everyone’s voice heard and respectfully if someone maybe needs a little bit more time to develop their thoughts or to put them into words, I like to circle back to them.”

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.