Heppell favours new development for city

Gordy Heppell gets a unique perspective on the City of Duncan from the window of his office in the Cowichan Merchants Building (the former Eaton’s Building). That perspective has given him some things to think about as he runs for city council this fall.

"Every day I’m sitting in my office, thinking how it could be better," he said.

The biggest thing Duncan needs is more development, both residential and commercial, and especially downtown.

"I’m for development," he said. "It creates a new tax base, and it will stimulate this town. Duncan is open for business. Full steam ahead."

Heppell has been in the Valley since 1965, and has pursued a variety of different business ventures, beginning with the Papa Luigi’s pizza chain.

He is now the general manager of the Merchants Building.

In that role, he spends a lot of time in the downtown core, checking in on his tenants and other businesses, and he’s worried that the city is changing, and not for the better.

"Duncan’s losing its soul," he said. "We’ve got to bring its soul back."

The place to start doing that is by promoting the city as a good place to do business.

"A healthy business community is a healthy town," he said.

Whether it’s part of his job description or not, Heppell isn’t hesitant to get his hands dirty to get a project done.

"I’ve always got a broom, a mop, a cloth in my hand," he said. "I’m on top of it."