After working several years as one of the vice-presidents of the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities), Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Area F Wendy Booth is on pace to become the next president of the organization this fall.
Booth became involved in local politics in 2008 after spending her time in Fairmont Hot Springs as a local business woman, owning and operating a white water rafting company with her husband for several years. Like many who throw their hat in the political ring, Booth said her decision to enter local politics revolved around dissatisfaction with the status quo within her local community.
“I had some concerns with the way some things were going so it was either stop complaining about the problem or be part of the solution,” she said.
She was voted in in November of 2008 as the RDEK’s Electoral Area F director —a position she’s held for over eight years since.
Despite not initially seeing a career for herself in politics, after spending several years working as a local representative, Booth said she began to feel comfortable in the position and enjoyed working with the community for potential development goals.
“There’s always opportunities, learning opportunities, professional development and I’m very community minded and I like helping communities achieve their goals which is what local government is really all about,” she said. “Right now I really like how diverse it is. For instance this week I had budget meetings, I had Valley Visitor Services meetings, branding meeting, tomorrow I have a Hospice Society meeting, CBT [Columbia Basin Trust] Youth meeting and we’re also doing a septic tour so I like how diverse it is. That’s just one week.”
It was this fascination with local politics that had her push herself further into joining the UBCM as one of five directors at large in September 2013. After being re-elected a year later, she ran a successful campaign for the position of second vice-president in September 2015—skipping the first step on the ladder to becoming president of the organization by not having to sit as the organization’s third vice president.
Since that time, Booth has been working within the UBCM, patiently waiting for her time to come when she will be able to advance as the organization’s president. With this year being an election year, she said that the UBCM executive will be travelling to Victoria in February for about five days of door knocking, discussing several important issues related to local government, with this year being focused on an election strategy after spending last year discussing mental health and its impact on policing costs throughout the province.
Even though Booth said that she thinks the UBCM is currently in a strong position, there’s always room for further growth. As long as she runs uncontested—no one puts their name forward prior to the convention in July or isn’t elected during the open convention in July —Booth will be in the top position to foster that growth.
For her it’s been a date marked on the calendar for years.