Columbia Valley pre-election Q&A: Week 1

Pre-election Q&A for all the municipal jurisdictions in the Columbia Valley (Oct 22nd issue)

  • Nov. 4, 2014 8:00 a.m.

District of Invermere Candidates

In your opinion, what is the most important issue your area faces and why?


Mayor (acclaimed)

Gerry Taft

There is no single “most important issue”  but there is a common theme that many issues fall under, which is “regional co-operation.”  Whether it is economic development, fire services, library services, our new multi-purpose community centre, recreation services, environmental protection, or long-term land use planning — all of these require regional co-operation. Over the last six years, myself along with elected officials from the RDEK, Radium and Canal Flats have worked hard to build on regional co-operation. We have had some true successes around the funding of arenas and the establishment of the Columbia Valley Directed Funds. We need to continue this momentum.



Greg Anderson (I)

Now that the economy is slowly recovering, I believe the most important issue facing the new incoming District of Invermere council will be strategically addressing the growth and development that will be returning to the valley over the next few years. While council should definitely be supporting and encouraging a healthy, vibrant economy, it’s also critical council ensures that adequate planning and oversight is in place to maintain (and ideally improve upon) the values and attributes that make Invermere such a special place to raise a family and retire. Growth, economic development and quality of life have to be thoughtfully balanced. We cannot lose sight of that!

Justin Atterbury (I)

Infrastructure upgrades and improvements while maintaining an affordable level of property tax increases that don’t surpass annual inflation. The cost to maintain and upgrade our basic needs as a municipality (water, sewer, roads) is becoming exponentially more expensive. With grant funding decreasing from our federal and provincial governments for municipal infrastructure projects, it’s crucial for every municipality to start looking at long term solutions to support our needed upgrades without allowing our property taxes to skyrocket.

Kayja Becker

In my opinion, the District of Invermere is going to be facing many pressing issues in the near future such as the development of the new community hall, and revitalization of downtown and the cenotaph. Both are certainly important issues that will need to be handled with community in mind, though one issue that has stuck out for as long as I can recall is the quality of water in town. There is no denying it could use a great deal of improvement, and I am looking to strategize step-by-step means of upgrading so that, in time, Invermere will no longer be inferior in terms of something as vital as our drinking water.

Paul Denchuk (I)

Our top priority has to be developing and implementing a realistic long-term plan for infrastructure renewal and replacement, especially our water infrastructure. While we care for our eco-system, we also have to look after the infrastructure that carries safe drinking water from source to tap. Provincial and federal government downloading has been a problem, but past councils have also failed to recognize the magnitude of the infrastructure problem growing under our roads and sidewalks. This has left Invermere with a great financial challenge that we CAN address cost-effectively if we start taking action toward responsible financial and infrastructure management today.

Al Miller

Change, in my mind, is the biggest issue facing the District of Invermere. Duties as elected officials are to make sure we have good, solid infrastructure in place; good, drinkable water; an efficient sewer system; safe bridges; and a strong fire service with proper equipment, to name a few. The challenge to facilitate all this is a tall order. A need to be prudent in our budgeting in order to accomplish this is necessary.  As a community, we must change our outlook on business now and in the future. Be more open and welcoming to those potential partners who will help develop and sustain our town, and willing to look at new opportunities to help keep Invermere solid.


Village of Radium Hot Springs Candidates

In your opinion, what is the most important issue your area faces and why?


Mayor (acclaimed)

Clara Reinhardt

Sustainability is our biggest challenge. We need to focus our efforts supporting existing business, continuing to support a robust tourism industry, working to attract new business, improving recreation facilities, and maintaining infrastructure. It is our task to work within our own boundaries as well as with our neighbouring communities, to enhance and promote our assets to ensure that, in 10 or 20 years, we are still vibrant and attractive, both for our residents and our visitors. In Radium Hot Springs, we have to fill our empty storefronts and continue the work that has been started over the last five to 10 years to beautify the main business strip on both sides of the highway.


Councillor (all acclaimed)

Karen Larsen (I)

The unfortunate and unsightly abandoned buildings that surround out community in little pockets. We live in such a lovely little town yet we have somehow ended up with a inventory of abandoned and unkept properties that become host to transients, delinquents and wild animals. Our community has already seen what can happen when buildings are left unattended with the 2012 fire on Stanley Street that could have devastated an existing motel, which was directly beside the abandoned motel that was engulfed in fire. As we also pride ourselves on being a walking community, I am disheartened to see these properties sitting in neglect and of no concern to the owners.

Todd Logan (I)

A response was not received by press deadline.

Tyler McCauley

Maintaining the right balance between small village charm and values versus an expanding resort atmosphere. Filling our main street with businesses that will provide new full-time and part-time jobs in town. In the past, our village was the go-to weekend escape place in the Rockies — we need to capture that energy again. We need to work together as the Village, the Chamber of Commerce, and the community to make Radium shine.

Ron Verboom (I)

A response was not received by press deadline.


Village of Canal Flats Candidates

In your opinion, what is the most important issue your area faces and why?


Ute Juras

It is somewhat difficult to narrow it down to one single issue. In my opinion, one of the most crucial challenges would be how to provide basic services such as water, sewer, roads, etc., to our taxpayers while keeping taxes affordable. In Canal Flats, we have been doing a good job keeping the municipal tax increase to about two to three per cent annually in the past 10 years. We did have a somewhat larger increase this year due to the upgrades that needed to be done to the water system. However, through some very hard work by council, staff and some grant funding, we were able to keep this cost less than most other jurisdictions in the East Kootenay.

Dean Midyette

The most important issue facing Canal Flats today is economic development. We have fewer residents, fewer businesses and half the number of children in our elementary school than we had a decade ago when we incorporated. The Economic Development Plan I’ve drafted will address these issues by attracting more residents, attracting business and encouraging more day traffic. To these ends, we are working to beautify our village entrances, develop a Master Plan and review our development zoning bylaws. We will also undertake a rebranding initiative and review our marketing strategies. This will provide a foundation for future prosperity.

Marie Delorme

A response was not received by press deadline.

Erin Gornik

I believe Canal Flats really needs to focus on starting more programs for kids ages five to 18, whether it is recreation or leadership programs. Our kids have very little offered to them once they reach school age and community programs are needed. Canal Flats used to offer summer programs, we had a basketball court and a tennis court, and they were used by the community, but are no longer an option. I would like to see more be provided. Not everyone plays hockey or skis, therefore there is a need for winter programs as well. After all, our kids are our future.

Paul Marcil

Economic Development — creating jobs and opportunities to attract people to live and work in our village. This involves making the village an attractive place to live and work — by having facilities, services and infrastructure available, visually pleasant with popular amenities (walkways, parks, etc.), business-friendly bylaws and zoning, and a populace who is welcoming and willing to embrace the changes growth brings. Population growth, and visitor traffic, creates opportunities for investors who will provide more services which, in turn, attracts more people. People are needed to make businesses, schools, and recreation facilities viable.

Karl Sterzer

Although I have a number of issues that are important to me, I realize that despite my own passions, it is crucial to make myself available to the constituents and let their issues be at the top of my list. This said, we must address economic growth and development, programs and retention for and of our elderly population, and provide attractive landscapes for families with education, sport, and culture. As well, embrace our local history and provide environmentally responsible ways to move forward. Finally, with this in mind, we as elected officials have a responsibility to put words into actions, and implement these decisions.

Roy Webb

A response was not received by press deadline.


RDEK Electoral Area Director Candidates

In your opinion, what is the most important issue your area faces and why?


Area F

Wendy Booth (I)

One important “common denominator” challenging Area F residents is “WATER” – its quality, provision, and impact. Each community has a unique relationship with this resource and some face difficult decisions. Individual residents, as well as entire communities, will consider hard choices related to flood mitigation or upgrades to potable water delivery. The preservation of Lake Windermere and Columbia Lake stands out as integral to the very life of our Valley. Notwithstanding, please understand that Area F is one of the largest of RDEK districts; naming one issue does not downplay the importance of another that may not be as relevant in all communities.

Andrea Dunlop

Area F covers a lot of territory and each community has its concerns so it is difficult to choose one issue. The health of the lakes? Jumbo? Water in Windermere or Fairmont? The abattoir? Forest fire threats? All of these are important to the people they affect. However, what is important to everyone, in every community, is the support of the person they elect. We all want someone who will listen to us and be our spokesperson.  When the majority of the population opposes a project or supports a development, the director should be listening. I am committed to engaging with communities and advocating for you.


Area G (acclaimed)

Gerry Wilkie

The main issue is  how we manage socio-economic development. Above all, we need to respect and protect our biophysical environment. This is what sustains all our endeavours and the quality of our rural way of life.


School District Trustee Candidates

In your opinion, what is the most important issue your area faces and why?


Area 3 (acclaimed)

Denny Neider

Any large public institution with finite resources faces the same primary issue: the distribution of those resources in the most effective, efficient and equitable manner. The Rocky Mountain School District #6 encompasses Kimberley to Golden inclusive. The pressures/challenges/needs faced in one instance, school or area must be addressed while maintaining the integrity and organizational health of the system as a whole.


Area 4

Amber Byklum

A response was not received by press deadline.

Cory Stanbury

The most important issue that faces our current school board is fiscal responsibility and accountability. We are coming off of a year of turmoil with teachers being locked out and striking, and I want to ensure that our school board and administration are doing everything they can to support our schools.


Area 5 (acclaimed)

Rosemary Oaks

One of the issues facing rural school areas is economic stability. Without a diversity of business and commercial enterprises, how do we attract and maintain families in our valley? Without the economic stability,  we face declining enrolment, which can generate financial and operational pressures that can lead to reductions in education programming, staffing and other supports for students, and the number and variety of programs offered may be reduced. In rural areas, part of the challenge of declining enrolment is that some students are required to travel for a long time or over great distances. This may make it impossible for students to participate in extracurricular activities or to hold a part-time job.




























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