Columbia Valley pre-election Q&A: Week 3

Week 3 of questions for candidates in the upcoming municipal election

  • Nov. 5, 2014 5:00 p.m.


Columbia Valley pre-election Q&A: Week 3

District of Invermere Candidates

Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Resort Municipality is the most hotly debated topic in the Columbia Valley, one that has garnered national attention. Where do you stand on the issue?

Mayor (acclaimed)

Gerry Taft

Municipalities should have residents, elected councils, and a tax base.Jumbo has none of these. The RDEK changed positions on Jumbo incorporation several times — the 2009 “decision” was influenced by Minister Bennett. Four out of five local directors voted against, but political favours won out and the Province got the eight to seven vote they wanted to justify what they were going to do anyway. Jumbo incorporation is about circumnavigating a key condition of Environment Assessment Approval — that final land use decisions be decided by local government. The intent of the condition was elected, accountable local government, not a puppet council (with a cost of $1.3 million over six years). SHAMEFUL!


Greg Anderson (I = incumbent)

Having sat as the former forestry manager on the government’s Technical Review Committee for Jumbo, I know the issue well. After decades, in 2012, a decision was finally made by government to “conditionally” approve Jumbo. In implementing the decision, an interim council was appointed. In terms of democratic process, appointing a council for a municipality without residents is definitely less than desirable, no question! That said, oversight of the development is needed as it proceeds and a council is arguably one means of doing so. As it relates to Invermere, our town council should primarily focus our energies on issues related to the workings of our town that directly affect our residents.

Justin Atterbury (I)

To accomplish anything as an elected official, you need to have a dedicated focus with an end result in mind that you know is achievable. I’m very proud of my 4.5 year involvement with the Whiteway that was recognized by Guinness World Records and is garnering very positive international media for our beautiful area. By focusing my energies on issues within our municipal boundaries, I can have a very positive influence. This will better serve the constituents who have elected me. There are enough issues within Invermere’s boundaries that need political attention. Focusing my energy on these will help us accomplish these goals. Our taxpayers deserve such undistracted focus from its elected officials.

Kayja Becker

Being in such close proximity to the Jumbo Glacier municipality, the District of Invermere is certainly affected by any decisions made up there. Unfortunately, when it was designated in 2012 to be its own municipality, much of the input from the DOI was eliminated as it is no longer included in jurisdiction. The appointed council of the Jumbo Glacier municipality are responsible for their own decisions, though DOI council needs to do everything possible to ensure decisions in the best interests of our residents.

Paul Denchuk (I)

I have never supported Jumbo Resort. It is an ill-conceived idea on all fronts. Jumbo is the region’s pre-eminent land-use issue. It affects Invermere directly by draining public resources away from our community. As elected officials, our response to Jumbo says a great deal about whether we will steward our wild spaces and listen to our constituents. Achieving and sustaining regional prosperity requires that we strongly value our natural assets, our existing communities, and the cultures that make our region vibrant — Jumbo Resort is not part of that value set. Candidates cannot hide from this important issue by saying, “It doesn’t matter, it’s outside of Invermere.” It matters to all of us.

Al Miller

Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Municipality has been a topic of discussion for some time. The Jumbo process has taken far too long to deal with. I am also pretty sure if Panorama was just starting out now and trying to open as they are today, that would also be a huge challenge. You just have to look around at our area and you can see what Panorama adds to our economy. I am glad we have a provincial government that has had the foresight for projects such as this, so we can build on our strengths. Government and communities need to work together to provide a welcoming attitude, with environmentally sound and sustainable growth, for our future prosperity.

Village of Radium Hot Springs Candidates

Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Resort Municipality is the most hotly debated topic in the Columbia Valley, one that has garnered national attention. Where do you stand on the issue?

Mayor (acclaimed)

Clara Reinhardt

Jumbo had been in the news for over 10 years when we arrived in the valley in 2005, and it still is. The proponents worked through every process that subsequent provincial governments presented them with. The reality is that there is now a Mountain Resort Municipality, some work has begun on the site, and there are at least two outstanding issues being determined by the courts. With the number of people and resources already focused on whether or not this development happens, I would like to focus on issues where council can be more immediately effective. I have no strong feelings for or against this venture.

Councillor (all acclaimed)

Karen Larsen (I)

Keep it wild. I am strongly opposed to the idea, I believe it should be left alone. We have enough ski hills in this valley that we should be supporting. When will it be enough? Why does it always seem once a beautiful place is exposed, someone needs to exploit it. The glacier, like many others, is receding; is it truly about year-round skiing? Or about real estate. The motives behind this whole project leave me quite disturbed. Not to mention there is no population making a contribution to the big tax pot. Why should the average hardworking taxpayer contribute to a fictitious community when we have more pressing issues in our communities that need to be addressed prior to another ski hill.

Todd Logan (I)

The Village of Radium council has supported the Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Resort Municipality, and I will continue to support my fellow councillors in this position.

Tyler McCauley

I have mixed opinions. I am happy to see a large-scale development being built that should attract year-round international visitors. There will be infrastructure developments, such as improved roads and services. With a 20-year environmental assessment, most of the impact on the area around Jumbo has already been addressed. Being scrutinized under the public eye, they will have to adhere to all recommendations. On the other hand, a lot of taxpayer dollars have been allocated for a community that has no residents. With no guarantee that this project is going to become a successful development, it is a risk both to public funds and the environment.

Ron Verboom (I)

I am transparent in my support for Jumbo Glacier Resort. However, Jumbo should no longer be an election issue. It was certainly a relevant question years ago when valley politicians were actively voting on the issue, but currently it has no place in the pre-election debate. The time for that discussion has come and gone. Jumbo Glacier Resort has attained municipal status, with its own mayor and council who are ensuring the needs of their municipality are met. Our priority as elected officials should be to focus our energies on providing residents and businesses with the highest possible level of services in our respective municipalities.

Village of Canal Flats Candidates

What’s the best — and worst — decision made over the last year pertaining to Canal Flats?

Ute Juras

In my opinion, the best decisions are made when you know what the community wants. In the past year, we have made several decisions after extensive input from the residents. I’m speaking of the Roads and Traffic Bylaw amendments that came as a result concerned citizen petitioning Council to let RVs park on the boulevard during the summer months and adjusting the weight restrictions. Another example was the merging of the water systems and upgrades. This has been a decision in the making for a long time with years of hard work by this and past Councils to come up with the best solution for our taxpayers. I feel very strongly that good teamwork yields the best results.

Dean Midyette

The best decision made by council was to pursue the water system upgrade which saved the Village fines, having our water licence seized by the Province, and allowing the committee to trim $600, 000 off the original design. It also removes the Water Quality Advisory imposed by Interior Health over 10 years ago. The worst decision occurred at the Regional District of East Kootenay table. We need $70,000 for the final upgrades to bring our arena up to code. A decision, without the councillors’ advice or approval, was made to add $100,000 to pave the arena parking lot. The request was denied; our arena still needs funding for the work to be done.

Marie Delorme

The best decision was to move ahead with the water project. We are ahead of many small communities in the East Kootenay in providing safe drinking water, and we met the deadline for using the grant so we were able to minimize the expense to taxpayers. This council made it happen with a lot of collaboration and keeping our focus on the issue until it was resolved. The worst decision escapes me. Some may say council takes too long to make a decision. But I never vote yes without getting all my questions answered and considering the ramifications.

Erin Gornik

A response was not received by press deadline.

Paul Marcil

A response was not received by press deadline.

Karl Sterzer

Considerably the best decision made by council was to upgrade and bring into compliance the water system for the entire Village, thus avoiding disciplinary action, while providing safe and potable drinking water for everyone. The worst decision is the Village has still not brought that service to Painted Ridge, thus preventing lot sales, leaving a large barren land mass visible to all that live or visit here, frustrating economic growth, and depriving our community of much needed jobs as well as tax dollars. Despite wordsmithing, the fact is that, as of today, this development is not physically attached to the main system. This sends a strong message that this community is not open for business.

Roy Webb

A response was not received by press deadline.

RDEK Electoral Area Director Candidates

Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Resort Municipality is the most hotly debated topic in the Columbia Valley, one that has garnered national attention. Where do you stand on the issue?

Area F

Wendy Booth (I)

Valley residents care about their priceless environment, their wildlife, their economy — Jumbo touches us all. Two vested parties have expressed their opposition by filing legal proceedings. Notwithstanding, I accept, until court announcements deem otherwise, the Jumbo decision that has been taken. My job is to support my constituents within my jurisdiction. Jumbo is not. In fact, the determination of “substantial completion” of the resort under the Environment Assessment Certificate does not involve RDEK at all. Dedicating my energies constructively, I will ensure the allocation of provincial funds to my constituents’ concerns within my authority. This is where I can have a positive impact.

Andrea Dunlop

I am opposed to the Jumbo Glacier Resort (JGR). I find it offensive that, as my community vies for provincial funding to upgrade a water system for real residents, these same tax payers are supporting a community that doesn’t exist. The road to Panorama is already difficult to maintain; it would be discouraging to see highways trucks heading up to JGR past roads that already receive limited attention due to the vast expanse of roadway we have in Area F. A development, if it is sound, will attract investors and does not need taxpayers as financial crutches to keep it legitimate.

Area G (acclaimed)

Gerry Wilkie

Thanks for the opportunity to reiterate my indignation over the B.C. Government decision to approve the Jumbo scheme and give a private company the gift of municipal status over 6,000 hectares of Crown Land, complete with Letters Patent, an appointed mayor and councillors, and just recently a million dollars in cash. I willl always oppose this proposed recreational real estate development in the Jumbo Valley, its environmental degredation, social costs and economic folly.

School District Trustee Candidates

Trustees serve as liaisons to various community groups and organizations, reporting back to the rest of the Board. What personal strengths do you bring to this role?

Area 3 (acclaimed)

Denny Neider

My background includes doctoral studies in marketing management, 15 years as executive director of a national association in Ottawa, senior management at the municipal government level, several years in education at the junior high through university system, facilitator of professional development and board governance workshops, editor/publisher of several publications, as well as numerous volunteer positions from committee member to president with associations from the local to international level. These have required working with and relating to a variety of people and organizations at all levels from the government, not-for-profit and business sectors as well as the general public.

Area 4

Amber Byklum

As a trustee I have listened objectively, with compassion and understanding regardless of my personal opinion on issues. This I feel is key to being an effective trustee as we need to create healthy relationships to ensure that we are building and maintaining a district that reflects our local priorities, values and expectations. Holding the position of PAC Chair for 5 yrs prior to being a Trustee I feel I bring a very valuable “parents voice” to the board table. I see the value of being engaged in our schools and how it has helped me make decisions and advocate for our students.

Cory Stanbury

The biggest personal strength that I can bring to the Board of Trustees is my ability to listen and interpret what the people in our community are trying to convey. Over the past three years, I have served as the president of the Windermere Community Association and I am currently the treasurer for the Invermere Sunday Hockey League and sit on the Columbia Valley Recreation Society board. I also get the opportunity to interact with a large number of our local youth during refereeing for minor hockey and the new Youth Initiative we are starting at the Windermere Community Hall. These activities allow me to bring a direct line of local voices directly to the School Board.

Area 5 (acclaimed)

Rosemary Oaks

A response was not received by press deadline..




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