Meet the candidates: Invermere, part 1

Your introduction to the first half of the candidates running for council seats in Invermere. Check back next week for the rest.

Stephanie Stevens

JUSTIN ATTERBURY

What’s your background?

I have been in the Valley for 7.5 years. Currently co-owner in Dairy Queen, Zero Ice and the Rocky River Grill. I am co-chair of the IBC, I’m on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce, and I am the Food and Beverage Chairperson for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for the Invermere area.

I am also involved in a committee to find funding for a public recreational facility.

What is the main issue facing the district?

The need for economic development  that compliments our environmental surroundings and doesn’t sacrifice them. We need to find ways to stimulate our economy while preserving our natural beauty.

We all know why we live in this amazing valley, now we just need to make sure that the economy is strong enough so that we can all stay here and grow our families and entice more families to move here.

What goals would you like to accomplish?

The Winter Village Initiative  and getting  our Whiteway large enough to get it into the Guinness World records.

I want to develop more projects that can draw national attention to our area and showcase Invermere as a great place to live, visit, and to conduct business in,  which will be crucial in reviving of our economy.

What distinguishes me as a candidate?

I am young and energetic and I have a strong desire to show results.

I don’t just talk about doing things but rather make things happen, and I have a proven track record of success.

I am involved in many volunteer groups and committees and I have personally created many fundraising events for our local not-for profit groups, like the Invermere food bank, which helps give me a broad understanding of the social needs in our community.

My strong small business background will benefit our District in numerous ways such as improving efficiencies and developing new creative opportunities for growth.


GREG ANDERSON

What’s your background?

• BSc and MSc degrees in Forestry

• Invermere resident for 19 years

• 1992 to 2006, Operations Manager with BC Forest Service; from 2006, Provincial Manager for BCFS Ecosystem Restoration Program

• School Trustee, Rocky Mountain School District for 12 years, currently board chair

• Past-president of Old-Timers Hockey and Minor Baseball Associations

• Co-chair for Mt. Nelson Athletic Park development committee

• Public advisory committee member for “Imagine Invermere” community sustainability plan

• Retired in April, 2011, now self-employed

What is the main issue facing the district?

There are many issues requiring Council’s thoughtful, fair and balanced consideration including: community expansion; town infrastructure and water supply; arts, cultural and recreation opportunities; partnerships with surrounding jurisdictions; public transportation improvements; environmental concerns with Lake Windermere and the wetlands; affordable housing; a locally-based and owned economy; and a community forest.

The above said, the main issue facing Invermere is economic development and diversification, which we need to encourage and support, while being mindful of maintaining and/or enhancing our quality of life, the reason why many residents live in Invermere.

What goals would you like to accomplish?

•Completion and implementation of an  economic development and diversification plan for Invermere and the Columbia Valley

• Completion of a long range “plan to address future community expansion” that weighs off the impacts and benefits of expansion against Invermere remaining a more concentrated urban centre

• Successful implementation of the strategies and actions identified in Imagine Invermere – Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, 2011

What distinguishes me as a candidate?

As a long time resident, I have:

• Familiarity with ‘current’ initiatives underway and long-term community needs

As a former BCFS Manager, I have;

• Experience in leadership, budget management and administration

• Good communication, negotiation and collaboration skills

As a long serving School Trustee, I have;

• Knowledge of how Boards/Councils operate and their role in corporate governance

• Experience in policy and procedure development

• Involvement in sensitive, highly controversial decision-making processes


STEPHANIE STEVENS

What’s your background?

I grew up in the valley and raised my family here. I was a journalist at The Valley Echo for five years. As such, I was able to connect and aid nearly every group in the valley, including three of our local governments.

I won several awards, including the BC Solicitor General’s award for community service and crime prevention.

After The Echo I ran the Summit Youth Centre, first as program co-ordinator and later as executive director. Currently I am a rancher.

What is the main issue facing the district?

Affordable housing (both rental and purchase).

Social services of all kinds. We must ensure the services we have grow and are supported to match our changing population.

Economic growth without compromising environmental stewardship.

What goals would you like to accomplish?

Our young people need to able to complete their post secondary, or further their training, and be able to realistically look at creating their own homes, raising their own families, HERE.

Many families already struggle to make ends meet. Is light industry the answer? More entrepreneurs? I would like to be a part of that exploration.

What distinguishes me as a candidate?

This is my home. I grew up here and I have been very involved with it, from Pothole Park clean-ups I organized to the youth centre to the Rockies Hockey Club and various volunteer boards, including the Advisory Planning Commission for the Regional District. I have always made a point, particularly as a journalist, to truly learn about the issues that concern our community, to get to know not just those directly involved with my work, but people from all walks of life. Good leadership often means listening quietly. I have considered running for council for several years, and now I am at a point where I can dedicate the time and energy it will need.


PAUL DENCHUK

What’s your background?

I left Winnipeg in 1992 to be a snowmaker at Panorama. I am proudly raising my family here, with my wife, Meredith. I’m a self-employed Journeyman Carpenter and Civil Engineering Technologist, and I’ve been fortunate to volunteer with many community organizations, among others, the Columbia River Greenways Alliance, Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, and Little Badger’s. I’m an avid skier and hiker with a deep respect for this community and its environment.

What is the main issue facing the district?

The relationship between economic growth, land use, and the lake: The way we make decisions about the use of our landscape and the pressures we put on the lake has to fundamentally change. We’ve been liquidating our natural assets and need a longer-term approach to decision making.

What goals would you like to accomplish?

1. Renew the Official Community plan: Our OCP is out of date and no longer guides council. By incorporating the recently adopted Imagine Invermere sustainability plan with a renewed OCP, council will regain a legitimate mandate to move Invermere into a prosperous future.

2. Pursue regional governance: It’s time to get this matter resolved. A regional approach to decision making is critical to our future prosperity.

3. Diversify the local economy: We have taken this community a little too far down the tourism road. By attracting new employers rooted in clean, renewable technologies we can diversify our economy and maintain the natural integrity of the area.  Diversification will be supported by an Economic Development Officer focused on achieving the objectives of the Imagine Invermere sustainability plan.

What distinguishes me as a candidate?

I will apply my values, the conservative values of our elders, to my decision making as your council representative. Waste not, want not. Steward the land.  Care for the people in the community. Build a resilient local economy. By applying these values, I will work to ensure that our prosperity today is enhanced for our children tomorrow.


SPRING HAWES

What’s your background?

I’ve lived in Invermere since 1999, and raised my children here. As a family, we loved skiing, biking, the lake, and the outdoors in general.  I’ve been a small business owner for years, and understand the challenges of running a business, as well as how valuable they are to the community. Recently, I’ve served as president of the ACE Committee for four years, and Councillor for three years.

What is the main issue facing the district?

We have important land use issues to deal with, and we need to be proactive about the economy right now.  But these are both a part of the bigger picture that is long-term sustainability.  We need a vision for a community that is sustainable economically, environmentally, and socially, and the commitment to follow through on that plan.  We need positivity and foresight.

What goals would you like to accomplish?

Hire an Economic Development Officer to develop a plan for long-term economic stability; Take concrete steps to accomplish priorities in the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan; Continue implementing the Lake Windermere Management Plan; Explore the possibility of a Convention Centre/Performing Arts Centre in our downtown; Build strong relationships with the various stake-holders in our community.

What distinguishes me as a candidate?

I am positive, responsible, committed, and honest. I enjoy people! I have a vision for the future — it’s time for bold new ideas. I believe in being proactive, not reactive. As a councillor, I have advocated for our environment; collaboration with community organizations; a strong relationship with our business community; a broad-based economy; responsible management; equal opportunity; and an engaged local government.

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