The former manager of Kokanee Springs resort hopes to run for the BC Liberals this May in Nelson-Creston. Greg Garbula is expected to be acclaimed as the party’s candidate at a nomination meeting on February 18.
Garbula, who lives in Nelson and Crawford Bay, said in an interview he’s spent the last three months thinking about running. He left his position as general manager and vice-president of operations of the East Shore golf course last October.
“I took a few months off, and everyone kept saying ‘you should be doing this.’ I thought long and hard and here I am,” he says.
Garbula has served on different boards, but this is his first crack at politics.
“As a manager and businessman I’ve always struggled with the amount of representation we’ve been getting, especially lately. We’re not getting enough strengthened presence in Victoria. I think we’re being under-represented.
“We’re not talking to communities well enough. We’re not talking to the city councils and mayors, and helping their causes as well as we should.”
Garbula said he is one of many businesspeople who want to see more economic growth in the region. “We’re not progressing to the potential of the region. How can we help with transportation, tourism, different areas that need to be pursued?”
Garbula has lived in Nelson for about five years, although he and his wife still have a home in Crawford Bay. They have a son, 25, and two daughters, 17 and 15.
He spent 15 years with Kokanee Springs and 18 years before that at Canadian Pacific hotels in Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise.
“Hospitality is very much like politics,” he said. “You take care of your customers. You listen and react and do what needs to be done.”
In the 2009 election, New Democrat Michelle Mungall easily defeated Liberal Josh Smienk, but Garbula predicted a closer race this time.
“I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t think so. I think a silent majority is looking to have a better economic community. If we can get those people to make their voices heard, I think we have a real good opportunity.”
No Liberal candidate has been announced in Kootenay West.