Most Creston incumbents planning to run in fall election

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  • Sep. 18, 2011 4:00 p.m.

And the survey says: They like their jobs. At least 11 of Creston Valley’s elected officials plan to run in November’s local government elections. Only three-term Creston town councillor Len Folkman has stated his intention to step down.

Mayor Ron Toyota confirmed on Friday that he will stand for re-election after serving his first three-year term.

“I think we’ve made good progress in making Creston a more business-friendly community and I’ve enjoyed working this council,” he said. “We’ve accomplished a lot and there is more work to be done.”

Judy Gadicke, who juggles teaching duties with her work on town council, said on Monday that she is 90 per cent sure she will run again. Gadicke received the largest number of votes in the 2008 election.

Wesly Graham confirmed from Vancouver, where he was scheduled to attend a meeting with Premier Christy Clark, that he will seek a third term on council. He is currently chair of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments and represents the organization on the Union of BC Municipalities executive.

Joanna Wilson was elected to council in 2005 after serving as a School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) trustee. The music teacher said she has enjoyed her two terms on council and will seek a third term.

Real estate agent Jerry Schmalz said on Friday that he plans to seek a second consecutive term. Schmalz also served on Creston town council in the 1990s.

“I think we have an outstanding team at town hall,” he said. “Former town manager James Thackray brought in an exceptional group of people, including his successor, Lou Varela.”

Tanya Ducharme arrived on the political scene in 2008 and said she is excited about the upcoming campaign.

“In 2008 I didn’t really know much about politics or campaigning, but I’ve learned a lot in the last three years,” the Columbia Brewery management team member said.  “I have some environmental initiatives that I want to work on and I’ll work hard to earn a spot on the next council.”

Len Folkman said on Monday that his decision to hang up his political spurs after 12 years on council is largely due to pressure from his wife, Irene.

“My wife says I’m not running and I guess she’s right,” the retired accountant said. “It will be nice to be able to visit family in Calgary more often, though.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay directors for Areas A, B and C have all confirmed their desire to represent their areas for another term.

Area director John Kettle took over the position as chair of the RDCK board in his last term, a position he will attempt to hold if re-elected.

“I enjoy the challenge of ensuring the regional district works for the people of the Creston Valley,” said Kettle, who is also chair of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District.

He said in 2008 that he would only serve for one term, but Area C director Larry Binks has had a change of heart and plans to stand for election in November, he said on Saturday. Binks worked for 32 years with the BC Ambulance Service and holds degrees in business management and emergency medicine management.

Area A has been represented by civil engineer Garry Jackman, a Boswell resident, who also seeks re-election in 2011.

“It’s a good thing I like driving,” said the man who represents communities from Wynndel to Riondel. “I’m putting about 48,000 kilometres a year on my car.”

The Creston Valley has three representatives on the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board and two have confirmed they will seek re-election. A third, Melanie Joy, who is the current board chair, is expected to run but had not confirmed her intentions at press time. Joy also chairs the BC Public School Employers’ Association, which is currently in contract negotiations with the province’s public school teachers.

After 26 years of service, Creston Rural trustee Annette Hambler-Pruden said on Monday that she is surprised that she wants to stay on.

“I had said at one point in time I wouldn’t, but I have a new lease on life with our administrator, Jeff Jones,” she said. “I could not be happier with him.”

Hambler-Pruden said her experience is valuable to the school board, especially because Jones has only one year of experience as a superintendent of schools and a new secretary-treasurer has just been hired this week.

The second Creston Rural seat has been held for the last three years by Boswell’s Verna Mayers-McKenzie. She represented Area A on the RDCK board for six years before returning to the education field. She had served for three terms on another school board before moving to the Kootenays.

“Education is my first love,” she said. “I have a real passion for providing our children with the best education possible.”

Mayers-Mckenzie is currently vice-chair of the board of trustees.

Local government elections will be held on Nov. 19. Candidates must file nomination papers by Oct. 14.