Busy times

The coming months promise to be interesting as the campaigns for the October 20 local government elections and the Fire Hall borrowing referendum get underway.

One of the best things about living in the Creston Valley is that even after a memorable vacation it’s always great to return home. I write these words on a pink-skied Tuesday morning, with the view from my living room dominated by a huge red, orange and yellow-leafed tree across the street.

The smell of fall is in the air, marking the end of a summer that was, in many ways, dismal. We had three deaths in our family, and the month of smoke and high temperatures pretty much had me longing for an end to the season.

On Saturday, I wandered through the Farmers’ Market, made a visit to Kunze Gallery and then drove out to Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery to check on the progress of the grapes. Harvest starts this week and the grapes are in good shape, owner Bob Johnson reported. I drove out along Erickson Road and Highway 3 in Erickson, enjoying the activity at the many roadside fruitstands, and then went back downtown to test out the resurfaced Canyon Street, which is, for now at least, rut-free and much safer to cross for pedestrians.

I also took time to enjoy the mostly election sign-free streets and boulevards, which won’t last long, I’m afraid. One new candidate asked me for advice about how many signs to order, and I had no response—I would personally be happy if there were none at all.

It was interesting to learn that two declared candidates have withdrawn. Brandon Vigne, an apparently well-liked member of the Fire Hall Advisory Committee, had filed papers to run for Town Council, but has withdrawn after taking a job which could have put him in conflict of interest situations. Larry Binks’s withdrawal from the Area C race came as a huge surprise, as he had made it clear in recent years that he would be running again. Binks has been a tireless representative for his constituents and a great advocate for the Creston Valley, and he deserves our thanks and respect.

There are still, however, plenty of choices for most positions, especially for Creston Town Council. Three candidates for mayor and 11 for council positions give voters a healthy variety of choices. It’s hard to look at the list and come up with a scenario in which Town Council would become a gong show, something that a number of other communities in BC have experienced in the past term.

Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of interest in school board trustee positions. Rebecca Coons has been elected by acclimation as the Creston trustee, and she will be a great addition to the board. The two South Rural incumbents are both running for re-election and will be challenged by retired teacher Al Gribbin, who would certainly liven up school board meetings.

On the RDCK side, the articulate Garry Jackman has been acclaimed in Area A, and challenger Keith Goforth faces an uphill battle as he takes on the energetic, creative and very effective incumbent, Tanya Wall, in Area B. Watching the Area C battle unfold will be interesting, with Adam Casemore being the only one of the three candidates with local government experience. Casemore performed well, I thought, on Creston Town Council after winning a by-election.

My week started, not totally surprisingly, by learning that my superiors at Black Press had received a request/demand from the chair of the disbanded Citizens for an Affordable Fire Hall that I and our editor be prevented from reporting or commenting on the upcoming election and referendum, echoing a similar complaint from the same person during the last election campaign. Neither attempt at what I would characterize as a demand for prior restraint—or censorship—was successful, of course. But it is in an indication of how easily civil, thoughtful and respectful discourse can be derailed in an era in which lying and bullying don’t get the outright rejection they deserve.

We will continue to practice balanced journalism and accurately report on the issues affecting our community, and I will continue, as I have for 30 years, to express my opinions in This is the Life.

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